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Are the Tokai models made in Korea worth it ?

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:49 am
by Donkey Oaty
I have noticed a lot of these on ebay this week. An Explorer went for ?160 new.

Seeing as Vintage ( the Brand Vintage ) Guitars are in the same ballpark. This would make these Tokai's excellent value.

Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:14 pm
by ned
Yes. For the price you can't beat the MIK Tokai's.

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 5:56 am
by whitehall
It depends where you are. When they were first being bootlegged to the states the LP's were close to 600. And they were a laugh at that price. Now that the prices have fallen to the 500 and less range it's a little different. The used ones at 350 are most definitley worth a look. As with anything it's best if you can try a few first. That's rather hard to do in the states because the only place to try them is located inside a comic book store 100's of miles deep into Canada. Whereas in the UK I believe a lot of the shops have them on the wall. But an explorer for 160LBS ? sure , why not. I liked the explorer I had, it came from the UK.

Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:00 pm
by micman
I have checked out the Korean Love Rocks, and they appear to be same build quality as the Korean Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus. I am positive they are being built in one, or two, of the same factories that Epi use(d). The only difference would be the pickups(Tokai does not use the Epiphone pups). All of the hardware appears to be identical, as do the finishes (although the Tokais do have a broader colour scheme). Up here in Canuck land, there is even a debate as to whether the Korean Tokais have a solid maple cap, veneered maple cap, veneer maple over alder, or veneer maple over mahogany. The same debate as with the Epis. I personally find the Tokais a little more appealling visually, and the necks on the Tokais also appear to have little more meat to them.

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:40 am
by Donkey Oaty
This is a typical example of an Explorer going for ?161 ( item no: 7346169338 )


Compared to UK shop prices for Indonesian copys ( Cort , Squier , Westfield etc ) ?161 is damn cheap for a Tokai.

There are a lot of Korean SG's on ebay at present for around ?229 ( I think UK RRP is ?299 ), so that aint a massive saving.

Although the Tokai SG has much more appeal then a Epi anyday.

Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:00 pm
by batotman
I just got done fooling around with my LP copies. And I dare say I like my Tokai quite a bit better than the Gibson. It feels more at home in my hands, plays just as well, and sounds better. Of course I have SD's in it so that has a little to do with the sound.

As soon as I get the knob then my dream guitar goes on ebay, likely for a hefty profit....:D


Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:23 am
by Donkey Oaty
I have ruled out the Korean SG due to the bolt on neck, there are stack loads of SG copies about with solid Mahogany body's and a set neck for around the ?170 mark that are made and play well.

I do need a 335 clone for some odd work, if the Tokai ES60 is Korean made then for ?499 I would hope it is not made in the same factory as an Epi 335 because Epi's can be got for a lot less then ?300 and they are decent guitars.

This is the only thing that bothers me with Tokai's, apart from the Japanese ones ( I was called an idiot for buying a Tokai in the late 70's when I could have had a Gibson ) then more I look into the Korean ones I think they are overpriced considering the quality of Guitars coming out of Korea these days with a sub ?200 price tag.

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:22 am
by hans-j?rgen
I'm not an Epiphone expert, but I do know that the cheapest models come from China, not Korea. But I can't tell you how to distinguish them (probably different wood and hardware), and the MIJ Epiphones are of course the Elitist series.

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:43 am
by Donkey Oaty
hans-j?rgen wrote:I'm not an Epiphone expert, but I do know that the cheapest models come from China, .
The Epi base models ( made in China ones ) come out of the same factory that supplys half the crap on ebay ( Wesley Guitars etc, although recenty he is using mainly guitars from the Stagg factory in Indonesia ).

I have played a few Korean made epi's, mainly the 335 and Les Pauls. The 335's are well made and look very much like the Tokai korean guitars.

The differance is the price, you can pick up an epi MIK 335 for a lot lot less then a used Tokai.

I'm not after a badge, I want a reasonable priced guitar that will fullfill its duties. If the epi and Tokai are one and the same from the same production line ( headstock differance accepted ) then I want the one that costs the less.

I cant justify nearly a ?1000 for a MIJ Tokai for the job in hand. ( Although I would dearly love one ).

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:59 am
by hans-j?rgen
A new MIJ ES100 should be availabe for much less than that in Japan.

80,000 Yen, to be exact, incl. case from Ishibashi: ... N&wb_dis=2

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:21 pm
by Donkey Oaty
hans-j?rgen wrote:A new MIJ ES100 should be availabe for much less than that in Japan.

80,000 Yen, to be exact, incl. case from Ishibashi:
Thats around ?450 Sterling. I take it there is delivery charges on that and I should imagine a combined import duty and VAT at this end of approx 22% in total., that..........poke that......hit= and we get....

........around ?600 for a MIJ 335

You bastids have really made me think now :o

Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 7:31 am
by Donkey Oaty
I cant seem to get an email reply from Ishibashi.

So to enable me to see if it is worth the hassle, what are there courier charges to the UK and which price on there website is the correct and final price ( The website is a bit unclear ).

What form of payment do they take ? and will I have to pay exchange rate charges if I used a UK credit card.

The more I think about it, is the saving worth the hassle and the ability to see and play the guitar prior to parting with over ?600.

Finally who else in Japan sells and delivers Tokai's worldwide apart from Ishibashi.