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Japanese vs. Korean build
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Dr. Wu
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Joined: 16 Feb 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Southern Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:32 pm    Post subject: Japanese vs. Korean build Reply with quote

I'm looking at buying one of the 335 clones, and have not test driven any. Having done a little homework online, it seems to me that you can generalize like this,more or less: The Korean models are very good value, but to do a serious job, you would likely want to upgrade the pickups and maybe some of the other electronics; whereas the Japanese models can compete with the top American brand names without upgrades being necessary.

Right?
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Oggy
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Joined: 20 Jan 2004
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Location: Isle of Man, UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 1:55 am    Post subject: Korean Explorer Reply with quote

Dr. Wu, I recently bought a new Korean made Tokai Explorer through ebay. To my dismay it's pretty shoddy, you can see runs in the clear coat finish, they have tried to buff them out but they're still visible. The neck joint has needed adjusting during assembly, so a 2mm slither has been inserted on one side to true it up, the other side is a flush fit but it's been blended together in a very poor way. The tuning peg guides are pushed through in a very uneven fashion, and it has a strange crack in the finish by one of the pegs and also a blemish under the paint. The matching of the wood colour is also very bad......

I am returning it to the dealer (theguitarcellar.com) for a refund, they have been very good about it and are good to deal with.
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Paladin2019
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Joined: 06 Sep 2002
Posts: 2045
Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 4:14 am    Post subject: Re: Japanese vs. Korean build Reply with quote

Dr. Wu wrote:
I'm looking at buying one of the 335 clones, and have not test driven any. Having done a little homework online, it seems to me that you can generalize like this,more or less: The Korean models are very good value, but to do a serious job, you would likely want to upgrade the pickups and maybe some of the other electronics; whereas the Japanese models can compete with the top American brand names without upgrades being necessary.

Right?


That's about the size of it, though there are Korean fans here who've had great experiences with the MIK line.

Jap models could do with a better nut IMO but otherwise top notch.
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prince bishop
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Joined: 31 Aug 2003
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Location: U.K.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dr. Wu,
I've got an ES120 which after a little TLC and a pro setup plays,sounds and feels great.A lot of owners have been putting aftermarket pickups on their guitars (ie Seth Lovers, Fralins etc) but I'm happy with the originals.Have a look on Harmony for reviews.Sorry I can't comment on the MIK guitars (never tried one).
Pals right about the nuts on Japanese Toks they could be a lot better.

pb
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oldflame
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Joined: 22 Dec 2003
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Location: Left of centre

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to rain on your parade but the Korean Tokais are planed driftwood
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drt
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 01 Jun 2003
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: Japanese vs. Korean build Reply with quote

Dr. Wu wrote:
...whereas the Japanese models can compete with the top American brand names without upgrades being necessary.

Right?



Are you saying low grade American guitars and High grade Japanese guitars compete equally?
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Dr. Wu
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Joined: 16 Feb 2004
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Location: Southern Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm.... Thank you. It seems that these offshore types are doing the two-grades thing. Another example is Washburn, which has its 335 clones (HB-30, Korean, & HB-35, Japanese.) The latter costs twice what the former does. According to the Harmony Central reviews, the double price doesn't guarantee double satisfaction, but that doesn't mean anything.

I suppose Epiphone and Epiphone Elite is the same thing.

prince bishop, you are referring to people upgrading the pickups on the Japanese models, right? (That seems to negate the purpose for buying Japanese in the first place.)
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Paladin2019
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Joined: 06 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: Japanese vs. Korean build Reply with quote

drt wrote:


Are you saying low grade American guitars and High grade Japanese guitars compete equally?


That's not true. High grade Jap guitars are serious competition to high grade American guitars.

Low grade MIA are usually obliterated by MIJ of the same price in my experience.


Last edited by Paladin2019 on Tue Feb 17, 2004 9:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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Paladin2019
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Joined: 06 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr. Wu wrote:


prince bishop, you are referring to people upgrading the pickups on the Japanese models, right? (That seems to negate the purpose for buying Japanese in the first place.)


Nah, buying Jap gets you better wood, better construction, usually better QC and better components. Just an all-round better guitar, which is also a better base to build on for any upgrades you may want to do.
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prince bishop
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree with Pal.
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vaporboy
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Joined: 23 May 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

washburn HB35 and 35S are Korean made guitars - not Japanese, build quality is excellent.
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Micky Mojo
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 49
Location: Teesside

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a MIK Love Rock flame top for a week last year. The guitar wasn't that bad but the pickups are nowt to shout about and the nut was an absolute disgrace I would say it was on a par with a MIK Epi. I took it back and got a MIJ Tokai Gold Top instead. The neck pickup ring cracked so I replaced with new Gibson rings and the top strap button kept coming loose, repaired with a match stick. Overall though I would say the GT is the best finished guitar I've ever owned the frets are amazing.

The last time I was in the shop where I buy my guitars the owner was sending back a Tokai MIK Rickenbacker clone to the distributer, it was the worst finished guitar I've seen in a long time. MIK Tokai's do seem to me to be getting a lot worse in the QC dept.
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Doc Loco
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Joined: 31 Dec 2003
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Location: Out for lunch

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vaporboy wrote:
washburn HB35 and 35S are Korean made guitars - not Japanese, build quality is excellent.


I can only talk about my HB35, but it's definitly a japanese model. I've bought it new in the very early nineties though, so it's possible new ones are korean.
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Twangster
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 18 Jun 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never had a problem with a Korean made Tokai, top notch workmanship. 2 Strats and a Love Rock, inlaw has a Gibby hollow body copy that is great also. Guess every line has there lemons. If you buy from a good dealer and talk with them, there not going to sell you a lemon just to be returned.

Of course I like to tear down guitars as soon as I can to see what's inside and change what I don't like.
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oldflame
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Joined: 22 Dec 2003
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Location: Left of centre

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shall I eat my words?

No, but I did have a little play on a Korean 335 copy on Tuesday evening.

It was pasty a looking blonde model but my friend had set it up for a client and it wasn't too bad. Felt very 'plastic' though. The guy paid ?350 new.
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