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Why do so few dealers sell Tokai?
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Leif
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:24 am    Post subject: Why do so few dealers sell Tokai? Reply with quote

I decided to buy a MIJ Tokai and the only dealers with stock were in Sheffield and Rotherham, which is hundreds of miles from me. And yet I live near Guitar Village and Andertons, two major guitar dealers. So I took a risk and ordered sight unseen. (A no-no in some people's books.) How come so few dealers stock them? I know the distributer is in the Sheffield area, so perhaps that reduces costs for nearby dealers. Still, I have never heard a bad review of a Tokai. Some people were not so keen on the tone, but generally people rave about them. What gives?

And on a related issue, how come the Japanese can build such good guitars for far less than Gibson, and Gibson are stuggling to survive even with high prices?
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Why do so few dealers sell Tokai? Reply with quote

Leif wrote:
How come so few dealers stock them?


Pressure from Gibson & Fender distributors? That seems the most likely reason.

As for why they're cheaper, well when you buy a Tokai you don't have to pay for the huge multi-national advertising campaign that (maybe) brought the guitar to your attention. You do with Gibson & Fender. Tokai is relatively small, & (I suspect) relatively efficient.

Why do you pay more for a pair of Nike trainers than a pair of own brand trainers probably made in the same Far Eastern sweatshop? You pay for the name, simple as that.

Mike
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Leif
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject: Re: Why do so few dealers sell Tokai? Reply with quote

stratman323 wrote:
Leif wrote:
How come so few dealers stock them?


Pressure from Gibson & Fender distributors? That seems the most likely reason.

As for why they're cheaper, well when you buy a Tokai you don't have to pay for the huge multi-national advertising campaign that (maybe) brought the guitar to your attention. You do with Gibson & Fender. Tokai is relatively small, & (I suspect) relatively efficient.

Why do you pay more for a pair of Nike trainers than a pair of own brand trainers probably made in the same Far Eastern sweatshop? You pay for the name, simple as that.

Mike


I hadn't thought about your first point, but you are probably right. Rich Tone stock Tokai and Fender but not Gibson, and no Tokai made Fender copies. Rockem musci stock Tokai but no Gibson. In a similar vein, many garages stock Coke and related drinks, but no lesser known brands.

I'm not sure about the advertising bit, you could be right, it's just I've never seen Gibson advertising, probably because I do not read guitar magazines.

I also suspect that the Japanese are usually more efficient at manufacturing. And attention to detail seems to be part of the culture.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Japanese see quality control as a vital part of the production process rather than an expensive luxury that can be cut to boost (short term) profits.
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guitarslinger
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's less about that actually (at least it hasn't been cited by Gibson - as we have asked about dealerships) and more down to, IMO, the fact that Tokai do not produce anywhere near enough Japanese Love Rock style guitars for the UK market.

There's never enough of the right stuff at the right time so it makes it hard, I would imagine, for Tokai UK to be opening up dealers all over the place with any continuity of supply. How much this is restricted by the UK or Japan i don't know.

This is a niche brand really - and knowing what I do about the manufacturer/distribution set up I would be HIGHLY surprised if the brand could have any more structural capacity for growth from a manufacturing/distribution point of view. I think a lot more people would be in to it if they were open minded enough.

The power of the big brands is very strong and from a retailer perspective it is much easier to turn a lot of F and G.

The Tokai Love Rock's are so superior in terms of value for money against their main competition - in terms of specs it is a bit of a no-brainer for anyone willing to take it all in.

The F style Tokai are great. But in my opinion, they are not as clear-cut value for money compared to the Love Rocks. Fender really do make excellent guitars for the money and have especially worked hard on the classic player range which is excellent. Further down the scale, the Squier Classic Vibe range is excellent value again. Mid priced guitars from G&L are also excellent and MIK.

If wasnt' a Fender main dealer however, i'm sure my perspective would alter as i'd need to allocate the cash to something else and give people the option of an F body shape.

If I have a change of heart on it - then you'll see the guitars come into stock.

Take Tokai for what it is - a "Cottage Industry" product that, for those that know, can become a bit of an obsession. For those that don't - well - that's more choice for the rest of us.

In terms of the distance to travel - we are right off the M1 - and down a bypass or two. It's fairly easy to get to. And think about this...

The two people we've had who win awards for distance travelled for a Tokai are:
1) One chap who flew into Heathrow from Houston Texas, drove up to Sheffield. Picked up his guitar, drove back down, got on a plane to Dubai.
2) One guy has also flown over from Norway i believe (james dealt with him) to get a Tokai, before flying back.

Okay - it's not every day, but a couple of hundred miles could be worse! ;0)

The good thing with a Tokai Japan guitar is, however, that it is a safe one to mail order. They are all very consistant and nice. So you should never really have an absolute howler.

That's my 2 pence worth. Off to watch the match.
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Leif
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers, that is very interesting. As you say, I am not surprised that F & G are easier to sell, and in the case of G presumably provides the dealer with a higher margin due to higher prices.
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AlanN
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're going to start to see far less Gibson around outside of the MAJOR dealers now.

When they got shut of Rosetti, it seemed great for a while - they started distributing by themselves, and let people who hadn't had a chance at stocking them before get them in the shop in small numbers. Brilliant. But then more recently they tied things in with an Epiphone package (something like "you have to spend 50k on Epis before we'll let you stock a Gibbo").

Now the newest thing is that to stock a Gibson - you have to buy one of each model. Insane. I know one of our relatively local store chains has pooled all of its Gibsons into one shop to try to cover this stupid requirement but they're having none of it. Daft eh!
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JVsearch
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AlanN wrote:
You're going to start to see far less Gibson around outside of the MAJOR dealers now.

When they got shut of Rosetti, it seemed great for a while - they started distributing by themselves, and let people who hadn't had a chance at stocking them before get them in the shop in small numbers. Brilliant. But then more recently they tied things in with an Epiphone package (something like "you have to spend 50k on Epis before we'll let you stock a Gibbo").

Now the newest thing is that to stock a Gibson - you have to buy one of each model. Insane. I know one of our relatively local store chains has pooled all of its Gibsons into one shop to try to cover this stupid requirement but they're having none of it. Daft eh!


Great isn't it! It's called "we're too f*cking crap at our jobs to figure out what the buyers want so we'll make the dealers hold the non-selling stuff and lose their money instead of ours".

The management there are just another bunch of lazy unimaginative anti-competitive corporate hacks now, and they're lucky to have jobs.

I really feel for the majority of the staff at Gibson - the ones who actually make the guitars, and under a lot of pressure.
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Diamond
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said.

guitarslinger wrote:
It's less about that actually (at least it hasn't been cited by Gibson - as we have asked about dealerships) and more down to, IMO, the fact that Tokai do not produce anywhere near enough Japanese Love Rock style guitars for the UK market.

There's never enough of the right stuff at the right time so it makes it hard, I would imagine, for Tokai UK to be opening up dealers all over the place with any continuity of supply. How much this is restricted by the UK or Japan i don't know.

This is a niche brand really - and knowing what I do about the manufacturer/distribution set up I would be HIGHLY surprised if the brand could have any more structural capacity for growth from a manufacturing/distribution point of view. I think a lot more people would be in to it if they were open minded enough.

The power of the big brands is very strong and from a retailer perspective it is much easier to turn a lot of F and G.

The Tokai Love Rock's are so superior in terms of value for money against their main competition - in terms of specs it is a bit of a no-brainer for anyone willing to take it all in.

The F style Tokai are great. But in my opinion, they are not as clear-cut value for money compared to the Love Rocks. Fender really do make excellent guitars for the money and have especially worked hard on the classic player range which is excellent. Further down the scale, the Squier Classic Vibe range is excellent value again. Mid priced guitars from G&L are also excellent and MIK.

If wasnt' a Fender main dealer however, i'm sure my perspective would alter as i'd need to allocate the cash to something else and give people the option of an F body shape.

If I have a change of heart on it - then you'll see the guitars come into stock.

Take Tokai for what it is - a "Cottage Industry" product that, for those that know, can become a bit of an obsession. For those that don't - well - that's more choice for the rest of us.

In terms of the distance to travel - we are right off the M1 - and down a bypass or two. It's fairly easy to get to. And think about this...

The two people we've had who win awards for distance travelled for a Tokai are:

Okay - it's not every day, but a couple of hundred miles could be worse! ;0)

The good thing with a Tokai Japan guitar is, however, that it is a safe one to mail order. They are all very consistant and nice. So you should never really have an absolute howler.

That's my 2 pence worth. Off to watch the match.
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Diamond
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AlanN wrote:
You're going to start to see far less Gibson around outside of the MAJOR dealers now.

When they got shut of Rosetti, it seemed great for a while - they started distributing by themselves, and let people who hadn't had a chance at stocking them before get them in the shop in small numbers. Brilliant. But then more recently they tied things in with an Epiphone package (something like "you have to spend 50k on Epis before we'll let you stock a Gibbo").

Now the newest thing is that to stock a Gibson - you have to buy one of each model. Insane. I know one of our relatively local store chains has pooled all of its Gibsons into one shop to try to cover this stupid requirement but they're having none of it. Daft eh!


Yep, all true.

You have to spend a minimum of $50,000, and they get to choose what they send, including a bunch of acoustics and other models that nobody wants...they even choose the colours they send you.
As for the Epi's they're shipping out these days, they're horrendous, the Tokai Traditional Series destroys them...IMO

And to top it off, flat plekked frets.
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plekked?
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AlanN
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.plek.com/en_US/home/
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I have heard of it thanks Alan, but I wasn't aware of any Tokai connection. All MIJ Tokai are plekked?
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Diamond
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stratman323 wrote:
Yeah I have heard of it thanks Alan, but I wasn't aware of any Tokai connection. All MIJ Tokai are plekked?


No, all current Gibsons are plekked...and most have flat frets.
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McRonson
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long before the recession bit down here in Blighty (the United Kingdom), I noticed a lot of guitar shops suddenly looking empty, with all their Gibson stock disappearing (I'm in Glasgow, Scotland). I was told that dealerships had to take 50% of their shop space and devote it to Gibson stock before they were allowed to sell Gibsons, etc.

I don't know if this is true but Sound Control went bust recently up here and now GuitarGuitar is pretty much THE main shop in Glasgow City Centre (they don't sell Tokai). Just wanted to contribute this to the thread

One quick question, I've got a picture of my mid-1980s Tokai LP and would appreciate some help/witty comments/mild joshing as to its provenance. What's the best thread on this forum to post it on? Ta!
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