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I'm thinking of treating my self and buying an epiphone casino next year but I like to hear other people's opinions on guitars so I do appreciate any reviews on people who have a epiphone casino. Thanks
Also look at the Peerless Songbirds, they are a bit neater than the Chinese Casino's, but the pickups will be the same. However, Peerless prices have gone up significantly so it may be worth looking 2nd hand. I had one for about 4 years, it was really nice, neck is not too thin and the finish flawless. I had the pickups rewound, I would put that into your budget unless you like higher output - both the standard Epiphone's and Peerless have the same P90's, they are okay but a bit too high output, they can be a bit muddy and dark.
I had mine rewound by the Creamery, they went from about 12k to 8k which made them a lot clearer and like a good Casino should sound. The good thing about a rewind was that you know they fit (not all dogear cases are the same) and also I got the plug ends re soldered on to the pickups. This meant I was able to take them off and re install them by just loosening the strings and pulling them out, then a 10 minute job to put them back in.