Looking for the best Japanese Les Paul for the $$$

rugglesgreen

Member
Messages
221
I'm in search for a les Paul copy that's Japanese with a killer price as well detailed build...?.... I've heard/played killer early 80s Tokai Love Rocks.... I've done some research on Japanese Les Paul copy made guitars. Navigator Edward Bacchus greco Tokai ---- The only one I played and heard in my hands was the Tokai--- any suggestions? Moreover my buddy just got a Burny for 550 and it sounds pretty damn good... I'm grateful for any suggestions. Whoops I also like the original PAF style sound Humbuckers. Thank you much y'all!!!
 

custom53

Member
Messages
4,748
Burny... Loved my late '70s / early '80s MIJ 5 piece Diamond Logo Les Paul Custom.. And it played, sounded and felt just as good as my Gibson Les Paul's...








And with it's USA Brethren..



A nice one on eBay.. And if it said "Gibson" on the Head Stock instead of "Burny" it would take a really good eye to spot the difference..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Burny-les-p...179066?hash=item281497b77a:g:f7IAAOSwyjBW7WHg

Which happens to be close to me here in Columbus, Ohio..

http://columbus.craigslist.org/msg/5503702198.html


And one slightly newer than mine also close to home..

http://limaohio.craigslist.org/msg/5465311422.html

.
 
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g-mane

Member
Messages
931
I have owned 80s Tokai and Burny and still have a 90s Orville. All were mighty fine, to me the Orville feels more like I want a LP to feel. The Orville was from the Fuji plant, which also built Greco and Ibanez IIRC, both well-respected LP copies.
 

Bradmeister

Member
Messages
1,001
Well, I think the "best" is the Navigator....those are some beautiful guitars, but you'll pay the same for a Gibson Historic. :)

I have an Edwards, I think it's a Lacquer Taste series, that I love. The only think I don't like is that I couldn't get a 50s-style neck. I like them chunkier. I'm not sure if they offer one now. Anyway, I paid $900 US about 5 years ago, and I can definitely say it's much better than any Gibson Studio of similar pricing. I did buy it in-person in Tokyo, though. There were a few there at the ESP shop that were heavy, so be on the lookout for that.
 

thrashmetl

Member
Messages
4,448
I've got a Bacchus LP and SG from the Classic Series and I can say that they are easily the best bang for the buck out there. I had a discussion with Wulfman over on the MLP forum (Harold Wulf is pretty much the Godfather of the MIJ section over there) and he agreed along with the Epiphone MIJ Laquer series from years back. If you can find a Classic Series Bacchus or one of the Epiphones they both have a nice '59 neck shape and the quality is amazing. I would easily put them ahead of the Edwards based on the woods used by Edwards and the not quite realistic looking maple veneers they use. The Bacchus's all have solid maple tops, no veneer. The only slight negative is that the pickups they use are more or less their version of the Seymour Duncan JB/59 set. If you're a member of TGP you're just going to pull them and replace them anyway so it doesn't really matter.
 

Stratobuc

Member
Messages
15,922
I'm in search for a les Paul copy that's Japanese with a killer price as well detailed build...?.... I've heard/played killer early 80s Tokai Love Rocks.... I've done some research on Japanese Les Paul copy made guitars. Navigator Edward Bacchus greco Tokai ---- The only one I played and heard in my hands was the Tokai--- any suggestions? Moreover my buddy just got a Burny for 550 and it sounds pretty damn good... I'm grateful for any suggestions. Whoops I also like the original PAF style sound Humbuckers. Thank you much y'all!!!
Seems like Ishibashi has some good prices on used LP copy's - if you can navigate their site. I'm not having much luck.
 

Whittlez

Member
Messages
2,917
I'm in search for a les Paul copy that's Japanese with a killer price as well detailed build...?.... I've heard/played killer early 80s Tokai Love Rocks.... I've done some research on Japanese Les Paul copy made guitars. Navigator Edward Bacchus greco Tokai ---- The only one I played and heard in my hands was the Tokai--- any suggestions? Moreover my buddy just got a Burny for 550 and it sounds pretty damn good... I'm grateful for any suggestions. Whoops I also like the original PAF style sound Humbuckers. Thank you much y'all!!!
I own Grecos, Burny, Tokai, Edwards, and Arias so I am not unfamiliar

There is NO 'best'

That being said, exchange rate is quite good right now so buying directly from Japan will usually lead to the most value

If going 'vintage', you simply have to know the market and the brands

There is value, there are misrepresented guitars selling for WAAY too much , and there is garbage

I spent dozens of hours studying before I plunged in

If you don't care about vintage, modern era MIJ Tokais are GREAT and modern era Edwards are too

There is not a bad MIJ Tokai model or Edwards but you want to make sure the price you are getting is fair

It's noted in the name

The # is the LIST (not STREET) price in Yen when new

An Edwards ALS130 thus LISTS for 130,000 yen when new

I found one new for 85,000 Yen though once

A Tokai HLS240 LISTS 240,000 Yen

An LS160 lists for 160000 and so on

Obviously if it's 10 yrs old you account for inflation

A 2008 LTS98 would be equal to a 2014 LTS108

And so on

Study the catalogs
Decide the features you want

Study price data

Buy

PM if you want help. I've helped a few find nice MIJ's.

I own 4 Tokais and over a dozen MIJ's and they RULE

I recently got a line on a nice Custom Shop Gibson R6 for well under 2k but I just couldn't justify it when I know I can get one as good or better MIJ for less.

If that offends the Gibson fanboyz I can live with that. I worship Gretsches so just bash Gretsch in response and we will call it even but no personal attacks plz. I'm sensitive :l

They are THAT good.
 

TTBZ

Member
Messages
802
I've not played an Edwards but I still think my 70s MIJ Pearl LPC is one of the best guitars I've ever played. Stacks up against Gibson and Tokai for sure. If you can find one it's worth a try. Mine only cost me £250 + a setup and some decent pickups, so under £500 for an amazing guitar!

That said my friends Tokai is really nice. I'd never buy another Gibson. I just wish I tried some Tokai SGs before I got my gibbo!
 

Whittlez

Member
Messages
2,917
I've not played an Edwards but I still think my 70s MIJ Pearl LPC is one of the best guitars I've ever played. Stacks up against Gibson and Tokai for sure. If you can find one it's worth a try. Mine only cost me £250 + a setup and some decent pickups, so under £500 for an amazing guitar!

That said my friends Tokai is really nice. I'd never buy another Gibson. I just wish I tried some Tokai SGs before I got my gibbo!

Tokai SG !!! I recently got a 2005 SG175 Tokai (now 185) .... Amazing!

One piece Honduran Mahogany body, one piece Honduran mahogany neck, gorgeous FB near new condition frets!

Got it along with a Tokai Les Paul
special with same one piece specs

Great guitars

https://flickr.com/photos/139245646@N07/sets/72157665310996260
 

edwarddavis

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,316
I own Edwards, Bacchus and owned burny.
For under
$1000 you can get a great guitar
They are not all cheap though
Look on eBay
 

TTBZ

Member
Messages
802
Tokai SG !!! I recently got a 2005 SG175 Tokai (now 185) .... Amazing!

One piece Honduran Mahogany body, one piece Honduran mahogany neck, gorgeous FB near new condition frets!

Got it along with a Tokai Les Paul
special with same one piece specs

Great guitars

https://flickr.com/photos/139245646@N07/sets/72157665310996260
Really nice :) I would have liked to have the smaller pick guard on mine... maybe I'll start searching eBay for a Tokai or Edwards equivalent!
 

narad

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,395
Well, I can tell you what I decided on!





I'd actually suggest two other options though:
- If you want the best bang for your buck, i.e., 80% of Navigator sound with 20% of Navigator price, I'd go Edwards. But I'd keep it to a solid color model because their wood choice looks really weird and unconvincing in person.
- If you want to step it up a notch, i.e., 90-95% of Navigator sound with 40-50% of Navigator price, I'd go with a few particular Crews Maniac models. You'd want the ones with K&T pickups. And of course I'm just joking around with these percentages -- I played a Crews with K&Ts that sounded better than my Navigator and probably about as good as my Gustavsson if I'm to be honest. The pickups are just superb, and it's much cheaper to get them in a guitar than separately. What you pay the extra for with Navigator is attention to detail and correct woods. You'd want to be in the $2k used area here IIRC, though you can often find used examples in Japan for $13-1500 with the dollar what it is now. You can search "Key to the Rock" or KTR to get the right models. If it's followed by something like "fm59R" it'll be much nicer. In this range the goldtops look really great, and the maple will be plain but finished really well.

You can also buy one of the limited higher end Crews guitars for about $3-3.5k that sometimes have nicer woods, including Brazilian boards (though they'll be advertised as "jacaranda" in most cases). I'll definitely be looking for the right one of these next time I'm in Japan.
 




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