The Beatles and their Casino

When people think of what made The Beatles so great, they often cite Beatlemania or Sgt. Pepper’s, but where would the fabulous foursome have been without their instruments?

Back in 1965, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were enjoying the height of their musical contribution to the zeitgeist. Meanwhile, Epiphone was ready to show off its newest creation to the market: the Epiphone Casino, the newest hollow body guitar that was ideal for both the stage and studio. Part of the American company’s merger with Gibson in 1957, the Casino has become synonymous with The Beatles, particularly John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Quite what inspired the name ‘Casino’ remains an untold story to this day, despite the world of gambling making its mark on merchandise throughout history, from the musical instruments of yore to the online sites such as the Gaming Club online casino of today. One thing is for certain, however – the Beatles would not have been able to make such an iconic sound without the aid of this vintage instrument.

From Help to Abbey Road

After Paul McCartney chose the Epiphone Casino as his first American guitar, John Lennon and George Harrison were soon jumping on the bandwagon. Before long, the guitar would be appearing on every Beatles album from Help to Abbey Road, as well as the iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The guitar had the look of an ES-335, but had a clear, ringing tone which could be pushed into overdrive and could also feed back.

The Lennon effect

Image: http://www.popthomology.com/2012/09/i-won-cool-epiphone-casino-guitar.html

Being the creative type, of course, Lennon had his own ideas when it came to his Casino. During the making of the White Album, Lennon removed the pick guard from his guitar and had it professionally sanded, then lacquered with nitro-cellulose. Later, the guitar’s tuners were replaced with a set of gold machine heads. His guitar can be seen in the Let It Be film and was used with the Plastic Ono Band, while Harrison later followed suit by fitting his with Bigsby trem, removing the pick guard and sanding it down.

Today, Lennon’s alterations continue to inspire, and Epiphone have now introduced the ‘Inspired by John Lennon’ design, with proceeds from the sale of every instrument going towards the John Lennon Scholarship Fund, which supports musical education.

So while it’s clear that lyrics, haircuts and album covers were indeed some of the most stand out features of the Beatles’ musical career, it was truly their musical tools which will go on to have a lasting legacy.