Japanese Les Pauls?

Discussion in 'Gear Chat' started by soliloquy, May 23, 2020 at 6:27 PM.

  1. soliloquy

    soliloquy Well-Known Member

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    I know this is a loaded question, but if one is looking for a Japanese Les Paul, around the $1,000 CAD range, what am I looking out for?

    Burny? Greco? Tokai? Edwards? Bacchus? Orville? Orville by Gibson? Epiphone Elite? Fernandes? ESP E-II (used, and will have to be VERY lucky to get that under a $1,000 CAD). LTD elite (or is it delux? The japanese built ones).

    I do have an Edwards that I adore. Wondering if there is anything remotely the same, or even better for around that price range? Or Edwards is as good as it gets for that price range?

    What year, if any that I'm looking for?

    While on the topic, though not Japanese, how are the Chinese Burny's that are coming out now a days?

    Thicker necks, I prefer. Wider necks I prefer. Lighter bodies, I prefer. More articulate and acoustically loud, I prefer. Ebony boards, I prefer.

    Dont care for flamed/quilted tops. Dont care for bursts. Dont care for maple. Cool if it has em, but I can leave em if need be.
     
  2. tobijohn

    tobijohn The Great Enabler Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    FYI: As of Friday's close, the Canadian Dollar is worth about $.70 so we're talking around $700 US here. I've got a few MIJ guitars however am by no means close to being familiar with all the model designations but I'm pretty sure you can find some listed as VGC and at the lower end of the individual model offerings in the $700-$800 US range. FWIW, over the last few years I've picked up an Epi Elitist LP (HSB plain top), Edwards LP-92 (CSBF) and an early 80s Greco Custom LP (CSB plain top) for at average price of around $750 shipped...
     
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  3. soliloquy

    soliloquy Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, I dont understand that term.

    and Even around used for that price, I have no real concerns. So long as they were cared for and there is sufficient fret life left.

    also, how did you like the Eip Elitist vs Edwards and greco?
     

  4. tobijohn

    tobijohn The Great Enabler Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    VGC = very good condition. And yes, I was talking about used. It's been a while since I've had any on them out of their cases but the build quality of all three (as well as an MIJ Edwards Explorer) is extremely high and when I say high, all three are equals to a 2014 Gibson Custom Shop R7 Gold Top, including the Elitist...
     
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  5. soliloquy

    soliloquy Well-Known Member

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    that is great to hear.
    I am looking into some sort of a white custom les paul. I dont think Tokai has made much of those. Burny and Greco have a huge roster of guitars they have produced over the many decades. Edwards as well.

    I am open to others, but have very limited understanding over things
     
  6. uwmcscott

    uwmcscott AGF Survivor Champ

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    I would vote for an Edwards. You should be able to find one close to your price range if you are patient, and they are fantastic guitars at any price really. Somewhat hard to find here in N America, but there are a lot of Japanese sellers who ship internationally on Reverb.
     
  7. tobijohn

    tobijohn The Great Enabler Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Be careful as a few brands have models that also are made in Korea and China (Burny and Tokai come to mind)...
     
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  8. doc-knapp

    doc-knapp Well-Known Member

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    I have a few Japanese guitars. Tokai, Edwards, Greco, Epiphone Elitist, Westone, Univox, Ibanez, and others. Many Matsumoko made guitars, and haven't gotten a bad one yet. Everyone has their own opinion, but I have found that consistently the Japanese make better quality guitars than Gibson. Every Gibson I bought came with defects, and for their prices that should be an absolute sin. Most Edwards come with the Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz combo, and they're fantastic. Tokai use mainly their MKII pickups. The Epiphany Elitist has Gibson pickups that were precursor to the 490's. So each model has their differences that you have to try for yourself. I love the Tokais best for their perfection in copying a Les Paul '59. If you look at Japanese model numbers, the model usually indicated the price in yen at the time it was made. Multiply that number by ten and you have an idea of roughly what a mint one would cost in America. So for example a Tokai LS120 in mint condition will end up costing you about $1200 with shipping. That's just a rough guide.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020 at 9:18 AM
  9. LessPawl

    LessPawl Well-Known Member Supporting Member+ Gold Supporting Member

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    Tokai's Chinese guitars are probably some of the best guitars I've ever seen and played in my life. Far superior to Gibson, PRS, and Fender by all measures.




















    LOLOLOL, Ah SHYTE, I thought it was April 1st...sorry guys!!!!!
     
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  10. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    Tokai isn't MIJ any more (maybe some lines are but I know they all aren't). Edwards guitars are built in China and assembled in Japan (like Dusenberg). If you get conflicting information about where both brands are made it's simply because it wasn't always this way. When I say where they're made, I mean where they're made now. Bacchus has some made in the Philippines, but I think it may only be specific models. It's enough that I know not all are MIJ and I know I can't get the Filipino ones in the Philippines which I find annoying.

    You might occasionally find a PRS S2 Singlecut or Starla (even a core Starla from pre-2012) in your price range.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020 at 10:33 PM
  11. doc-knapp

    doc-knapp Well-Known Member

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    I own two Chinese Tokais. An LP and a tele. The LP hardware and pickups were only of average quality, and definitely in need of upgrading. The body was very well made. The Tokai tele was far superior to a Fender Mexican tele and just as good as the American Fender tele at less than half the cost.
     
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  12. doc-knapp

    doc-knapp Well-Known Member

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    And my three favorite guitars in my collection are a 1984 MIJ Tokai strat, a 2012 MIJ Love Rock, and a 2007 Love Rock. They're irreplaceable and perfect. Let's put it this way.....forget everything I've said. Does anyone out there who's played a MIJ Tokai ever played a lousy one??? I have yet to hear a discouraging word.
     
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  13. tobijohn

    tobijohn The Great Enabler Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    IIRC, it was from that guy in Canada who also sells the Fishbone brand. I've got a couple of his MIC Tokais and I'm pretty sure while they might have come out of the same factory as the real thing (he claims the Fishbones are also made in the same place), I suspect these were basically counterfeit and not assembled to Tokais specs or QA standards. If you do a search, you'll find plenty of posts about this...
     
  14. soliloquy

    soliloquy Well-Known Member

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    Though the S2 might be in my line, I will have to try one out. With the exception of a $6,000 PRS hollow body ii I tried many years ago, I have yet to find a 'perfect' PRS for me. Sure, they make pretty guitars, but something about the finish that I haven't clicked with yet. I am curious about their oil/nitro finished guitars though. The S2 singlecut standard S2 matte sure are beautiful.
     
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  15. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    That's fine. They don't have to be for everybody. I feel like they very consistently make high-quality guitars.
     
  16. LessPawl

    LessPawl Well-Known Member Supporting Member+ Gold Supporting Member

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    I was looking at some Pure Salem guitars last week. I contacted the owner to find out where they were made. He responded with, """ Hi John

    Thanks for getting in touch and for the kind words. Our guitars are built in South Korea at the ‘Mirr facility. Same place Reverend and Duisenberg’s are made. If you have any other questions please let me know ... just curious, what models do you like? """""

    I don't keep up with who's making what where, but I would think this guy does. LOL Maybe it's just some of the Dusenbergs I always thought guitars I bought that were made in South Korea were very well made. That being said, that PRS one I bought last year, while well made, was DOA. I've never played a guitar in my life that had less resonation whilst unplugged. I knew when I picked it up and played a bunch of chords that it was a dead on arrival guitar. Once i plugged it in, that was confirmed within a few minutes. Yikes, most lifeless sounding guitar I ever bought. The guy who bought it from me is begging me to buy it back at a steep discount. LOL I'm taking a hard pass. BTW, I love the Dusenberg guitars I've seen.

    PS..i still can't figure out why that guy bought my PRS. I was 100% honest with him about why I was selling it. Go figure!!!!!
     
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  17. soliloquy

    soliloquy Well-Known Member

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    That is my issue with PRS guitars. My opinion. But I have yet to find a PRS guitars that reverberates and feels alive in my hands unplugged.

    I really want to like them, be it the SE line or core, but I just never can get them to feel right.

    Though, for what it's worth, I also have a hard time picking a guitar with a maple neck. Regardless of who made it, the maple necked guitars just don't feel alive in my hands
     
  18. Pilipete_Townshend

    Pilipete_Townshend Well-Known Member

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    If you can find (well everyone knows about the 80's japs and really good) edwards for sure its all original Japanese. the medium and hi performance guitars of Greco device . they copied some of the early jackson and charvels with a slight different body style the configurations are the same. I use to play the charvel model 1 and 2 until I got this around that time. Some loaded with hi-end kahler "USA" not those Japanese with kahler copies... Pull and dive no problem.

    1.jpg
     
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  19. fullonshred

    fullonshred Well-Known Member

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    Around 1985 I owned a blond with rosewood fretboard Tokai MIJ Strat that I wish I still had today. That said, one or more of the e, b and g strings would fret out on anything more than a light/moderate bend as you got up high on the neck. My guitar teacher explained that was due to the classic radius and not a defect in the guitar. He said the model was an exact copy of a vintage Strat (i forget what year).

    I was a newbie so not sure if true, but the store owner agreed with the guitar teacher. That was a big part of why I traded it in on my Heritage H170cm double cut Les Paul style. The other part was the single coil hum just drove me to distraction. I was into rock and metal at that time so played with a lot of distortion making the hum even worse.

    Still wish I had it back as it was a beautiful, well made guitar.

    I still own the Heritage. I have more hours played on that one than all my other guitars combined.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020 at 12:06 PM
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  20. Gagoosh

    Gagoosh Well-Known Member

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    Orville's are very well made, our singer collects them.
     
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