Monday, July 26, 2010

Tokai Japan LS85 and LS90 Electric Guitars reviewed by Guitarbitz

Cherry Sunburst
Tokai's Japanese 'Love Rock' LP style guitars took the world by storm in the 80's, and they're still every bit as good now, and even better value for money.  With top quality components, tuners, pickups and hardware, excellent build quality and finishes to die for, you should seriously consider the LS85 Flame Top or the LS90 Quilt Top if you're looking for a top spec LP but don't want to pay Gibson money.

Vintage Sunburst
The headstock is a traditional LP style, slightly curved on the sides, a wavey curly top. The front is gloss black, unbound, with the Tokai logo in Abalone script at the top, and 'Love Rock MODEL' in gold script across the middle, ala Les Paul. Very clever!

The rear of the headstock is pretty plain, a deep browny red Mahogany colour, full gloss finish of course, with the guitars serial number engraved at the top, and 2 rows of 3-a-side machine heads, vintage Kluson style with green tulip buttons, finished in Nickel, and MADE IN JAPAN stamped towards the bottom.

Over the cream top nut, width 43mm, and onto a fairly chunky D profile Mahogany neck. The Rosewood fingerboard is fully bound in cream plastic, and large crown position markers are present, all sparkly white Abalone.

Beautifully set up by the factory, this model mas an action of 2-3mm across the range at the 12th fret. The fingerboard is finished to a high standard as well, all very smooth and slippery, a great playing guitar.

The neck joins the Mahogany body at the 16th fret on the bass side, 19th on the treble side, and the cutaway here gives easy access to all 22 frets.

The body is a very traditional shape, everything in the right proportion, and the back is plain browny red Mahogany, with the familiar round and square access plates in black.

The front of the Tokai LS is fully bound in cream plastic, a colour that is matched by the pickup surrounds and the scratchplate on the LS85. Note the LS90 does not have a scratchplate, although you could fit one should you wish to.

The LS85 has a flame Maple top, finished in a bright and beautiful Cherry Sunburst. The LS90 has a 2 piece quilt Maple top, more swirly than stripy, here finished in Vintage Sunburst, although it's not at all a dark finish, more a Honeyburst in our opinion.

The bridge and tailpiece are finished in Chrome, and the 4 controls are amber speed knobs, with a small chrome metal position marker underneath, something you don't often find outside of Gibsons.

Sounds wise, both models perform exceptionally, the Vintage PAF pickups have a broad tonal range perfect for all styles of music. On the clean channel there is brightness and clarity, a good depth to the bass on the neck pickup. On the dirty channel, this guitar rocks out with bags of sustain and growl.

A superb LP copy, made in one of Japans best guitar factories, with loads of attention to detail, the finishes are superb, great pickups and a joy to play.

Specifications:-
Origin - Japan
Body - Mahogany
Top - Flame Maple (LS85), Quilted Maple (LS90)
Neck - one piece Mahogany, set neck
Fingerboard - Rosewood, crown inlays, 22 frets
Nut - Bone
Bridge - LS-VB bridge, LS-VT tailpiece
Hardware - Nickel
Pickups - 2*PAF-Vintage MK2 (Made In Japan)
Controls - 2*volume, 2*tone, 3-way selector


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