Very cool John Lennon inspired Epiphone Natural Casino MIK in 2002 by Peerless. The Peerless Casinos have gained the reputation of being the better Casinos.

Modifications to the guitar that made it a better player (just like John Lennon did) was to change to Gold Grover tuners and now stays in tune better. Also the obnoxiously thick factory coat of Poly has been finely sanded down to a satin/matte finish (except on the headstock). I removed the ugly white pickguard and put it way. This guitar looks and feels GREAT, resonates better (it just doesn’t look like it was dipped in plastic anymore). I even added a black grommet under the 3-way switch like John had on his.

The pickups sound amazing with all of the bite and snarl that you would expect from P90’s. Great Beatle inspired guitar.

The Epiphone Casino is a full hollow body guitar that has no center block of wood inside like the Gibson 335 has. Gibson 330 is quite similar to the Casino, but for some reason was not as popular. Gibson added the center block to reduce feedback as players were cranking it up on stage.

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John Lennon with his Casino. John removed the pickguard and sanded the guitar down to allow it to breath from under the thick poly coat allowing it to sound better. He also swapped out the tuners.

John Lennon with Casino - This is actually the same guitar

John Lennon with his Casino Left and Right – This is actually the same guitar in both pictures

8.3.1

Of all the guitars made famous by the Beatles, the only one that John, Paul, and George had in common was the Epiphone Casino. Each owned one and used it for countless recordings and performances. The Epiphone Casino was a very important guitar to the Beatles. Paul McCartney is was the first to get a Casino and John and George followed.

After being influenced to purchase it by his friend, blues musician John Mayall, McCartney said, “You’d go back to his place and he’d sit you down, give you a drink, and say, ‘Just check this out.’ He’d go over to his tape deck, and for hours blast you with B.B. King, Eric Clapton… he was sort of showing me where all of Eric’s stuff was from. He gave me a little evening’s education. I was turned on after that, and bought the Epiphone Casino.” Mayall recalls the late-night record sessions. “I showed him my hollow body guitar that I’d bought when I was in the army in Japan in 1955.

The right-handed Epiphone Casino ES-230TD (serial number 84075) that McCartney purchased at the end of ’64 has a rare early-style Gibson-design headstock rather than Epiphone’s later hourglass-shaped headstock. The Epiphone Casino and the Gibson ES-330 were both built in the same Gibson US factory in those days. Later all the Epiphones were made overseas.

McCartney used his Casino extensively in the studio with The Beatles, including the memorable lead-guitar break on “Ticket To Ride.” He also used it throughout his solo career, and still owns the guitar.

Paul with his Casino

Paul with his Casino

Paul still gigs with his Casino sometimes

Paul still gigs with his Casino sometimes

Gibson had been making thinline electric guitars since 1955 (the Stathopoulos had never introduced a thinline Epiphone), and Gibson introduced the thinline double-cutaway, semi-hollow ES-335 in 1958. Almost concurrently, a similar (and fancier) model appeared in the Epi line – the Sheraton. A year later, Gibson introduced a stepped-down model with the same body shape but with a fully hollow body and single-coil pickups, called the ES-330. In ’61, a model similar to the Gibson ES-330 showed up in the Epiphone line as the Casino.

Epiphone Casino and 1967 Gibson ES-330 Hollow Bodies with P-90s from my collection

Structurally, the Casino was the same as the ES-330, with a thinline, double-cutaway hollow body. Functionally, too, it was the same guitar, with one or two “dog-ear” P-90 pickups (with black covers), a Tune-O-Matic bridge, and a trapeze tailpiece. A vibrato was optional. Cosmetically, both models had single-ply binding on the top, back, and fingerboard, pearl dot fingerboard inlays, and an inlaid peghead logo with no other ornamental peghead inlay. The Casino was offered in sunburst or Royal Tan finish while the ES-330 was offered in sunburst or natural.

In the spring of ’66, during recording sessions for Revolver, John Lennon and George Harrison both bought Casinos. The two were virtually identical guitars except Harrison’s had a Bigsby vibrato, while Lennon’s had the standard Epiphone “trapeze” tailpiece. Lennon’s did have a small black ring mounted around its pickup selector switch. Both had the more common Epiphone-style headstock (unlike Paul’s) and were fitted with gold-colored Volume and Tone knobs.

John in the studio with his Casino

John in the studio with his Casino

John with Casino in famous rooftop concert

John with Casino in famous rooftop concert

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George with Casino in the studio

George with Casino in the studio

The first time John and George performed live with their Casinos was when The Beatles made an appearance on the popular British TV show “Top Of The Pops” on June 16, 1966. The lipped their new single, “Rain” and “Paperback Writer.”

In early 1968, while the Beatles were in India, studying transcendental meditation with The Maharishi and friends, including Donovan. Donovan convinced the trio to sand the finish off their instruments, telling them how a guitar sounds better without a heavy finish. After returning to London, during sessions for “White Album,” Lennon and Harrison sanded their Casinos. Lennon primarily played his newly stripped Casino for the sessions. Harrison said that once they’d removed the finish, they became much better guitars. “I think that works on a lot of guitars,” he explained. “If you take the paint and varnish off and get the bare wood, it seems to sort of breathe.” With the completion of the White Album, promo clips were filmed for the single “Revolution”/“Hey Jude” showing John using his now natural Casino.

From My Beatles Collection

George's Gretsch Country Gentlemen - John's Epiphone Casino - Paul's Hofner Violin Bass

George’s Gretsch Country Gentlemen – John’s Epiphone Casino – Paul’s Hofner Violin Bass

John Lennon complains about his Epiphone Casino