Released in 1961 the Epiphone E-230 Casino was the sister instrument to the Gibson ES-330, both manufactured in the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, each model was available as a single ’T’ or double ‘TD’ variant and by 1962 in Vibrato “V” or non-vibrato versions. The fully hollow Maple laminate Thinline body had a neck joint at the 16th fret, a Mahogany neck with Rosewood fingerboard and 24 3/4” scale length with one or two single coil Gibson P-90 pickups. Early examples had the same short headstock as the Gibson ES-330 but with metal ‘Bikini’ Epiphone logo, black P-90 covers and dot fingerboard inlays. 1962 saw the introduction of nickel pickup covers and the headstock had a pearl inlayed Epiphone logo. The dot fingerboard inlay would change to a single parallelogram inlay and the pickguard would transition over a period from tortoiseshell to white. The 1964 catalog shows the Casino with the new elongated headstock, a design that would remain until 1969 when the Casino was initially discontinued. The Casino shipped relatively well in relation to other Epiphone models, with 1966 the peak year of production no doubt thanks in part to the Beatles popularity.
This guitar is a fine example of a 1962 Casino that spent a lot of it’s early life as a working guitar, owned since the mid-sixties by the previous owner it has been well looked after and has retained a high degree of originally. The Royal Tan finish has lightly faded and developed plenty of tight lacquer checking with the binding yellowing with time. The finish blacklights as expected with no touchup or overspray evident. The guitar is free of breaks or modifications. The Tuners are original ’single-line’ Kluson Deluxe with metal buttons. The G and D tuners are slightly bent but still function as intended. The Nylon nut is correct but the original frets were heavily worn so we elected to have the guitar re-fretted with period correct fret wire. The original tortoiseshell pickguard is in great condition with the raised Epsilon still present. The bridge is a reproduction no-wire ABR-1 with nylon saddles. The Blue Epiphone label is still present with matching serial numbers. Electronically the two P-90 pickups, are the engine room of the Casino and this guitar has two excellent sounding examples, the bridge pickup measures 8.65K and the neck pickup 8.56K. Internally the loom is tidy with two Sprague Black Beauty capacitors present. Pot codes are not readable but the loom appears unmolested and free from modification.
In use the guitar is a resonant and lightweight example, hitting the scales at a scant 6.5 lbs it feels extremely lively both acoustically and plugged in, the neck profile is the standard early 60’s C shape. The neck is on the fuller side compared to many early sixties Gibson guitars especially when compared to the earlier ‘blade’ necks from ’60-’61 yet still modest in comparison to earlier 50’s examples. The nut measures 42.92mm with a depth at the 1st fret of 20.9mm. The two P-90 are strong and well balanced. The bridge pickup sounds snappy with bite and twang, with the neck pickup giving big, warm and rounded tones The bridge pickup has a pleasant cut to the amplified tone with the neck pickup having a wonderful warmth and compression.
With only 211 E230TDV Casino shipped in 1962 and with what many consider the definitive spec featuring the iconic Royal Tan edge shaded Sunburst, the full 1-11/16 nut width, Nickel hardware and short headstock its no surprise that the early Casinos rarely come to market. With a versatile tone the Casino has become considered far more of an all round option that it used to be. The guitar comes with a scruffy yet likely original Selmer/Hofner case that has been recovered.