In the late 60′s Russians decided they wanted in on building electric guitars, and the Tonika is one of the earliest models. It was more out of necessity than anything else because behind the iron curtain all you could get were Russian goods. There weren’t Les Pauls or Strats at the local music store. By looking at the shapes of these instruments you might wonder if they had ever even seen an electric guitar in person. Many of the design flaws might make you wonder if they even knew what a guitar was supposed to do at all!
When we got this in it was a mess. The action was sky high, the fretboard was wonky and the bridge was in the wrong place so there was no way to properly intonate the guitar. There’s no truss rod and the neck is just one big solid piece of Russian timber. We leveled the board in our Plek to get the proper relief curve and radius. This Tonika now has a level fret board, new frets, a properly placed intonatable bridge and some other little improvements here and there. It may be the best playing cold war era soviet guitar out there.