Tokai ALS 140F

23 March 2012 | 6:34 am | Reza Nasseri

Founded in Japan in 1947, Tokai build acoustics, electrics, basses and even autoharps, however are renowned for their duplicates of classic name brand replicas.

Under review today is the Tokai ALS 140F “Love Rock” model which closely mimics Gibson's own Les Paul Standard model and was an instant classic in my book.

Like a real Les Paul, this guitar features a maple top, mahogany back and sides and is finished in beautiful Cherry Sunburst. The one-piece deep-set neck is a big ole' slab of mahogany with a smooth rosewood fingerboard, angled headstock and superbly finished frets that are smooth to the touch and rounded off to perfection. All the hardware has a vintage quality and feels completely authentic and a couple of old school PAF pickups assist in giving the guys at Gibson a real run for their money.

Tokai ALS 140F

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Out of its deluxe vintage paisley case (also included), this guitar was almost perfectly in tune, with a serial of authenticity and an accompanied pick guard if you choose to install it, so no cheap rip offs here. The action was set much higher than I prefer but it made for a wonderfully round acoustic tone, with loads of sustain so I couldn't wait to plug it in.

The PAF's (pickups) made it hard to get a super clean tone instantly, sounding thick and relatively bright when using the bridge pickup. Setting the pickups to the middle position made up for this with a cleaner “in-between” sound. The neck pickup sounded suitably warmer and rolling back the tone made for classy jazz tones.

Adding some gain and employing a “Marshall” setting on my amp, made for that all too familiar match in heaven. Classic rock tones were instantly available without having to add too much drive, as the design of these guitars employs serious sustain. I personally love dialling in one setting on my amp and using the volume knob to control to amount of drive in my signal chain, but this was made a little bit more difficult as the volume and tone knobs seemed to react more at extreme settings, seriously cleaning up around 1 and getting that honky jazz tone at around 2. But if you're the sort of player that uses multi channel amps or pedals to drive your tone, this won't affect you. If you're seeking that full, creamy Les Paul tone, the Love Rock is an option to be considered.