New Japanese Tokais VS recent Gibsons

Discussion in 'SG Copies' started by Perverockstar, May 18, 2018.

  1. Perverockstar

    Perverockstar New Member

    May 18, 2018
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    Hello to all.

    This is my first time in these forums.

    I used to own a SG Standard from 2012 that I had to sell because of some financial problems. I freaking loved that guitar and I'm ready to own another one again.

    I live in Europe and I've been looking at these Tokais (SG92 and SG118) and they look quite nice. I know the pickups are nothing fantastic, but those can be swapped...

    Does any of you how they compare to Gibsons in terms of build and feel? Also, can they sound like the Gibson using the same pickups? They were Classic 57's.

    Thank you!
  2. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2013
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    Well, if you live in Europe you should be able to find them in a shop over there to test out. Us Americans have to just blindly buy from overseas if we want MIJ copies. But really, I've bought many guitars without playing them and all were perfectly able to be set up to my liking, so it's not critical.

    To your main question, I think you'd be perfectly happy with either of those Tokais. The 118 is more comparable to your old SG. Some people even say they're better than Gibsons, but they are no doubt at least comparable.

    And I wouldn't be so quick to swap the pickups. They're listed as "PAF Vintage MK2". All I can find on them is that they're around 8-9k ohms, not sure what magnet they use. Apparently they are made by different manufacturers, and the ones in the 118 are made by Gotoh, and higher quality. So the mixed reviews may be a result of the cheaper ones put in the 92. I always try to give the stock PUPs a chance before swapping.

    But if you were to swap in the 57 Classics, yes, it would sound basically identical to the Gibson, because electric guitar tone is 90% pickups.
    vonserke likes this.
  3. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

    Mar 13, 2014
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    Well. I have a MIJ Tokai SG 92 (there's a thread in this subforum) and it is easily on par with recent '61 RI Gibson SGs, and I would say a bit nicer. A lot nicer than recent Gibson SG Standards (not the VOS Custom Shop ones, I mean the factory standards).
    I spent a long time looking for a MIJ SG (actually bought 3 at this point) and finally chose the Tokai after finding one at a local store. The build quality and neck were impressive enough to make me go well over budget. Go and try to play one at some store.

    A couple of things to be aware of:

    -All the specimen I tried or asked the seller about were heavier than expected, mine is 3,1 Kg, I personally wouldn't go any higher if possible with an SG type guitar, while there seem to be many featherweight Gibsons around. I don't know if this bothers you or not, but all the other Tokais were slightly heavier ranging from 3,2-3,4 Kg, so if it does bother you, make sure to ask the seller.

    -The Tokai SG 92s have chunky necks compared to '61 RIs, quite deep, but very nicely playable. Also more of a C shape than the D shape I found on some Gibsons.

    Also, I prefer the clean beveling and contour work on Tokais, Gibson keeps the deep beveling for CS VOS reissues... grrr... The RI's are quite nice but the sculpt is not exactly right.

    -the Tokai body sculpt has the cold-chisel horns, not the pointy '61 RI style, which work with the nice deep bevels, but you gotta be on board with the design. They look like a hybrid of an early '60s Gibson and a modern one with the lovely contours on the slab-like horns.

    -The pickups sound pretty nice to me. Kinda hi-fi sounding, clean and powerful but not piercing. Since my Edwards E-SG has the darker, more bluesy SD SH-1/SH-4 combo I enjoy the variety between the two.

    I haven't had the fortune to play a VOS CS SG Standard RI, but I think those would be the only currently produced Gibsons to surpass the Tokai, it's clearly more impressive than the 2016 or 2017 Gibson SG Standard I tried back in the winter.
    skydog6653 and vonserke like this.

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