The Tokai Guitar Information Source


Review: Tokai NES-80 (Korean)

Date:July 19, 2003
Manufacturer:Tokai Gakki
Author:Wes Cooksey

General Description

This is a 'made in Korea' Tokai 335 style hollow body electric with "little Gretsch" vibe to it. The red flamed maple finish is dazzling with flamed maple on the front, back and sides, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard & set maple neck. The binding, headstock detail and Gold hardware are very high quality that I find it hard to belive it costs so little and I'm even more amazed that this quality level is made in Korea. I particularly enjoy the Gold Gretsch style Filtertons & Bigsby style vibrato.

Fit & Finish

The quality on this guitar is excellent. This particular guitar came in a flamed cherry that is so beautiful in person that a photo can't do it justice. As attractive as the guitar is, however, it is the finish (more specifically excellent finish preparation) that amazes me to the point of wondering how it costs so little. The body joint of the set neck is clean and tight. The nut installation is clean. The Gold GROVER Tuners are installed tightly and turn with ease & precision. The bindings are very attractive and are installed on the front back & headstock. The most surprising detail comes from the fret inlays. The inlays are obviously CNC milled and carefully applied. The fretwork is very smooth and silent when bending notes. The edges of the fingerboard are finished nicely and easy on the hand. The inlays are made of Mother-Of-Pearl with Abalone triangles inserted in the center. The "tune-o-matic" style bridge and B-7 Bigsby style vibrato set it off just right and stays amazingly well in tune. The intonation is good, and there is no buzzing or note-out anywhere on the neck.


What can I say.......I plugged her into a Vox AC/15 and said WOW! This guitar is well suited to play jazz, rockabilly and blues and the tones from this guitar can change to a clear treble twang at the flick of a switch. I flipped my amp over to Boost and the guitar changed personalities as I went into a Helter Skelter riff followed by Revolution. If you like distortion....this guitar growls. It also sounds great & the acoustics are loud if you choose to play it "unplugged".


It Feels & looks like you actually spent a fortune yet costs a quarter of the price. I have been leery of Korean guitars in the past, but this one surprised me with its fit, finish & sound. Korean quality has come very far in this example or maybe it is because it bears the TOKAI name.

You can buy this guitar and still have money to buy a great amp....and all for under a grand. What can I say....I was very impressed.

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