Love letter to my Love Rock Doublecut II

Tokai Forum

Help Support Tokai Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Feb 24, 2016
Reaction score
London, UK
This time last year the stork dropped me new bundle of joy, a gorgeous ‘midnight blue’ quilted Tokai MIJ Love Rock II Doublecut. Apologies it has taken me so long to post my story on this forum.

My doublecut was sold to me as Used but in incredible condition. Check this thread out from the first day I messaged the seller. I was a bit on the fence with the body shape, it reminded my of a very pretty girl but with a round, fleshy nose… buy now I absolutely love the 335 vibe of the wider horns. The body carve is outstanding, top, back and sides. The neck is perfect.

It was a completely unexpected purchase. These guitars rarely come up and I already have too many guitars. One of them a Charvel 2016 MIM Dan Dimas I bought years ago. If I have played it more than 5 hours since 2017, I might be exaggerating. Great guitar, but I am just not a strat / superstrat guy. I’ve been putting off selling the Charvel for months…. And when I saw the Doublecut it was so gorgeous that I decided to go for it. The seller was an absolute gentleman, he accepted my request for a discount and provided me all the info I needed. Less than 2 days later I was experiencing that eBay guitar thrill one gets from reeling in a big mystery fish or the feverish unwrapping what was looking to be a great guitar deal.

It looked, played and sounded perfect straight out of the box. I am no stranger to MIJ quality (see signature) but still, this thing is everything I wanted (and more it turned out). To keep things simple, I will describe it directly comparing it to the 2 most comparable axes in my stable, my trusty 2003 Tokai Love Rock LS135Q (in avatar) and my beautiful, if slightly fragile feeling 2003 Gibson USA Les Paul Standard Doublecut.

I tested them FOR DAYS at identical settings through my Suhr Eclipse Galactica (Gain around 11 for rhythm, 4 o’clock for leads; various pedal EQ setting but none very extreme) into my Orange Terror Stamp (Volume and Gain: 3 o’clock; Shape at noon); a smidge of Reverb and Delay, through the stock speaker of my Marshall DSL 40c.

Compared to my Love Rock LS135Q:

The LS150Q’s neck dimensions feel the same as a friend’s R9 – I blindfold tested him, and he couldn’t tell the difference. You can read more about this guy here, The Tokai DC’s (TDC) neck feels almost the same (i.e. DELISH and perfect to my hands… my calipers’ battery is dead – I will post the exact measurements later) although the Tokai DC seems to get a little fatter from the 14th fret to the body. Not much though. The tuning pegs are much better. The on the TDC frets must have been a similar height (the LS135Q has already had a couple of fret dressings in my possession, maybe more with the previous owner). A slight issue is that the TDC B string sounds as if it is even lower action than the rest of the strings. The string action on both guitars is set at 1.1mm at the 12th fret (high E string). I will raise this issue in another thread. The 135Q weighs 8.6 lbs and has a 1 piece back, zero neck dive of course. The TDC is around 8.1 lbs, has a 2 piece back and doesn’t really neck dive. The LS135Q came with Gotoh MK2 pickups (the ones with the blue stickers) which were as ‘meh’ as the BurstBucker pros on my Gibson USA 2009 Les Paul Standard. The TDC comes with the Keiyo MK2s…. which actually sound GREAT and probably won’t need replacing, at least not for several months (I have yet to rehearse or gig it). They are crisp, clear, super articulate, the false harmonic squeals are effortless and razor sharp enough to cut Zakk Wylde’s bushy nostril hairs. Both guitars are equally loud unplugged, but the TDC is considerably louder plugged in. It is also more articulate and has a more pleasing clean tone. The stock electronics are MUCH BETTER on the TDC… no treble loss vs an almost unusable amount of treble loss on the LA135Q… AND it has bumble bee caps? Must be the pots. Go figure. Apart from my 2 Edwards, this might be the only other guitar that won’t need a pickup swap even for metal. This is interesting because desk research indicates that the Keiyos are muddy. It must the guitar then!! I absolutely LOVE my LS135Q, but if I had a gun to my head, I might go TDC TBH. Shocker.

Compared to my 2003 Gibson USA Les Paul Standard Doublecut (GDC) :

I’ve always loved and lusted after this model, and I came across this rare-sh case queen around 5 years ago. An absolute thing beauty, in spite of not having binding. The owner bought it and never played it. Straight away I could tell the pickups sucked (the ghastly stock 490r/498t set). A kind hearted MLPer suggested I exchange the Neck and Bridge magnets, which improved the tone by about 60% (100% being the current after market Iron Gear set – see sig – which I cannot recommend enough). It now breathes fire. The workmanship is flawless, in line with my Halcyon, a bit better than my Standard, and way better than my Trad). The neck is more modern, flatter, wider and with the nibs smaller than my other Gibsons. With my Halcyon, it stays in tune perfectly. Shocker for Gibsons! I use my GDC for my new heavy metal project, it hangs in there very well, but at super loud volumes it feels a little ‘wobbly’. Might be because I’ve set the action at a ridiculous 0.8mm at the 12th fret (high E string). Yes it buzzes here and there, but you can’t tell with the distortion I use. The original pots and cap were appalling and were upgraded (see sig). One major thing has really always bugged me about this guitar…. It is just too light at 7.4lbs!!! It neck dives too much (a cheap ‘somewhat’ fix with the Guitar Gummy silicone pads I glued to the underside of the strap). With so much less mass than a regular single cut Les Paul, why on earth did Gibson think they needed chambering? Too much giggle grass at the design meeting methinks. It is so light that it feels unstable, rickety even. Also, the doble cutaway still doesn’t allow access to the highest 2 or 3 frets That said I love this guitar and with the pickup and electronic swaps it’s in my top 3 tone-wise.

So you can imagine my not-altogether-unexpected disappointment to feel and hear that the TDC SLAYED IT IN EVERY WAY. At exactly the same settings, the TDC is louder, doesn’t neck dive and , feels more solid. Plugged in the GDC is quieter, it kind of wheezes, sounds more brittle and has less sparkle. The TDC allows for much, much better upper fret access. Compared with the TDC, the GDC sounds like a poorly set up guitar when the action is too low, you know what I mean? The notes don’t ring out as much. However, I can tone match both guitars by increasing the GDC’s amp Volume (a smidge, maybe by 5%) , pedal Gain (by 7 or maybe 10%) and the amp’s Shape treble frequencies ( by again 7%). I think I have the pickups at identical string heights. The GDC pickups are Iron Gear Blues Engine (A4 mag, 7.4K) and their Dirty Torque (a JB clone with A5, 16.4K). The TDC pickups are the stock Keiyo set are 7.8k in the neck and 11.3k in the bridge. No clue what the mags are.


As a child and teenager I obviously spend too many hours and years lovingly gazing at the Gibson headstock for my brain to fully develop into that of a rational adult’s, so I still stubbornly stick to my Only A Gibson Is Good Enough mantra with dumb, bovine complacency. But, sadly but truly, the Tokai Double Cut is the better guitar.

I was particularly impressed by TDC stock push pull electronics are flawless – I know because I have the fantastic Obsidian Wire wireless loom installed in 2 of my Gibson USA guitars, which really did remove a woolly blanket from my amp, particularly when playing cleans through the neck pickup. The TDC loses a lot less volume when split than my two other push pull Les Pauls. I don’t understand it.

Tokai DC Gripes? I feel the B string is somehow set up lower than the other 5 strings, as if either the nut slot or the string saddle groove are worn or cut deeper. Lastly, it is wider than my GDC and single cuts, and doesn’t fit into my daily Gator les paul case not in my black Gibson USA cases. I can (barely) manage to squeeze it into my big fat beige Gibson USA and my SKB single cut cases.


  • Capture 1.JPG
    Capture 1.JPG
    84.7 KB · Views: 1
  • Capture.JPG
    68.1 KB · Views: 1
  • TDC1.jpg
    101.2 KB · Views: 1
  • TDC3.jpg
    85.4 KB · Views: 1
  • TDC4.jpg
    68.9 KB · Views: 1
Congratulations. Sounds like a nice catch.

I don't know much about these and not many folks have done write-ups on them, so this is helpful and will help other folks in the future. Including the body being slightly wider than a Gibson LP.

Latest posts