Tokai Forum - a subsidiary of TokaiRegistry.com Forum Index
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

[Review] Love Rock II SEB
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Tokai Forum - a subsidiary of TokaiRegistry.com Forum Index -> Announcements
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 8:11 am    Post subject: [Review] Love Rock II SEB Reply with quote



It's been a long time since I played a brand new Tokai, but this one is very interesting because of its solid body shape and construction. It looks like a mixture of a Les Paul and an ES semi-acoustic with two rounded cutaways that enable easy access to the highest frets. From the picture you would think that it's bigger than a Les Paul, but actually it isn't except for the slightly wider waist (~2cm, so it won't fit into an usual Love Rock case). The binding around the flamed maple top (veneer with two or more pieces of solid maple underneath) also resembles the Gibson guitars, but overall it's not a copy of e.g. the ES 336 (smaller Gibson version of an ES 335) or a Les Paul Standard Double Cutaway and rather an own design which probably appeals to classic rock and blues guitarists. This is also true for the headstock that suits the rest of the guitar well in my opinion. The neck is a typical Love Rock version, in between my 1984 LS 60 (fat '58 version) and my 1981 LS 120 (thinner '60 version), so I guess calling it the '59 type with a rounded D shape is correct. It's built the usual Japanese way, i.e. one vibrating piece of mahogany in perfect Tokai quality that you get used to so quickly (even without fret binding).

Up to this point this isn't entirely new, because the Love Rock II was introduced at the 2002 Frankfurt music fair in Germany and was available e.g. from Tokai UK in the same violin finish (VF, others also possible) and the usual headstock. But the main difference now is the Sound Stream body ("SEB", applied for patent) which was first developed on aluminum body Talbos and then used in other original Tokai guitars made of wood. Here's a related quote from their homepage (see also for more pictures):

Quote:
"The string vibrations of wooden instruments travel faster at the center of the body than they do at the top and back. By placing a cross-grained piece of wood at this center position of the body, sound is reflected back towards the top and back of the instrument four times faster than on a standard guitar. This groundbreaking new body construction offers dramatically increased sustain and note clarity that can actually be felt "streaming" through your body as you play. In addition, the multi-directional grains offer a stunning visual appearance unmatched by standard instruments."




Does it work? Yes. The Love Rock II SEB rings like a bell with chords and sustains very well on single notes throughout the different neck positions. Its acoustic sound is very loud and quite similar to my two-piece mahogany back LS 60 with great clarity and rich harmonic overtones providing the warmth and life of the notes combined with very good dynamics. So in a way it's also a mix of a Les Paul and an ES sound-wise, even when played dry without an amp. But you shouldn't expect miracles like a free body massage from the "streaming-through-your-body" part if you are used to playing a good Love Rock or other electric guitars, because then you already know that feeling. In fact this quote might mislead you to think that the Love Rock II would produce a lot of low punchy bass sounds which it doesn't, e.g. when compared to my one-piece mahogany back LS 120. It also doesn't have the nasal "honk" tone of the 1981 Love Rock, but still enough of that personality to place itself in the neighborhood of those sounds. So is this a drawback? Not really in my opinion, because if you want that sound, buy it. An advantage of the Love Rock II SEB can be that it's perfect for difficult amp and speaker setups, i.e. producing lots of bass (some call it mud, e.g. wannabe sound engineers). So if you always find yourself dialing the bass and mid knobs on your #1 amp to zero and still wish it would go down to -11, the Love Rock II is for you, because it doesn't sound thin (please don't get me wrong on that), but clear and alive and warm, too. Another option would be to turn the bass up a little bit...

Aside from the new technology being a tonal improvement over usual layered sandwich bodies my guess is that it also saves costs for Tokai, because they can use several smaller pieces of mahogany for the Sound Stream body then (at least 4, probably 5 or more). This is a clever method in my opinion, especially if it works out like that. The body is also thinner than a usual Les Paul model, i.e. 3cm for the middle part (not counting the maple top and two-piece mahogany bottom) versus 4.5cm which also helps to reduce the wood costs. I should also add that this body feels very comfortable with its contoured shaping on the back, and the light weight (3.5-4kg) makes it easy to play for a long time without hurting your shoulder and/or back.



OK, what else... the pickups sound fine and transport the acoustic sound quite well, the highlight being the middle position with both pickups on, because that's your "Stairway to Led Zep Heaven" then. The neck version (7.6 kOhm) is a winner, too, since the basic sound of the Love Rock II SEB is so clear and rich that you've probably hardly ever heard a standard neck humbucker sounding that way. The bridge pickup has a quite high resistance of 11.6 kOhm which is not the usual spec for a Gotoh/Tokai vintage PAF model, as far as I know. Anyhow, it works well in this guitar, because usually more windings also mean less highs. After adjusting their height and the string action (was too low for my playing style) both pickups balanced fine and produced a lot of useful sounds, sometimes using the tone knob for fattening the bridge pickup a bit with more gain from the amp.

The volume knob works well, too, turning it down doesn't produce mud due to the SEB characteristics. I had to unscrew it though, because it was attached with the screw hole directed away from me, so there was no visible mark where I had adjusted the volume. Maybe it came off pulling the push/pull knob earlier, and someone attached it the wrong way. Both knobs are switchable that way for split coil sounds from the neck and bridge pickup, but I hardly ever used them because of the exceptional clarity in the humbucker sound. It can be an advantage on stage if you need several output options very quickly. I would rather use the volume knob then (see above), so for my taste these switches might rather be used for an additional smaller tone capacitor (e.g. 4.7nF) and out-of-phase wiring. A disadvantage in my opinion is the placement of the volume knob near the bridge and directly in the way of the pickup switch, because I couldn't see or feel where that switch was when playing with my band. My suggestion is to simply swap the pickup switch with the volume knob, then you would also have your hand in the usual position for fiddling with the volume and wouldn't have to look and search for it. By the way, the control cavity does not have a circuit board and is painted with the usual isolation lacquer.



More room for improvement:
    * The tailpiece is the normal heavyweight version, a lightweight aluminum tailpiece would probably complement the SEB sound better.
    * Kluson style tuners instead of the Gotoh/Grover/Schaller version would look better on a Les Paul/ES mixture in my opinion, but this isn't really important, because they work perfectly.
    * The potentiometer shafts are a tiny little bit "shaky" which is enhanced due to the heavy chrome knobs. Maybe other knobs like the vintage Les Paul ones with numbers would also solve the problem with the non-visible marks when adjusting them.
    * The neck pickup surface isn't parallel to the pickup ring and top, maybe because the cavity is not deep enough.
    * Also offering different pickups with several versions would be nice, but not really necessary, only for notorious swappers...
    * A Tokai tight-fit case for this body shape, or does it exist already?

_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:38 am; edited 3 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
P-Nut
Plucker


Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn that's beautiful !
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concerning the color it's interesting that the Violin Finish doesn't look as red as in togps' pictures (rather like the photo from Tokai UK), probably because he took them outside in full sunlight while I'm looking at it in my room right now, i.e. with indirect daylight.
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
QuattroSte
Guitar God


Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 211
Location: Wicklow, Ireland!

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Noooooooooooooooo! I have that wanting feeling that usually costs me money

That look really nice. Although I would love an unflamed version of the maple top in that VF finish.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

QuattroSte wrote:
Noooooooooooooooo! I have that wanting feeling that usually costs me money


http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/Articles/Avoiding_GAS/GAS-Self-Test.html

Quote:
That look really nice. Although I would love an unflamed version of the maple top in that VF finish.

I think they would offer several tops = price classes like the original LS if the interest is big enough.
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:38 am    Post subject: Bad news for QuattroSte... ;) Reply with quote

http://www.guitars.co.uk/acatalog/Love_Rock_II.html

Apparently the older Love Rock II models (with mini switches, chrome pickup rings and non-SEB body) were available in four different versions, the LR60 and LR65 being the cheapest ones with plain maple top for ?599.

Ned also mentioned those models on the main site with an overview of the specs:

http://www.tokairegistry.com/tokai-info/tokai-models.html#lr2
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ned
Guitar God


Joined: 29 Aug 2001
Posts: 1154
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got this one and your other review on the main site. Appreciate the reviews.

Ned
_________________
Tokai Guitar Info
Grail Tone
EVH Guitar Info
Porsche 911 Racing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, that's fine with me, because I probably won't change them any further, maybe adding a link to clips if I ever manage to record some. And please correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes that you find.

By the way, could you host the pictures on your server maybe? The 1GB free traffic for my homepage will probably exceed by the end of this month, so they would disappear from the thread and main site and only come back on Aug 1, 2005.

And does the forum thread look stretched because of the picture size only in my browser (MSIE 5.5) or in others, too? I thought the forum software would do text line breaks according to the image width automatically, but it seems it doesn't, so I have to scroll from left to right to read the text, also in later postings without pictures.
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ned
Guitar God


Joined: 29 Aug 2001
Posts: 1154
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've moved the pics to my server for the article, PM me and I'll send you the links or we can move the articles from the forum.

The page is stretched due to the size of the pics.
_________________
Tokai Guitar Info
Grail Tone
EVH Guitar Info
Porsche 911 Racing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I think I'll just leave them on my homepage for this thread, but having them also on the main site for the article might be a bit too much traffic, because I was at ~680MB this morning. So if they disappear at all, it'll only be for one or two days and only in this thread.

By the way, I've scanned the 2003-2004 catalog today, i.e. only the missing pages, because I noticed you have already uploaded 4 pages of it. But I didn't pay attention to the direction of the pages, so half of them is upside down. Could you still use them by correcting this with an image editor perhaps that won't make the quality worse than it is now? If not, I'll only send you the correct ones tomorrow and scan the wrong ones again next week.
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:07 am    Post subject: Re: [Review] Love Rock II SEB Reply with quote

hans-j?rgen wrote:
The binding around the flamed maple top (veneer with two or more pieces of solid maple underneath) also resembles the Gibson guitars, but overall it's not a copy of e.g. the ES 336 (smaller Gibson version of an ES 335) or a Les Paul Standard Double Cutaway and rather an own design which probably appeals to classic rock and blues guitarists.

Just learned that this body shape was already used by Yamaha in the late '80s for their Image/MSG guitars, designed by the british luthier Martyn Booth who also released an own version of it right after Tokai's introduction on the Frankfurt Music Fair in March 2002. Here are some links including another ebay alert from me (who never bought a guitar on ebay before...):

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=33049&item=7337521881&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

http://thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?s=&postid=850744

http://www.martynboothguitars.co.uk/reviews.htm

http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/Data4/Yamaha/Image_Standard-01.html

Probably this idea ("Make that ES 335 smaller, and make her stop screaming at me, damn it!") has been around for even longer than that, too...
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ned wrote:
Got this one and your other review on the main site.

I had problems finding them, because you use different (outdated?) links in the navigation bar on the left side of your main site. This one does not show the new reviews:

http://www.tokairegistry.com/guitar-reviews/guitar-reviews.html

but this one does:

http://www.tokairegistry.com/tokai-info/tokai-reviews.html

There's a broken link to the Les Paul forum at the bottom of the review with the 3 cherry sunbursts, because it's not visible showing the text "as well as the" instead. And the link itself should rather be this one:

http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/index.php?s=

The Love Rock II review should be titled "Love Rock II SEB" because of the new Sound Stream body, shouldn't it? And is it possible to have the Google ads outside of the reviews somehow, perhaps underneath the JSD ad or at the bottom of each page?

Maybe it's also a good idea to add the links to the forum threads in my reviews on the main site, because there might be additional info about the guitars like the one about the Yamaha MSG model.

By the way, who wrote the review about the T2 Sound Stream guitar, I guess it was you?

http://www.tokairegistry.com/tokai-info/tokai-soundstream-t2-review.html
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ned
Guitar God


Joined: 29 Aug 2001
Posts: 1154
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wrote the T2 review. Fixed the other stuff as well.
_________________
Tokai Guitar Info
Grail Tone
EVH Guitar Info
Porsche 911 Racing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ned wrote:
I wrote the T2 review. Fixed the other stuff as well.

The LPF is still not readable in the text part of the first review... For the sake of completeness I'd like to add that there's another review of the older Love Rock II model available on the main site done by the British magazine "Guitar Buyer", see the page with all the reviews.
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
togps
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 2049
Location: Bavaria, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

H.-J. Chapau!!

With Compliments for your engagement !!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Tokai Forum - a subsidiary of TokaiRegistry.com Forum Index -> Announcements All times are GMT - 6 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group