Santa Claus came early this year compliments of the Tokai Gakki Company.
As a token of their appreciation for our commitment to the Tokai Guitar
Registry and their brand they have sent a Love Rock NLS80-PR (Paisley).
So here is a quick review after a few hours of jamming with this
Before I get into the specifics of the guitar I thought it would be
worthwhile to look at how the guitar was shipped. The guitar came double
boxed for protection, the inner box contains the guitar with packaging
material completely surround the instrument. It is the attention to small
details that make the biggest differences and the foam block to protect
the 3-way pickup selector is just such a detail.
|Body:|| Maple 3 piece top, mahogany back|
|Neck:|| Mahogany Set-Neck|
|Fingerboard:|| Rosewood, 22 frets|
|Bridge:|| LS-VB Bridge, Chrome / LS-VT Tailpiece, Chrome|
|Pickups:|| Alnico PAF-Vintage MK2|
|Controls:|| 2V,2T, 3way SW|
|Machineheads:||SD90-SL Nickel, Gotoh |
Fit and Finish
The PR stands for the paisley finish on this model Love Rocks. While the
cast is more towards a light purple or pink burst compared to the more
maroon burst on the picture featured on the North American site
(www.tokai-guitars.com) it is
still an absolutely beautiful finish.
The backing to the paisley features
a silver finish which really allows the paisley design to stand out.
The grain on the neck and back just enhance the overall look of this
guitar and speak quality.
You can see the new North American headstock shape in the picture, notice
the dip in the middle of the mustache. This is special for North America
to keep from infringing on any copyrights other companies may have on a
particular headstock shape.
The guitar came well setup with a very low action and no fret buzz
anywhere on the neck. Bridge and tail piece are basic Tune-O-Matic
type and typical of Les Paul/Gibson copies.
Feel and Sound
Two words: Fretless Wonder!!!!
I know that moniker is usually reserved for Customs but it takes no
effort to get a true and clear note out of the NLS80. With very little
pressure I was able to extract notes that sounded clear and were perfectly in
tune. While warming up it felt as if I was able to play through scales
faster than normal due less required pressure on each fret to get a clear
note. To test if this were true I fired up the metronome and after 5
minutes I was 10bpm faster than my usual quick times. When you drive
race cars everything is about a faster time.
As for the sound I will have to quote Linda Richman (Mike Myers in drag)
and say it is like melted butter. The Mk2 pickups where able to produce
great blues tones, clear tones and of course some serious distortion tones.
When you have a paisley guitar it only seems right to jam along with Cream. I
plugged the NLS80 into my GuitarPort and started rocking to Crossroads
and was able to get a guitar sound similar to Claptons. This followed
by a quick jam with the old Rockman to some classic Boston which allowed
me to get as close to that sound as I have ever gotten, Strats just don't cut
it with the Rockman tone.
I have owned Gibson Les Paul Standards in the past but this NLS80
absolutely takes the cake. Not only does it play wonderfully it is
just far to cool looking with the paisley finish. Ever the wife could
not stop talking about how beautiful this guitar is and she usually only complains when
new guitars come through the front door.
If your sitting on the fence about getting a Tokai climb on over and join the
group as Tokai Love Rocks have got to be the best guitar for the money
you can buy. My next quest is a Korean Gold Top to compare to the NLS80.