New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
Post Reply
User avatar
BoringPostcards
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 5709
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:50 am
Location: Newfoundland

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by BoringPostcards » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:25 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:14 pm
BoringPostcards wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:55 pm


I am totally cool with paying US costs for a Casino, if they're honestly using the better laminates.
Ah, maybe it's just because I get much more excited about Gibson guitars than I do Fenders, but I find it easy to keep track of Gibson. Fender loses me. I have no idea what they are doing and usually I can't figure out why.

I'll say this about Gibson, people really ragged on them during the Henry J years for throwing shit at the wall and seeing what stuck, but I loved that. And then they went into the debt restructuring and brought in some guy from Levi's jeans who said that they were going to homogenize the whole lineup and I thought that sucked. Like, no one wanted the Dusk Tiger, and the Zoot Suit SG was lame, but it was still fun seeing them having fun with the stuff. They probably only made a couple dozen of the things so who cares?

But I am happy to see that their new austerity really isn't lasting, and they continue to throw stuff out there. I hope that continues.
I am also a big fan of all the wacky stuff Gibson did under Henry. I also love Norlin era stuff.
I specifically get confused by model numbers, especially vintage ES xxxTDC, etc, and how they didn't just give each guitar a proper name.
The differences from year to year is tricky too. Especially with LP and SG standards and specials.

I find Fenders easy to navigate. Sure, there a dozen Jazzmaster types, but I can rely on the lines being the same for their entire run, rather than having a new model each year, like a car company.

All that being said, I never cared about Gibson really, until I owned one. Now I love them and wish them the best.
I started with a Fender as a child, so I learned their methods young.
Det er mig der holder træerne sammen.
Every aspect of life is a two-sided coin. No matter how you flip it.

User avatar
sookwinder
Mods
Mods
Posts: 10861
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:47 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by sookwinder » Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:47 am

Gibson thinlines are actually not hard to understand from a naming perspective.
Let's just think 60s onwards.

ES 125 / ES 125T / ES 125TD / (ES = Electric Spanish)
Translated :
ES 125 is the full bodied version and had one P90 PUP
ES 125 T is a thinline version of the full bodied model
Image

ES 125TD is a 2 P90 PUP version of the thinline model
Image

ES 125TC is a cutaway version of the single PUP thinline model
Image

ES 125TCD is the cutaway model with 2 P90 PUPs
Image


Now the 335/345/355 naming convention is even simpler given there are no single pick up or non-thinline versions of these guitars.
ES 335TD just a thinline 2 PUP version
Image

ES 345TD is exactly the same as the ES 335TD except it has stereo (sometime mono) pickup output with a varitone, more bling (like gold parts) and fancy fret board markers
Image

The 355TD is an even fancier (more bling, ebony board maybe) version of the ES345TD
Image

You'll hear additional descriptors like "dot" or "stop tail" and just like when fender added / removed features they didn't include them in the name of the instrument, neither did Gibson. So "dot" is just model when the position markers were dots.
relaxing alternative to doing actual work ...

User avatar
MrFingers
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:50 am
Location: Heverlee Hills - Belgium

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by MrFingers » Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:31 am

To add to that: degrees of customisation were possible. There are ES-345's and ES-355's that came from factory as mono and/or without the Varitone. And the Varitone was an option on guitars that didn't have them stock, like this Epiphone Casino.

As for the naming conventions like TDC and the likes, the C can stand both for Cutaway as well as Cherry. For example, the ES-345TDW is a thinline, dual-pickup ES-345, in the Walnut colour, TDS was Sunburst, TDN was Natural. There was also a V-designation for guitars that were equipped with the Varitone circuitry when there was also an option without, idem with an S-designation for Stereo.


As for pricing, in 1962 (the year the Epiphone E360TD, better known as Riviera) was introduced, these were the prices for some guitars:

- Gibson ES-355 TD (Cherry, mono, Bigsby): 610$
- Gibson ES-355 TD-SV (Cherry, stereo, Bigsby, Varitone): 660$

- Gibson ES-345 TD (Sunburst, Stereo, Varitone): 410$
- Gibson ES-345 TDC (Cherry, Stereo, Varitone): 425$

- Gibson ES-335 TD (Sunburst): 312.50$
- Gibson ES-335 TDC (Cherry): 327.5$

- Gibson ES-330 TD (sunburst, 2 pickups): 285$
- Gibson ES-330 TDC (cherry, 2 pickups): 300$
- Gibson ES-330 T (sunburst, 1 pickup): 240$
- Gibson ES-330 TC (cherry, 1 pickup): 255$
(all this excluding a case. Two cases were available for 27.5$ or a more plush one for 52$)

- Epiphone Sheraton E-212 TN (natural, 2 pickups): 525$
- Epiphone Sheraton E-212 TC (burst or cherry, 2 pickups): 515$
- Epiphone Sheraton E-212 TNV (natural, 2 pickups, Tremotone vibrato unit): 580$
- Epiphone Sheraton E-212 TCV (burst or cherry, 2 pickups, Tremotone vibrato unit): 565$

- Epiphone Riviera E-360 TD (burst, 2 pickups, frequensator tailpiece): 325$

- Epiphone Casino E-230 TDV (burst or tan, 2 pickups, Tremotone vibrato unit): 314.5$
- Epiphone Casino E-230 TD: (burst or tan, 2 pickups) 272$
- Epiphone Casino E-230 TV: (burst or tan, 1 pickup, Tremotone vibrato unit): 269.5$
- Epiphone Casino E-230 T: (burst or tan, 1 pickup): 230$
(all this excluding a case: Two cases were available for 25$ or a more plush one for 50$)


So Epiphone was somewhat cheaper than the equivalent Gibsons, but not by much. By 1966 the price has increased substantially, with the Sheraton now listed for between 625$ & 695$, the Riviera for 395$-425$ and the Casino for 285$-390$. Gibsons also became more expensive by then, but not by very much: ES-355 for 680$-725$, ES-345 for 450$-465$, ES-335 for 340$-355$ and the ES-330 for 310$-325$ (these now were only available as a 2-pickup guitar).

User avatar
BoringPostcards
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 5709
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:50 am
Location: Newfoundland

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by BoringPostcards » Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:43 am

Wow, thanks for that, guys. It all makes sense now.
I have bad GAS for a Riviera and a Crestwood Custom now. I am still holding out for a Ric330, so I must resist.
Det er mig der holder træerne sammen.
Every aspect of life is a two-sided coin. No matter how you flip it.

User avatar
seenoevil II
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 523
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:59 pm

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by seenoevil II » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:34 am

The whole 3 ply v 5 ply thing cracks me up. Only gibson could make ply would seem premium. When they start hogging them out of solid wood, I'll pay attention. Which, come to think of it, there's obviously been some investment in these overseas factories if China is churning out all solid acoustics and the old Korean factories are making 3 ply guilds. Why wouldn't epiphone just go to 3 ply? Anyway.

As for the presses, gibson likely has a few at this point. They may still use the og (for CS for instance), but the top and back, and profile have changed a few times over the years.

User avatar
BoringPostcards
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 5709
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:50 am
Location: Newfoundland

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by BoringPostcards » Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:07 am

seenoevil II wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:34 am
The whole 3 ply v 5 ply thing cracks me up. Only gibson could make ply would seem premium. When they start hogging them out of solid wood, I'll pay attention. Which, come to think of it, there's obviously been some investment in these overseas factories if China is churning out all solid acoustics and the old Korean factories are making 3 ply guilds. Why wouldn't epiphone just go to 3 ply? Anyway.

As for the presses, gibson likely has a few at this point. They may still use the og (for CS for instance), but the top and back, and profile have changed a few times over the years.
Since the discussion is around models, which have never been solid wood, the plywood quality is a factor.
Are we pretending there is only one grade of plywood? And that there is no difference to be heard or felt with a lesser grade?
If we were talking about L5s and Super 400s, then maybe plywood would be something to crack up over.
Det er mig der holder træerne sammen.
Every aspect of life is a two-sided coin. No matter how you flip it.

User avatar
seenoevil II
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 523
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:59 pm

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by seenoevil II » Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:27 am

BoringPostcards wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:07 am
seenoevil II wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:34 am
The whole 3 ply v 5 ply thing cracks me up. Only gibson could make ply would seem premium. When they start hogging them out of solid wood, I'll pay attention. Which, come to think of it, there's obviously been some investment in these overseas factories if China is churning out all solid acoustics and the old Korean factories are making 3 ply guilds. Why wouldn't epiphone just go to 3 ply? Anyway.

As for the presses, gibson likely has a few at this point. They may still use the og (for CS for instance), but the top and back, and profile have changed a few times over the years.
Since the discussion is around models, which have never been solid wood, the plywood quality is a factor.
Are we pretending there is only one grade of plywood? And that there is no difference to be heard or felt with a lesser grade?
If we were talking about L5s and Super 400s, then maybe plywood would be something to crack up over.
Image

Total tangent, but has anyone made a all solid, spruce top 330 or 335? Like the quintessential most perfect iteration?

Edit: if anyone here had any sort of thorough knowledge of wood lamination I might buy in. How do any of us know 3 is better than 5? 3 is the oldest, the original version of plywood, and we know gibson are dogmatic towards their own history. But none of us are plywood experts and anything we'd claim would be pure conjecture. What I do know is that laminate on a hollow body is way cheaper and way worse than carved or pressed solid wood. So much so that speculatively splitting hairs about the manner in which the wood has processed into a lifeless composite building material seems just a bit ridiculous. Especially as these are electric guitars.

User avatar
MrFingers
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:50 am
Location: Heverlee Hills - Belgium

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by MrFingers » Sat Nov 28, 2020 7:50 am

Not a laminate expert, but I did have material-sciences as a course during my education.

Laminating allow you to cross grain patterns in order to create incredible stiff shapes in complex forms without too much internal stress (like heat-forming a solid top would, and to a lesser degree carving an arched soundboard out of a solid piece of wood) by a smart & careful choice of wood types, thicknesses & orientations. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that your top is rather strong and consistent, cheap to make (little waste) and doesn't require a highly skilled craftsman. The downside is that it often can be so stiff it doesn't vibrate well and sounds lifeless. On a semi-hollow instrument that is less of an issue because the top is already dampened to near-dead by that massive centerblock. On a full-hollow instrument it becomes a different matter, especially if the top is not compromised by installing all kinds of gizmo's like pickups, electronics,... (like an archtop with a floating pickup).

The difference between 3-ply and 5-ply mainly sits in that a 3-ply top will be lighter (and thus more resonant), but for full-hollow instruments often requires a bracing like a trestle. A 5-ply top (which is thicker) will have enough stiffness of its own to be able to cope with the force of the strings without bracing. A 3-ply top will be less stiff and thus be more resontant than a 5-ply top, even with the bracing. That also means that a 3-ply top will be more prone to feedback though.

User avatar
Larry Mal
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 16022
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:25 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:05 am

Well, first of all, the plywood isn't an accident on the ES models, Gibson had been making solid bodied arch top guitars for some decades at this point and they knew that the instruments were very prone to feedback. The thinline body, the center block construction, and the plywood were all ways to make the guitar be an electric guitar and not an acoustic. The ES-335 is not an acoustic instrument. The ES-330 and Casino sort of are.

Also, all these methods of construction made them a lot cheaper to mass produce. When they came up with the ES-335, they still offered hand carved solid wood instruments and you can bet that those cost a lot more than the ES-335 did.

In the Gibson lineup of the time, the ES-335 and the Casino were pretty middle of the pack. The ES-175 became the ubiquitous jazz box, though, because once jazz guitarists moved more towards amplification that guitars laminate construction was found to work well apparently.

And as far as being a plywood expert, I'm not, I'm just a guy that owned a supposedly good Peerless made Casino and then bought an ES-330. Like I've mentioned before, the Casino didn't have much acoustic sound to it at all, and what there was sounded cheap and bad. The ES-330 has a pleasing, much louder, and nice acoustic sound. Does it matter? Well, you would never record the ES-330 as an acoustic guitar and my Casino was a fine sounding electric, so make of that what you will. However, the ES-330 is much more inspiring than the cheap Casino to hold and play, and I have never regretted the decision.

They make the Casino in Indonesia and ship it all the way to Guitar Center in the midwest and sell that to you for $450. The people in the Indonesian factory get paid, the Epiphone executives all get paid, the shippers get paid, import taxes get paid, the people are Guitar Center get paid at every level, and it is still profitable to sell that thing for $450?

It probably costs them like $100 to produce. It has to, for anyone to make money off it. So yeah, is the laminate they use cheaper to source? It would have to be, right? For them to make money off the thing every single bit of it has to be as cheaply made as it possibly can be.

But that's fine... these are electric guitars, and electric guitars can sound great no matter how they are made.
Last edited by Larry Mal on Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

User avatar
Larry Mal
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 16022
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:25 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:29 am

seenoevil II wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:27 am

Total tangent, but has anyone made a all solid, spruce top 330 or 335? Like the quintessential most perfect iteration?
To answer your question here, though, yes! Eastman has a line of ES guitars that have solid tops and solid back and sides:

https://www.eastmanguitars.com/electric_thinline

They seem to be asking about $2500 for the things. Probably very nice guitars. I am not entirely sure if there is the center block in there or not on those.

There is also a couple models they make that have a solid top, and have laminate back and sides:

https://www.eastmanguitars.com/electric_thinline

They also make some that have all laminate construction.

If you wanted to explore the concept further, the Gibson ES-175 is all laminate, but Heritage makes a similar guitar called the H575, and it is made from all solid woods. Now, the body shapes aren't the same, the Heritage is actually a little smaller, so it's not a completely equivalent guitar.

I have a friend that had one of those, and I should have bought it from him when he sold it. I haven't played any of these guitars and can't really comment on them.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

User avatar
seenoevil II
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 523
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:59 pm

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by seenoevil II » Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:52 am

I can't believe I'm falling down another rabbit hole.

So, some stuff I've dug up. The 1958 OG was 3 ply. Maple\poplar/maple with the poplar being about as thick as both, thinner maple plies and the center ply perpendicular. The total thickness being about .25"

A bit later they went to 4-ply with two thinner center plies, both 90 degrees to the outer maple. They were gluing them as they went into the press. In the 60s they tried gluing the plies first, then pressing the shapes, but this lead to delamination in some cases.

My Sheraton has a 5-ply maple/notmaple/maple/notmaple/maple with the maple plies being a little thicker than the other wood and the total thickness being .2", or .5cm ; thinner than the gibson. And I've seen reports where people checked their epiphones to find 3 ply set-ups identical to gibson. The urgent MICs are 3 ply with thicker maple and a very thin nonmaple between.

It is indeed a crapshoot. But the big takeaway for me is that the overall thickness was comparable and the end products seem very similar. I'm personally convinced at least that the specific approach to lamination isn't the key factor in any sonic difference. Gibson even admits that they are very strict about doing everything the way it was done in 58. So, epiphone's 4 or 5 ply (or 3 as some have found) might not be any worse. Might even be better, but it's just not the historically correct way.

Larry's point about over all cheapness of the lumber stock used is probably the bigger factor. The grain density, the amount of grain run out, the amount of time seasoning are all probably much better on the gibsons at least on the show side plies.

I'm optimistic that, with time to dry out and crystallize their sap, this greener, wetter wood can age into something nicer than it started as. There's a ceiling to this of course as the wood you started with is most important. Anecdotally, my Sheraton has gotten a shade or two darker, and a faint figuring has emerged in the maple as it's oxidized and been hit with 15+ years of sunlight.

As for the casino v 330 difference, the lumber gap factored I'm sure, but also the thick poly finish, and cumulative attention to detail. Also important is how the arch profile is more pronounced on most gibsons (not so much on norlin era models). I'll also remind you that the two guitars had different bridge positions and internal bracing, and don't forget it was a sample size of one.

Well, now I know all about ply wood in gibson style thinline archtops. Cool.

User avatar
Larry Mal
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 16022
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:25 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:25 am

seenoevil II wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:52 am


As for the casino v 330 difference, the lumber gap factored I'm sure, but also the thick poly finish, and cumulative attention to detail. Also important is how the arch profile is more pronounced on most gibsons (not so much on norlin era models). I'll also remind you that the two guitars had different bridge positions and internal bracing, and don't forget it was a sample size of one.
I'm not sure if we wouldn't expect the more typical ES-330 to have more acoustic nature than the one I have, though. The original 330 had a 16th fret join just like the Casinos have always had, later Gibson put the 330 neck in the same place as they did on the 335, at the 19th fret. Apparently this was a problem because they hadn't reinforced the neck and so the necks pulled up over time.

Part of the reason I didn't buy a vintage one, actually. Anyway my "L" model has a long tenon under there, so it won't do that, and what that looks like in practice is that the neck pickup sits in a carved block that connects to the top. This doesn't run the whole length of the body like it would on an ES-335, but it is connected to the top of the guitar and has to inhibit the top's vibration to some degree.

A more normal ES-330 with the 16th fret wouldn't have that and the top would probably ring out more. I don't know. I'm out of money to be able to tell you, sadly. Pass the hat- I'll get back to you all in great detail.

Regardless I have never made claims that this is at all important, I'm kind of weird in that the acoustic sound of my electrics is important to me but I don't pretend it makes it sound better through the pickups. These aren't violins we are discussing. It's an electric guitar.

My only point is that I found the Casino I had to feel very cheap and uninspiring. I gave it to my buddy Ray Ray and I guess he didn't find it inspiring either, he gave it to his nephew and my friend Anthony. Maybe Anthony still has it. Who knows. Probably any ply of wood could have sounded good but underneath a very thick coating of plastic it just didn't. Regardless, like I say, once I put in those Joe Barden pickups the thing chimed and sounded great, and I would have kept it, but I could not get on with the very thin neck of it, so I probably got drunk and became generous like I do when I'm drunk and gave it away.

To kind of get back to this discussion, those new satin finished Casinos probably will sound a lot better unplugged than that thing I had. Those look like they have barely any finish at all.

seenoevil II wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:52 am

Well, now I know all about ply wood in gibson style thinline archtops. Cool.
The more you know!
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

User avatar
mediocreplayer
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 985
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:59 am

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by mediocreplayer » Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:27 pm

I will quote myself from the first page of the thread
mediocreplayer wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:41 pm
The Casino is a mysterious guitar to me. I have always revered it, probably because of the Beatles connection, but did not really like how it sounds.
Yet, I just did this. Given my proclivity for satin finishes and for orange guitars, it was kind of impossible not to:

Image

Image

There is also a demo from CME:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVUKQAPcIjE

User avatar
Larry Mal
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 16022
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:25 pm
Location: Saint Louis, MO

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:52 pm

Looks sharp, you'll have to let us know how you get on.

Anyone buying one of these (hint) might like to know that I'm selling the original trapeze tailpiece from my ES-330.

I replaced it with one of those units from Duesenberg and when I pulled off the original unit I realized I probably hadn't upgraded anything in any way. It's heavy and solid feeling, probably an upgrade from whatever they are using on the Casinos.

I'd sell it for $35 plus shipping to anyone here.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

User avatar
MatthewK
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 2148
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:51 pm
Location: Hobart, Australia

Re: New Epiphone semi-hollow guitars for 2020 (Riviera, Worn Casino, ES-335, )

Post by MatthewK » Sun Nov 29, 2020 1:43 am

I just bought a 1990 Korean Casino in natural - when it arrived it was lousy, rattling and buzzing and the strings were a mile off the fretboard. Brought the bridge down and they buzzed against the bridge pickup cover. Anyway. after disassembling it, swapping in some single line Klusons, loctiting the bridge posts and saddles, flipping the bridge around, tightening the tailpiece nuts, soldering the bridge pickup back to the cover, turning the bridge pickup the right way round, and stringing with 11s, it's now amazing and I love it.

Post Reply