Chinese Tokai Breezysound

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by slowpinky, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne ,Australia
    One came up very cheap - with some minor chips in the body so I bought it. Its on its way....
    I couldnt find anything on it here - so just wondered what to expect. It doesnt look a whole lot different to a Squier Affinity , which IME means time for a new bridge, new pick ups etc - but anyone else noticed any other foibles. The Japanese stuff is still top notch apparently.
    I'll do a review of the guitar as is- if theres no info around.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  2. felis

    felis Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,159
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Location:
    Antwerp/Belgium
    Indeed, besides the catalogues there’s not much info from players on the traditional series. I look forward to your review.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  3. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne ,Australia
    Tokai ATE 33BB review

    Ok - played it.
    Its this one - in black as shown. Std format although the neck is somewhere in between bat and "C" - definitely chunkier than either my Standard or 62 RI..

    And its heavy people - certainly weightier than my Alder Std or Ash RI.
    In Basswood - maple neck/rosewood f/b

    http://www.tokaiguitarsaustralia.com.au/tokai_ate_33_pop.html

    At first glance its pretty much like a Squier Affinity as I thought.
    It has the import style chrome bridge - like the Squier Affinity; with 3 screws - and no ashtray - top load only, although there's through load holes in the bridge. No matter - I've never liked that setup and although its a bit of mucking around - thats all going.

    Under the pickguard there's no mod routing at all - although theres some routing for the neck pickup wiring.
    Under the control plate its mini alphas, a reasonable quality PCB switch and lots of room. The routing there is very generous which is a bonus. A closer look at the jack input on the outside (its a plate rather than inset) reveals that its not sitting quite flush with the body.

    Changed strings on it and played for about 30 minutes or so. And my suspicions were confirmed. Pickups thin - not exactly lifeless but the neck pickup isnt happening for me. I didnt expect much from the bridge but it is gnarly and bright without a lot of twang or punch- its what you'd expect given the hardware on it and the lack of string through.


    The good news. The body and neck are solid and seem well put together - the neck and fingerboard plays very well. Tuners seem fine - and the fretwork is good too.
    The other commendable thing is that it comes with a tough looking Tokai gig bag. Definitely better than average.


    All in all a mixed bag- and potentially a good guitar. At 599 AUD retail I think its a bit steep , I would think this wont sell well in Australia - when a Squier Affinity goes for less than 350- 400 new -and there a few Mexican Fenders out there for about the same money(but I got this one for about half the price shipped with a couple of tiny dings in the black paint so I cant complain) -I'd expect to see more of these going cheap in the coming months.

    A student of mine has a Tokai ES model hollowbody - the cheaper model..and its a superior instrument to this tele - it came out of the box a pretty good guitar for around 800 bucks. On the other hand with a bit of work this thing will be a good guitar. The neck and body are the important bits after all and while I have my suspicions about the nut slotting ( its a little deep on the top E string) - the quality of the wood and paint work is above average. With some investment in new pickups (I have a set of Fender 58's going spare) and some messing around with the bridge/tailpiece I'll be able to give my daughter a good tele to play around with and get my RI back off her!

    Overall - its a bit expensive if you are expecting a complete guitar - especially these days. Dont know its origins but looks to be a Chinese knock off that Tokai have licensed and Im guessing it wont hold a candle to their new Japanese line of guitars, none of which Ive tried but I have heard good things about.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
    nojazzhere likes this.
  4. felis

    felis Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,159
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Location:
    Antwerp/Belgium
    Thanks for the review, I guess this confirms my thoughts.


    I can only comment on the older MIJ Tokai Tele/Strat replicas. They’re very fine instruments (made my other Teles redundant).
     
  5. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne ,Australia

    Yes I bought a Tokai Strat in 1985. Great guitar- for a Strat.:)
     
    Jimmy Owen likes this.
  6. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne ,Australia
    New plan for the Tokai - its Bigsby time.
     
  7. artpunk

    artpunk Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    191
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for the review slowpinky, I always wondered about the Tokais after seeing James Black used one (MIJ) for quite a while. There's been a couple come up on ebay and at Swoppy's too. I like the idea of the Bigsby, I recently picked up a 'Legacy' Tele from Swoppys which is hardtail that I will pop a Bigsby on I think, and 'esquire' it as well after I've finished playing with it a bit - btw sorry, for anyone not from Melbourne, Swoppys refers to a store called The Music Swop Shop, an incredibly wonderful (or bad depending on your viewpoint) place to visit for anyone suffering from even a small amount of GAS.
    If your neck pickup's a bit ho-hum, maybe you could go the Esquire route as well (unless you already have one or two) ;)
     
  8. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne ,Australia
    Thanks artpunk - I know Swoppys well - bit like the Chinese Tokai - a mixed bag! After checking this guitar out, I'm more or less convinced that the most Tokai thing about it is the headstock - and nothing like the Japanese ones of yesteryear , or the present day. Not a bad copy though - just needs a total refit.
    Probably wont go the esquire - I'm a neck pickup tragic Im afraid. I have these new fender vintage 58's Im keen to try on it with the Bigsby.
     
  9. Spox

    Spox TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    9
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2015
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Zombie Fred revival

    I have one of these which I bought new at beginning of last year, I think. Sunburst and rosewood, I changed the switch to a four way, new knobs
    and probably pots and had a set of Tele single coil sized P90 type pups built for it, not P90 shape, single coils but sit deeper than normal and a heavy wind
    of 12k in the bridge and 8.6 in the neck. As you can imagine these overdrive the amp pretty quickly and are darker than normal, I pushed the treble up a bit
    on the amp whilst playing earlier and it pulls back the Tele sound a bit.

    It's a good guitar for the money, you get what you pay for, body looks great with the double binding and a nice fast neck. I replaced the saddles
    with three brass ones, only gripe is the bridge, it has raised edges rather than flat meaning it doesn't feel right when I damp the strings with edge of
    hand and when I'm playing over the bridge pickup I find I'm missing the top E string sometimes because of this. I'm sure the guy who does my work for me said that
    the bridge dimensions aren't exact so a Fender replacement won't fit properly but I'll look into that further in the new year as it'd be worth making a bit of effort to rectify.
     
    slowpinky likes this.
  10. Claptondos

    Claptondos NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2018
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    I have recently bought a chinese Tokai Breezysound (don't know the model, but I guess is an ATE 38) in my usual music store. I have had a Fender Telecaster '52 reissue that I sold, and when I saw this Tokai I fell in love with it. Good price, 330€ (I live in Spain) and the boss (a friend of mine, I have bought a lot of guitars an amps there) gave me an original Tokai bag (55€) for free.

    The guitar is very well made, two pieces ash body, maple neck and a thick rosewood fingerboard. It plays really well, but the pickups doesn't sound good for my taste. So I went to the store and the man (a very professional tube amp repairer and luthier) changed them for a new set of Fender '51 Nocaster pickups. Plus a neutrik jack, two CTS pots and an original Fender 3 way switch. A lot of work, drilling holes to make some of them bigger, changing some screws, and soldering everything with textil wire. The cavities were painted with graphite coating, but he put some conductive tape to put this to ground. A great job.

    Changed the strings, ocatave, pickup height and the guitar sounded really fantastic. It stays in tune and the hum was almost inaudible, incredible. He took a new Fender Tele '52 reissue off the shop and compare both. The Tokai sounded much better, can you believe? There was very little difference between pickups compared to the new Tokai, and to his ears (and mine too) the bridge pickup was a lot better, and the neck pickup sounded more bluesy, more "rounded". He said that the Fender sounded more "cheap", and hums much more.

    The guitar is fantastic now, the mod cost me 220€ more, but it worth that extra. For 550€ now I have what he called a "Custom Shop Tele", a superb guitar that I play and play, I have almost forgot the rest of my guitars (two Fender Strats, a 92 Plus Deluxe with Fralin Blues pickups and a Custom Shop Eric Clapton, plus a Gibson Le Paul Standard T 2017 with Wolfe Mr. Vintage pickups and an Epiphone Les Paul Joe Bonamassa). It's so good, believe me.

    If the Tokai chinese guitars have this tremendous quality I can imagine the more expensive japanese ones... The best buy I have made in years. I will send photographs of my new beauty if you are interested, and hope someone can tell me the exact model, because is not written in any place of the guitar.
     
    slowpinky and felis like this.
  11. felis

    felis Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,159
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Location:
    Antwerp/Belgium
    :cool:, and looking forward to seeing your photos.;)
     
  12. mainman21

    mainman21 NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    May 1, 2018
    Location:
    stafford
    I've just acquired a double edge bound Deep red ex-shop demo Chinese Tokai Breezysound Tele myself. I haven't tried it through an amp yet, but the build quality and finishing is superb. It was very interesting to read about your custom mods and I like the choices you have made, and I intend to do something similar. Was there much structural work needed to accommodate the new pickups, and did you have to modify the pick guard? I play mostly fingerstyle myself, so it is important to have really good pickups, as it is difficult to achieve that real Telecaster sound without a pick; I am constantly trying to refine my technique!
     
  13. Elviramaker

    Elviramaker NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    1
    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Location:
    Hertford
    I have one of the Chinese Tokai Breezysounds, no idea which model it is, but I suspect not high up the food chain. But then I am not looking for the guitar as it arrived today to stay that way.

    The thing I know about Tokais is that their quality control is very high. So this guitar arrived with a great neck and a fantastic finish on the body. The fretwork is also very very good, not to the standard you'd expect on an American Standard Tele, but then I only paid £150.00 in an Ebay auction for it. It's new as well.

    This guitar is a platform for upgrades, all I needed was a great neck and a great quality body, both of which this supplies. At the price point these sell at new in shops you will get great Tokai workmanship for which they are famed, but they have to economise somewhere - and that somewhere is the pickups which sound perfectly usable, until you do a direct comparison with another one of your Teles with great pick-ups. The tuners are surprisingly good too - although I have a spare set of Fenders which I will be putting on the guitar.

    I will post before and after pics as all the parts I have ordered will come in in the next few days.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  14. slowpinky

    slowpinky Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,957
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne ,Australia

    Yep exactly - although I found the pickups in mine pretty awful and had to replace them (and the hardware) to make it sound remotely tele like. There seem to be some discrepancies over this side of the world on model numbers, parts and materials. My guess is that the one I got was part of an initial run of typical Asian basswood models that while having respectable Tokai QC were nonetheless bottom of the food chain models that were fishing for better prices based on the brand name. I cant find any info from Tokai on this but now the ATE33 model is no longer made apparently, now replaced by the ATE 48 with an Alder body but is still top loading according to the pics.....

    Was there much structural work needed to accommodate the new pickups, and did you have to modify the pick guard? I play mostly fingerstyle myself, so it is important to have really good pickups, as it is difficult to achieve that real Telecaster sound without a pick; I am constantly trying to refine my technique!

    Nothing structural essential - I originally had a Bigsby on it but some friends of mine needed a guitar for their son to do guitar study at school - so I removed the Bigsby and measured up and redrilled for a new ashtray bridge and string through. It's the first time I have done this and it has changed the sound of the guitar significantly - to me its part of the sound but thats personal. An aftermarket pickguard worked fine. It was a good project and now its helping another youngster get started - so all good.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.