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Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 1:04 am
by bobw
I've read on these forums that many Love Rock models have laminated tops, given that Epiphone Les Paul models also feature this, and in the UK retail at about half the price of a Love Rock, what is there to justify the higher cost of the Tokai? If the Tokai is deemed to be a 'true replica' of a Gibson Les Paul how come they do not feature the solid top of the Gibson. I should add that I have no axe to grind (no pun intended) only a general interest in such things.
Bob W

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 4:15 am
by stevehollx
because it is still a high quality maple cap on a good piece of mahog. Epi puts maple on plywood. Since when did the look of a flame affect tone, anyway?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 4:48 am
by james
Hi Bob

There are new Tokais with all solid plain tops, laminated flamed tops and solid flamed tops. Its just a range to suit everyone's budget and taste. But as Steve says, even the laminate tops are only a final layer on top of a solid maple cap and mahogany back - so the bulk of the guitar is solid wood, unlike most other LP replicas. Its also debatable how much the tone is effected by this final layer - as I've said before, one of the best sounding LPs I've played was a laminated top Tokai Les Paul Reborn. Admittedly this was an older (and some would say better made) Tokai, but none the less I prefered it to a ?5000 Gibson Reissue.

James

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 5:39 am
by bobw
I have read that the nitrocellulose that Gibson use contributes to improved tone over polyurethane and that stripped finishes often sound better, so I'm thinking that a thin laminate glued to the top cannot be good for tone (glue is not good for resonance). Incidentally I did once own an Epi Les Paul and it was not ply but a laminate on solid wood (of some sort).

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 6:46 am
by james
The bottom line is cost though isn't it. Using nitrocellulose (which the top Tokai model, the LS320, does) is supposedly more labour intensive and thus costly. People want flametops but don't want to pay for the expensive wood. Maybe a thin top laminate isn't ideal for resonance and tone, but I think the point is that Tokais get a lot closer to nailing most peoples' idea of a good LP sound than the Epis.
Most of all though I think its too easy to get carried away with some of the spec details and forget that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If it sounds and feels good, then it is good, regardless of the name on the headstock or how its made, and thats what Tokai has built its reputation on and why people chose them over Epiphones. I think its best to judge from our own experience rather than from what we read.

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 8:15 am
by bobw
James,
You indicated that some Love Rocks are solid tops, is there any obvious way to tell either my model no or appearance on the current models available in the UK? Unfortunately on the couple of occasions I've been to a 'Tokai dealer'(none exactly close by) they haven't had any in stock so I have yet to see one 'in the flesh'.

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 8:15 am
by bobw
James,
You indicated that some Love Rocks are solid tops, is there any obvious way to tell either my model no or appearance on the current models available in the UK? Unfortunately on the couple of occasions I've been to a 'Tokai dealer'(none exactly close by) they haven't had any in stock so I have yet to see one 'in the flesh'.

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 9:38 am
by james
I don't think that the solid flame top models are available in the UK Bob. They're certainly not listed on the UK distributor's site (although I'm not sure how up to date it is:

http://www.tokai-guitars.co.uk/Loverock.html

Those on this forum who have got them all seem to have got them imported from Japan (correct me if I'm wrong guys). For example, Dana submitted this link that shows all the models on offer at a Japanese site:

http://www.cyborg.ne.jp/~universe/tokai ... uitar.html

If you're thinking of getting one from a UK dealer and they claim its a solid flame top I'd ask them to remove one of the pickups so you can see inside the cavity - it should be obvious if theres a laminate on top.
Incidently the laminate is flamed sycamore. The plain top models have solid maple tops (either 2 or 3 piece).

James


Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2002 6:51 am
by Lee
Bob

As James said check the Pickup cavities. The bridge cavity is easier to access than the neck cavity. If the guitar has open coil pickups, you may be able to see the veneer without removing the strings, pickup surround etc. 'Gently' push the P/U down on its mounting screws and have a peek using a torch or penlight. Remember that the veneer is hardly noticeable and is only around 2mm to 3mm thick so you?ll have to look hard. Don't be fooled by the thick maple cap remember you're looking for something on top of that.

I?ve just picked up an ?80?s black Love Rock. This guitar has a solid 2 piece maple top one-piece mahogany neck and what looks like a 3 piece mahogany body (you can just about see the joint lines in the paint on the back of the guitar).

It plays real nice and sound wise I can?t fault it. I doubt Wheather you could hear much difference between a solid top and a veneered top, although I would say this guitar is a shade heavier than the sunburst models I?ve fondled.


Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2002 7:56 pm
by Peter Mac
Hi guys,

Keep in mind that the maple cap under the bookmatched laminate is generally not 2 piece, so the "centreline" will only travel for those 2-3mm.
This is arguably the quickest way to tell a solid top from a laminate, especially if it is bookmatched.

Peter

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2002 11:54 am
by Lee
Peter Mac

You've got me thinking now Peter. I'm gonna get the screwdrivers out and have a good look in day light at the maple cap on the black one. It could be one piece.

L

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 12:48 am
by Peter Mac
Hi Lee,
sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the maple cap is more likely 3-piece under a bookmatched laminated top.
With the solid color finishes (gold, black, cherry) these were generally 3-piece also, although some definately have 2-piece maple tops - mainly the higher priced models.
To the best of my knowledge, no Tokai LR had a single piece top.

Peter

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 4:46 pm
by Lee
Thanks again Peter. If it would just stop raining over here for 5 minutes I may be able to get out in the sunshine and confirm your suspicions. Hang on, sunshine in the UK :lol:

Could this be why my TLS50 guitar is a little heavier than normal. Like, if they were using off-cuts or wood with slight blemishes in the grain for the solid colour guitars. Waste not want not I guess.

Thoughts?


Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 9:11 pm
by Dana

Epiphone uses a mahogany/alder wood for the body on a lot of their guitars. Sometimes, you may find a really light Epiphone that is an all alder body. The norm is mahogany for the Epiphones but you can catch a few alder bodied guitars around. I owned 2 Epiphone LP Standards prior to getting my Tokai LS200 and one was almost 2lbs lighter than the other, which was a good indicator it was an alder body.

I ended up sending both Epi's back because one had a lot of cosmetic flaws (too much glue around inlays), and the other had a cracked headstock just behind the nut.

Dana

Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 5:01 am
by Peter Mac
Hi Lee,

As far as weight goes, your idea is not neccessarily true.
The weight of a LP has to do with the density of the woods used in the construction - not the number of pieces used. All wood that has not been cured properly will have a heavier density than wood that does, plus maple can vary immensly in weight depending on whether it is hard or soft maple, then blah, blah ,blah.. this could take all night.
Sorry. My point is that the average weight of a good LP is between 8 and 8.5 lbs. This seems a comfortable weight with the right blend of cured woods and body pieces.
The extra weight of your LP could be nothing more than pieces of hard rock maple used on the top. It can be that simple.
Going around and weighing guitars for the 8.5lb body weight is stupidity though. When I have chosen LP's over the decades, I go for neck shape, feel, weight and I always play it WITHOUT an amp FIRST - you need to feel the resonance. If it passes these criteria, I buy it - regardless of brand.

Your LS-50 sounds great. Forget the sunshine and just play it
regards
Peter