A 'Her, or an 'It'? Like all of you on this forum, I absolutely love Les Paul's... I have two Gibson (reissue) Les Paul's, not even production line models, but both Custom Shop jobs, so why am I interested in Tokai's? Last year, I bought an LS85F, it turned out to be quite a project, I had no idea that Japanese Tokai's could be chock a block with junk hardware, nasty, cheap chromium plated rubbish that should never have graced any guitar; however, the body and neck were well made, finished, for want of a better word, at least nicely gooed over with Polyurethane varnish that needed a good rub down to thin and feel right. i have nothing against Poly finishes, if they are thin, and thin this one now is. Not content with rescuing this deeply-flawed instrument from it's plastic straight jacket and rubbish hardware, I decided to go really crazy and look for a very cheap model, an ALS48, a Korean one. After much searching, looking for a cheap example of an already affordable guitar, I found a rather sorry example on eBay. No one was bidding on it, no wonder, my gosh this thing looked ugly! I wanted her/it for guitar classes, something I could trawl around the filthy, dangerous streets of London. One bid, I had her/it, £155, plus £10 delivery. That was back in May, delivery was to my Mother's address in London, meanwhile, I was eight thousand kilometres south, in tropical Africa. I don't know why I was so excited to see this ugly thing, but I had waited seven whole months to see what monster I had become the owner of... No, please don't for one minute think that this is lovely, this picture does not do this guitar the injustice it deserves, it is disgusting, believe me! Truly disgusting! The finish, if you can call it that is far worse than the Japanese model, far worse! It looks like a child has done it. The red has more than a tinge of pink in it, the back is even worse than the front. Does anyone know why the cover plates are cream and not black? Notice the lack of a dimple on the open book headstock... perhaps made for another market? The finish makes it feel like a toy, not at all a serious instrument; but it's a cheap guitar I hear you object! Yes, however, is there more to this beast? There are are few problems... Some tortured soul has given this jack plate a real going over... Strange selector tip, ghastly selector plate! A beveled pickguard! The bell knobs are so close to the top, it's a wonder that they don't foul it... a deep scratch... The awful pot metal, clunky chrome hardware! Because I love Les Paul's, I find it difficult to believe that this can be a 'bad' guitar, perhaps there is a great guitar hiding, waiting to be set free... Here then, is a mad post, documenting an heroic effort to save this it and turn her into a she! Watch this space!