THE STORY OF JOHN LENNON'S EPIPHONE CASINO

THE CASINO SOUND

The Casino has the same basic body dimensions and construction of the commonly recognized Gibson ES-335, the Epiphone Riviera and the Epiphone Sheraton. However, unlike the 335-style body, which features a solid-center block, the Casino is completely hollow. Additionally, older Casinos featured a 17-degree (as opposed to a 14-degree) headstock and a neck joint at the 16th (as opposed to the 17th) fret. This creates more string tension and when combined with the thin, hollow body produces a very unique sound - one that has become most associated with John Lennon and the Beatles.

IT BEGAN WITH PAUL IN 1964

Paul McCartney purchased a Casino together with an Epiphone Texan acoustic in December 1964. Pictures taken of the Beatles in their dressing room during the Christmas shows in December of 1964 at the Hammersmith Odean Cinema in London show McCartney with his new early version sunburst Epiphone Casino with it's "Gibson" shaped head stock and Bigsby( (still strung right handed). This same photo session captured John Lennon playing McCartney's new instrument and was Lennon's first brush with the Casino.

Soon after, on Monday February 15, 1965 at EMI Abbey Road Studio Two London, McCartney used the Casino (now strung left-handed) to play the memorable lead on the Beatles classic "Ticket to Ride". McCartney continued to use the Epiphone on various over-dubs making the Casino a familiar guitar sound on many of the Beatles records.

JOHN AND GEORGE GET THEIRS

It was in the spring of 1966 during the recording sessions for the Beatles "Revolver" that both John and George acquired a pair of sunburst Epiphone Casinos. The serial number indicates that John's was built in 1965. The most visual difference between the two almost identical guitars is that Harrison's Casino had a Bigsby and Lennon's Casino came with the stock trapeze tailpiece. Lennon's guitar also had an uncommon, but factory stock, black grommet ring mounted around his pickup selector switch. Both Casino's had the more commonly seen Epiphone style head stock.

PERFORMING AND RECORDING WITH THE CASINO

Lennon first used the new Casino live on Sunday May 1, 1966 at the New Musical Express Annual Poll-Winners' All-Star Concert held at London's Empire Poll, Wembley. It was from this point on that John chose the Epiphone Casino as his main electric guitar. On June 24, 1966, the Beatles embarked on their third world tour, which included stops in Germany, Japan, the Philippines and the United States. For this tour, John Lennon chose his Epiphone Casino as his main guitar with his Gibson J-160E brought along as a spare. Lennon used the Casino for every live performance on this tour including the Beatles infamous final live performance on August 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.

Although soon ending their live performances, the Fab Four focused their work in the studio unleashing one of their most influential albums of the 1960's, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". During these lengthy recording sessions, John would once again choose his Casino as his main electric guitar.

THE CASINO GETS ITS FIRST PAINT JOB

By 1967 the psychedelic movement in London was in full swing and mind expanding was all the rage. Embracing the psychedelic mood of the time, Lennon commissioned the artist "The Fool" to paint psychedelic works of art on his Rolls Royce, his upright piano and his Gibson J-160E acoustic guitar. John also chose his Epiphone to experiment with by painting the back of it with white and gray spray paint leaving the front of the guitar with it's stock sunburst finish. During the "Sgt. Pepper" recording sessions, Lennon also removed the stock Epiphone pick guard leaving the pick guard mounting bracket and screw on the guitar.

STRIPPED OF COLOR

On May 19, 1968, John and Yoko recorded an experimental album "Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins". The album cover featured a nude picture of John and Yoko. As John and Yoko had shed their clothes stripping naked for the album cover, it was around this time that Lennon had his Casino stripped down, removing the original factory finish as well as his own psychedelic paint job. He thought the guitar would sound better without finish on it. The guitar was sanded down to the bare wood and finished with a very thin, dull coat of lacquer. This newly recreated version of the Casino was first used by Lennon in the summer of 1968 during the Beatles recording sessions for the Beatles double record, "The White Album". It too was stripped of color.

ON THE ROOF

Filming for what was to become the Beatles last movie, "Let It Be", started on January 2, 1969. The film revolved around the Beatles writing and rehearsing new material in the studio. Throughout the film, John can be seen faithfully playing his beloved Casino. The filming climaxes on January 30th with the Beatles celebrated performance on the London roof top of their Apple Corp. office building at number 3 Savile Row. For this last magical public performance given by the Beatles as a band, Lennon once again chose his Epiphone Casino

Work on the last Beatles studio album "Abbey Road" started on July 1, 1969, at EMI Studio Two, London. Lennon used his Epiphone Casino throughout these summer sessions on this the last official Beatles studio work. The album was released in the UK on September 26, 1969.

HIS SOLO CAREER

Lennon continued to use his Epiphone Casino through the many performance and recordings with the "Plastic Ono Band" and eventually changed the stock Epiphone tuning pegs to a set of gold Grover tuners. In the late 1970's, Lennon had planned to have his Casino changed back to its original sunburst finish. However, the re-finishing never took place. The guitar, still in its natural wood finish, is currently owned by Yoko Ono Lennon and is part of the Lennon Estate. It is registered in inventory as "The Revolution Guitar".

THE LIMITED EDITION, USA COLLECTION JOHN LENNON CASINOS

In November 1997, a team of engineers from Epiphone and Gibson visited "The Dakota" in Manhattan to examine John's Epiphone Casino. During the examination, measurements were carefully performed, body tracings were done, drawings were created, and photographs were taken. As a result of these efforts and in cooperation with Yoko Ono, Epiphone proudly reissues two Limited Edition John Lennon Casinos.

The "John Lennon 1965 Casino" is a reproduction of the guitar as John originally purchased it with the vintage sunburst finish and stock hardware. The "John Lennon Revolution Casino is a reproduction of the "stripped" Casino featuring one dull coat of lacquer, Gold Grover tuning pegs and with the pickguard removed.

Each guitar is hand-numbered and a combined total of only 1,965 John Lennon Epiphone Casino's will be produced. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each instrument will be donated to "The BMI Foundation, Inc. for the John Lennon Scholarship Fund" which supports music education.

The John Lennon Signature "1965" Casino Features...

* Vintage Sunburst Color with nitro-cellulose lacquer finish over white body binding - hand buffed
* Original Body Shape - Based upon Mid - '60's Kalamazoo, Michigan tooling specs
* Body Materials - 5-layer (Maple/Birch/Maple/Birch/Maple)
* Top Contour Bracing - Spruce with original relief-cut spacing and depth
* One-Neck Mahogany Neck with 14 degree neck grain orientation
* Rosewood Fingerboard with original 0.062" thick pearloid parallelogram fret markers
* Stamped with John's original serial number on the back of the headstock (#328393)
* Original Elliptical Neck Shape
* Neck Binding over fret ends
* 3-ply (W/B/W) pickguard with original shape and foil "E" mark
* Scale Length - 24.75"
* Original "Corian" nut material
* Headstock Angle - 17 degrees
* Nickel-plated, Dog-Earred P-90 Pickup Cover with Original String Spacing
* Nickel plated "Gibson-Factory" Hardware
* Nickel plated Gotoh "Kluson-style" machine heads
* "Gibson-Factory" Electronics
* Dove-Tail Neck-Joint at the 16th fret
* Switchcraft toggle switch with original toggle switch washer
* Original style "Push-in" machine head bushings
* ABR Bridge with nylon saddles
* Vintage style case with shroud

The John Lennon Signature "Revolution" Casino Features...

* Stripped "Vintage Natural" with one coat of nitro-cellulose lacquer sealer over white body binding
* Original Body Shape - Based upon Mid - '60's Kalamazoo, Michigan tooling specs
* Body Materials - 5-layer (Maple/Birch/Maple/Birch/Maple)
* Top Contour Bracing - Spruce with original relief-cut spacing and depth
* One-Neck Mahogany Neck with 14 degree neck grain orientation
* Rosewood Fingerboard with original 0.062" thick pearloid parallelogram fret markers
* Stamped with John's original serial number on the back of the headstock (#328393)
* Original Elliptical Neck Shape
* Neck Binding over fret ends
* 3-ply (W/B/W) pickguard with original shape and foil "E" mark (removed)
* Scale Length - 24.75"
* Original "Corian" nut material
* Headstock Angle - 17 degrees
* Nickel-plated, Dog-Earred P-90 Pickup Cover with Original String Spacing
* Nickel plated "Gibson-Factory" Hardware
* Gold Grover Machine Heads
* "Gibson-Factory" Electronics
* Dove-Tail Neck-Joint at the 16th fret
* Switchcraft toggle switch with original toggle switch washer
* ABR Bridge with nylon saddles
* Vintage style case with shroud