Guitar Aficionado have just posted a review of the brand new Epiphone Elitist Series 1965 Casino. You can check out an excerpt below, and read the full review here.
"The Epiphone and Gibson companies were fierce rivals in the Thirties, constantly trying to outdo each other’s designs. But with the death of its dynamic leader, Epi Stathopoulo, in 1943, Epiphone’s reputation for quality and innovation began to slide. In 1957, the East Coast–based company finally threw in the towel and sold its bass line, and the right to manufacture under the Epiphone name, to Gibson.
Subsequently, when Epiphone’s bass supplies arrived at Gibson’s factories in Michigan, the company encountered a fortuitous bonus: full provisions for a line of guitars. So Gibson, which tightly controlled the distribution of its instruments to avoid competition between local dealers, came up with a smart workaround: it slapped the Epiphone logo and ornamentation on what were essentially Gibson models and used them to provide stock to retailers previously denied Gibson products.
The Casino is a prime example of a Gibson in Epiphone’s clothing. Introduced in 1961, it’s essentially an ES-330, a fully hollow thinline electric originally intended as a student model. But beginning around 1965, each of the three guitar-playing members of the Beatles owned Casinos and used them extensively, which is why vintage mid-Sixties models command a premium: in the $6,000 range compared to $3,000 for an ES-330 from the same era."