Price paid: $ 549
Purchased from: Hessle Music Centre
Sound — 10
As with all Tokai guitars, we're talking quality here. I compared this to a Fender Tele (American Deluxe) and this easily equalled it and in some ways improved on it. The single coil signature Tele pickup totally cleans up; its so sharp and cutting, and even when its distorted it loses none of its razor sharpness. Even the Fender couldn't compare to it. However, the other pickup let it down. It seemed like less of a ring than a clunky clang that came from the other pickup. This isn't really a problem with the Tokai guitar, rather than the Telecaster design itself. Still, two out of three on the pickup selector isn't bad at all. I mainly play British Indie rock (a genre in which a good Tele is an essential part of a band's arsenal) and this meets all my needs perfectly. Of course if I need a really deep thumping tone I use my effects pedal but of course a Tele isn't made for a White Stripes feral sound at all and as such I don't hold it against it. Its quiet apart from a sexy purr when you crank up the volume. All in all, a brilliant, full and bright sound. If only there was a humbucker in this model instead of the piss poor covered pickup.
Overall Impression — 10
As I said before this is a perfect match with me now I've got my RP80 multi effects pedal to compensate for its bass shortcomings. I've been playing for two years and this is my second guitar; I've paired it with a Carlsbro Kick Start 25 watt amp (a surprising amount of punch, although it is British made). The only thing I'd wish I'd done know is asked if I could have it converted to take a humbucker but I'll do that once I've got a bit of money in my piggy bank. I'd definitely get another one if it was stolen, but I'd sort out my humbucker issues first. All in all, this is well worth the money.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Like all Teles, this is made to last and be thrown about a bit and I'd play a gig minus backup, which I'm planning to do soon. The hardware seems hard waring and the chrome hasn't degraded any (I've had this for five months now). Strap buttons, machineheads, saddles, electronics, knobs, selector, finish etc all seem solid. For three hundred pounds, this was a freaking steal.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I really can't fault anything that Tokai Japan have done with this guitar apart from one thing; the intonation every now and then slips a bit. Its nothing major, and I admit I do nothing to help prevent the problem (like clean the nut or bridge saddles) but it can get irritating when using arpeggios on the first three frets. Other than that, everything is perfect.
Features — 9
Recent model, don't know quite how recent however because its only just reached English shores, it is Japanese though. Thin, '52 Tele neck with 22 frets and 'no-name' headstock. Solid body. Maple neck, ash '52 body. Candy apple red finish, slight sparkle with cream pickguard. Tele style bridge, one twisted coil pickup and one steel covered. One volume knob, one tone knob, three way selector.