Peerless-built Epi Casino. Experiences? Opinions?

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Tomorrow I'm off to try out a 2004 Peerless-built Epiphone Casino with a view to buying. From the pics I've seen it looks in very good nick and seems a decent price from what I can tell. Anyone got one or had one? Is there anything in particular QC-wise I should be looking out for? Any potential pitfalls to be aware of?

My biggest reservation is over the stock Epi pickups, but I don't really know what they were like back in 2004. I've heard reports that the P90s in the recent Chinese models are seriously overwound and hot. Some people on t'internet have apparently tested their output and the bridge can read as much as 16k! That seems crazy high for a single coil. However, I don't know how different the older ones are from the current. 
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  • SteveRobinsonSteveRobinson Frets: 3611
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    I had one that I really liked. I did change everything except the wood though :) 

    The pickups were okay but uninspiring but I found some Gibson P-90s on eBay that were much nicer.

    The Casino had a very solid feel to it and was tighter sounding and less prone to feedback than the ES-330 I replaced it with.
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  • I had one that I really liked. I did change everything except the wood though :) 

    The pickups were okay but uninspiring but I found some Gibson P-90s on eBay that were much nicer.

    The Casino had a very solid feel to it and was tighter sounding and less prone to feedback than the ES-330 I replaced it with.
    Yeah it seems like pickup swaps are the most common mods. What else did you change then (aside from the wood!), and did it make a big difference over the stock hardware? 
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  • I know a lot of people change out the pickup covers on casinos to plastic because the chromes are known to rattle from time to time.

    I can't comment on the peerless ones but the new Chinese ones I like. If the old ones are allegedly "better" then they must be really good instruments.
    12:25, 16/01/2019 - Just so people are aware. I have no idea what any of these words mean.
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  • SteveRobinsonSteveRobinson Frets: 3611
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    I had one that I really liked. I did change everything except the wood though :) 

    The pickups were okay but uninspiring but I found some Gibson P-90s on eBay that were much nicer.

    The Casino had a very solid feel to it and was tighter sounding and less prone to feedback than the ES-330 I replaced it with.
    Yeah it seems like pickup swaps are the most common mods. What else did you change then (aside from the wood!), and did it make a big difference over the stock hardware? 
    From the top:
    • Schaller tuners 
    • Tusq nut 
    • Aluminium strap buttons 
    • Full refret 6105 size
    • Gibson pickups 
    • CTS pots 
    • Switchcraft switch and jack 
    • Tonepros ABR-1 Bridge 
    • Bigsby B7 

    I think that's it.

    The biggest difference playability-wise was the refret, I'm not fond of the wide low frets they have.

    The Tonepros bridge felt more solid than the stock one.
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  • lovestrat74lovestrat74 Frets: 1038

      From the top:
    • Schaller tuners 
    • Tusq nut 
    • Aluminium strap buttons 
    • Full refret 6105 size
    • Gibson pickups 
    • CTS pots 
    • Switchcraft switch and jack 
    • Tonepros ABR-1 Bridge 
    • Bigsby B7 

    I think that's it.

    The biggest difference playability-wise was the refret, I'm not fond of the wide low frets they have.

    The Tonepros bridge felt more solid than the stock one.
    Wow!! Someone got the real deal when you sold that  :o
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  • SteveRobinsonSteveRobinson Frets: 3611
    tFB Trader

      From the top:
    • Schaller tuners 
    • Tusq nut 
    • Aluminium strap buttons 
    • Full refret 6105 size
    • Gibson pickups 
    • CTS pots 
    • Switchcraft switch and jack 
    • Tonepros ABR-1 Bridge 
    • Bigsby B7 

    I think that's it.

    The biggest difference playability-wise was the refret, I'm not fond of the wide low frets they have.

    The Tonepros bridge felt more solid than the stock one.
    Wow!! Someone got the real deal when you sold that  :o
    I did get £650 for it IIRC :)
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  • mark123mark123 Frets: 543
    I've had  korean / chinese 
    both looked great /cool
    I found that the fretboard / string spacing was narrow near the nut end .
    Also the low wide frets as mentioned and sound of the p90s put me off .
    Plugged in at volume with a bit gain ended up with howling not nice feedback ,ok on a big stage with space where you can find a sweet spot to stand .

    I was gutted as i really wanted one for ages  ,should have tried a pick up swap in hindsight.

    Don't let me put you off it may work for you ,i can't get on  with baja teles either ,tried twice ,sold both, but everyone else loves them ! 

    must be me ! =)
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  • I had one that I really liked. I did change everything except the wood though :) 

    The pickups were okay but uninspiring but I found some Gibson P-90s on eBay that were much nicer.

    The Casino had a very solid feel to it and was tighter sounding and less prone to feedback than the ES-330 I replaced it with.
    Yeah it seems like pickup swaps are the most common mods. What else did you change then (aside from the wood!), and did it make a big difference over the stock hardware? 
    From the top:
    • Schaller tuners 
    • Tusq nut 
    • Aluminium strap buttons 
    • Full refret 6105 size
    • Gibson pickups 
    • CTS pots 
    • Switchcraft switch and jack 
    • Tonepros ABR-1 Bridge 
    • Bigsby B7 

    I think that's it.

    The biggest difference playability-wise was the refret, I'm not fond of the wide low frets they have.

    The Tonepros bridge felt more solid than the stock one.
    Wow, that's quite the project! I think that once I'd bought the basic guitar and then add in the price of all those mods and the labour to do it, I could probably just have bought a used 330 and saved myself the hassle! 
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  • menamestommenamestom Frets: 3309

    I had a later Peerless branded one.  It was a very nice guitar.  I had the Creamery re wind the original pickups.  The pickups had plugs on and they were retained so swapping them was really easy.
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  • rze99rze99 Frets: 592

    I  have a 2005 Casino (Korea, Peerless factory) Got it used for £320 about 3 years ago. Brilliant value I think. Well made.
    The stock pickups were a bit meaty, middy and dull. I got them replaced with regular Gibson P90s and had a treble bleed wiring done. Difference was well worth it! 

    The tuners feel cheap but they work and it stays in tune well so who cares? Plays so easily. It's pretty loud acoustically. it is light but balances. Makes a great sofa guitar. It is very pretty aesthetically so mine stays in the living room in case I want to noodle during the dull moments of sports telly.   

    IMG_3505JPG
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  • rze99rze99 Frets: 592
    I loved the grain of the natural. Really nice. 
    IMG_3517JPG
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  • rze99 said:
    I loved the grain of the natural. Really nice. 
    IMG_3517JPG
    Looks pretty similar to the one I'm considering, they are good looking things! Question is - pick guard on or pick guard off? Can't decide which looks better!  :/
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  • SteveRobinsonSteveRobinson Frets: 3611
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    mark123 said:

    I found that the fretboard / string spacing was narrow near the nut end .

    They did different nut widths. Mine was a 2004 and had a regular 42mm nut but I know @Basher has/had one with a narrow nut.

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  • rze99rze99 Frets: 592
    rze99 said:
    I loved the grain of the natural. Really nice. 
    IMG_3517JPG
    Looks pretty similar to the one I'm considering, they are good looking things! Question is - pick guard on or pick guard off? Can't decide which looks better!  :/

    Yeah they look good both ways. Mine came off and lost so the decision was taken for me plus I liked it was a bit like Lennon's with it off so have never wanted it on.  I think in bold block colours like red and black, the guard on  look is sharper.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 4956
    Epi 335 guitars used to have an uber-thick poly finish which was quite sticky, nothing a bit of wire wool to the neck wouldn't sort out. Don't know if this applies to Casinos.
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • NiteflyNitefly Frets: 3223
    I had a 2002 one in red, it was very nice and had exactly the sound I was after at the time (early-to-middle-period Beatles).

    I liked the low frets (not keen on jumbos).  The pick-guard was the only thing I wasn't keen on - it was white, and I would have preferred black.

    I sold it on here when I got my 330.

    It's a lovely colour when it's just been washed.
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  • BasherBasher Frets: 763
    mark123 said:

    I found that the fretboard / string spacing was narrow near the nut end .

    They did different nut widths. Mine was a 2004 and had a regular 42mm nut but I know @Basher has/had one with a narrow nut.

    I still have it. Mine is a 1997 and has a 40.6mm nut, which is rather narrow. 

    The stock pickups were absolutely awful - really dark and overpowered with no "air" or sparkle to them. I had them rewound to something lower but they were still a bit dull. Swapped the magnets out (can't remember what from/to) and this seemed to make things a tiny bit better but still not good. One day I tried it without the metal covers and there was a discernible improvement so it seems that whatever the metal covers were made of, they were killing the top end. I bodged some plastic P90 covers to fit and it sounds better now. I think I found the bridge polepieces fitted in a stock cover but I had to buy a blank cover for the neck and drill it for the narrow polepiece spacing (I'm no tech, hence the crude bodge with a handheld drill!).

    In truth, I wish I hadn't bothered. I bought it sight unseen and it's been a bit of a turkey. Poor @SteveRobinson worked wonders to  make it playable, including a refret, rewire and replacing the bridge and tuners but it never really felt or sounded right to me.

    Beware that Casino pickups are an whole world of pain in themselves. There's the above mentioned narrow spacing and the neck has to be lower height than a standard dogear set. Very few people make replacements and the ones out there were at the more expensive end of things (Lollar did a set IIRC). 

    I've played Steve's ES-330 (pre-Bigsby) and it's a stunner - everything you'd want a slim hollowbody to be - a real GAS killer. His peerless Casino was also great.

    I've also tried some Chinese Casinos with USA pickups that sounded much nicer than mine, including an "IBJL" model and a superb 50th Anniversary '61 Reissue. I think either of these would have scratched my Grant Green itch but I procrastinated and both models are long since discontinued. The only subsequent model with USA P90s has been the Gary Clarke Jr signature and even if they sounded as good as Steve's 330 (though the online demos I heard sounded terrible to me) I couldn't live with a blue sunburst without vomiting every time I saw it.

    I've even read that even the "vanilla" Chinese Casinos have much nicer pickups these days so wouldn't discount these. 

    I'm absolutely no expert and there are many people out there who claim the Peerless Casinos are better than the Chinese ones. Certainly Steve's was a nice guitar so there are definitely good ones out there. Sorry for the long post and make your own mind up!
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  • Fifty9Fifty9 Frets: 346
    Fan of peerless guitars. Had a peerless epi dot, songbird and hardtail. Great value in my experience 
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