Epiphone has just unveiled a refresh of its arch-tops and no one is going to need the fainting couch at the colour schemes the Gibson-owned brand has gone for, finishing its classic Casino, Broadway and Sheraton electric guitars in Vintage Sunburst, Wine Red, and what the heck, Natural.
The design principle here is sound; you don’t mess with the classics. The Coca-Cola company learned that to its cost. Epiphone is giving us what we want, and for those with regular budget, this offers a taste of vintage guitar design at a fraction of the price.
There are six models in total, two finish options each, with right and left-handed models available, and all ship in a premium gig-bag and retail for a grand or less.
The Broadway is the big-boxed option, the single-cut hollowbody with gold hardware and a stateliness of design and tone that’s beginning to be put to work on some Joe Pass-style comping.
It is a serious yet affordable jazz guitar, with a rich voice courtesy of its Alnico Classic Pro Humbuckers, a bound resonant spruce top and laminated maple back and sides. It has a classy Frequensator Split Trapeze tailpiece, a multi-ply tortoiseshell ‘guard with Foil “E” Epiphone branding. It is equipped with a set of quality Wilkinson tuners and a Graph Tech nut.
The maple neck is a SlimTaper ‘60s C profile, topped with an Indian laurel fingerboard, 20 frets, and MOP/abalone inlays so you can be sure it looks good with your tux and polished Oxfords. It is a handsome guitar, available in Wine Red or Vintage Sunburst, and priced £/$999.
The Sheraton is a slimmer bodied semi-hollow, available in Natural or Vintage Sunburst. Its body is laminated maple, with 7-ply binding on the top, 3-ply on the back. The neck is mahogany, shaped into a SlimTaper ‘60s C profile and glued to the body. The 12” radius Indian laurel fingerboard seats 22 frets and the same MOP/Abalone inlays as the Broadway.
This, however, should sound quite different, and has has a pair of Epiphone ProBucker Mini-Humbuckers that offer a similar output to the full-sized humbucker but with a bit more presence and clarity in the upper registers – just the thing for a little sparkle and chime, particularly if you have a Vox AC30 to hand.
Like the Broadway, this has a LockTone bridge and the Frequensator tailpiece. The scale length is 24.75”. It is priced £779 / $899.
Finally, and to the best-seller, the one that was made famous by Keith Richards, John Lennon and George Harrison, the Casino. This comes in Natural or Vintage Sunburst, has a pair of dog-ear P-90s, a Diamond-style trapeze tailpiece, and has a hollow body of layered maple.
Single-ply binding makes this look a little more stripped down. But it’s a Casino. The mojo speaks for itself. It has vintage deluxe tuners, a LockTone bridge, gold hat controls with silver inserts, and out of them all is the most affordable at £719 / $699. It looks the business, and proves that oftentimes the best new guitars are the ones that look and sound like old ones.
For more details, head over to Epiphone.