She arrived while I was at work. I own several Gibsons, as well as an Epi 2020 '50s Standard. This thing is absolutely fantastic in comparison. Epiphone should be happy that Tokais aren't as easily obtainable in the US. They'd be sunk. Hell, even the body shape is way more accurate. I still need to do my usual setup, per my personal preferences, but there's nothing really wrong with how it is now. The bloody thing was even still in tune, and it traveled all of the way from Madrid to Ohio. I'm extremely happy with my decision to buy this guitar.
Yes, it's Chinese. I'm honestly shocked by how good it is. I was expecting, at the very best, Epiphone quality. Not that they are bad, mind you- but even though I'm really enjoying my Epi, it'll never fool me into thinking it's a USA Gibson. This however is surprisingly close. Maybe I just got lucky, and they sent me an exceptional example, but it really is a great guitar straight out of the box. Even the stock pickups might be keepers.
Faber E--Serts, ABRM, and lightweight aluminum tailpiece ordered! I plan on ordering another Emerson wiring harness, for '50s wiring, as well. I still think the stock pickups may be keepers. The tuners are fine, so I don't believe there's any need to replace those, either. It's not that I'm not happy with the guitar as it is, but I do want to bring it to it's full potential.
I bought my Chinese Tokai SG Custom from the same store in Madrid. Well, I’m 99.9% sure because the pics in the reverb ad were taken with that same background. It plays wonderfully and looks great. The pickups are not terrible, but she deserves better. The ceramic pickups it has are not my style.
Totally agree with what you said about how they kill Epiphones. The Chinese one sent me down the Japanese copy rabbit hole. I doubt I’ll ever buy an actual Gibson. I got two more Tokais. A wonderful mij Goldtop https://ibb.co/fFWW8Xy
And I couldn’t believe this deal - with shipping it was between 550 and 580 for a 2012 model of a guitar that is on the same level as an SG Standard. How much was that going for in 2012 new? Used I’m thinking 800-1000 now? https://ibb.co/HnYGM5h
Beautiful SG, LoveLes83! I thought I read that the pickups were alnico 2, but it makes sense that an import has ceramics. I do have a set of Pearly Gates that I'll probably end up installing. Catawompus, they compare very favourably. At least mine does. Like I said before, I'm honestly shocked by how good this guitar is. I spent time switching between the Tokai, and my main USA Gibson Standard, trying to see how close I could get them to sound. They sound and feel so much alike that I forgot which guitar I had in my hands. That never happened even with my other Gibsons!
I do always keep in mind that the Tokai has a veneer, a four piece back, and the electronics are probably typical cheap Asian parts. But it's so well built, that I really don't think about any of that when I'm playing it.
I got impatient waiting for the ABRM, and I wanted to change my strings anyway. So, since I already received the tailpiece and studs, I went ahead and installed them. There's already an enormous difference, by just getting rid of the heavy cast or zinc stock one. The entire guitar resonates incredibly. I really can't wait to see how it reacts to the new bridge and studs.