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Finally got myself the ES-335 I always wanted! (Tokai content)

Messages
1,334
An ES-335 has been high on my whishlist for a VERY long time. Tried some Gibsons and as usually you have to go thru a bunch of them to find a decent one. Tried some Heritage and liked them but there was always something that didn't tickle my fancy. One of the best ES-335s I ever played was the old Tokai owned by a good friend. I WAS plugged into a Dumble when I was playing it but the feel of the guitar was killer and the tones amazing.

So this past weekend, a Tokai ES-120 popped up on some classifieds sites here in Belgium. Contacted the seller and talked a bit about it. He bought it in 2005 and it never left his house, was in near mint condition. Although it originally came with Gibson Classic 57s, he replaced those with Peter Florance Voodoo '59 pickups. I know these and loved them in a fat tele I had so this was definitely a plus. And then there was the color, my favorite color for an ES-335 is natural and this one was indeed a natural with flamed maple front, sides and back. The price was right as well so my GAS was thru the roof.

I checked it out in person on Monday evening and only needed 10 minutes to fall in love with it. I was afraid the neck might be to much but it has a very nice medium C neck, just like my Tokai LP. Acoustically is sounded very full and balanced which was a good sign for things to come when I plugged in. The pickups needed some adjustment but other than that it played and sounded amazingly good. So I took it home, plugged it into my '73 JMP and wailed for 2 hours only using a boost to get the Marshall over the top.

Compared to my Tokai LP, the ES-120 sounds a lot more open, it doesn't have that grab-you-by-the-balls low end of the LP but it sounds big nevertheless. It definitely nails some tones I was trying to get from the LP but couldn't totally nail. The pickups sound amazing, the neck pickup sounds big and smooth but has plenty of clarity, the bridge rocks harder, very balanced and articulate.

Here are some pics:











 

gadzooka

Member
Messages
507
Flamed 335s are not my bag necessarily, but I must congratulate you on a fine choice. Sounds like you're in that wonderful semi-hollow zone.
 

stryker59

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
837
WOW!! thats friggin awesome!!! love the natural finish and the woods are gorgeous!! congrats!!
 

HRydarcik

Member
Messages
927
Flamed 335s are not my bag necessarily, but I must congratulate you on a fine choice. Sounds like you're in that wonderful semi-hollow zone.
They make it in a plain top as well...here's my lefty ES 120...fantastic guitar.

Congrats on you new Tokai LordRiffy!

 

TRGuy

Member
Messages
2,389
Congrats! 335's are the best guitars imo, fit in so well in virtually every type of music and you have a fine example!

Im seriously thinking of selling all my LP's and Tele's and just buying more strats and 335's.
 

HRydarcik

Member
Messages
927
Did you replace the hardware with aged? Looks fantastic!
The aged pickup covers are from RS Guitarworks...the bridge and tailpiece I aged myself using vinegar...it's quite easy...I scuffed up the pieces lightly with some 600 grit sandpiper...just enough to scuff it but not go all the way through the finish...then I put some vinegar in a plastic container...then I put a small little cup in the container...something the bridge and tailpiece could sit on above the vinegar...cover and let sit for roughly 24 hours. When you remove them they'll be greein with tarnish...I then used a cloth and spit(I couldn't find anything that worked better) to rub the tarnish off...underneath is a very nicely aged patina. Took about 20 minutes to buff the tarnish off.
 
Messages
1,334
Congrats! 335's are the best guitars imo, fit in so well in virtually every type of music and you have a fine example!

Im seriously thinking of selling all my LP's and Tele's and just buying more strats and 335's.
I agree, even when I plugged it into my rack setup, I got amazing tones, usable in many styles. I still love my tele, lp and strats though :D
 
Messages
1,334
The aged pickup covers are from RS Guitarworks...the bridge and tailpiece I aged myself using vinegar...it's quite easy...I scuffed up the pieces lightly with some 600 grit sandpiper...just enough to scuff it but not go all the way through the finish...then I put some vinegar in a plastic container...then I put a small little cup in the container...something the bridge and tailpiece could sit on above the vinegar...cover and let sit for roughly 24 hours. When you remove them they'll be greein with tarnish...I then used a cloth and spit(I couldn't find anything that worked better) to rub the tarnish off...underneath is a very nicely aged patina. Took about 20 minutes to buff the tarnish off.
Thanks for the info, I like the look a lot, not sure if I want to do that with my ES120 but it's definitely cool!
 
Messages
1,334
I like them a lot and I don't have any need to change them anytime soon - they sound old PAF enough to my ears. I haven't measured them but I don't think they are too hot.
I still have the original pickups in my 1980 Tokai LP and they sound really really good. Lotsa people replace them but I think they are excellent.
 

HRydarcik

Member
Messages
927
I like them a lot and I don't have any need to change them anytime soon - they sound old PAF enough to my ears. I haven't measured them but I don't think they are too hot.

Same here....I've had my Tokai for over a year now, I play it at home just about everyday and have done a few shows with it...I like the pups just fine.
 




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