~ ’08 Tokai FB40

An excellent, though admittedly quirky, Chinese-made Tokai copy of a Gibson Firebird 1, bought for a song.

Reverse body, wraparound bridge, single pickup, and dot inlays are all as per the original but the headstock is like a transition ’65 model, reversed but not carved and with regular angled tuners, not the straight-through banjo-style ones.  The body is slightly thicker than a real ‘Bird and the lower bout is a bit larger.  The scale is also weird : 24 7/8″, between a Gibson and a PRS.

The pickup was a rather microphonic ceramic humbucker so I had vintage P90 with Alnico 4 magnet installed inside the cover.  The pickup surround is black plastic – a pity – but it’s over sized so I couldn’t retrofit a regular chrome one.

The set neck is pretty big and its plays really easily and the sound is huge, like a warmer Firebird 1.  The body is made from five laths of wood, glued on the diagonal!

It was missing the trussrod cover when I bought it so I researched carefully and had another cut. Then the original turned up. I prefer the replacement so it stays on the guitar while the original lives in the case (an SKB pointy gig bag, still big but better than a huge coffin case).

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