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2018 Gibson LP vs japanese LPs


GmMatt
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Hello Guys,

 

If You have any experience with current Tokai guitars, than please help me with Your opinion.

 

I have to choose between a new japanese Tokai love rock and - on the same price level - a 2018 Gibson LP Tribute.

Unfortunately I don't have a chance to try out the Gibson personally but the Tokai really feels great.

 

I tried to get as much info regarding to Tokai guitars as possible and many told me that these high end japanese Tokais' quality level more or less equals to the standard Gibsons.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

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No experience with Tokai of recent years. Nor have I owned a Tokai.

 

As you may be aware the MIJ ones have a great reputation.

 

I'm not sure anyone can help much because you have no Gibson to compare it with, and really that is exactly what you need.

 

 

 

Here is a blindfold test of an older Tokai vs a LP Standard.

 

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If the Tokai and the Gibson cost the same, there are only these considerations:

 

1. Does one or the other guitar sound better than the other, have unique features that the other one doesn't, and/or feel better than the other?

Only you can determine this, and it sounds like you would be buying the Gibson without having first played it.

 

and

 

2. Which one will hold its value better over the next few years?

I suspect that it's the Gibson.

 

[unsure]

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Think about this question logically:

You are asking in a forum where everyone concerned has been able to choose between the exact same two brands. Everyone here, obviously, has chosen to buy the Gibson.

What would you expect the answer to be?

 

If you ask over in the Tokai forum I'm pretty sure you will hear the opposite viewpoint.

 

They'll both be good guitars.

The Tokai might be prettier. The Gibson might hold its resale value better.

Does any of that matter?

 

IMO it really comes down to whether or not you want a Gibson Les Paul or could be content with a copy of a Gibson Les Paul.

My first guitar, as it happens, was a copy of a Gibson Les Paul. I'm more content in any number of ways nowadays having the genuine article to play.

 

Pip.

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Hello Guys,

 

If You have any experience with current Tokai guitars, than please help me with Your opinion.

 

I have to choose between a new japanese Tokai love rock and - on the same price level - a 2018 Gibson LP Tribute.

Unfortunately I don't have a chance to try out the Gibson personally but the Tokai really feels great.

 

I tried to get as much info regarding to Tokai guitars as possible and many told me that these high end japanese Tokais' quality level more or less equals to the standard Gibsons.

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

 

The only reason Tokai got a name back then was because they were half the price of a Les Paul new. They weren't that great, I don't know how the "new" ones are, can't imagine much different.

 

If the price is the same, why would anyone ever buy a copy? If a Datsun 240z cost the same as a 'vette there would NEVER have been a 240z on any American road. I don't get it at all.

 

rct

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The only reason Tokai got a name back then was because they were half the price of a Les Paul new. They weren't that great, I don't know how the "new" ones are, can't imagine much different.

 

If the price is the same, why would anyone ever buy a copy? If a Datsun 240z cost the same as a 'vette there would NEVER have been a 240z on any American road. I don't get it at all.

 

rct

 

Honestly speaking, Your question is legit. But I think what we should evaluate here, whether is there any huge difference between the tribute and the standard Gibson. If I can buy a copy which is nearly as good as a standard Gibson but pay only the tribute's price, than maybe I should go for the copy.

Right now I don't see how should I make this decision without getting my hands on the tribute Gibson.

 

Anyway, thanks for the advice all of You!

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The only reason Tokai got a name back then was because they were half the price of a Les Paul new. They weren't that great...

This about sums it up for me.

 

They were fine in their own way but they weren't - and in the main still aren't - as good as the guitars they were copying.

I've played some of the very top-end Les Pauls Love Rocks and these are, admittedly, in a different league from the middle-of-the-road Tokai stuff but for the asking price of these instruments you could also get a higher-up-the-ladder Les Paul so the question still is "Do you want a 'real' Les Paul or a copy?"

 

FWIW here's a snap taken back somewhere around late '82 / early '83.

The 'Daphne Blue' Strat-like guitar is my mate's Tokai 'Springy Sound'. It was a fine guitar as guitars go. But it wasn't quite as good as my LPB '64, my just-been-released-to-the-public '57 R-I two-tone nor my '71 ('72?) tri-tone Strats. It WAS, however, considerably better that the black '67 Fender 'Swinger'......which was cute as a button (and nowadays highly collectible) but utterly crap otherwise.

 

Guitarsonbedlo-res.jpg

 

Pip.

Edited by pippy
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I will start by saying, I do not think I have ever played a Toyai guitar.

With that said, I will not say they are a poorly made or substandard as I have nothing to base it on.

 

I think the real question should be these:

1) Is this a working instrument or and investment?

2) Which one feels better in your hand?

3) Which one do you feel connected too?

 

If this is an investment driven purchases, then the answer is more which one will go up in value and that is the Gibson, hands down.

 

Now, if this is to be played and used, then the other question come into play, and the consideration of recouping your investment becomes more mute.

How it sounds out of an amp is not relevant, as the pick ups and electronics can be easily swapped out. How it feels, plays and does it stay in tune are far more important.

Lastly, do you feel like the guitar is bonding to you, and you with it. A good guitar feels and plays good, but a truly great one will feel like an extension of yourself. If you find a guitar like that, what is written on the headstock is of no concern.

 

Because a guitar like that you should never sell.

Edited by Jeffytune
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...If I can buy a copy which is nearly as good as a standard Gibson but pay only the tribute's price, than maybe I should go for the copy...

If that's the way you reason things out then maybe you should. It really is entirely up to you. After all; it will be YOU who is going to be owning it and playing it - not any of us.

If YOU think you will have made a better decision to be playing a Tokai instead of a Gibson then go right ahead!

 

msp_smile.gif

 

Pip.

Edited by pippy
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Guest Farnsbarns

Oh come on. Most blatent trolling ever. That's not a serious question. No one joins a Gibson forum to have a serious conversation about whether a tokai copy for the same price might be a better choice than a Gibson.

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Guest Farnsbarns

Well it may well be a far superior guitar for all I know. If you've played it and like at and you're inclined to buy it then do but I'd think 95%+ of the members of the Gibson forum probably wouldn't.

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...Why do you want to buy a copy or a clone ??...

There might be many reasons, I suppose.

Have a quick look at these two cars. One is worth c. $20,000 and the other is worth c. $200,000+. Do you think many people can tell from a quick glance which is which?

 

White_Speedster_v3.jpg

 

For some folks it's the same thing with Guitars; as long as it looks the part everything's fine.

 

What I don't really get here, though, is that the OP is considering paying a Gibson Les Paul price for a non-Gibson Les Paul guitar. Perhaps he thinks he will be getting better value somehow - as if a copy might be better than the real thing. It might be possible to buy a fancier looking Tokai for the same price as a plain-looking Gibson so perhaps 'Looks' is uppermost in the mind of the OP?

 

Pip.

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What I don't really get here, though, is that the OP is considering paying a Gibson Les Paul price for a non-Gibson Les Paul guitar. Perhaps he thinks he will be getting better value somehow - as if a copy might be better than the real thing. It might be possible to buy a fancier looking Tokai for the same price as a plain-looking Gibson so perhaps 'Looks' is uppermost in the mind of the OP?

 

Pip.

 

"Looks" is not my only concern of course, not even the first thing I check. That should be the overall built quality, the materials and playability.

My question is - ofc assuming that someone has experience - if these high end Tokais are somewhere between the Tribute - Standard Gibson range, than maybe it worth to buy one on Tribute price level.

 

For sure I do not want to buy a copy if it would cost me the Tribute's price and "only" on that quality level or even lower.

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It would help you better if you worked out EXACTLY what your priorities and objectives are in buying a guitar - and I really do mean that in the most fundamental way.

 

Why do you want a Les Paul shaped guitar in the first place?

Why are you considering buying either a Tokai or Gibson?

Are you considering anything else such as a PRS?

If so why?

If not why not?

How important is Looks?

How important is Playability?

How important is Sound?

How important is Versatility?

How important is Build Quality?

How important is Value for Money?

How important is Resale Value?

How important is 'Poseur Value'?

 

You are the only person who knows the answers to these questions. Without knowing what you are expecting we can't give you a reasoned answer. In some way it's a fair guess that each of us here has considered some - or all - of these questions before we bought a Gibson Les Paul. Most forumites own more than one marque of electric solid-body guitar and we regularly post snaps of our non-Gibson instruments but in the ten years or so that I've been here I don't ever recollect having seen a single Tokai Love Rock. That, in itself, tells you much about our own viewpoint. We would always - but always - choose the Gibson over the Tokai.

 

FWIW the manufacturer who almost certainly achieves highest marks consistently in the three areas you mention - build-quality, materials and playability - would be PRS but, surprisingly perhaps, not that many forum members own an example of Mr. Smith's unarguably excellent guitars. There are some; but not many all things considered.

 

You must consider your own preferences and make up your own mind. We could make a subjective decision on your behalf but what would that really achieve? If you can't play a Gibson to compare the two for yourself before you choose then you are pretty much stuffed in making an objective decision.

 

Good luck.

 

Pip.

Edited by pippy
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"Looks" is not my only concern of course, not even the first thing I check. That should be the overall built quality, the materials and playability.

My question is - ofc assuming that someone has experience - if these high end Tokais are somewhere between the Tribute - Standard Gibson range, than maybe it worth to buy one on Tribute price level.

 

For sure I do not want to buy a copy if it would cost me the Tribute's price and "only" on that quality level or even lower.

 

The acquisition price is the first one. The next price is the cost of maintaining it. If you are out on Friday night and third set your headstock comes down on one of drummer boys cymbals and you shatter a t00ner well, you'll be using the tele the rest of the night and your Les Paul will be down one G machine.

 

My Les Paul will be fixed the next day because I know what goes on it and in it. Same goes for any other part on it that decides not to work anymore. Somewhere in the house I've got what it needs, or the GC not far away has it. The Tokai? Not so much. If it is all metric and you are in the U!S!A! you are going to have some trouble finding parts that fit the things that break the most, the machines up at that end followed by pots, switches, and then bridge thingies.

 

But rct! you say, how often do these things break?? you ask. On my Les Paul, not at all. On all of the copies I've used and known others to use, including the copies made by our hosts, fairly frequently once you get them out of the house and start putting some not so gentle miles on them. Guitar playing is a full contact sport, and in my experience if you want to use a Les Paul for decades you want one that is made to be played for decades regardless of the acquisition cost.

 

You will surely love your Tokai Love Rock until you are in ButtScratch Maryland and the jack falls out. Then you will really hate it.

 

"Build quality" is really hard to determine without putting a couple years on it. There are very good reasons why 99% of the time when you go out and see bands, 99% of the guitar players are using the same stuff from the same few companies over and over again. It isn't because they are dumb or don't know how to count money. It's because, 99% of the time, experience.

 

rct

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Lots of really good advice in this thread.

 

Here's my simplified take on the whole thing. It seems like you're considering the Tokai because you want a LP that will look more like a Gibson Standard, but cost more like a Tribute. Of course you are assuming it will have close to the same quality, playability etc as a Gibson.

 

I can almost certainly guarantee you that if you buy the Tokai a day won't go by where you won't be wishing you had the Gibson, which you'll probably buy one day anyway.

 

Save your money and buy the Gibson you really want, or buy the tribute now and upgrade later.

 

End of story.

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Lots of really good advice in this thread.

 

Here's my simplified take on the whole thing. It seems like you're considering the Tokai because you want a LP that will look more like a Gibson Standard, but cost more like a Tribute. Of course you are assuming it will have close to the same quality, playability etc as a Gibson.

 

I can almost certainly guarantee you that if you buy the Tokai a day won't go by where you won't be wishing you had the Gibson, which you'll probably buy one day anyway.

 

Save your money and buy the Gibson you really want, or buy the tribute now and upgrade later.

 

End of story.

 

We don't know what advice gmMatt has about Tokai, but I would certainly like to know.

 

I do know there are MIJ zealots who do choose Burney, Tokai, Greco etc. copies in preference to Genuine Gibson and Fender models. They can justify & explain their choice in detail.

 

I am not a MIJ zealot, but I do admire many MIJs.

 

This link is to a fellow who lives a few miles from me. If gmMatt has been in touch with anyone like him, it might help to explain his viewpoint/questions.

 

japanguitars

Edited by merciful-evans
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I'd get the Tribute. Partly because I love my 2017 Tribute, and partly because I'd never buy anything that is almost called a Pet Rock.

 

I'd go with the Tribute as well. I love my 2017 Tribute. It may not be as shiny as my Standard but it plays like my Standard, feels like my Standard and I highly recommend them for people looking for a Gibson Les Paul for less than $1000.00.

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We don't know what advice gmMatt has about Tokai, but I would certainly like to know.

 

I do know there are MIJ zealots who do choose Burney, Tokai, Greco etc. copies in preference to Genuine Gibson and Fender models. They can justify & explain their choice in detail.

 

I am not a MIJ zealot, but I do admire many MIJs.

 

This link is to a fellow who lives a few miles from me. If gmMatt has been in touch with anyone like him, it might help to explain his viewpoint/questions.

 

japanguitars

 

I appreciate that there may be some good replicas out there, but in the end they're still replicas. If what you want is a Gibson no replica will do. If you just want a good guitar and don't care then that's OK too.

 

Hell, I own a Chinese copy that doesn't even have the right headstock!!!

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There might be many reasons, I suppose.

Have a quick look at these two cars. One is worth c. $20,000 and the other is worth c. $200,000+. Do you think many people can tell from a quick glance which is which?

 

White_Speedster_v3.jpg

 

Pip.

 

Sorry, that' s stupid this is not a Porsche ... Look like, no more . :rolleyes:

 

 

landscape-1486744533-s-l1600-3.jpg?resize=768:*

Edited by Revolution Six
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