Price paid: $ 375
Purchased from: Private Seller, craigslist.com
Sound — 9
As for my music style, I tend to cover allot of Beatles, so obviously this will get that job done, but also it can tread into heavy-blues (Cream and the like) and Sabbath-esque territory. P-90s are wonderful pickups, and they provide a nice, crispy crunch, or a fetal-position-inducing stomp, making it perfect for rhythm, but don't get me wrong, they are no EMG, so don't expect insane amounts of gain from these pups. Still, much to my surprise, I could pull some Mayhem off with this bad-boy, and thanks to the P-90's clarity I could pick out the nuances of my picking out of what would usually be a muddy, gain-wrought mess. And yes, the Legend is true, this guitar can let loose a bowel-loosening howl, but only if you're playing at concert volume, I'm talking like, Tokyo Budokan, or Shea Stadium level concert volume. Even then, all ya gotta do is stand back from your amp. And one last reminder, the P-90s do indeed hum, just don't crank your gain like it's going out of style and you'll avoid the hu.
Overall Impression — 9
As for my usual catalog of rare Beatles songs, blues improvisation, and Doors jams, this thing does it all and leaves room for dessert. For me, I've been playing the better part of nearly 6 years, but I've only gotten serious in the past 4 months, I've leapt from power chords to pentatonic and blues scale leads, and I'm slowly getting even better, and for that purpose, my Epiphone G-400 "Vintage" has served me well, but I have always wanted one of these, being a life-long Beatle fanatic and all. I don't regeret this purchase at all, except I sometimes wonder what couldve been, as my dad was willing to shill out for a low-end Gibson, but I think now and realize I would've rued the day I let such an incrdibe deal slip through my hands. If it were stolen or lost, I'd probably ask some of the "fellas' to track down the guy and break his kneecaps, oh, and return the guitar to me of course. Moral of the story? Or morals. Check craigslist and the paper, even pawnshops and local music stores for a good deal on one of these, that way you don't have to get stuck with a $600 Chinese shitbox! And to reiterate, buy a Korean-built one, or a Japanese one, or if you're a lucky SOB, a prized USA-built model. Find the oen that fits you right and really resonates (in both ways). And finally, just don't buy a Chinese one, oh dear god, no.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Will this guitar withstand Live playing? I could trust spider monkeys pitching their waste as if they were auditioning for the Astros to do their worst and this thing would still come out smelling like roses and that musty, new-case smell. Question answered? The hardware is blemish-free, no tarnished or rusted spots. Everything was otay. Strap buttons? More solid than Chuck Norris. Only someone with an extreme case of paranoia (like, I'm talkin' Stalin-level") would go through the trouble of applying those pesky Dunlop Strap Locks. The finish I do worry about, but I imagine over time it will only get better and attain a more natural, orangish glow.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
As far as how this thing came out of the factory, I would have no idea, I am not the original owner. But, I can tell you that any, and quite possibly all the Korean-made Casinos far surpass there Chinese brethren when it comes to quality and playability, so if you're in the market, do yourself a favor and ask for a Korean model. As far as the MIK Casinos go, they have excellent action, but it's almost too good, so raise the action just a tad to avoid fretting out or fret buzz. The guitar as I received it was in immaculate condition, not only from care, but build-quality as well. The Koreans knew how to build what they built, even on such a large scale. No loose wires, no odd wood blemishes, everything runs together nicely, even the f-hole finishing was near perfect (it can be corrected with a Sharpie and a patient, steady hand). In this area, it was nothing short of flawless. Remember, buy Korean, do not, I repeat, do not buy a Chinese one. They feel like they were made of plywood and Elmer's glue, and the action is always terribly off and can induce terrible fret buzz, or your temper.
Features — 9
Alright, well, I got a hell of a deal on this thing. It's a 2002 Korean-built Epi Casino, Cherry Finish, 22 medium frets, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard with parallelogram inlays. Beatifully archtopped, the top is laminated maple, as well as it's back and sides. Full body and neck binding, and the Cherry finish is svelte and exquisite. It can go anywhere from a nice maroon in the dark, to a shimmering crimson glow glistening under a lamp. The body is a thinline-archtop configuration, with dual cutaways, and is completely hollow. The only qualm in playability is its neck heel, but more of that later. Bridge-wise, it features typical Gibson style saddles and bridge, along with a trapeze tailpiece. The pickups. The P-90 single-coils are absolutely amazing. As far as controls. there is 3-way PU selector Switch above the treble side F-hole, along with 4 knobs in all, 2 volume, 2 tone. 1 for each of the two P-90s, allowing great versatility in tone. The tuners, even for being Epiphone Kluson knock-offs, have held the guitar near-completely in-tune in the week that I've owned it, since day 1. As far as accesories, I was able to walk away with a TKL hard-case with matching red interior for a stunning combo of looks and functionality. All in all, I was able to walk away with a Casino for 5/8 (they usually go for $600) the price of a new one, with a $100 case, and this guitar was in better condition than any Guitar Center floor model.