Considering an '85 Tokai Love Rock - I'd appreciate your thoughts

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by mountain blues, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    I am not a Les Paul player, but I saw a 1985 Tokai Love Rock at a local music store for $750 and am really tempted to get it. It is in great condition, and seems like a really good deal.

    I would be interested in the opinions of those of you who are in the know on these guitars. It seems like the 80's were a great time for Japanese copies in general, and this appears to be an excellent example.

    Thanks!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Improviser

    Improviser Member

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    I have one of these from 1985, and according to specs from old catalogs, and the tag in the case I make mine out to be an LS150 model. Hard to tell what the one you've pictured is, but I've found most to be LS60 or LS80 models from this era.

    I have added WCR Darkbursts and RS Historic kit to mine, and with a weight of about 8lbs even, it is an outstanding instrument. I have owned an original '60 Gibson Les Paul Standard (not a reissue) which was the best Gibson I have ever played, and the Tokai is not too far away from this.

    Things to check (yes, some are obvious):

    - weight (hey, it's a Les Paul, and some Tokais were very heavy);
    - try pulling one of the pickup/rings to check if it's a solid maple cap, not just a maple veneer;
    - sometimes the model is stamped on the end of the fretboard;
    - higher model number = higher appointments/quality woods, etc;
    - higher model number does not always equal a better overall instrument, play the thing and then make your decision
    - Tokai original cases are pretty good repros of old Gibbo cases;
    - despite what you hear, these are players guitars and will probably not appreciate in monetary value all that much;
    - checkout the Tokia Registry for more info.....

    Please feel free to PM/e-mail me with any more questions.

    Geoff
     
  3. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    Hey MB,
    If you decide to pass on it, can you let me know? That looks like a really nice guitar! I may drive up and pick it up, again, if you pass. M.E.
     
  4. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    I've owned quite a few Tokais. That's a nice one and it's about the limit of what I would pay. They are very well made guitars. Just don't expect to make a fortune on it. especially if you're in the US- which I think you are. Tokais are pretty much non events here because there are so many Gibsons and Fenders available why would you pay a lot for a copy. The Tokai forum has a lot of euro's and asians on it. To them Tokai is God and Gibson is crap. So be prepared for that. They really think the run of the mill Jap copy with a veneer top is superior to -- get this-- all the Gibson Custom Shop pieces. Of course a lot of the people over there are kids with no money, so I kind of understand.
     
  5. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Guys — thanks very much for the feedback. I am going to buy this guitar. The shop owner let me take it home today to try it out with my amps, and it plays so sweet, it feels like a long–lost friend. I have a set of WCR Fillmores that I will probably install, or else a set of Darkbursts, with an RS wiring kit as you mentioned, Geoff.

    Very cool to start bonding with a 'Les Paul'. Another awesome blues voice...
     
  6. loverocker

    loverocker Member

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    This is *so* wrong on so many levels. :eek: For starters, as far as I know, neither SRV not Billy Gibbons are asian or european. :confused:

    As one of 'them' (a euro), I can tell you that I know a good Gibson when I play it and I know a good Tokai when I play it: I reckon maybe 90% positive for Tokai, and around 50% for Gibson. I have Gibsons that will be with me forever ('55 all-gold, '62 ES-335, '73 '58 Reissue) - but I've sold on many more average and below-average Gibsons once the honeymoon period was over and cold reality has set in.

    For starters, the QC problems that have so often beset Gibson's production line guitars just do not show up on Japanese Tokais. And if you're comparing Custom Shop level guitars, you'd better be comparing them with the LS-320 or early LS-200s. I can tell you that the LS-320 (I own one and have played another) are head and shoulders beyond the '02 CS LP Standard I had. OK, maybe I got a duff one. But that's the point - many of the LP lovers over at the LPF say that they've had to play a dozen Historics to find the one that's on the money.

    Yes, the mid-range Tokais use a veneer as a way to get a decent looking, decent quality guitar down to a reasonable price point. After all, something's got to give - Japanese labour is not Korean/China/etc cheap.

    mountain blues - I'm sure you won't be disappointed :) I like the Seth Lovers in my TOkai
     
  7. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    ..Wasn't aware that SRV's #1 or Pearly Gates was a Tokai...I must have missed something. I guess in Eurpore the shops are full of Tokais and it is the Gibsons that are very expensive. In the US that's not the case at all. Tokai makes copy guitars. Yes ,some of them are very good ,and I'll leave it at that.
     
  8. ned911

    ned911 Member

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    Mountain -

    Welcome to the club.

    There is a Marshall ad at TokaiRegistry.com with the Rev playing a Tokai. Whitehall - the reason Europe is full of Tokai's is because Gibson's long legal arm does not reach across the pond. There would be Tokai's in the US if the US copyright office had it's crap together.
     
  9. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    The Japanese-made Tokais I have come across have been good to excellent. It's hard to argue with a $750 guitar that you really like!
     
  10. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Amen! I found out that this is a LS60, with Seth Lovers in it (from the previous owner). I have been playing it all morning, and I am in love with this guitar! The neck is a dream, and it's pulling new stuff out of me — wonderful. I have finally made the conversion to a LP, and it is very cool.

    Hey, one of you may know — aren't there some great upgrade bridge and tailpiece parts that you can get for these?

    Thanks again for all the info!
     
  11. loverocker

    loverocker Member

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    Yes - you're missing the point: these guys could and did play any guitar they wanted. Cost no object. But, being more interested in what they got out of them than what brand name was on the end of them, they played Tokais. Hmmm - go figure...

    <trivia alert>Not everyone was happy that SRV wielded that Tokai. In the Texas Flood (if memory's correct) album photo, the 'Tokai' logo was air-brushed out. :rolleyes: ... no doubt to protect the sensibilities of people who'd rather not have their prejudices challenged.

    mb - $750 for an '80s Tokai with Seth Lovers is a pretty good deal. Enjoy! :)
     
  12. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    Fantastic deal on a lovely guitar! And with Duncans, ma man, ya did alright. Someone even did to trus cover for you already. :D

    How's the weight?
    Greg
     
  13. tiptone

    tiptone Silver Supporting Member

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    I've got a poster/print that the album cover was done from, indeed the headstock reads Tokai. The pickups sat (what looks like) really high and the pole pieces are sunk beneath the surface. Never seen any other single coils like this. Oh and Stevie is wearing a real nice kimono :)
     
  14. ArthurS

    ArthurS Member

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    I don't know which Tokai Forum you're frequenting, but I can't remember that attitude on "the" Tokai Forum. I think most members there appreciate Tokai for what it is, just as they appreciate Gibson for what it is. I don't think I've ever read anyone saying that "Gibsons are crap" over there.
     
  15. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Thanks Greg. It is pretty light and very comfortable. I definitely did alright on this one. :)
     
  16. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    Can you explain what you mean by "There would be Tokai's in the US if the US copyright office had it's crap together" ?

    Thanks.
     
  17. hans-jürgen

    hans-jürgen Member

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    Wow... that's probably the most arrogant statement about Tokai users that I've ever read, including the Les Paul Forum. Nice one...

    @mountain blues: Congratulations! :) And yes, you can swap the usual heavyweight tailpiece for an aluminium one, there are several shops in the U.S. that offer them. The sound will be smoother, more elegant attack, less bright afterwards. By the way, the truss rod cover is an original Tokai version.
     
  18. ned911

    ned911 Member

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    You need to read the article on the Gibson-PRS lawsuit that was in Vintage Guitar a few months ago. Basically Gibson was given a copyright on the single cut style guitar. This should have never happened due to US copyright law as Gibson failed to protect their copyright during the required time period.

    Because of this "screw up" by the US copyright office Gibson is able to keep anything close to a single cut style guitar out of the US. The good thing is US laws don't cross borders.
     
  19. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    Geoff,

    If you ever have the urge to compare the Tokai to the Agile AL-3000 I recently bought, I'm in Reno. You could come here for a day or I could go up to Truckee. The particular Agile I got is really a sweet playing and sounding guitar. Really. Maybe I got lucky because all I had to do was tune it up when it arrived. String height and action were tremendous out of the box.

    It could be fun and I have some fun amps too.

    Rick
     
  20. Stringkiller

    Stringkiller Guest

    As another one of 'them' (a euro) I agree with loverocker.
    There are good guitars and bad ones, and I would agree with his percentages concerning Tokais and Gibsons.
    If the Tokai at $750 plays and sounds good to you and your band/audience get it ;-)

    The whatever it is dream LP model you have bought or are trying to buy keeps eluding you, get the Tokai and keep looking!
    Or is the Gibson in the +$5K range and you keep coming back and comparing it with $750 :)

    Bear in mind newer and cheaper Tokais are now being made in Korea and the workmanship is impressive.
    Try out a PRS SE Soapbar or (after the Gibson lawsuit) the SE Soapbar II? For $ 400/600 it's a good guitar.

    Up to now the posts on this subject have only been refering to the higher priced Japanese models.

    I have a couple of webpages on Tokais, (PRSs and Gibson's) on the Dr Pickup web site.
    http://www.drpickup.com/guitars/guitars.html

    BTW The Tokai Forum is at
    http://www.tokaiforum.com/

    Mountain Blues, Enjoy your new guitar and leave those Tokai pickups in there for while.
    I'm sure you won't be needing to fix something that works and sounds right;-)
     

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