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1981 Epiphone Casino Vintage Electric Guitar Walnut w/ Case, Japan Matsumoku Pre-Elitist


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Up for sale, a 1981 Epiphone Casino in 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with a hardshell case. Produced in Japan at the Matsumoku factory, this Casino features an extremely rare Walnut gloss finish that highlights light figuring in the maple that extends across the top. An uncommon and early Epiphone reissue produced decades before the "Elitist" line was introduced, this Casino has a smooth and lively acoustic tone. Translating well through the original pair of Maxon-made P-90 pickups, the guitar delivers the rich midrange bark and percussive cut associated with a P-90, with a dynamic, glassy snap in the top end and a broad bass register growl when overdriven. Offering a refinement far beyond most modern Casino reissues, this vintage Japanese iteration is simply a compelling, easy-playing guitar, weighing 6lbs 11oz and balancing well on a strap. We've had this Casino professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, dialed in for optimal action and intonation with fresh 10-46 roundwound strings.

The three-piece maple neck has a very slender, fast-feeling C-shaped profile carve at the nut, growing appreciably rounder and fuller in the higher registers of the fretboard, measuring .770" deep at the 1st fret and .965" at the 12th. The bound rosewood fretboard is a dark, tight-grained cut which features pearloid trapezoid inlay and original medium jumbo frets that have their full factory height and plenty of meat. The frets play cleanly in every register, exhibiting moderate wear only beneath the B and High E strings on frets 5-9. The neck is straight, and the truss rod is responsive and ideally adjusted, with low action all the way to the last fret. The hand-carved bone nut measures 1 9/16" in width. The headstock retains the Epiphone-branded Grover-style tuners which turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should.

The electronics are untouched, with nickel pickup covers on the P-90s and a hardware complement rounded out by a Nashville-style bridge and trapeze tailpiece. Plastic parts include a quartet of original gold reflector cap knobs, cream switch tip, and parchment multi-ply pickguard complete with raised "E" epsilon, and the original rectangular blue label is visible through the F hole. The transparent dark Walnut gloss finish is well-kept with minimal cosmetic wear, framed by deeply ambered body binding. The binding does show the splitting and off-gassing that sometimes occurs, and there are a few spots of chipping through the clear coat on the binding as well. Any chips have been filled, and the binding generally stabilized to minimize any future deterioration. The gloss finish on the neck profile is flawless, with no wear on the neck binding.

A vintage Japanese black tolex hardshell case with aluminum trim and a few vintage stickers on the lid is included.