ALC53 Flame Top review by Tokai

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
Tokai: ALC53 Flame Top

Price paid: £ 259

Purchased from: RichTone Music

Sound — 8
I play quite a lot of metal, and I was either going to get this or an ESP LTD EC-256 but I went for this in the end as I didn't like the aged finish ESP were doing on the EC-256. The neck seems somewhere in between an LP neck and surprisingly an Ibanez neck, its a lot flatter than a Gibson Les Paul that I played around a friend's house and yet its chunkier than my dads RG. I'm was running it through a Marshall 15w Combo with a Boss MetalCore pedal for distortion until recently when I got a Peavey Vypyr 50 and put the Combo in my cupboard. It sounds great with high gain playing Devildriver and yet you can flick it up to the neck pickup and play Sweet Child O' Mine and it sounds perfect. Recently purchased some Seymour Duncan Blackouts for it as the MK4s don't quite cut it for pickin up pinch harmonics.

Overall Impression — 9
Doesn't look like it's built to play metal, but then again, John 5 plays telecasters so appearances can be deceiving. In the 3 1/2 years I've been playing guitar, its definately my best investment, out of the Vypyr, the Combo, my MetalCore pedal and my ESP LTD EX-260. If it got stolen, I'd hunt the person down and beat him to death with it, maybe the blood would soak into the finish and make it look cooler:D I do wish it could come with more modern hardware, but then I wouldn't have any fun changing things out, Blackouts, Black Nickel bridge/knobs and some Sperzel Locking tuners will finish this axe off to my taste.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Its built like a tank, if I were to pick which would brake first when smashed out of the '53 or the Gator case it's in at the moment, it would be a tough descision. Changed the strap buttons out of personal prefence for DiMarzio Cliplocks. Hardware is pretty solid, no rust or fret wearing. I'm getting it set up on the weekend to take 10-52 strings as I usually keep it in C/Drop C tuning for In Flames/Devildriver stuff, and 10-46 strings don't hold the tuning very well. Finish has yet to be scratched, even after a couple of knocks.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action was perfect out of the box, intonation was bang on, neck pickup looked too high, but I'm used to flat top bodies like Explorers so I think it's just a matter of getting used to it. The top was perfect apart from a slight scuff under the laquer above the toggle switch, but unless you're a foot away you can't really see it. The pickup selector did come loose, but probably due to my killswitch abuse, but is fine now. I'd give it a 9, but the selector is really awkward to tighten.

Features — 10
This Love Rock (LP copy) model is apparantly no longer made by Tokai as I got it last year, the new model is basicly the same, just looks more like a "custom" (block inlays, headstock symbol, gold hardware, etc) BODY: Alder Flamed Maple Top NECK: Canadian Maple Set Neck FINGERBOARD: Rosewood FRETS: 22F BRIDGE: LS-VBK Bridge LS-VTK Tailpiece INLAY: Trapezoid PICKUPS: PAF-Vintage MK42 CONTROLS: 2 Volume 2 Tone 3way Toggle SW COLOUR: You could get it in Black, White, See Thru Black or Wine Red. I went for See Thru black. Made in 2008 according to the serial number but it was bought in August 2009, for around 260 it does its job well and its very versatile.

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