This 1961 Epiphone Casino was a near twin to Gibson’s ES-330.
In 1957, Gibson purchased Epiphone, its major rival of the 1920s and ’30s. Production of new Epiphones began in 1958 in Kalamazoo, Michigan—home to Gibson at the time—using a few parts left over from the old Epiphone factory. (Most Epiphone parts had been destroyed in a suspicious fire.)
Familiar model names were used on many guitars in the new line including Triumph, Deluxe, Zenith, and Emperor. The electric thinline guitars (except the Emperor) had new names like the Sheraton (introduced in 1958) and the Casino (introduced in 1961).
The Casino was meant to be a counterpart to the Gibson ES-330 (which made its debut in 1959), and was nearly identical in every way except its cosmetic appearance. The Casino, like the ES-330, was fully hollow without a solid block running down the center of the body, as on the ES-335 and Epi Sheraton. The absence of the maple center block required that the neck join the body at the 16th fret, rather than the 19th.
The early Royal Tan Epiphone Casino pictured this month has features that distinguish it from later models. The headstock, like on all of the earliest Casinos, appears a little wider than a typical Gibson headstock with slightly different top curves. By 1963, it had become more elongated and narrower by the D- and B-string tuners. The dot fingerboard inlays on this early version would change to a wider parallelogram shape by ’62. The black plastic P-90 pickup covers were changed to metal covers by ’63. The 3-ply, white-black-white pickguard remained standard until the end of the model’s original run in 1970.
The original price for an Epiphone Casino E230TD in 1961 was $314.50, plus $50 for a case. The guitar’s current market value is about $4,500.
Our featured Casino rests on a 1959 Epiphone Model EA-35 Devon combo amp. The name Devon had previously been used for a budget Epiphone archtop before the Gibson buyout. The original information sheet included in the back of the amp reads: Its unbelievable value includes top mounted, four-tube chassis; top mounted control panel; 9 watts output, two instrument inputs; Jensen 10" speaker, volume control, on-off switch, jeweled pilot light, protective fuse. Large professional size 20" wide, 16" high, 9" deep; weight 20 lbs. The Devon’s original price was $95, and its current value is $500.
Like its counterpart, the ES-330, the Casino has a thin, yet completely hollow body.
The 9-watt Devon sports a 10" Jensen speaker and a single volume control.
A toneful pair: Our ’61 Casino lounges against a 1959 Epiphone Model EA-35 Devon combo.
Sources for this article include Epiphone: The Complete History by Walter Carter, Gibson Electrics—The Classic Years by A.R. Duchossoir, and The Gibson 335: Its History and Its Players by Adrian Ingram.
Original price: $314.50 plus $50 for
hardshell case in 1961
Current estimated market value: $4,500
Dave’s Guitar Shop
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended by Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
Photos by Mullally and text by Braithwaite.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.