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laminated tops
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james
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Joined: 29 Jan 2002
Posts: 294
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to agree with Peter about playing a guitar without an amp first of all. I always do this and a guitar's acoustic sound has definitly become one of the key criteria for me buying it. I think I started doing it years ago, after reading an interview with Dicky Betts from the Allman Brothers, where he said he picked his 50s Les Paul from several after taking them all into a tiled bathroom and just playing them acoustically - didn't bother with an amp at all. Not sure I'd go quite that far but for me its always the place to start.
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Lee
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter/James

Yeah I go with the acoustic test too, I have a PRS McCarty Soapbar that is so resonant that it has a kind of plasticy sound to it, somewhat like those old Italian guitars from the 60's (just reissued I believe). I'm not saying that's a bad thing just different. In some ways its almost too resonant at times depending on what style I'm playing. It's a very lively plank and doesn't suit everything.

But I agree that there are a number of factors that "add up" to a guitars overall sound including all the points you mentioned.

I'm well pleased with the TLS50 having been after a black one for ages. I'll try and post a pic up here and on the Tokai Pic Page.

Cheers
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salfordred
Plucker


Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concernig the "average" weight of a good LP. 8-8.5lbs. seems a little on the light side. If you look at the average weights of the LP's in the Beauty of the Burst book, most come in around 9lbs. I think way too much attention is made to the weight issue. LP's can be killer guitars from 8 to 10lbs!
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nakamichi
Guitar God


Joined: 10 Sep 2001
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2002 5:38 pm    Post subject: Veneers Reply with quote

I happened by PJ Walkers guitar shop in Portsmouth on the day he was unpacking three new Tokai Love Rocks (MIJ). I'd just successfully sued my previous employer for unfair dismissal and my bank balance was unnecesarilly bloated. I'd made up my mind to get the real deal - a Gibson Les Paul.

After trying every LP in the shop (Custom, Deluxe, Artiste, Black Beauty etc. etc.) I decided to have a look at the Tokais. I knew they were good having previously owned a Tokai Strat replica. I was completely blown away and forgot about the Gibsons.

My only problem then was deciding which Tokai to buy...I fell in love with the quilted model, thought the flamed maple was sexy - BUT - the LS-65 with the simple two-piece maple top sounded best. It was also the cheapest.

I went looking for a Gibson and was prepared to pay as much as it took, but the best guitar in the shop was the Tokai LS-65 MIJ. Aesthetics sometimes get in the way of sound judgement - I loved the look of the quilted top but it sounded dull compared with the maple top.

If a polyurethane finish can affect the resonance of a solid guitar (and it does!!) I'm sure a thin veneer which is glued on does too!!
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Brian Robinson
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Peter Mac
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 1060
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2002 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

good point, Brian.

If we say that every glue joint takes away 1% of resonance, then God help Epiphone.

Your point about the top is quite valid though. To fit the laminate, the maple cap underneath needs to be 3mm thinner and the laminate would not add any real sustain/tone to the guitar - it is more a cosmetic enhancement. The 2-piece solid maple cap models (flame or plain) would always out-perform the laminate top models.

regards
Peter Mac
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bobw
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Joined: 14 Mar 2002
Posts: 40
Location: Surrey UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian,
Your last comments bear out my own feelings when I first raised this topic, that namely paying out for a laminated top was not perhaps a good idea for tone and is certainly not authentic for construction. Futhermore ignore the inital glamour or name on the headstock and check out the sound and feel. The Epi Les Paul I once owned was really quite good when fitted with decent pickups and still around ?400 compared to the Tokai at ?650 - ?800 in the UK. I'm not saying don't but a 'pretty' Tokai, just keep a clear head.
Incidentally I have recently purchased a new Tokai SG -solid wood, sounds and feels great.

BobW
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bobw
Sus4add11


Joined: 14 Mar 2002
Posts: 40
Location: Surrey UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian,
Your last comments bear out my own feelings when I first raised this topic, that namely paying out for a laminated top was not perhaps a good idea for tone and is certainly not authentic for construction. Futhermore ignore the inital glamour or name on the headstock and check out the sound and feel. The Epi Les Paul I once owned was really quite good when fitted with decent pickups and still around ?400 compared to the Tokai at ?650 - ?800 in the UK. I'm not saying don't but a 'pretty' Tokai, just keep a clear head.
Incidentally I have recently purchased a new Tokai SG -solid wood, sounds and feels great.

BobW
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cornelius bonobo
Guitar God


Joined: 18 Mar 2002
Posts: 82
Location: UK (Essex)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 5:55 am    Post subject: epi construction Reply with quote

All the epi Les Paul Standards I have seen are basically alder bodied. They have a mahogany cap with just a thin veneer of flamed maple over the top of that. Obviously this cuts costs quite a bit but makes the guitar look more authentic, and I think that the epis sound thinner than a traditionally constructed les Paul (maple over mahogany). You can see what woods are used by lifting the pickups out of the body and looking at the profile inside the cavity.
I'm not going to argue with anyone about the tonal qualities of different woods, but I can't help feeling that all this talk about using N/C instead of PU or acrylic varnishes is only so much BS. I think that the truth is that generally N/C varnishes are pretty low build, so in order to get the depth of finish and gloss you have to put loads of coats on and this is pretty labour intensive therefore costly. Also N/C yellows with age which many people agree looks pretty cool. It's also not quite so flexible and so you get a bit of crazing on old guitars from constant changes in ambient temp / humidity. (Again pretty cool). PUs and acrylics are more tolerant of ambient temp / humidity changes, don't yellow as much, don't scratch as easily and a single coat is sometimes 5X thicker than can be acheived with 1 N/C coat. Obviously this means a tougher finish can be acheived more quickly and cost effectively, but in the end you're talking about a coating of less than 0.5mm on a guitar body of about 50mm. I would gladly eat my hat if somebody proved they could tell the sonic difference between 2 electric guitars identical except for the finish but I've yet to meet anybody. I mean how often do you hear somebody saying that a cherry sunburst gives a warmer tone than a tobacco burst. It's just silly isn't it? People don't buy gold tops because the aluminium flake used in the varnish imparts a brighter tone, because that would just be bollocks.
In the end I think the only justified reason for using NC varnish is that it looks and feels more vintage accurate, but let's face it, if feel was that important we'd all be using satin finished polyurethane coated guitars because they feel NICE!
Now acoustic guitars, I could tell you a thing or 2 about those........
Who's stolen my anorak?!
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loverockerUK
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

null

Last edited by loverockerUK on Sat Mar 13, 2004 10:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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cornelius bonobo
Guitar God


Joined: 18 Mar 2002
Posts: 82
Location: UK (Essex)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2002 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Bazza,
You're a sensible lad I can tell. I've calmed down a bit now and feel that I should point out that I am not usually prone to ranting about paint but there you go. Call it PMT or something.

Anybody fancy an argument about the tonal affect of quilt / flame tops over plain or birdseye tops?
What about multiple bindings?
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Peter Mac
Guitar God


Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 1060
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2002 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always felt that a butterscotch finish has a much sweeter sound than a sunburst...which is fruitier.

The N/C laquer does have 1 small advantage in that it allows the wood to "breathe" where polys don't. Tokai got around this by not totally encasing the body with lacquer - generally the pickup cavity or tremelo spring cavity are not fully painted and sealed to allow the air/smoke/temperature to continue to age the wood.
A luthier friend of mine once described polyurethane laquer as "putting the wood between 2 pieces of glass - nothing gets in and nothing changes"
Most muso's like the fact that the guitar "ages" with them, changes it's character to suit the owner, etc, etc.
All 3 laquers ( N/C, polyester, polyurethane) have their merits and pit-falls - go with what you prefer.

regards
Peter Mac
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Lee
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2002 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Barry.
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loverockerUK
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2002 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

null

Last edited by loverockerUK on Sat Mar 13, 2004 10:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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cornelius bonobo
Guitar God


Joined: 18 Mar 2002
Posts: 82
Location: UK (Essex)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2002 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I see now why I'm having trouble putting down that tobacco sunburst tele. Time to get the old axe patches I think.
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cornelius bonobo
Guitar God


Joined: 18 Mar 2002
Posts: 82
Location: UK (Essex)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2002 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's kick those pansy Les Paul owning arses.
If I see anyone with a Gold Top its going right up their...................
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