Semi-acoustic guitars are quite popular because they produce more volume and great tone than solid-body guitars, even when unplugged. Among the widely compared are the semi-acoustics from Epiphone, particularly, Epiphone Casino vs Dot vs Sheraton.
You can always read a comparison between any two of these three popular Epiphone semi-acoustics. So, now, we purposefully made this article to clear your minds from any confusion when choosing one of these three great guitars.
Let’s introduce these semi-acoustics chronologically. This means we will start with the Epiphone Sheraton (1959), Casino (1961), and the Epiphone Dot (1997).
Epiphone Sheraton and Sheraton II Pro
The oldest, yet the most beautiful-looking semi-acoustic guitar from the trio, is the Epiphone Sheraton. It was originally released in 1959. However, eleven years later, Sheraton was discontinued. In 1986, Epiphone decided to release the second iteration of this guitar line, the Epiphone Sheraton II.
As a semi-hollow body guitar, you can find a solid centre block between its acoustic ‘wings’. This is to ensure warm and smooth tone while minimizing feedback. It’s also the most expensive among the three, given its ‘luxurious’ aesthetics, like good hardware, abalone, and mother-of-pearl inlays, etc.
Although today’s version of the Sheraton isn’t as great as its first release, some great players are still enjoying them. Among the famous artists who played Sheraton are The Edge and Noel Gallagher, among others. And for this comparison, we will be looking into the Sheraton II Pro.
The Epiphone Casino seems to be the most popular of the three. It’s actually a fully hollow body guitar without a centre block, just like the Gibson ES-330. Hence, it’s lightweight, which doesn’t give you too much stress when you perform on-stage.
It comes with the vintage P-90 pickups, which gives more brightness, clarity, and that biting single-coil treble. The Epiphone Casino is among the longest-running guitar models that have existed and are still very popular even today. Some great artists who love playing Casino are The Beatles, Paul Weller, and The Beach Boys, to name a few.
Epiphone Dot is Epiphone’s version of Gibson ES-335 and is the cheapest among the three. It’s referred to as such solely because of the dot position markers it has on its fretboard. The youngest among the three, this was developed in order to offer a cheaper alternative to the Gibson ES-335.
Even though it’s associated with Epiphone, from aesthetics to performance and sound, it really resembles the premium ES-335. Initially, Dot guitars were manufactured in Korea, but in 2002 its production was moved to China. It’s very famous for jazz, blues, and rock players like Luke Pritchard (The State of Things) and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), etc.
The Comparison: Similarities & Differences
These three seem to have a lot of things in common, yet they are individually unique. Hence, to further investigate, check the table below for their specifications.
|Guitar||Casino||Dot||Sheraton II Pro|
|Body Material||Layered maple with 5-ply layered Maple top||Layered Maple body and top||Layered Maple body and top|
|Neck Profile||SlimTaper “D-Profile”||1960’s SlimTaper™ D-shape||60s SlimTaper™|
|Neck Material||Mahogany||Mahogany||5-pc Layered Hard Maple/Walnut|
|Fretboard Material||Pau Ferro||Rosewood||Pau Ferro|
|Number of Frets||22||22 medium-jumbo frets||22|
|Pickups|| neck pickup: P-90T Dog-ear Classic Single-coil
bridge pickup: P-90R Dog-ear Classic Single-coil
|Epiphone Alnico Classics||neck pickup: ProBucker-2 Humbucker
bridge pickup: ProBucker-3 Humbucker
|Controls||2 x volume, 2 x tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch||2 x volume, 2 x tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch||2 x volume (push/pull coil-split), 2 x tone, 3-way pickup selector|
|Bridge and Tailpiece||Epiphone LockTone™ Tune-O-Matic with traditional trapeze tailpiece||Epiphone LockTone™ Tune-O-Matic with stopbar tailpiece||Epiphone LockTone™ Tune-O-Matic with stopbar tailpiece|
They may have some commonalities, but they are designed to offer a unique playing experience. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of this comparison, there are some similarities and differences between these semi-acoustics.
- Epiphone Casino has a more vintage vibe and design than Dot and Sheraton
- Epiphone Casino is lightweight, while Sheraton is a bit heavier than Dot
- Epiphone Dot has a full-sized humbucker, Sheraton has mini-humbuckers, while Casino has P-90 pickups
- The Casino has smoother and hollower tone, sounding more ‘acoustic’ than the Dot and Sheraton
- By its namesake, Epiphone Dot has dot inlays, while Sheraton and Casino have block markers
- Epiphone Casino has true hollow body, while both Sheraton and Dot have semi-hollow body
- Epiphone Casino is more prone to feedback compared to Dot and Sheraton
Before diving into the bloody comparison, you might as well need some bright introduction from this YouTube video. At least, you’ll have a little background of the guitars so it’ll be easier for you to digest the following sections.
Build & Design
The guitar with the most stunning design is the Sheraton. And, it shares the same shape and design construction with the Dot and Casino – the archtop design. Both the Epiphone Dot and Sheraton have semi-hollow bodies, while the Casino has a completely hollow body. Hence, you can find in these two guitars a solid mahogany centre block wherein you can find the pickups attached, as well as the Tune-o-Matic bridge and Stopbar tailpiece.
The Epiphone Dot is always praised not only for its affordability, but for its build quality. It has functional features similar to that of the ES-335 and the glued neck like the original Gibson version. It comes with two beautiful finishing options: Cherry Red and Vintage Sunburst.
Epiphone Casino is entirely made of laminated Maple and is also referred to as the E230TD model. Its top is made of completely arched and specially designed 5-ply layered maple. A distinct feature of the Casino is the basswood bracing on the body edges, which matches the parallelogram Pearloid fretboard inlays. You can choose one of the three finishes: Vintage Sunburst, Turquoise, Natural.
Though Sheraton’s design is similar to that of the Dot’s, its appealing details make it very distinct. The unique vine-like inlay on the headstock, the neck binding, and the overall aura of the Sheraton is luxurious. In short, the Sheraton is a step-up in quality and design to the Epiphone Dot. Sheraton is available in colors, Ebony, Natural, Vintage Sunburst, and more.
These three guitars all have the classic f-shaped hole usually associated with the hollow body guitars, serving both functional and aesthetic purposes. Yet, if you want a semi-acoustic that will help you boost your confidence on stage, make a great show on stage with an Epiphone Sheraton.
Playability & Performance
The Epiphone is a great guitar for its price, especially for beginners. However, you can still have that ‘entry-level’ feel when you play it. Especially when you compare it with Sheraton, the more expensive competitor gives you that premium feel and playability.
The Epiphone Casino, because it’s a fully hollow body, can be played without the need to connect it to an amp, unlike the other two with humbuckers. This guitar is more popular with a lot of players, especially those who are fans of The Beatles.
In terms of the pickups, Sheraton still wins because it offers more dynamic responsiveness, especially with the coil-splitting feature onboard. It has better sustain than the other two because of its better build and design.
These guitars are equipped with controls and a three-way selector switch that gives more versatility. Overall, the Epiphone Dot is more recommended for beginners, particularly for gigging and recording, while the Sheraton is more preferred by professionals. The Epiphone Casino is a choice for those who want a louder sound output, but is not recommended for heavier tones.
These three guitars have differences in the build and the playability; however, the most important aspect is the tonality. Which has the best tonal response among these semi-acoustics?
The Epiphone Dot is known to be sonically versatile and gears towards the sound of a solid-body guitar. You can achieve smooth and clean jazzy tones to hard rock distortion. In the neck pickup, you’ll get smooth tones, especially on distortion. The middle gives you a bit of a ‘jangly’ sound, while the bridge pickup offers a solid definition that won’t appear ‘muddy.’
Since the Epiphone Casino has P-90 pickups, you’ll get a totally different sound output than the other two. It has less pronounced sustain and is prone to feedback, especially in distorted settings. As mentioned, the Casino can be a bit louder, but it has smoothness and brightness to its tonal response. The pickups are known to give better cleans because of their acoustic properties. This is the guitar you need if you want some vintage vibe to the table.
Finally, the Sheraton offers you the versatility of the two because of the coil-splitting feature on both pickups. You’ll have access from the fat humbucker sounds to the bright tones of single-coil pickups. It can deliver silky-smooth jazz sounds to rock and roll distortion.
Both the Epiphone Dot and Sheraton guitars are blues, rock, and jazz machines, while the Casino is more fit for mild crunch and rock genres.
Based on the thorough comparison in the previous sections, the Epiphone Sheraton is the most expensive. The expensive price tag isn’t just about the looks, but you can enjoy its versatility. It’s a premium guitar with outstanding performance and great sound output. Slightly cheaper than the Sheraton is the Epiphone Casino. The cheapest among them is the Epiphone Dot.
As Epiphone guitars, the prices of these guitars aren’t something that breaks the bank. In fact, they have price tags of less than $1000. Sure enough, you can easily save up to get the best and if you will save more, you’ll get the Sheraton II Pro.
Pros & Cons
To finalize our comparison, let’s go into the advantages and disadvantages of these guitars. This seems to wrap up everything and to put a seal on the choice you have made.
|Ephiphone Casino||Ephiphone Dot||Epiphone Sheraton II Pro|
Perhaps, this is one of the longest and most detailed reviews that we had. Indeed, the comparison of the Epiphone Casino vs Dot vs Sheraton needs complete details because at a glance they look the same. Yet, they actually differ in a lot of ways.
From the detailed comparison above in terms of design, tone, and performance, the Epiphone Sheraton seem to outshine the rest. Literally, it’s more beautiful and gorgeous than the other two, however, it also comes with an expensive price tag. You can have the Casino as a cheaper alternative or, if you want the cheapest, get the Epiphone Dot.
However, as an artist, the price is not the only consideration that you have. In fact, you must also look into the playability and the sound output. To help you decide, we recommend the Epiphone Dot for beginners and budget buyers. You cannot expect it to be top-notched, but you’ll get the sound (not much with the feel) of the renowned Gibson 335.
For those who want to access more authentic acoustic tones from semi-acoustic guitars, yours for taking the Epiphone Casino. It’s louder and has clearer sounds, even without plugging into an amp, thanks to the P90 pickups. Lastly, the Sheraton II Pro is perfect for those who are professionals and those who want to really experience the classics both in sound and performance. If you are serious as a player, you are willing to spend an extra for all the goodies and goodness that you’ll definitely enjoy.
Hi music fan! I am Jeff. Hope that you enjoy some stuff I shared here in my personal blog.
About myself, Currently I am in charging as Artist Manager/Music Supervisor at 72 Music Management. I did managed album to Grammy Award in 2017 with 7 Nominations from 2014-2020 and had the opportunities to work with : A.J. Croce, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bobby Rush, Dom Flemons, Dustbowl Revival, Sarah Grace
Governor of the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy is one of a award that I am lucky to achieved.