"Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Tokai guitar discussion

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Ochanomizu
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"Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by Ochanomizu » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:39 pm

I went to guitar street in Ochanomizu, Tokyo with intention to get a Tokai Les Paul or possibly some kind of LP Special or Junior. The selection was so overwhelming and many prices higher than expected, so I ended up not getting anything. On my next visit to Japan, I hope to be more educated and to get the best Tokai I can find.

1. What are the very best models of vintage Les Paul style Tokais ever made? (Including new and 70's-80's era Tokai)

2. Does anyone know what Tokai Billy Gibbons is playing in this video?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHvrysH8mJo

I am more focused on highest quality, not the cheaper/best value models, though they are very important and impressive too.

Here is some eye candy from my visit to Tokyo. On that day I was most interested in the KLS345F, but when I return I might look closest at the more 1959 vintage correct looking models.

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guitar hiro
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by guitar hiro » Fri Dec 20, 2019 9:05 pm

to your question #2: there are some clues
(1) video is dated 1997
(2) head stock has Tokai Love Rock Model
(3) finger board is very dark, basically black, and no visible grain

going by those attributes I would guess a 1981 LS-200V but I suppose we could ask the Rev's guitar tech Elwood Francis :wink:
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BrazenPickerNew
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by BrazenPickerNew » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:15 am

"Best" is in the eye of the beholder, but for a newer guitar, personally I'd prefer a Crews Vintage Line model, Momose or Navigator, and for Tokai the older stuff. Call me superficial, but I see they still do pretty shoddy inlay work, which is even worse on a nice braz board. If Gibson did this the internet would go in meltdown, but somehow people give Tokai a pass.

Nice Crews at reasonable prices for what they are. Maybe it was luck, but the 3 Crews VL guitars I touched were all great.
https://www.digimart.net/cat01/shop41/DS05766863/
https://www.digimart.net/cat01/shop4889/DS05807751/

If you're still in Tokyo , I have a very light (3.8-3.9kg) 1980 LS-80 ice tea burst in very clean condition and with original case you could have for 150,000 Yen, and also some other choice guitars (Momose, Navigator, 2 other LS-80).
New but unimproved Brazenpicker account. Got locked out of the old one!

guitar hiro
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by guitar hiro » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:40 am

Ochanomizu, BrazenPicker makes some great points.
'Best' is most certainly a subjective idea that can mean many (different) things to many persons.
I agree with the sloppy inlay work issue AFA the (newer) Tokais; my 2000 LS-320 has them but it doesn't really bother me much at all.
It is what it is & my LS-320 is all the 'newer' Tokai I could ever ask for. 8)
It's 20 years old now; does that make it 'vintage?' :lol:

Another thing; the idea of 'vintage correct' also means different things to different people. Vintage Tokai LS models do not have a long tenon. Is that vintage correct? Depends on one's opinion. Some newer Tokais don't have fret edge binding. Is that vintage correct? Doesn't seem like it but then that's just another opinion. There are plenty of vintage Gibson LPs that don't have fret edge binding after a re-fret so, I guess 'nibs' aint such a big deal? I guess it all depends on what you are willing to accept. IMO 'vintage correct' doesn't mean a whole lot, except for the person using the term & their idea of what it means to them. It's basically a term like 'best' IMO.

Since you are able to try all those guitars my suggestion would be to try as many as you can play & see which one(s) speak to you. You may as well since you have the ability to do just that. That way you could possibly find a guitar that cost le$$ but that offers you what you are looking for. Just a thought.

Good luck
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villager
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by villager » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:46 am

excellent post above...

Ochanomizu
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by Ochanomizu » Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:19 pm

Thanks for the replies. All great info.

Is there a guide or full model list that breaks down features of each from the 70's to present?

HAMAMATSU
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by HAMAMATSU » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:00 pm

HLS = hibiki LS
KLS = kurosawa LS
many special ordered tokais available lately ..... 8)
QUALITY THAN QUANTITY!

marcusnieman
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by marcusnieman » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:21 pm

Wow..... like a candy store for the eyes and fingers. I still love a good old plaintop like that LS186 ....

-Alan-
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by -Alan- » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:43 pm

Candy store is right - that's one hell of a (set of) guitar shop(s) :o :)
Superb!

Ochanomizu
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by Ochanomizu » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:06 pm

I might be back there in the next couple of months and will either get a LP or LP Junior/Special and carry on plane home.

Thanks for the info on inlays, I’ll watch that closely.

Which is better between HLS Hibiki or KLS Kurosawa?

Is there a vintage replica with long neck tenon, good woods and good inlays?

luis
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by luis » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:41 pm

Hibiki have their own specs Tokai would not use for another model than a Hibiki; if you aske them for a LS with Hibiki specs there is no chance to be accepted. It seems Kurosawa LS are a recent model specked...

Ochanomizu
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by Ochanomizu » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:55 pm

I think I'm after one of the following 3. I can only carry 1 on the plane.
LS plaintop
KLS high spec like the 345F or that 600F
A TJ85 or TJ90 Junior

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Last edited by Ochanomizu on Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

guitar hiro
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by guitar hiro » Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:50 am

if you're looking at those examples you might as well go for one with a BRZ 'board; they actually look like they are less expensive
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brokentoes
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by brokentoes » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:06 pm

Hell You are Toykyo !!!

I have 6 Tokai's myself so its not like i don't hold them in high esteem but..........unless your heart is set on Tokai, i'd look for some of the other makes as well. Bacchus, Crews, Navigator, Greco, Burny... the world is your oyster. I'm very envious of your visit. Enjoy your trip !!

Ochanomizu
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Re: "Best" Tokai LP Style Recommendation - Tokyo visit

Post by Ochanomizu » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:08 pm

brokentoes wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:06 pm
Hell You are Toykyo !!! I have 6 Tokai's myself so its not like i don't hold them in high esteem but..........unless your heart is set on Tokai, i'd look for some of the other makes as well. Bacchus, Crews, Navigator, Greco, Burny... the world is your oyster. I'm very envious of your visit. Enjoy your trip !!
Thanks for that. Is there a "pecking order" for those brands in order of quality?
Tokai, Bacchus, Crews, Navigator, Greco, Burny

I actually just bought a Knaggs Kenai-J with 2 P90's which is based on a LP Jr/Special but still want a great Les Paul 59 burst or Junior from Japan.

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