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PLS HELP! First Tokai - need help identifying!

 
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Loudmachine
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Joined: 04 May 2015
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 3:36 pm    Post subject: PLS HELP! First Tokai - need help identifying! Reply with quote

Hello everyone! I'm a first time Tokai owner and first time poster here on the forum, so be gentle!

I need some help identifying a new purchase - I bought a used Tokai Love Rock from a second-hand shop here in Huddersfield, UK. Here's what I know so far, after a bit of research and detective work...

It is a 2004 model, Serial # is 0409084, and is stamped into the headstock.

It is MIJ, and is labeled as such.

It is DAMN heavy, probably the heaviest LP I have picked up. I work in a guitar store and it weighs more than any Gibson LP Traditional or Standard I've encountered.

It has the thickest neck of any LP model I've encountered also - feels like a 50's.

It has no scratchplate, nor has one ever been fitted, due to no screwholes in the body.

It has 2 screws in the truss-rod cover (which still has the plastic cover on it).

It has a great flamed top, which could be Violin Finish as VF is written in the bridge pickup cavity.

It looks like a rosewood fingerboard, but next to a Gibson with a rosewood board, mine looks very light in comparison with too much grain.

The body is constructed from what looks like multi-piece mahogany, but not like other SEB models of Love Rock's that i've seen. The blocks seem to radiate out from the centre, as opposed to being a horizontal 'sandwich' construction. It has a VERY WELL MATCHED 2 piece mahogany back, but the join is near impossible to see.

In the pickup cavities is written 'VF', with either '1-31' or 'I-31' next to it. There is what looks like a number 4 written on the end of the neck block, which doesn't have a long tenon from what I can tell. There is also a Japanese symbol; I have no idea what it translates as.

I played it in my store today and the pickups and playability far outclassed a ?2100+ 2015 Gibson LP Standard. Really sweet sounding, loads of sustain, and more low end tone than punch. Not at all scratchy or brittle.

Now the good bit - I paid ?125.00 for it. It's absolutely got to be worth more than that. I KNOW it's a keeper, its the best guitar I've ever owned. I'm not looking to sell it, but I'd like peoples contributions as to what specific model it is and how I can further my own knowledge of it.

Here's a link to my album on Photobucket: http://s1026.photobucket.com/user/Loudmachine/library/Tokai%20Love%20Rock?sort=3&page=1

Photos show the serial, block construction, details of the writing in the pickup cavities, and the overall finish and appearance of the guitar.

Cheers in advance everyone!

Ben

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Reborn Old
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Joined: 11 May 2010
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ben,

Welcome to the forum and happy new Tokai day !

Yours is an LS-125 SEB, produced in late 2004

There is a writeup on SEB body construction here : http://www.tokaijapan.com/sebstructure.html
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Paladin2019
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Joined: 06 Sep 2002
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Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which means the ?125 price tag might be the greatest bargain the forum has seen so far!
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Loudmachine
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Joined: 04 May 2015
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Reborn, hi Paladin! Thanks for the replies guys!

Haha I do think I got a real bargain; when I saw her in the store I assumed it was a Chinese model or Korean. I was amazed when I saw it was MIJ. Needless to say I didn't let on until I was down the road apiece...

Anyways - Reborn: I very much appreciate the info and help; might I ask what particular features have indicated its an LS125 SEB as opposed to another model? Was there something in particular from the photos that indicates it? I did see various LS125's but I thought mine was specced a bit more uniquely?

I'm still not convinced the fretboard is Rosewood or even Ebony, the grain and pattern seems too distinct. Could it be Brazilian? And could the lack of a scratchy make it a custom order, or was this an option at original point of origin?

Again, hugely appreciate the help guys. If I don't ask, I don't learn

Cheers,

Ben
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Reborn Old
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fretboard has nice grain, however color in pics is consistent with Indian rosewood species.
Braz boards are used on modern Tokai examples that also have fret edge binding and pure laquer finishes predominantly,
LS-470+ models and some Custom Shop examples.

As to SEB construction, only SEB models feature sandwich construction
with smaller blocks making up the middle layer between the maple top and mahogany outer back pieces as illustrated in the link I posted.
All other LS models will have seams perpendicular to the back surface, if any, never parallel to the back surface.
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Paladin2019
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't have been a custom order. A lot of models come with undrilled scratch plate holes but include the hardware to be installed if desired.
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Loudmachine
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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for the replies guys, I'm here to learn and educate myself and everyone seems very knowledgable.

Would anyone be able to shed light on the following?

What does the 1-31 or I-31 and other markings in the pickup cavity mean?

What pickups might/should be installed? They weren't marked on the underside when I had them out.

What would the finish be made of? Nitro/poly etc?

Also, where would I be able to obtain a proper Tokai hard case for her? I'd like to protect my investment even if she isn't a 320

Thanks in advance!
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Diamond
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Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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Location: ZA

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ?125 price tag makes no logical sense to me.
How can it even happen?
Let's say someone traded it in at the music store, if the store is charging ?125 then they must have paid around ?80 for it...surely the person trading it in couldn't have been that ignorant?
Is there any chance it could be marked incorrectly on the tag, maybe it should have been ?1125?

Don't stress yourself as to what the markings in the pickup cavity mean...they're not really relevant.
The pickups should be MK11...you said it yourself, the tone and playability blows the Standard you have in the store...no surprises here.

I edited your photos to correct the light, it's quite easy because I know what the VF colour is meant to look like...the VF in the photos was way too dark.
The rosewood looks like regular Indian rosewood.
If looks a bit dry, put some Dr Ducks on it and it will darken and look even more awesome.

Two things you can check to see if it's a custom order or special specs.
The pickup selector switch, is it a Switchcraft?...it will have Switchcraft stamped on it.
Does it have Sprague Orange Drop caps?

I'm going with Reborn, it's a stock standard LS125 SEB.
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Loudmachine
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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Diamond, appreciate your reply!

Here's the back-story behind the ?125:

We have a chain of buy/sell stores in the UK called Cash Convertors. They sell all sorts of useless crap, and buy all sorts of equally useless crap. The guitar store I work in is directly over the road from one of these stores, and one day in passing, I noticed the Tokai in the window. It was priced up at ?229.00.

Instantly I was eager to take a closer look; I'd been in the market for a Tokai Love Rock after reading online how well made they were. I went in, took a look at it, and saw the MIJ print and 2-screw truss rod cover. I think they had it priced as a Chinese or Korean model. I instantly thought 'SHE'S MINE!!!'

I asked them to put it aside for me, went home, got as much old tat as I could carry (Playstation 3 games, unused tech gadgets etc) and returned. Trading them against it took a chunk of the price off, and the balance was just ?125. Best purchase ever

Appreciate you taking the time to look at the photos of her; the pickups are sweet as hell, indeed far superior to everything on our wall, possibly even the Gibbo Collectors Choice #11 'Rosie' we had up at ?5499!

Lighting conditions weren't exactly great when i took the pics, apologies, but I just wanted to highlight various features. She is indeed a bit 'brighter' in person. The flame and matching is perfect for me

Regarding the switch and caps - It certainly does have a Switchcraft switch, but not orange drops. The caps are small, rectangular and green, with no obvious branding. The pots are also Jap. Ive uploaded another pic:

http://s1026.photobucket.com/user/Loudmachine/media/Tokai%20Love%20Rock/IMG_2627_zpspggnk1vq.jpg.html?filters[user]=143108922&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=0

I don't know if we can get Dr. Ducks here in the UK? Would regular Lemon Oil do the trick? I do plan on giving her some TLC when I have an afternoon free soon.

In your opinion, what should the store have put on the price ticket? Always good to know for insurance etc...

Thanks for your help!

Ben
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JVsearch
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Joined: 01 Jan 2009
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You got a fantastically good deal there, with trade-ins or at the full listed price.

They should have had at least double or triple on that LP - 500 quid surely.

Cripes, I just scored a Goatkeeper Tremolo that cost 200 pounds.

Always wanted to try a SEB.
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Diamond
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loudmachine wrote:
Hi Diamond, appreciate your reply!

Here's the back-story behind the ?125:

We have a chain of buy/sell stores in the UK called Cash Convertors. They sell all sorts of useless crap, and buy all sorts of equally useless crap. The guitar store I work in is directly over the road from one of these stores, and one day in passing, I noticed the Tokai in the window. It was priced up at ?229.00.

Instantly I was eager to take a closer look; I'd been in the market for a Tokai Love Rock after reading online how well made they were. I went in, took a look at it, and saw the MIJ print and 2-screw truss rod cover. I think they had it priced as a Chinese or Korean model. I instantly thought 'SHE'S MINE!!!'

I asked them to put it aside for me, went home, got as much old tat as I could carry (Playstation 3 games, unused tech gadgets etc) and returned. Trading them against it took a chunk of the price off, and the balance was just ?125. Best purchase ever

Appreciate you taking the time to look at the photos of her; the pickups are sweet as hell, indeed far superior to everything on our wall, possibly even the Gibbo Collectors Choice #11 'Rosie' we had up at ?5499!

Lighting conditions weren't exactly great when i took the pics, apologies, but I just wanted to highlight various features. She is indeed a bit 'brighter' in person. The flame and matching is perfect for me

Regarding the switch and caps - It certainly does have a Switchcraft switch, but not orange drops. The caps are small, rectangular and green, with no obvious branding. The pots are also Jap. Ive uploaded another pic:

http://s1026.photobucket.com/user/Loudmachine/media/Tokai%20Love%20Rock/IMG_2627_zpspggnk1vq.jpg.html?filters[user]=143108922&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=0

I don't know if we can get Dr. Ducks here in the UK? Would regular Lemon Oil do the trick? I do plan on giving her some TLC when I have an afternoon free soon.

In your opinion, what should the store have put on the price ticket? Always good to know for insurance etc...

Thanks for your help!

Ben


Aha, we also have Cash Converter stores down here in my country.

However, there's no chance a Tokai would appear in a CC store in SA, they're too well known to fly under the radar like that.
Someone must have had some financial problems, didn't know what model the guitar was and taken it into CC who assumed it was a MIC/Korea LS48.
You got an awesome deal, best deal ever, well done.

I'm glad you got the chance to put it up against a ?5499 G...not too many people get that chance in other countries.

The Switchcraft switch is already an upgrade on custom spec, they don't usually come standard with a Switchcraft switch.
I think it might have an aluminium tailpiece and brass saddles (maybe) as well, easy to check, the tailpiece will be very light.
The SEB models don't really fall under the Vintage Series or Premium Series specs, they have a bit of both...but it's a lot more expensive than a regular Vintage Series model.

Btw, it doesn't appear to be a "UK" model, perhaps someone imported it direct from Japan.
Today is you imported the same guitar direct from Japan, current model, it would cost you about ?780, excluding shipping and duties.
I guess retail in a UK music store would be around ?1300.00.
Insure it for around ?900.00.

I like using one of these products to oil the fretboard instead of lemon oil, both work great.


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Barks67
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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good deal - almost too good.
If the switch has been replaced in the past then it belonged to somebody who knew the difference.
I hate to say it but I'd be concerned that if CC had it and bought it really cheap, somebody was trying to shift it quickly.
It could thus be stolen property.
I'm not saying this is the case here but I'd still be very concerned.
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JVsearch
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Joined: 01 Jan 2009
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barks67 wrote:
Very good deal - almost too good.
If the switch has been replaced in the past then it belonged to somebody who knew the difference.
I hate to say it but I'd be concerned that if CC had it and bought it really cheap, somebody was trying to shift it quickly.
It could thus be stolen property.
I'm not saying this is the case here but I'd still be very concerned.

The Cash Converters in Aus are pretty sharp on stolen goods - you need 100 points of ID plus proof of address to sell them something over here.

Could be the "ex" scenario, although if they're selling it without the boyfriend/partners knowledge it 'aint that much different to stealing. The one difference is that an innocent 3rd party will not have to wear the loss.
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Paladin2019
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've sold to CC in the UK when doing a house clearance, they are pretty thorough. They wouldn't even take my photo drivers licence as ID because people tend to let their addresses lapse.

Switch could have been faulty and replaced by a tech under warranty. I've had quite a few issues with the non-switchcraft style switches over the years.
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Loudmachine
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help and input everyone!

I actually asked my manager of our guitar store and he remembers watching a young man take it into the Cash Converters store on the previous Saturday afternoon, without a case, just casually walking down the street with it - Amazing. I don't know its background, and I feel terrible if it is somewhat 'hot' but I can honestly say it's in very respectful hands now. As for the store, another Tokai LP is on sale in their Liverpool store, priced up very similarly, although it is clearly a Korean model. I think thats the mix up. Labelling as Korean, not Jap.

I have asked the local police if anything has been reported as stolen, and they say not. Whether this is due to Cash Converters' Data protection rules etc is another matter.

Anyway - back to the guitar; It definitely has Switchcraft hardware. Both the switch and jack input seem to be SC. It also has an aluminium tailpiece and brass saddles too, which ties in with Diamond's approximation of model.

Diamond - I'll look for some Dr. Ducks online, I'm sure I'll be able to get some. Cant wait to strip her down and spruce her up

I'll keep posting more pics as I work on her.

Thanks guys, I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful guitar in my hands
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