How did you discover Tokai?

Tokai guitar discussion

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Simple Simon
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How did you discover Tokai?

Post by Simple Simon » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:27 am

I just wondered because it seems to me that Tokai guitars have almost attained a kind of mythical status in the minds of some and I wonder if that doesn't help make their success and popularity almost self-fulfullilling.

I had barely even heard of Tokai guitars until about 3 or 4 years back. I was visited a local musician friend and was just hanging around and talking while she made us a coffee. While I was sitting there I just happened to pick up a guitar that was lying around and started messing around on it. It was one of those rare and magic occasions when an instrument just seemed to reach out to me and say "play me!!".

Eventually I took a look at the headstock: "Tokai Breezysound".

"What a cheesy name!!!" I offered, but I kept on playing her, falling more and more in love by the moment.

An hour or two later I came home and started a bit of googling and Ebaying to find out a bit more about these guitars. The first thing I discovered was that there didn't seem to be too many of them out there. There second thing i discovered was that those who owned them were very reluctant to part with them!

Like I said, that was a few years ago now, and it was through sheer serendipity that I happened to bump into a local guy the other day who just happened to own one of these magic guitars and who was hard up for cash.

Funny thing is that I was never a Tele player before. I was a Strat man from way back. But this basic, beat-up old Breezysound has turned out to be about the most challenging, inspiring and satisfying instrument I ever owned.

I know a lot of you deal with the the Les Paul copies, and I'd love to try one of those too. I know - 'cos seen the pics - that many of you have guitars close to their original, pristine condition. My old Breezysound can't compare or compete. I don't even want to. I'm happy with her for what she is. :)

So what's your story?


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Post by Blue Haze » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:16 am

From 'That' Dodgy advert with the girl and the guitar! I of course wanted to try it it myself ( Wait a minute!) I was impressed, but was into Japanese Fenders at the time.
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Post by javelin70 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:00 am

I was looking for a decent Gibson Les Paul in 1984 but couldn't find one I liked. In the price range I could afford there were mostly late 70's/early 80's models and none of the ones I tried were any good. One day I visited my local music store and I was recommended to try a new Tokai LP, they had just started to import them. I tried a couple of them and decided to buy one, I had the opportunity to choose one from their warehouse. I found one that was light and resonant and had an excellent tone/sustain, it was a '58 gold top replica. I still have it and it's even better now than it was 22 years ago.

The next year I bought a new white TST-50 strat, it was great but at that time I didn't like the 7,25" fingerboard radius so I did a stupid thing and traded it for a Jackson style Tokai JSX-70 in '86, I still have that one too. It's excellent but not really my type of guitar, I don't use locking trems anymore.

Today I mostly play Tokai strats, I've replaced the bridge pickup on them with a single coil sized humbucker to get the sound I want.

Last edited by javelin70 on Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by hawkeye2u » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:16 am

Was browsing Fleabay for a Les Paul Standard and stumbled on a Tokai LS-70Q, absolutely gorgeus!! , started to investigate, as I'd barely heard of Tokai before, found people raging about them.
Joined this forum, made some questions here, I was convinced, but lost out on the LS-70Q, didn't really want it since it had a GIBSON logo on the headstock and all the adv that I got fr you guys was to leave it alone.

But the week after I found my Lovely LS-70F (98), on ebay for US$600 plus shipping to OZ from japan, near perfect condition

Love it!!

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Post by Alpedra » Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:19 am

I don?t remember very well.. but probably when browsing through some guitar internet forums.. and reading post of people bashing Gibsons, and praising Tokais.. :wink:

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Post by Guitargoblin » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:12 am

I remember reading interviews in guitar magazines around the early 90s & Tokai being namedropped by Robert Fripp & the guy out of Carter USM among others. They were saying they preferred Tokai LPs to Gibsons & I was intrigued, but still young enough to be glued to the Gibson myth. I'd spent a few school holidays in a sawmill to buy my first Gibson Les Paul & was too awed & inexperienced to realise that looks aside, it didn't really have much going on.
Many years later I'm at work & the legal director calls me into his office to show me a threatening letter he'd received from Gibson about copyright infringement. (I work for a company that does entry level MIC instruments). He asked me to scour the net for other "copy" type guitars to see what the established copying parameters were & what we could expect to get away with. I remembered Tokai & googled them, not expecting them to even still exist. Stumbled onto their UK & Dutch sites & was blown away by how beautiful they looked & got GAS when I saw they did a doublecut LP Junior.
As luck would have it, about a week after that I was introduced to a new company rep whose previous gig had been with Tokai. He mentioned that he was still on good terms with his old employer & that he could sort me out. So that's how I got my first Tokai (at trade price no less). The price/quality ratio blew me away & I sold my Gibsons soon after.
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Post by jawilluk » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:46 am

I was on tour with a band over in Japan in 1980/81/82 and Tokai were offering them a sponsorship deal. They came along and showed some guitars and also invited us for a tour of the factory but unfortunately we didn't have time to take up the offer. In the end the guitarists in the band chose sponsorships from Ibanez and Aria but the Tokais made a lasting impression.
Last edited by jawilluk on Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sscanlan » Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:26 am

I was looking for a new electric guitar after spending years without one and popped into my local store. I found myself in the Tokai section and openly laughed at the names...Love Rock, Springy Sound etc...and thought what a cheapo Gibson rip off. Two weeks later and after much internet searching I go back in there and try out an LS60, expensive Epi and something else that has slipped my mind, with the aim of using it as my low end comparision....half an hour later I'm walking out of the shop with it!

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Post by mberichon » Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:46 am

I took my new Gibson SG Standard down to my luthier about a couple months ago for a set-up. We always talk guitars. He knew I was in the market for a Les Paul. He had a MIJ Gold Top Love Rock that belonged to another customer. I was able to play it and was shocked. I bit of research later, now I have three. A new LS75 Black (my son sold his Gibby), a new LS70 Gold Top (mine), and a 1981 LS80 (currently for sale). Love 'em all, keeping the new ones (debate).

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Post by 20 century boy » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:28 pm

Some friend mentioned the brand was as good as Greco.
nankurunai sa!

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Post by frpax » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:38 pm

I first became familiar with the brand about 12 ~ 13 years ago when I started making my own Strat copies. I can't remember the specifics of how I came to know about Tokai guitars, but it was around that time.
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Post by Paladin2019 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:53 pm

I heard the name at another music forum suggested as a step up from epiphone. On investigation, I discovered they made my ideal guitar - a flametop les paul with no pickguard and an ebony fretboard.

They don't make those any more. :(

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Post by ACY » Wed Nov 15, 2006 12:03 am

Way different story:
End of 80?s I had first contact to Tokai Love Rocks. I ordered a black one at my Music Store, ans as the guitar arrived, the neck was too straight. We send it back, and the distributor send the same guitar again one week later! So I thought: .... you, so I bought me a black Gibson LP Standard. Two years later I bought me a used Love Rock Junior (one P90), TV Yellow - the same thing: Neck too straight. So I quit my interest in Tokai guitars!

Spring this year Andi-O (member in this forum and one of my customers) told me about his new Tokai (LS85F) and made me look again for these guitars. And that?s it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D

Now perfect necks, and very good guitars!
good on ya, "ACY"
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Post by Twanglow » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:25 am

Walked into a music shop on Camden Road in about 1988, picked the ivory Breezysound with the maple neck from the wall and like the OP of this thread, was converted within about 5 minutes. Just so easy and smooth, so much better than the USA Strat I'd previously been wrestling with for about a decade. As I recall, I'd heard the Tokai name before but not the reputation so I didn't really know what to expect.

Anyhow, I still have that one, plus a Goldstar Sound that I got on *bay a year or so ago. I confess I've mucked about with the pickups and bridge on the Breezysound. I use it mainly in open tunings to get a really authentic Keef sound and it turns heads every time. The Goldstar Sound is completely original and will stay that way.

I've got a LP Standard that I bought myself as a coming of age present a couple of years ago, but I've got to say I've never really fallen for it. When you look closely (after the scales have fallen from your eyes as you walk out of the shop ?1300 lighter...), there's a fair bit to criticise, though here isn't the place. I'm on the lookout for a Love Rock II (with no neck or body binding)...

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Post by marcusnieman » Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:10 pm

Stevie Ray Vaughan

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