LS-350 at Big Boss in Tokyo - Big Disappointment

Music stores and pawn shops where Tokai guitars have been spotted for sale. New or used.

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apmechling
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LS-350 at Big Boss in Tokyo - Big Disappointment

Post by apmechling » Fri Nov 01, 2002 5:30 pm

Hey guys -

I've been in the market for the finest, highest-quality Japanese Les Paul Replica I can find, and, naturally, Tokai was up there on the top of my list.

So I went to a shop I know that has the best selection of Japanese Les Pauls and I saw a 2000 Tokai LS-350. I was REALLY excited, so the guy handed it to me and I did a quick inspection and was amazed at how poor the quality was on it.

The neck looked like a 2-piece mahogany neck, for one thing. I wouldn't believe it was true, so I asked the store manager and he, along with about 4 other store workers, inspected it for 5 minutes, all scratching their heads, trying to figure out if it was 1-piece or 2.

There was a big seam running down the middle of the neck and it was too straight to be just a detail of the wood, so I picked up one of their LS-320 models and I found the same thing. And these are JAPANESE LS-320s and LS-350s!

What the heck are they doing in the Tokai plant now!? Most of their older models - even LS-50s from the early 80's, had one-piece mahogany necks, MAYBE an extra piece of wood for the wing of the headstock, but that's it.

Nowadays, the Japanese Tokais I see have 4-piece necks, with one piece for the bulk of the neck, 2 wings on the headstock, and an extra chunk for the heel. This just ticks me off. Even my LS-75Q was like that, which was the ultimate reason I sold it, even though it looked great from the front.

Why do you think Tokai is making a mockery out of their Love Rocks these days? I wouldn't pay $1,500 for a new LS-320, but I would still shell out $1,500 for an older 80's LS-100, if it was just right.

Just venting, as I was hoping in my search of the ultimate new Japanese 50's reissue LP, I would end up with a Tokai. Now I think I am going with Navigator or History, which, compared to new Tokai stuff, just buries them in no contest.

Just wondering what you guys think is going on there with this 20-piece neck crap coming out of the Tokai plant.

Dana
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Post by Dana » Sat Nov 02, 2002 5:43 pm

Yikes, talk about History, I saw some of their gorgeous axes in Shimamura Music shop in Hachioji a few weeks ago. Some KILLER quilted tops almost made me faint they were so hot. Didnt get a chance to play one but did see the hefty price tag. Came with a nice display case with a clear lid.

I did a search online for History guitars and didnt find any info. I was interested to see if they were around for a while and what else they offered.

Dana

apmechling
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Post by apmechling » Sat Nov 02, 2002 7:01 pm

Hey Dana -

I'm actually going to Shimamura Music today. I had my buddy there order 3 SH-L2 guitars for me. Each of them are 360,000 yen. I told him to get me one with the deepest flame possible.

I haven't found out anything about History guitars, either, except that they are really sweet. That SH-L2 has a deep-joint, puzzled neck/body fit, jacaranda fretboard, cow bone nut, flamed maple BINDING, really dark green abalone inlays, plus a whole slew of other awesome options.

It is sitting right next to this 698,000 Gibson and it makes a mockery of it. The Gibson just looks so terrible, especially next to it.

This SH-L2 comes with a clear display case, complete with thermometer and mositure gauge :wink:

You can pick up catalogs for History at the shop, but they only have pictures of the LP models, but I also have a History ES-335 that's pretty sweet I'm putting on eBay soon.

I am just depressed, though, because I wanted to spend my money on a Tokai, not a History, but I want bang for my yen, and the new Tokais I've seen just don't validate spending over $3,000.00 or even $1,500 for that matter. The new ones just seem cold to me without a lot of vibe.

ramsale
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Post by ramsale » Sat Nov 02, 2002 11:07 pm

Maybe the "Golden Era" of Japanese guitar fabrication HAS ended... It would be a shame, but I'm looking more at older low end Tokais and Orvilles from the 80s, in good shape to mess with. I envy you guys over there for the guitar hunting, but am more the homeboy type, and feel more secure buying the loot that you folks dig up... Maybe if you get a chance, you could take a side trip to Korea and check out the Samick/Tokai/Dillion factory, and get the lowdown on what they are doing over there for us... (Just a thought...)
Happy Hunting!
Dave

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