New Explorer - Tokai 105 or Gibson advice please

Tokai guitar discussion

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Jock68
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New Explorer - Tokai 105 or Gibson advice please

Post by Jock68 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:15 am

I need some convincing I am looking for an Explorer and see a Tokai 105 natural for UK ?699 no case, or a Gibson Cherry Explorer for UK ?800 with hard case both brand new. I am struggling to find a reason to by the Tokai, and a bit concerned that the MK2 Pups in thge Tokai may need to be changed. Or is it just the Tokai LP models that represent good value doing a comparison with Gibson and other Tokai models are over priced. Is the Tokai quality that much better that would justify it costing more than a Gibson?

Cheers

JohnA
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Post by JohnA » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:47 am

I know this is the Tokai forum, but I would probably choose the Gibson out of the two at those prices. The Tokai will no doubt be as good as, or even better than the Gibson quality-wise, but if you came to sell it, the Gibson would definitely hold it's value better.

The MK2 pickups are great BTW, no need to change them.

Sayiing that, play them both and see what you think

Also spotted a used Tokai V here

http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_ ... H127XF2941

might be worth a punt??

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Post by Dave_Mc » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:00 am

are you willing to buy online? this is the last day of the waltons (they're in dublin) sale (so you'll have to make your mind up quickly), but they're selling a cherry gibson explorer for 799 euros...

http://www.waltons.ie/Product/View.aspx?id=18483

you'll probably have to ring to order, they have a glitch with their website for ordering from the UK for some reason.

just to clarify- do this at your own risk. I haven't tried that model, I have no idea what it's like. :) I've bought from the shop before online- one guitar was great, one wasn't, and they were great regarding the return of the dodgy one. But obviously that doesn't guarantee you'll have the same experience, either.

EDIT: i agree with john... i haven't tried either the gibson or tokai versions of the explorer, but assuming their quality is consistent with their other models, the tokai may well be the better instrument (no nitro, though)- but the gibson is the brand that people want and hence commands a higher premium on the used market. a while back when the yen was a lot weaker (or the pound a lot stronger... in effect, the same thing) tokais were a no-brainer IMO, as they were frequently half the price of equivalent gibson models. Now they're approaching gibson prices it makes the decision an awful lot harder.

Diamond
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Post by Diamond » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:02 pm

I don't think Tokais are approaching Gibson prices, it's more like Gibson are cutting their prices to cope with the recession and get rid of the crap they produced in 2012.

Unfortunately guitarists think of resale value before they buy a guitar, kind of odd to think about what will happen when we sell a guitar before we've actually bought it.
We're quite happy to spend a ton of money on a car that loses value (thousands) the minute we drive it out the showroom, but we're so concerned we might lose a hundred or two on a guitar? :roll:

My advice.
Buy the Tokai, save some money, keep the guitar long enough to fall in love with it, and keep it.

andyp81
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Post by andyp81 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:38 pm

Its no brainer for me buy the Gibson. They build some excellent guitars although they are over priced compared with Tokai but if you get a hard case and its a similar price to the Tokai it would be the Gibson.

Diamond
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Post by Diamond » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:22 pm

andyp81 wrote:They build some excellent guitars
In the Custom Shop, yes.

A Gibson Cherry Explorer for ?800 is not built in the Custom Shop, it has the cheapest finish money can buy, the same finish as the faded 'Studios'.

Have you seen one?

I agree, buy the Gibson if money is the only criteria.

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Post by stratmoto » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:25 pm

Diamond wrote:I don't think Tokais are approaching Gibson prices, it's more like Gibson are cutting their prices to cope with the recession and get rid of the crap they produced in 2012.
Hi Lance,

In my country, a Gibbo Trad is RRP $3999, & $2650 street, a Std is $4499 & $2995 street price. An LS260 is $3995, with no acknowledged "street price". The Traditional Series are also close to the same price as Epi's, but Epi's have a lower street price, again.

I was in a shop recently, that had a Gibbo Trad for $2650 near an LS98F for $1899. In hindsight, I should have asked if they would take $1200 for the Love Rock, but did not want embarrass anybody at the time. :wink:
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Post by Dave_Mc » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:25 pm

Diamond wrote:(a) I don't think Tokais are approaching Gibson prices, it's more like Gibson are cutting their prices to cope with the recession and get rid of the crap they produced in 2012.

(b) Unfortunately guitarists think of resale value before they buy a guitar, kind of odd to think about what will happen when we sell a guitar before we've actually bought it.
We're quite happy to spend a ton of money on a car that loses value (thousands) the minute we drive it out the showroom, but we're so concerned we might lose a hundred or two on a guitar? :roll:

My advice.
Buy the Tokai, save some money, keep the guitar long enough to fall in love with it, and keep it.
(a) it's a bit of both. gibson have been cutting their prices (or more like, in this case anyway, a store having a sale), but tokai prices (here in the UK, anyway) have been rising too.

(b) oh i agree that it's silly to buy a worse guitar solely because resale is better. but the gibson comes with a case (granted, doesn't make it a better guitar, lol, but does add value) and has the nitro finish, which some people prefer.

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Post by Diamond » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:12 am

stratmoto wrote:
Diamond wrote:I don't think Tokais are approaching Gibson prices, it's more like Gibson are cutting their prices to cope with the recession and get rid of the crap they produced in 2012.
Hi Lance,

In my country, a Gibbo Trad is RRP $3999, & $2650 street, a Std is $4499 & $2995 street price. An LS260 is $3995, with no acknowledged "street price". The Traditional Series are also close to the same price as Epi's, but Epi's have a lower street price, again.

I was in a shop recently, that had a Gibbo Trad for $2650 near an LS98F for $1899. In hindsight, I should have asked if they would take $1200 for the Love Rock, but did not want embarrass anybody at the time. :wink:
Hi Strat

Your offer of $1200 for the LS98F was correct, the shop would have taken it and no one would have been embarrassed. :D

The Gibbo Std street price, $2995, was 33% off the RRP, $1250 would have been 33% off the LS98F RRP.
So, the LS98F is almost a third of the price of the Gibbo Std, yet guys say the Tokai prices are approaching Gibson prices?

The majority of guitarists around the world can't compare Tokai VS Gibbo in a music store, so they'll argue that you have to have a LS260 to compare to a Gibbo Std.
They're wrong, a LS92 plaintop is what you compare to a Gibbo Std plaintop...and even then the 92 specs are better.
Solid body and medium neck tenon VS chambered body and short neck tenon.

I'll change the pickup switch on an LS92 to a switchcraft, and change the pots to CTS, why would I need an LS260 to go head to head with a Std?
Or, if solid maple flame top is the criteria, I'll take an LS160 solid flame top (LS150F), which is still half the price of a Gibbo Std, and less than half the price of a Custom shop R8.

The Tokai prices are only approaching the prices of the lowest end bottom of the range half finished, not painted, no body or neck binding, Gibbo's.
Tokai don't make any models with those specs and finish.

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Post by Diamond » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:33 am

Dave_Mc wrote:
Diamond wrote:(a) I don't think Tokais are approaching Gibson prices, it's more like Gibson are cutting their prices to cope with the recession and get rid of the crap they produced in 2012.

(b) Unfortunately guitarists think of resale value before they buy a guitar, kind of odd to think about what will happen when we sell a guitar before we've actually bought it.
We're quite happy to spend a ton of money on a car that loses value (thousands) the minute we drive it out the showroom, but we're so concerned we might lose a hundred or two on a guitar? :roll:

My advice.
Buy the Tokai, save some money, keep the guitar long enough to fall in love with it, and keep it.
(a) it's a bit of both. gibson have been cutting their prices (or more like, in this case anyway, a store having a sale), but tokai prices (here in the UK, anyway) have been rising too.

(b) oh i agree that it's silly to buy a worse guitar solely because resale is better. but the gibson comes with a case (granted, doesn't make it a better guitar, lol, but does add value) and has the nitro finish, which some people prefer.
Good points.

(a) Unfortunately the JYen is very strong at the moment.

(b) Every Tokai, including the Traditional Series, should come with a case.
I sell cases at a very small profit or cost to make certain that every guit is in a case...the psychology of a case is enormous. :D

Nitro finish.
Interesting one.
Some of the very big stores down here stock PRS, Tom Anderson, Fender Custom Shop, and Tokai.
PRS, the majority of Fender and TA aren't Nitro, the only Nitros they have in the store are Premium Series Tokai and Fender Custom Shop.
No kidding, no one even knows that PRS and TA aren't nitro, they just don't care.

Check this photo.
PRS USA, TA 'Bulldog', and a Tokai LS92 Pink Paisley on the same display.
You can pick up and play all 3 brands and the fit & finish is equal on all of them.

Image

Dave_Mc
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Post by Dave_Mc » Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:43 am

Diamond wrote: Good points.

(a) Unfortunately the JYen is very strong at the moment.

(b) Every Tokai, including the Traditional Series, should come with a case.
I sell cases at a very small profit or cost to make certain that every guit is in a case...the psychology of a case is enormous. :D

(c) Nitro finish.
Interesting one.
Some of the very big stores down here stock PRS, Tom Anderson, Fender Custom Shop, and Tokai.
PRS, the majority of Fender and TA aren't Nitro, the only Nitros they have in the store are Premium Series Tokai and Fender Custom Shop.
No kidding, no one even knows that PRS and TA aren't nitro, they just don't care.

Check this photo.
PRS USA, TA 'Bulldog', and a Tokai LS92 Pink Paisley on the same display.
You can pick up and play all 3 brands and the fit & finish is equal on all of them.

Image
:)

(a) yeah. :(

(b) here they don't seem to... funnily enough the fender copies here seem to come with a case while the cheaper gibson copies don't. Which is arguably the wrong way round, i'd be more worried about a gibson-style guitar breaking than a fender-style :lol:

(c) yeah I'm well aware that a lot of people don't care- and on certain styles of guitar I don't care either. the vast majority of my guitars aren't nitro. nitro does seem to feel that little bit nicer than a glossy poly finish, though (and lots of those guitars you mentioned might have non-nitro, but satin-style finishes, so that's not really the same thing- I like satin non-nitro finishes). For example, i have an 80s goldstar with the nitro finish, and a newer breezysound which is poly- they're both nice guitars, and I don't care that much... but the poly is definitely a little stickier etc. under your fingers.
Diamond wrote: Hi Strat

Your offer of $1200 for the LS98F was correct, the shop would have taken it and no one would have been embarrassed. :D

The Gibbo Std street price, $2995, was 33% off the RRP, $1250 would have been 33% off the LS98F RRP.
So, the LS98F is almost a third of the price of the Gibbo Std, yet guys say the Tokai prices are approaching Gibson prices?

The majority of guitarists around the world can't compare Tokai VS Gibbo in a music store, so they'll argue that you have to have a LS260 to compare to a Gibbo Std.
They're wrong, a LS92 plaintop is what you compare to a Gibbo Std plaintop...and even then the 92 specs are better.
Solid body and medium neck tenon VS chambered body and short neck tenon.

I'll change the pickup switch on an LS92 to a switchcraft, and change the pots to CTS, why would I need an LS260 to go head to head with a Std?
Or, if solid maple flame top is the criteria, I'll take an LS160 solid flame top (LS150F), which is still half the price of a Gibbo Std, and less than half the price of a Custom shop R8.

The Tokai prices are only approaching the prices of the lowest end bottom of the range half finished, not painted, no body or neck binding, Gibbo's.
Tokai don't make any models with those specs and finish.
I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but I would say that (a) a nitro finish is arguably an upgrade on the poly finishes and (b) if you're not looking at the les paul models, the tokai models here in the UK are starting to approach gibson prices, certainly gibson sale prices (plus I don't think gibson chambers those other models, but i could be wrong). SGs, explorers, Vs and things like that the prices are getting very, very close if not identical.

the whole psychology thing you mentioned comes into play, too- when you're looking at tokais which were ?400-?500 not so long ago which are now ?700-?900, they seem dear (even if, from an objective point of view, they arguably are worth that dearer price), whereas gibsons are more or less the same price they've always been (going by the recent sale prices, anyway).

I mean... i freaking love the japanese stuff. I'm well aware of how good it is, and I've put my money where my mouth is (several times). But when even an admitted MIJ fan like me (or John A) is starting to second guess the value of MIJ Tokais at current UK prices...

Not tokai's fault of course- it's pretty much entirely down to the really strong yen. And of course it doesn't stop them from being good guitars, and compared to what else is available on the market they may still be worth it, to you. But it's worth thinking about, is all. It was a lot simpler when they were ?400-?500 :lol:

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Post by JohnA » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:10 pm

Yes, Dave and Diamond (Diamond Dave) , I agree with both sides of the discussion and it's unfortunate that resale value has to come in to it, but it's a fact of life in particular in our current economic climate that a new Tokai is a financially risky purchase.
Another thing to consider is to keep your eyes peeled for a second hand Tokai, they can be quite a bargain!

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Post by looktoyourorb » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:55 pm

The conservative used values would be around ?600 for the Explorer and ?400 for the Tokai.

Regarding Tokai vs Gibson I have respectively 3 and 2 of these but I would NOT buy a Gibson unseen and untried. If you want it please go and try it. On the other hand the quality of my Tokais is outstanding and I trust their QC.

I do prefer the burstbuckers or 59's over the MK, do not let this put you off - the EX105 will probably be the highest quality Explorer you will touch.
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Post by Chesterreddragon » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:14 am

I have a one year old, hardly played EX105N that I am considering selling as it doesn't really suit my style (it was a mid-life crisis impulse buy!). The guitar is fabulous, sounds excellent (nothing wrong with those pickups, believe me) and looks brand new (not a mark on it anywhere). Also has a hard case. I have compared it to the current cheap(ish) Gibson Explorers and the Tokai's finish and overall quality is (as usual) superior.

If you're still in the market and possibly interested in this, then post a reply and let's see where we go.
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Jock68
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EX105

Post by Jock68 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:09 pm

Yes, if you are in the UK I would like to see some pics.

Cheers

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