Help me identify a 1970's Sunburst Les Paul

Area for Tokai's older than 1985

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Graham
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Help me identify a 1970's Sunburst Les Paul

Post by Graham » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:27 pm

Hi, I have two questions for anyone familiar with Tokai Les Pauls manufactured in the 70's:

First, did any of these guitars ever come with Brazilian rosewood fingerboards?

Second, was red filler used on the back and sides of the guitar, beneath the cherry red laqueur, as on the 1950's Gibson L.P.'s?

In case you're not familiar with this, I'll explain: filler is rubbed into the tiny holes in the grain of the more porous woods, like mahogany, before the laqueur is applied. This filler can be colored, and in the case of the Gibson sunburst Les Pauls, the filler is red. If you look very closely you'll see thousands of tiny red dots--the resulting finish looks much redder than if it was just red laqueur over plain mahogany.


Any info you can give me is much appreciated.


If you're interested:
The guitar I have is a "forgery" of some type. It has a Gibson logo, and a serial number which would be consistent with an early 1958 Gibson--meaning it's nothing like a Tokai serial number. But my guitar doesn't have the proper red filler. My guitar also has a Brazilian fingerboard...which may have been added on.

I've taken the guitar to a couple owners of real 50's Gibson LP sunbursts, as well as dealers, and I'm now quite convinced that this isn't a Gibson. Without getting into the details, there are numerous things that don't match up with a fifties Gibson. And it's also not a conversion, or a 68 Gibson. One guy thought it might be a Love Rock...although it's too early for that, I purchased it in 1981. But I've looked at some Love Rocks on Ebay, and they look very close to this guitar...the color and shading of the burst, and even the type of maple on the top looks more like a Love Rock than a Gibson...so maybe it's one of the earlier Tokai LP's.

-Thanks

togps
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Post by togps » Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:50 am

Graham welcome to the forum.
I'm not able to determine a Tokai from the filler

Shot pics, pics ...
Detail pics of the pups cavities as well.

hans-j?rgen
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Post by hans-j?rgen » Mon Apr 17, 2006 9:27 am

The change from Les Paul Reborn/Reborn Old to Love Rock happened in 1980, and Tokai started with their Les Paul copies around 1977, maybe even 1976. The first catalog available on the main site is from 1978 though. As the early ones are all in Japanese only (but with lots of info), we don't know for sure if they used Brazilian rosewood on any of their first models, same for Honduras mahogany for body and neck. I think the first mentioning of Jacaranda in an English catalog appeared in 1997 with the LS320.
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
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Graham
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Post by Graham » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:42 am

Thanks for the responses.

I have pictures, I just need to figure out how to post them, I've never done that in a forum before.

Do you have any suggested size or dimension limitations for the pics?

I found instructions on posting pics on another forum...I'll hope it works the same way here, unless you guys have specific instructions that you can point me to.

thanks...

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Post by bigmike » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:43 am

Graham

To post photos HERE go to Photobucket.com and setup an account for yourself. Download the pictures there - the Photobucket software will compress the photos if need be. Then before posting here copy the URL link from the photo and when posting here hit the IMG button and paste the link in. Submit the post and if you have multiple photos add them by doing an EDIT to your post and then repeating the COPY/PASTE operation of the photo URLs. It's great.

So do you mind telling us what you paid for it, how does it play and sound ?? Where did you find it ?? Compared to a lot of the Les Pauls you have seen how does it's quality of build and playability compare. There are many luthiers out there that have made excellent Les Paul copies for years. Peter Max is the first that comes to my mind, many people PREFER the copies over the G-brand models that have been coming out.

Your pictures would be most appreciated here. There is a Les Paul forum where you are likely to get a lot of very educated answers, it's pretty cool place from what I have seen. Like any forum there are the so called "experts" too...


Good luck posting those photos


BigMike
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Graham
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Post by Graham » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:19 pm

Mike, thanks for the info on posting photos.

I purchased the guitar in 1981, from a shop in NYC, for $800...at a time when real 1958 'bursts were going for about $3500., and used 70's Les Pauls were more like $500.

The guitar was represented as a 1958 Gibson Les Paul neck and body, with all new Gibson hardware and pickups. No explanation was given as to how or why it got that way, and at the time I didn't think to ask.

The build quality is excellent, as is the playability. It's not nearly as heavy as most newer Les Pauls, but it's not as light as the lighter 50's Les Pauls. There's nothing on it that looks handmade, except for the botchy job putting in the fake Gibson Logo.

I like the way this guitar sounds better than the 70's Les Paul I used to own...and better then the '68 goldtop I used to have way back when. But it doesn't sound as good to me as the best of the 1950's Les Pauls I've tried. It's overall very nice and sweet, and the chords blend very well.

I've gone to the Les Paul forum. One of the guys there was very helpful, and actually encouraged me to get it looked at by experienced guitar dealers and collectors... which I did. And the word is that it's not real. The only thing that gave anybody pause is the Brazilian rosewood fretboard. Everyone thought it looked like it came off of a '50's Gibson. But the body, neck, and headstock--no.

So that's why I'm wondering if it's an early Tokai that's been modified.

Photos to follow...

Graham
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Post by Graham » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:20 pm

I tried reducing the image size, twice, and they keep coming out this large...well, at least you'll get a good look.


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togps
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Post by togps » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:45 pm

Nice old vintage lady. It is not a low budget guitar. Long neck tennon.
Following the neck cavity it is not a Tokai.

Probably our "other guitar" forum experts could help you more.

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Post by hans-j?rgen » Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:21 am

togps wrote:Following the neck cavity it is not a Tokai.
Furthermore Tokai never used those bridge posts with extra bushings on the old MIJ models (newer MIK versions use the larger Nashville style ones), but they might have been replaced for the strange bridge with pickup. And they wouldn't have done such a bad job on the fingerboard inlays either.
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"

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Post by tokaijunkie » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:09 am

Hi all

A very interesting guitar! I'd definitely agree with hans-j?rgen and togps that it's not a Tokai and I would also definitely say that it's not a Fernandes or a Burny. The reason for that is, Fernandes/Burny always drilled the front pickup volume pot hole almost inline with the stopbar holes. This is not the case here.

So, we know its not a Gibson, not a Tokai and not a Fernandes/Burny. What we do have left? Greco? Edwards? I don't have enough information about them to tell.

Best regards

TJ
Only a TOKAI is good enough!

http://guitar.pmn.ch/blackpearl

Graham
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Post by Graham » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:26 am

Just a reminder...the guitar was sold as being a '58 Gibson with "all new" hardware--no original hardware. So it's only the wood that's at issue. The bridge posts are modern Gibson stuff. The stopbar holes--I don't know...I suppose they could have been changed, I know they pull out on most Gibsons, although I haven't taken them out here.

I've never heard of Greco and Edwards, are they 70's makers?

At this point I'm leaning towards thinking it's a one-off by an individual "luthier".

Oh, I'd be interested if someone can tell me: what is a Tokai Reborn neck cavity like? Do they have long tenons? How does it look different than this guitar?

Thanks...

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Post by villager » Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:51 pm

doesnt look like a 70's greco to me tenon is wrong ...

not sure..could be an early navigator ..those were hand built..

I think a one off ...

its quite beautifull!!

sneakyjapan
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Post by sneakyjapan » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:45 pm

there were literally dozens of Japanese makers in the past most of which are long gone so it may be a bit difficult to i.d.

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