Other Guitars

NGD: Tokai Jr

1

I finally made teenage me a very happy boy. I've always been fascinated with Juniors but I never found one that I liked. Gibson put out the ones with the weird finish in the 2000s, or they put skinny necks on them, or they were Custom Shop models going for stupid money. I clocked on to Japanese guitar makers (Gretsch aside ) pretty late but bought a lovely Edwards P90 Goldtop a few years ago and had been on the lookout for a Jr since then. This specimen was offered on Ebay for a decent price and I went up North to buy it today. It has a bit of a history: a previous owner was very naughty and messed with the headstock in a way Gibson wouldn't find funny at all but it's a very clean job and no deal breaker for me. The very nice man I bought it from was clear that it was, in fact, a Tokai. The tinkerer also apparently tried to age the finish with the result that the guitar is more a butterscotch blonde than a TV Yellow but again did a very professional job. So yeah, I'm really chuffed! I haven't had much time to play it today but my first impression is excellent. The neck is substantial, fretwork is superb, it's nicely resonant unplugged and plugged in it's a real joy! I'll try to resist my reflex to gut and rewire it for now, but I think a different wraparound bridge might make an appearance in the near future. This was also my first experience meeting an ebayer in person and it was a really nice, socially distant encounter.

2

Looks like a keeper. And we know Gibson has no sense of humor. Try to keep a low profile.

3

P-90 on a slab---what more do you need? Nice score!

4

I have no probs w/ Tokai anything. Looks nice.

5

i remember years ago a buddy of mine went on a japanese tour with peter tork and the new monks ..when he came back he had a bunch of (gifted) tokai's...great guitars..copies..they had the great ability to make tokai headstock logo look like fender on strat copies and gibson on their gibby copies...super well made...

esp also made some great fendery copies in that era...ronnie wood was an esp user

enjoy that gib, er tokai

cheers

ps- when i see those juniors i think of leslie west..and two disciple/fans of his..mick ralphs and johnny thunders

6

I had an ESP Tele that got the nod from no other than GE Smith, at the NYC guitar show, in mid 1990s.

7

Excellent score! Juniors are as cool as black and yellow.

8

I finally made teenage me a very happy boy. I've always been fascinated with Juniors but I never found one that I liked. Gibson put out the ones with the weird finish in the 2000s, or they put skinny necks on them, or they were Custom Shop models going for stupid money. I clocked on to Japanese guitar makers (Gretsch aside ) pretty late but bought a lovely Edwards P90 Goldtop a few years ago and had been on the lookout for a Jr since then. This specimen was offered on Ebay for a decent price and I went up North to buy it today. It has a bit of a history: a previous owner was very naughty and messed with the headstock in a way Gibson wouldn't find funny at all but it's a very clean job and no deal breaker for me. The very nice man I bought it from was clear that it was, in fact, a Tokai. The tinkerer also apparently tried to age the finish with the result that the guitar is more a butterscotch blonde than a TV Yellow but again did a very professional job. So yeah, I'm really chuffed! I haven't had much time to play it today but my first impression is excellent. The neck is substantial, fretwork is superb, it's nicely resonant unplugged and plugged in it's a real joy! I'll try to resist my reflex to gut and rewire it for now, but I think a different wraparound bridge might make an appearance in the near future. This was also my first experience meeting an ebayer in person and it was a really nice, socially distant encounter.

– Nick45

I'm no fan of current gibson anything, but I am REALLY a fan of japan gakki built Tokai guitars!! This is lovely. I believe the goldtop tokais w p90s far exceed anything has put out in the last 20 yrs. I'm proud to own a tokai lp.

9

Ooh! Very noice! I used to gig in the early 90s, with the Gibson Lp Jr. doublecut, so I have a soft spot for those guitars (I was young and dumb at the time - I should have kept it). I'm in intrigued by you mentioning that your Tokai has a nice and chunky neck. I looked into a Gibbson LP Jr. doublecut last year (Gibson made a run of them for Chicago Music Exchange), but it had the typical Gibson 60s slim taper neck, that I really don't much care for.

10

yeah t...in the jump/west coast blues world, tokai lp's have great rep...junior watson and tommy h both used tokai gold tops...mighta even been the same one!! haha

gold tops with p90's are killer

cheers

junior

11

Congrats! Tokai's are well-made guitars. Their pedals aren't too shabby either. I still have my 1984 Tokai Flanger for that sweet, sweet '80s flangelliciousness...ness.

12

Ooh! Very noice! I used to gig in the early 90s, with the Gibson Lp Jr. doublecut, so I have a soft spot for those guitars (I was young and dumb at the time - I should have kept it). I'm in intrigued by you mentioning that your Tokai has a nice and chunky neck. I looked into a Gibbson LP Jr. doublecut last year (Gibson made a run of them for Chicago Music Exchange), but it had the typical Gibson 60s slim taper neck, that I really don't much care for.

– EllenGtrGrl

Ellen, I wrote ‘substantial’ deliberately, because, while it’s massive compared to a Gibson 60s neck profile, I don’t feel it’s quite in ‘chunky‘ territory. It‘s very comfortable, in fact it was the first thing my wife commented on when she played it yesterday and she plays classical guitar. I have a DSV Jet that I would compare it to and I could swear that the ESP Edwards Goldtop I have has exactly the same neck.

13

I'm no fan of current gibson anything, but I am REALLY a fan of japan gakki built Tokai guitars!! This is lovely. I believe the goldtop tokais w p90s far exceed anything has put out in the last 20 yrs. I'm proud to own a tokai lp.

– TheNocturneBrain

I still think Gibson’s acoustics and the ES guitars are great. With the electrics, it feels like they dicked around with the dimensions and appointments so much that they forgot how to make a decent guitar. That said, the recent Jr and Special models they released are pointing in the right direction, I think. The necks are nice!

15

Very fond of mine.

– Mr Tubs

Mine’s a 2003, was yours made around that time as well? Do you know anything about the pickups they use(d)? The original colour is nice!

16

I can't NOT think of Johnny Thunders when I see one of those. I do own a MIJ Burny Jr. which is great. That has a chunky neck for sure. I must admit that I prefer my LP Specials, though.

The "weird finish" Nick is speaking of probably refers to the 'faded' versions that has no clear coat. That makes my very well made LP Special DC Faded very resonant. It's an absolute favourite among my guitar playing friends.

Congratulations on your Tokai! Bet it's great.

17

Sascha, me neither. I ordered a Virgin Mary Sticker less than two minutes after I bought the guitar.

18

I’ve got a question: when you adjust intonation on these guitars, do you adjust the hex screws with the strings at tension or do you slacken them first? I’m worried that I’ll strip the screw, but taking off the tension for every tiny adjustment seems to require more patience than I have at the moment.

19

check your intonation first..so you know which way you have to go...basically with one piece bridge/tailpieces, you get the low E and high E intonated and hope for the best

when you know what direction you have to move it...you should leave it in proper tuning...you might add a drop of oil to the hex screws before to make sure they are moving correctly

but no, the tension from being properly tuned should not be a problem

and make sure you have the correct hex tool size!!

cheers

ps- thunders would have just bounced it off the floor!! haha

20

Thanks Neatone! I’m waiting for the bridge to arrive and give it a go.


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