Tokai Strats - love em? hate em?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by gregory70, Aug 24, 2005.


  1. gregory70

    gregory70 Supporting Member

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    Really, that's it. I occasionally see Tokai Strats on ebay and have read some good things about them. Then I played a Tokai Love Rock (Les Paul copy) and, I have to tell you - I was really impressed with the quality for the price. Just wondering if the Tokai Strats are also good bang-for-buck guitars as well...
     
  2. hackenfort

    hackenfort Supporting Member

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    They are great guitars, I had one back in the early 80's that was made for the japan market. It was superior to anything made at the time, and I think every bit as good today, this side of Fender's custom shop.

    For some reason, much like the Love Rock (MIJ), Tokai seemed to capture the feel of a vintage guitar better than most other manufactures. I know many of the die hard LP Fans would disagree, but I'd take a Love Rock over the average Historic.

    Kevin
     
  3. hackenfort

    hackenfort Supporting Member

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    Just wanted to add, the Tokai's made for the home market (Japan) are really starting to go up in price. I think many players are starting to realize what great guitars these are, and they are priced player friendly.
     
  4. woof*

    woof* Member

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    the best Tokai strats are the springy's from the late 70's and the goldstars made emediately after that. by 83-84 they were having probs with fender and had to make changes. the current crop are mostly made in korea and..well.... what you'd expect.
    i have three, two springy's and one goldstar and in my opinion they are alot better than fender japan and at least on par with american reissue's ive ever seen and played. all three of mine are very light weight and resonant...and have real steel blocks.

    alot of pros have used them rather than take real vintage on the road..including billy G and stevie...
    one of mine i had refretted by rene m. he told me stevie had a red one layin around his apartment all the time.

    if your looking on ebay for a good one most of the old ones are auctioned by the japan dealers and currently go pretty high.
    if you dont mind the silly headstock the early 80's ones from japan are pretty good quality. hope this helps


    rand
     
  5. gregory70

    gregory70 Supporting Member

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    Hey Woof* - just sent you a PM - if you get a chance take a look. Thanks!
     
  6. woof*

    woof* Member

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    will do sir!
     
  7. loverocker

    loverocker Member

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    I've had a '78 Springy Sound and still have the '83 Springy Sound - and a '81 Breezy Sound. They're everything that's already been said. Someone on this board once said that there was some odd neck construction detail that made their headstocks prone to breaking, but I'd never heard anything like that before. :confused:

    FYI the 'made for Japanese market' thing is a bit of a red herring. The vast majority were the exact same guitars (ST-50, ST-60, etc), it's just that the high end models (ST-80, ST-100, etc) were rarely exported.

    Go to www.tokaiforum.com for more hands-on opinions.
     
  8. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    My "Springy Sound" Tokai strat sounds as good or better than the real ones I used to have. That would be: 54, 57, 59, 60 and a 64.
     
  9. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    I have a 78 Tokai strat I found stuffed away in a music store around 82 or so. Wonderful guitar. It was my main gigging guitar for 20 years. I've tried many strats since that time.....custom shops, mia's, mim's, etc, and this one plays, feels and sounds better than any of them. I have not had the opportunity to compare it to a vintage strat, so I can't say how it would fare in that regard.

    The acoustic tone and volume this thing puts out is amazing. Sustain and resonance that shakes your body. Classic V shaped neck that ( for skinny frets and a 7 1/4 radius ) is very comfortable. Just a super nice guitar.

    I rarely play it these days, but when I do get it out, I am once again awe struck by what a fine instrument it is.

    A friend had an early 80's Fernandes back in the day that was also a very good guitar.
     
  10. ned911

    ned911 Member

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    I've got a '01 MIK Tokai Strat that I keep tuned to Eb. Rarely play it but when I do it's always in tune. All my other Tokai's are MIJ.
     
  11. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

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    I have a springy sound which plays like butter. My main axe is a 61 all original strat and I've been using the tokai as a backup. But I want to put singlcoil-size humbuickers in it now (I started another thread asking advice about this). It plays really great and is very light and good sounding wood. I don't know what they are selling for now. I got mine in 1983. But they are good.
     
  12. Auge

    Auge Member

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    ...is from 1984 and i am the first owner. i never found a fender which was better.
    greez
    auge[​IMG]
     
  13. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    That was me. I wish I'd kept a pic...

    Basically, under the fingerboard (rosewood) between the nut and the first fret, there was a 3/4" diameter x 1/4" deep circular cavity holding the truss-rod anchor, which was a straight bar across the middle. The cavity was otherwise empty. The neck had broken straight through this, unsurprisingly. I don't think the maple necks will have this 'feature' though.

    FWIW I've never really rated Tokais. To me they're good, but not great. They have the right vibe, but just lack the solidity and focus of tone of a good old Fender, or even a 70s one (although those have other problems). I feel the same about their Gibson copies. It's a hard thing to describe, but I always hear a thinness and lack of power in the tone - a sort of 'softness'. I feel exactly the same about most Fender Japan guitars (still there though least on the JV Squiers), Fernandes and other recent Japanese brands. I don't hear the same characteristic in 80s Ibanez and Yamahas among others - those can sound really great - so it's not purely a far-east thing.

    Just my opinion of course.
     

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