One of the delights of running a business like PREMIER GUITARS is the unexpected weirdness that presents more regularly than one would ever think. After 40+ years of being around guitars I thought I’d seen everything, but I was not prepared for the Casio EG-5. We don’t normally list oddball Asian instruments, but we couldn’t resist this one.
What a concept! It’s a guitar, yes, but it comes with its own cassette player, active electronics, onboard speaker and distortion control. So you could be a true 80s re-definition of the “one man band”. And record yourself at the same time.
“What’s a cassette?” I hear you Millenials ask. Well, it was one of the first workable portable audio formats developed in the late 60s and became ubiquitous in the 70s and beyond. It realised the idea that you could actually take your own music and listen to it outside your home. Suddenly there were car cassette players and Walkmans everywhere. And you could record onto it! I bet your Dad still has some 80s mix tapes somewhere.
The EG-5 allows you to play regular guitar over your onboard cassette backing track, and not even have to bring an amp. The balance of the guitar output and the tape playback can be controlled by the “Guitar Mix” fader controller. Further, it has a pitch control which adjusts the tape speed during playback – handy.
Power is via 6 x C cell batteries or 9V AC adapter. The AUX input terminal also allows connection to digital audio players such as an iPod or similar device. Fabulous busking machine.
As a regular guitar, the EG-5 actually plays and sounds very good. It has a high quality, super quiet humbucking pickup installed at the bridge. The one piece maple neck is straight as an arrow, the frets are unmarked, and it plays comfortably in all positions. The 24” short-ish scale is very friendly for smaller hands, and it stays in tune. The overall build is typically Japanese high quality.
You can bypass all the onboard gizmos and plug straight into an amp, with or without effects pedals, and sound mighty fine. But the onboard “distortion” sounds wonderfully crappy if you want to indulge your inner grunge/garage leanings.
And what a look ! All that plastic, those dials, knobs, lots of sockets, the speaker, and the lovely wacky shape. It all adds up to a lot of options for someone looking for a truly unique instrument that actually plays well, is a fab memento of 80s Japanese electronica, and a real head turner.
Come in its original Casio gig bag in good condition.