NGD - 2002 Tokai LS-320

currypowder

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Just arrived, 2002 LS-320. My 2003 LS-320 was my first MIJ guitar and it has remained my #1 for over decade. Only my recently acquired Greco EGF-1200 comes close, and I would rank the 320 & 1200 1A & 1B. This was an opportunistic acquisition, I only grabbed it as it was priced at a bargain level, IMO. My initial impressions are very favorable. It feels and plays exactly like my other one, though it may be several days before I can do a true side-by-side. Weight is similar (9.5+ pounds) and neck feels like a nice '59 shape and size. It does not have fret end nibs (which is a little surprising since my '03 does, but not an issue). There is some minor playwear, mainly on the back corners and it's missing a truss rod cover. Other than that, just a fantastically built instrument from top to bottom. One of the best models ever from Tokai, IMO.

Specs include a 1-piece Honduras mahogany body, Honduras mahogany neck, solid AAAA flame maple cap, Jacaranda/Brazilian rosewood fretboard Seth Lover pickups and Tone Factory PIO caps.

We all have our opinions, but in my experience of comparing my LS-320 to a seemingly unending revolving door of single cuts, the 320s are as good as it gets.

y4mmXami5aTGDRvTPyfdvKzjL7xuwK_UUo0rgP-wFS1NejZ41PCNfZxof2IzM5sSsNlf5S-MaloVWgBUOoX-Jl3ltrjDnldqdR4tN-uPhEyfIn2flgWQacTHIfyhb0cwGv9VdCyi8UHAC500qz2lD0EKOt1PgbAle_kacJeAiK87nFW1Op63yHuokXT24S9X8Am0HH4-W5HDzHMIAeMgpm8bg

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Mini Forklift Ⓥ

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They sure do make some great guitars! I just picked up a 2002 Gibson Standard a few months ago and my Tokai LS135Q is firmly head & shoulders above it, both in terms of quality and tone.

Congrats on yours, looks stunning
 

paruwi

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Congrats on the New to You Tokai

:thumb: :applause: :thumb:
 

D.K.

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Wow, what a beauty (both of them)! Exquisite.

BTW - what new Tokai could be compared with the 320s, what’s the highest model they offer now?
 

currypowder

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Wow, what a beauty (both of them)! Exquisite.

BTW - what new Tokai could be compared with the 320s, what’s the highest model they offer now?

Thanks, DK.

Here's a new Tokai that's spec'd about the same, only the pickups are a slight upgrade from the 320s. Personally, I like the tops on the older ones much better than this 650.

 

D.K.

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650, huh? Thought they would rather be somewhere at 500+)).

Yeah, absolutely prefer your both 320‘s tops to the new ones! This is also true for most of the new high-spec Navis and FGNs I have seen in pics or in person.

However, Harold, Villager and others (iirc) talked more than once about how today‘s high end mij lp tops got more mundane in the last couple of years. Probably less highly figured hard maple available, or it just got uneconomically expensive.
 
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wulfman

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I don’t think the maple is in a great shortage, but rather that there may be a preference for the more flashy tops. The cost is probably not that high in relation to the whole guitar. Here is one that tempts me because of how nice the grain is on the back. It has a Braz board too!
https://www.digimart.net/cat01/shop1240/DS05409786/
 

D.K.

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I don’t think the maple is in a great shortage, but rather that there may be a preference for the more flashy tops. The cost is probably not that high in relation to the whole guitar. Here is one that tempts me because of how nice the grain is on the back. It has a Braz board too!
https://www.digimart.net/cat01/shop1240/DS05409786/
Happy New Year, Harold, and thanks again for my wonderful Greco tele!

Yeah, that back looks great for sure, love the knot, gives it so much personality!
 

lpfan1980

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Just arrived, 2002 LS-320. My 2003 LS-320 was my first MIJ guitar and it has remained my #1 for over decade. Only my recently acquired Greco EGF-1200 comes close, and I would rank the 320 & 1200 1A & 1B. This was an opportunistic acquisition, I only grabbed it as it was priced at a bargain level, IMO. My initial impressions are very favorable. It feels and plays exactly like my other one, though it may be several days before I can do a true side-by-side. Weight is similar (9.5+ pounds) and neck feels like a nice '59 shape and size. It does not have fret end nibs (which is a little surprising since my '03 does, but not an issue). There is some minor playwear, mainly on the back corners and it's missing a truss rod cover. Other than that, just a fantastically built instrument from top to bottom. One of the best models ever from Tokai, IMO.

Specs include a 1-piece Honduras mahogany body, Honduras mahogany neck, solid AAAA flame maple cap, Jacaranda/Brazilian rosewood fretboard Seth Lover pickups and Tone Factory PIO caps.

We all have our opinions, but in my experience of comparing my LS-320 to a seemingly unending revolving door of single cuts, the 320s are as good as it gets.

y4mmXami5aTGDRvTPyfdvKzjL7xuwK_UUo0rgP-wFS1NejZ41PCNfZxof2IzM5sSsNlf5S-MaloVWgBUOoX-Jl3ltrjDnldqdR4tN-uPhEyfIn2flgWQacTHIfyhb0cwGv9VdCyi8UHAC500qz2lD0EKOt1PgbAle_kacJeAiK87nFW1Op63yHuokXT24S9X8Am0HH4-W5HDzHMIAeMgpm8bg

y4mh88khSnbN7OLDOKS5-PUg4vi-23l4nolbvLxY5FAGv1QMXCuonC2jibHZ-NK6j7KPytBSWiCVhqzPIOvBeJ_2Pv_3ehcVcuvo7hRAd6hDTJSLzjONi6X0SHBGWXeX2tVoygJ15qQu-a5lg59NOJylvMGgtkDP2o6236QnGJ81xoRezemQw_IAjT7INF4ZPSbyzmbPMjPEq-cpblXyYRyeg

y4mZ_h0bgN1OcX6fR-461gNVtwafxQtf2Uvq4cqxRrQE6Hvcs9BbSZh0NZ-_ZK2KZfiWFGzM9pVbJAOV2jTIVlL9ARvD96achK1I1tkDVcT6Lk98-1HEmAh2F78BhPZe_JbNYsX4H6-Fh4kOA-VOhxCD_PctKpljwQQwI0c9OyLPuGT2TrJwCJ1yNChqYYXPdtMqsvHmrLioYjLK7ipAQe0jQ
Gorgeous piece of workmanship-nice new guitar!
 

D.K.

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I don’t think the maple is in a great shortage, but rather that there may be a preference for the more flashy tops. The cost is probably not that high in relation to the whole guitar. Here is one that tempts me because of how nice the grain is on the back. It has a Braz board too!
https://www.digimart.net/cat01/shop1240/DS05409786/

Harold, To get back to your point, do you think the preference changed towards the more flashy tops? It seemed to me the tops in the early 2000 through to 5-6 years ago were flashier and had higher grade of figuring. The 650 Curry linked in this thread does not look very special to me - I‘ve seen a few FGN LS30 in Germany that have exactly that type of grain and figuring, but the LS30 is a 2000 USD guitar, give or take. Also, there was a newish Navigator NLP 680 on the web which had that same type of „thin line flame“, which didn’t look spectacular for that exquisite a guitar. But maybe that’s today’s buyers’ taste that Tokai, Navigator and FGN are just following, I don’t know...

Btw, I remember reading some luthiers like Siggi Braun say that today exceptionally highly figured top planks can go for well over 1000 USD and that the pricing has gone up significantly during the last 10 years.
 

Pop1655

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Beautiful. My 100 and 120 were so perfect it's hard for me to even imagine how nice a 320 must be. Enjoy.
 

Roxy13

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I think all of the guitars shown here are gorgeous! The twins are spectacular!
 

wulfman

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Harold, To get back to your point, do you think the preference changed towards the more flashy tops? It seemed to me the tops in the early 2000 through to 5-6 years ago were flashier and had higher grade of figuring. The 650 Curry linked in this thread does not look very special to me - I‘ve seen a few FGN LS30 in Germany that have exactly that type of grain and figuring, but the LS30 is a 2000 USD guitar, give or take. Also, there was a newish Navigator NLP 680 on the web which had that same type of „thin line flame“, which didn’t look spectacular for that exquisite a guitar. But maybe that’s today’s buyers’ taste that Tokai, Navigator and FGN are just following, I don’t know...

Btw, I remember reading some luthiers like Siggi Braun say that today exceptionally highly figured top planks can go for well over 1000 USD and that the pricing has gone up significantly during the last 10 years.

I don't have any knowledge of pricing but I guess it could be the case as you say that certain grades are rare and expensive. I do agree that we see a lot of those thin pinstripe flame guitars that someone must prefer. It is like quilted maple - I don't really like the look but others might prefer it. I really like the look of these AA flame guitars where it is a bit random and imperfect.
 

D.K.

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I don't have any knowledge of pricing but I guess it could be the case as you say that certain grades are rare and expensive. I do agree that we see a lot of those thin pinstripe flame guitars that someone must prefer. It is like quilted maple - I don't really like the look but others might prefer it. I really like the look of these AA flame guitars where it is a bit random and imperfect.
I‘m with you here - I love imperfection in wood (tops or backs), and those 2As are much closer to a mental picture of an LP that I have in my mind than that thin pinstripe.

What I find so great about Curry‘s both 320s is that they have a thick, 3D flaming/figuring, exactly the type which is often seen on original bursts or historics, but not so often on modern mij lps.
 
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