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The Epiphone Elitist line of guitars are the cream of Epiphone’s crop.
While many Elitist models were discontinued in 2008, the name lives on through popular, currently available models like the Elitist Casino.
If you understand much about Epiphone’s relationship with its parent company Gibson, the Elitist line may not make sense to you.
Epiphone makes lower priced, budget-minded alternatives to full-priced Gibson and other brand models, so how does the Elitist line fit in?
Made in Japan with some components from the United States and Germany, Epiphone's Elitist line competes directly with full-price models.
Featuring parts like American-made toggle switches and Grover tuners, these instruments are made to higher specifications than other Epiphones.
In 2008, most Elitist models were shuttered, but the models that live on are works of art.
Take, for example, Epiphone's Elitist Casino.
This hollow-body electric guitar features Grover tuners and a rosewood fingerboard on a one-piece mahogany neck with 22 frets. The joint is at the 19th fret.
It features a three-way selector switch and nickel-finished hardware.
The top is made of five-ply maple, and so are the sides.
Body finishes available are vintage sunburst and a stunningly beautiful natural.
Designed with a professional musician in mind, the price is around $1,800 from online dealers, a significant discount over retail.
And this is no low-end copy like some Epiphone models are.
Epiphone's Elitist models are made from special woods that are hand selected and slowly dried in kilns until they get to the proper moisture content.
Necks are cut at a 14-degree grain orientation from a single piece of wood, and the body pieces are selected for weight and tone, then cut to exact specifications.
American-made tuners are also featured.
You see, Epiphone's Elitist models shouldn’t really be considered the top of the low-end range at all.
While Epiphone makes Gibson’s cheaper line of acoustic and electric guitars, the Epiphone Elitist series is something complete different -- completely separate.
The company would like you to think of Elitist models as being descendants of Epiphone’s “century and a quarter” history of fine craftsmanship, not fancied up versions of its affordable, budget-priced line.
Reviewers indicate these models look and perform as advertised.
Elitist models -- like the Elitist Casino that you can buy today -- stand beside other fine guitars because of the careful design process and the amount of hand work that goes into them.
Priced to compete very nicely with other Gibson products, currently available Elitist models really are as elite as their name suggests.
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