Korean Tokai Guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 6thstringmusic, May 14, 2006.

  1. 6thstringmusic

    6thstringmusic Member

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    Hey Guys-

    Has anyone played the Korean-made Tokai Guitars? Can you compare them to their Japanese counterparts? What did you think in regards to build quality, playability, tones, and finish etc?

    Thanks a lot for your time!
     
  2. BadJaxx

    BadJaxx Member

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    i had the Tokai 52 Reissue Tele copy...
    was well made and finish was very well done...very resonant...
    i didn't like the neck much but that's cuz of the shape, size, and vintage style....
    wish i'd kept it and put a warmoth neck on it...
    pups were so-so...
    i've never tried a jap Tokai so can't compare...
    there are some nice Fender Japan Teles on ebay...these get great reviews....i was about to buy one when...

    i went tele shopping the other night and none of the Fenders impressed me....ended up with a wonderful Warmoth Custom Tele that has just blown me away...
     
  3. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    The MIK Gibson copies sold here in Finland are IMO crap. Plywood bodies, photoflame..just crap. Not even on the same planet when compared to the Japanese Tokais. To my knowledge the MIK ones sold in Canada or something are better.

    The Fender copies are not bad, but not awesome either IMO.
     
  4. ScottB

    ScottB Gold Supporting Member

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    A friend of mine has a Korean PR-esque, that he bought with my coaching, actually. I have had great luck with Tokai guitars (see the recent Strat thread - I've also got two Love Rocks) so I thought it was low risk. I think it was like $350. Easily on par with a PRS SE, probably better, since it has a carved flame top. Not sure if it is photo or laminated.

    Nice action, decent pickups. Good bargain.
     
  5. JSD

    JSD Member

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    The MIK Tokais we sell here in Canada are very nice, better than your standard Epis, people seem quite please with them. MIJ will always be better as there is a wide range of MIJ models but those are only available from overseas dealers.
     
  6. rich-96db

    rich-96db Member

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    I don't own any Korean-made Tokais, but I owe 2 Korean-made Dillions (335 copy, Firebird copy) which are made in the same Korean plant as the Tokais. As far as finish and fretwork, both Dillions are far better than their Epiphone equivalents. The pickups are typically ceramic, run hot and tend to be very "generic" sounding, for lack of a better description.

    The 2 areas where costs are obviously cut on these guitars is in the tuners and the plastic nut.

    Buy the guitar, replace the pickups, pots and jack, and you'll have a very playable instrument.
     
  7. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    My understanding is that the Korean Tokai Love Rocks are use Alder bodies, instead of Mahogany and Sycamore instead of Maple tops. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but a maple top on mahogany body is required to get a true Les Paul sound...

    -KD
     
  8. 1959burst

    1959burst boogieman

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    ok this is my opinion, the MIK are aweful guitars.......on par with the standard epi's........cheap starter guitars. they are nowhere near the great MIJ tokai's which are great guitars.btw imo the dillions are garbage guitars too i have kids bringing them into the shop for set-ups.what a p.o.s..................ok flame away!:D
     
  9. 1959burst

    1959burst boogieman

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    nope same crap here as in finland imo.
     
  10. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    I've owned 4, 3 were crap, all from Canada. Very overpriced for what they are , and they have no resale value . The one I got from the UK, an explorer, was pretty nice. The jap ones are only 1-200 more , are easy to get and are much better guitars. Plus you don't lose nearly as much money when you sell them.
     
  11. 6thstringmusic

    6thstringmusic Member

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    Thanks a lot for the info guys, much appreciated!
     
  12. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    I bought a korean Tokai Jazz Bass some years ago when I needed a backup bass in a hurry. It was good value for the money. There are good ones and bad ones. There were 7 Tokais on the rack when I bought mine. I played them all. 2 were good and 5 were dull and uninspiring.

    Michael
     
  13. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    I'm interested in one of these LP Love Rock's off of a Canadian site as well.

    They advertise solid Mahogany body and mable top. I've been told the build quality is still better than Epi's in this range.

    About $600US with a Hardshell case off of retailers on Ebay. I don't know, sounds like a good deal. Just wish I could PLAY it first.
     
  14. Spudboy

    Spudboy Member

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    Nope, nope and nope. Firstly, these Korean Tokais come from the same plant that used to make Epis before Epi built their Chinese plant. Same place that makes the Dillions. I've seen Dillions and Tokais and Epis side by side and they're so much the same you can swap parts between them (although you can't swap parts with the Gibsons that they copy). Arguing that a Tokai or a Dillion is "better" than an Epi is basically arguing over similar levels of mediocrity. Given that maybe one in 25 of these guitars is truly good, and that three in ten are dogs, most of this is going to depend on which one you get, so the word here is try before you buy.

    As to the solid mahogany, well, technically, yes, but it's some Indonesian variety, most likely lauan, and not true African or Honduran mahogany. The maple top is most likely a veneer, about 1/32 inch thick. You get what you pay for.
     
  15. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    What he said... Plus if you're gonna spend 600 for an LP copy buy a used Orville/Greco/Burny/Edwards. All of them are much,much, much better than the Tokais. Spend 600 for one of them and IF you tire of it you will get your money back. Buy the Tokai, or Jokai as we call them, and you will be lucky to get 350 for it.
     
  16. Spudboy

    Spudboy Member

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    Actually, if you want an amazing deal on a really good Les Paul, you need look no further than the Epiphone Elitist LP Standard Plus. It's not cheap like a regular Epi, but it's Japanese made, out of real mahogany with a real flame maple top, to arguably a better level of quality than Gibson offers these days. About the same price as a LP Studio but a dead ringer for a Standard flametop.
     
  17. jonleecourage

    jonleecourage Member

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    had one. the fit and finish quality on the mik tokai was excellent, I saw absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    the body is not mahogany, it's an asian wood (can't recall the name of it at the moment) with mahogany-ish characteristics. I believe the necks are maple, and not mahogany, another difference from a real LP. and I think the cap is sycamore if I recall correctly.

    all in all a nicely put together guitar with a very nice feel to it, but doesn't really sound like the real deal to me exactly. in the same camp tho, and not a bad sound. swap out the electronics and p/ups to improve the sound, and you've got a pretty decent guitar for well under 1k, even if it's not exactly/truly a LP. the one I had was less resonant/a bit deader than the real deal, but still sounded pretty decent.

    the canadian LRs are not the same as the scandanavian/european ones as has been covered here and elsewhere many times - they're not plywood, and crappily built. not sure about the fotoflame aspect, but I don't think so. maybe jsd can chime in on that.

    for the price, I think they're a very decent gigging guitar for an intermediate guitarist or someone who can't shell out 800+ or so for a japanese version or a real LP.

    not great, and not bad. built well, sound ok.
     
  18. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    I had a MIK Tokai. A good guitar, but I ended up selling it.

    I'd say they're definitely a step above Epiphone stuff, similar in quality to, say, Schecter stuff of a similar price range. (I think many are made in the same factory). They're nowhere close to 80's Japanese stuff, which is what, in my search for bargain guitars, I ended up hanging on to - an Ibanez Artist and a Yamaha AS2000.

    And nowhere even *close* to the two 80's Burny's I played, both of which were going for pretty (relatively) hefty prices - $800-ish.

    -thi
     

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