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My Phenomenal Tokai Korean Love Rock Review

 
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stratdeluxer
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Joined: 28 Aug 2002
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2002 7:30 pm    Post subject: My Phenomenal Tokai Korean Love Rock Review Reply with quote

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Hello everybody....As promised I wanted to give an in depth review on my new 2001 Korean made Love Rock Les Paul(lefty) 59 replica... Who says the Korean model Tokai Love Rocks suck? Mine is phenomenal.... ;o)

I must say that when I opened the case on this guitar that I was immediately Wowed! Gorgeous flamed top of orange running into honey/yellow(Honeyburst I guess)..I've compared the looks and the top on mine to several pictures both in my 58 thru 60 Les Paul book and several catalog photos from Guitar Galleria and on the net lately....This guitar is no cheap EPI and it feels like a very expensive and very well built Gibson Les Paul..The weight,looks,and feel of this guitar is very,very scary for thousands less! It looks to have a mahogany back and a sycamore maple or plain maple top but I'm not sure if the neck is mahogany or maple w/rosewood over it?It's hard to see the grain with the dark wine colored paint over it.The neck shape is great also.Not as deep as my SG neck,nor as wide,and it felt comfy right away for me.This worried me but all is fine..With the action low I had some noting out but no fret buzz..Now that the action is up and a change to .010's I don't think I'll encounter any buzz or noting out..

Couple of things I changed on it right off...

Both rear plates that cover the 3 way switch and the pots were white.I changed them both to Gibson black.Black is the correct color. ;o)

The truss rod cover had 3 screws and the shape was all wrong so it got changed to the 59 Les Paul style unmarked Gibson truss rod cover.The headstock looks just identical in shape and the gold writing from 10 feet away and it has the greenish looking Kluson style tuners with the narrow headstock...Looks dead on like a 59 Les Paul or a 59 reissue! Can't tell.I'll have to take some magor pictures of this thing!

The action was too low for my liking at 3/32" bass and 1/8" treble and was noting out high on the neck with bends,plus I hate .009's on my guitars especially on the 24 3/4 scales....I brought the action up to around 5/32" bass and 4/32" treble...Much better but I'm still tweaking and will recheck after the restring to .010s...

The relief is around .010 but I didn't measure it.It's actually fine...The guitar came with what looks like D'Addario .009's that I'll switch to .010's..The D'Addarios have the colored ends which I saw at the back of the bridge..I assume D'addarios?

I had to snug up the 3 way switch because it was loose...The switch is a cheesy enclosed type which I will replace but it does work fine now...

The pots are cheesy mini typical Jap/Korean crap and so are the tone caps.These will get replaced tomorrow along with the knobs that have a bigger inside knurled hole! ;o)The internal wire will get changed over to Fender cloth type instead of the thin cheap crap in there now! LOL

So how does the guitar play and sound?

Great....The neck pickup is really nice...Just right.Not too dark and not too bright.Not at all muddy clean of with high gain...The neck pickup reads around 8.0k and it's a keeper..

The bridge pickup was a bit disappointing..Thin and bright and the tone control sucks and doesn't roll the high end off in a smooth controllable way.I will remedy this with better pots and I'll try 300k here instead of the 500k to warm the bridge pickup up a bit...This pickup only measures around 6.0k(Wonder what happened here?) It doesn't sound bad but it reminds me of a Tele bridge pickup...Quacky and bright and with alot less volume than the neck..I'll probably stick a Classic 57 or a good Duncan pickup in the bridge position soon..

Middle position sounds pretty good also...Does the Dickey Betts,Page thing pretty nice.Again just right,not too bright or too dark..

Overall I think I ended up with a phenomenal looking,feeling,playing guitar...After a bridge pickup change and better pots,wire,switch,caps,this guitar will be dead perfect for my Les Paul woes....A 59 Gibson Lefty reissue would set me back about $3500...I'LL have less than 1k into an amazing rare,one off axe that aren't to be sold over in the states anymore because Gibson sued Tokai "again" ;o) I'm told that I own only 3 lefties of this model that were sent to Canada and it's a great guitar! I'm happy!

John
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tokaiguy
Guitar God


Joined: 09 Sep 2001
Posts: 643
Location: Dallas Tx

PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aight ! I thought the Love Rock was about to arrive! Lefty's are always a hard nut to crack, really limits the options! Congrats ! The Korean Tok's are pretty nice! Is yours an MM from Mikes Music?{ Japanese spec's} How do some of the little things like binding inside the cutaway look? You are HOOKED! I'm in Fender land today ! Ican't put it down! Later Fireman John ! Mark
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stratdeluxer
Guitar God


Joined: 28 Aug 2002
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark...Yes lefty guitars are a pain in the rearend so when I see something nice I have to snatch it up!

Mine isn't from Mike's but it's from a place in Vancouver Canada called "Music Maxx...I'm told that they got only 2 of these lefty limited edition looking 59 Love Rocks out of only 3 that were shipped from Korea to Canada? Either way,this is an incredible guitar.Not at all like any EPI I've ever played.I have played some Gibson Les Paul Standard Lefties and mine feels just like a nice one,but mine looks just like a 59...really something special to look at....And it's lefty to boot! Keeps my righthanded band buddies from getting their slimy paws all over it....I Like the neck on this axe better than on my Gibson SG Standard which is wider and fatter by comparison...I think my Tokai might have something closer to a 60's LP neck?

I may have to change the bridge pup out for something warmer,rounder,and beefier sounding,but the neck pup is great....After I up the string gauge and change to warmer nickel strings I'll see how she sounds....I've also picked the action up a bit and that helps also....We'll see? I'm very happy though......Thanks for posting Mark....

Mark.....I sent a good "How To" to Ned regarding strat pickup replacement and some cool tips with diagrams.I'm waiting on Ned to post them for us all...

Later buddy.
John
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vaporboy
Guitar God


Joined: 23 May 2002
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats - I was stunned when I saw my TKM LR for the first time too!! I think the Korean guitars are phenomenal & for around $400 (about the price of cardboard Danelectro) the steal of the century. Tokai just flat out rocks in my book, I have compliments all the time on my 'Les Paul' from our audience (they don't generally get close enough to spot the difference !!). Thanks for the tube advice, I'll stick with the stock ones for now - the LR through the twin is so sweet sounding !!
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ned
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Joined: 29 Aug 2001
Posts: 1154
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you are enjoying your Tokai - now you know what the fuss is all about.

Just for clarification Tokai's and Epi's are not made at the same factory in Japan or Korea. They are completely different guitars.

Ned
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stratdeluxer
Guitar God


Joined: 28 Aug 2002
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ned thanks for the clarification.The Tokai feels very professional compared to most of the EPI's I've played which look and feel cheap...I goofed up on the action readings I wrote in my first post on this.

They were 3/64 bass and 2/64 treble

I brought the action up to roughly 5/64 bass and 4/64 treble but I'm still tweaking.Today I'll replace the cheap/cheesy electronics...Maybe a 57 Classic or Classic Plus for the bridge? ;o)

John
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tokaiguy
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Joined: 09 Sep 2001
Posts: 643
Location: Dallas Tx

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey John , I guess you are aware of Southpaw Guitars in Houston. I love going in there it's like walking into a mirorr , and you get the feeling that lefty's get when they go to anyother store to check out stuff "Frustrated". Some gutars look really great reversed and others don't work ! Just my humble opinion! Later!
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loverockerUK
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

null

Last edited by loverockerUK on Sat Mar 13, 2004 10:25 am; edited 1 time in total
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stratdeluxer
Guitar God


Joined: 28 Aug 2002
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Londonbarry and Tokaiguy....My 2 new buddies! ;o)

Yes I am very aware of Southpaw Guitars,in fact I bought my American Deluxe Strat from them and I almost bought a PRS MCarty model,but my wife said she'd divorce me if I did....I'm still the boss of my house,I think? LOL ;o)

Guys......I totally redid the wiring inside of my Tokai Korean model,including a Gibson 3 way switch,all new 500k pots,Gibson Classic 57 in the bridge,new caps,etc....It looks very professional....I'm very anal like that! ;o)

I had to route a bit of wood away from the inside of the guitar where the new Gibson 3 way switch bolts to the top because the Gibson 3 way switch threads were shorter,but I made it happen.

Also I had to redrill all pot holes bigger as the bigger pots have bigger shafts....Is bigger always better? I've been asking my wife this question forever! ;o)

I now have a very,very cool Les Paul.....For alot less $$$$$$$$$

John
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lawtone
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 12 Jun 2002
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I own a couple of high end Flame-top Love Rocks with solid tops: LS200 and LS150. Great guitars. I am thinking of getting a laminate flame-top Korean or Japanese model as well. It would be great if someone could post a picture of the pickup cavity to show how thick the laminate is on these lower cost models. My hunch is they are great guitars, like all Tokais I have played. It might be helpful to a lot of people to have a picture of the laminate thickness in order to tell the different models apart. There are already a number of pictures of solid top cavities at the Tokai picture site, but no pictures of a laminate top. I'd post one myself but don't have a laminate guitar. In lieu of a picture, maybe someone could measure the thickness of the sycamore laminate.
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