2007 Epiphone Casino VS Hollowbody Electric Guitar

Mr. Anders, who has a new album out (by the way), owns this well-played recent Chinese-import Casino in "vintage sunburst." Recently, he swapped the wiring harness out for something nicer than the stock one and, as can happen, something went wrong. I once worked on an old Kay that had a tiny entry-hole for its electronics and I spent three hours cramming the electronics into it until I got them in place without breaking a connection somewhere -- so I'm familiar with his dilemma. Anyhow, he sent it my way after that and also sent a nice, fresh set of Guitar Fetish dogear P90 pickups to install in place of the originals. 

Once I got the wiring harness out, I recognized a few easy problems -- bare lead wires that were probably snagging on bare ground wires and also a tone capacitor that'd broken right at the "barrel," which meant it was fairly impossible to re-solder and connect it again. After replacing both new tone caps with some old, '50s, lower-value caps and some flexible wire to hook them up (so they wouldn't break again!), and some sleeves around exposed wiring, the harness was good to go. Yip!

The hard part, actually, was replacing the pickups. This should be easy. I mean it -- it should be easy. Unfortunately, Epi chose to install their original P90s with the "wings" for mounting them soldered to the chromed-metal covers. One has to re-use these covers because otherwise you'd need an abnormally-low neck pickup cover and an abnormally-high bridge pickup cover (or, at least, a bridge cover spacer). It'd also look a bit odd for a Casino to be sporting black or cream covers.

They had gobs of solder on them, too, which meant removal eventually required cutting their baseplate "wings" off. Fortunately, they can be reused in a "soapbar" mount, though cutting the wings meant I had to then grind-off the remaining solder and material for the new pickups to fit right.

After soldering the new pickup leads to the harness and getting the harness back in place (after much cursing and frustration), I found that the neck pickup was simply inoperable. Sigh! Most new GFS pickups use a system called "Kwikplug" which uses a mini-jack adaptor to allow you to swap pickups in and out of your guitars easily. It's one of the reasons I sort-of stopped buying GFS pickups once they introduced it (even though I like their products). I knew that complicating things would lead to problems and I suspected that the plug was the problem -- and, after disassembling the pickup and wiring the leads from the coil directly to the leads running into the harness (and removing the Kwikplug jack), I found out that (of course) it was the problem.

My final act of frustration was to then fix an out-of-phase problem between the neck and bridge and -- hey presto! -- the guitar was ready for a setup. It's now a lot warmer and ballsier than it was with its original pickups and now -- you know -- it plays right, too.

These Casinos are called hollowbodies but they react more like semihollow guitars because they're made with a big, glued-in centerblock under the bridge that connects the top and the back. The originals lacked this (as far as I know), though I have to admit that it's better to have for cutting-down on feedback and boosting sustain and tuning stability (it has a Bigsby, folks).

Vintage-looking Kluson-style tuners maintain an older vibe. This has a pretty modern neck, too, with a slim, C-shaped neck profile and 1 11/16" nut width.

The TOM bridge rocks just enough on its posts to keep the Bigsby whammy running smoothly.

The new harness has all new CTS pots, a Switchcraft jack, and heavy-duty 3-way switch.