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Tokai Strats

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by hemlock, May 14, 2006.

  1. hemlock

    hemlock Guest

    Wax from TGP brought over a late 70s? Tokai strat last night to play through my Goodsell. What an excellent guitar! A local luthier has done some work on the neck- I think recarving the profile and maybe changed the radius, too. The thing is beautiful, plays awesome with just tons of Strat character, and sounds like a million dollars. It sounded much better than my Warmoth with Kinmans. I'm on a mission now.
  2. Zexcoil

    Zexcoil Vendor

    Sep 24, 2005
    I've got an '84 AST '62 Tokai that I've had since the late 80's. I didn't really even know what it has at the time, although I had heard people speak in hushed whispers about "lawsuit" guitars. This was way before the internet; it's so much easier to find information now isn't it? This one isn't actually a lawsuit, since it has the modified headstock.

    It's a fantastic guitar. I've played through the original frets, and I'm on the first refret. I've done a lot to it, but it’s got great "bones", you know? It just has a great natural sound and resonance. It is still the most "Stratty-sounding" strat I own. I'm not as partial to the (thin) neck profile anymore, but sound-wise this thing rocks! The original pick-ups were not to my taste, and they've been replaced (a few times now) and I installed a Torres bluescaster harness and shielded the crap out of it a couple of years ago. I don't play it as much as I used to (for a long time it was my only Strat) since I have a few Strat options now, but every time I pull it out the quality of the sound still surprises me.

    I think the early (83-84) AST's are probably one of the best bargains in guitars right now. You should be able to get one on ebay for well under $500. If you want a lawsuit headstock and "Spaghetti" logo (or 7okai logo as they are sometimes referred to) you'll pay more. I played a 1980 ST80 when I was in Tokyo last summer (I wish I had bought it) and I don't think it was any better than mine. If you're willing to deal with non-original issues like saddles, p'ups etc, you should be able to find a "player" for dirt cheap. To me, the value of these guitars is in the wood and the build quality. I don't think the p'ups were that good to begin with, and saddles and stuff like that, who cares basically?

    My 2 cents.

  3. screamtone

    screamtone Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2005
    Derby City
    I've got two of them. One was my main Strat for many years. The other one will be for sale very soon (tuition bill is coming up). PM me if you like.
  4. George Johnson

    George Johnson Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    Have Guitar Will Travel
    Played one years ago and remember it being a fine little geetar (surprised me, in fact). :AOK
  5. Leftee

    Leftee Guest

    Slightly off-topic, but I have a MIJ Fernandes from the early 90's. It's the only Strat-style guitar I've ever bonded with.
  6. Ogre

    Ogre Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    I have a 2-tone sunburst from 1979 that is as good as any of the real maple-neck Strats I used to have.
  7. ROKY

    ROKY Member

    Mar 2, 2004
    I've got two; both modified headstock(post-lawsuit).

    #1. lake placid blue, NICE flame maple neck, hard V profile, lightweight,
    single ply pickguard. It's a TST '56(made for sale in Japan, only)
    has the slightly modified logo("T" still looks like an "F")

    #2. 3-color sunburst,no flame neck(rounder profile),tad heavier,
    changed pickguard to B/W/B. It's an AST'56(made for US sale)
    Logo changed to reflect a more obvious "T".

    #1's stock pickups are darker and have a woodier sound, that combined
    with the body weight sounds very ... woody . Very unique and what I
    I imagine a good old 56 strat would sound like, Great cleans and OD.
    The bridge pup sounds especially good.

    #2's pups are noticeably brighter, and combined with the heavier alder
    body makes for a ringier chimer strat, Good for Holly,Knopfler,Cray, etc
    rolling back the tone knobs, or just backing off the vol. to "9" when
    I need to does the trick.

    I've left the pups stock because both sets are distinctly different and
    do the exact thing I want them to do-- they sound very authentic to
    my ears; like having to old 50s strats.

    I've had them since 1995 when my only frame of reference for Tokai
    was from the old 'Guitar Handbook'(that book is still in publication).

    Got a real Lawsuit bass on eBay a few months ago a Jaco special that
    I was pleasantly surprised to find had the Fender headstock shape and
    spaghetti logo. It wasn't at all clear in pics, but I wanted that finish.

    Nice, light weight, & resonant, a tad relic'd with the oxidized control
    plate. I unpacked it and freaked out when I saw that it was, what
    it was !

    Not that that makes it big bucks valuable, but it looks/feels/sounds like
    a mid 60s Fender Jazz bass(my other Tokai Jazz is a bit heavier and not
    as nice, more 70s Jazz feeling).

    Sorry for the ramble.. love the old Tokais .:dude
  8. Falstaff

    Falstaff Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    Massachusetts, USA
    I have a sunburst ATE-61 (modified headstock) that's a 62ish bound Tele reissue. It sounds fantastic, probably the best sounding guitar I have. I don't know what kind of wood it is made of (it's got some greenish grain showing through).

    I had a Silver Star (the ugliest copy of a 79 Strat you'll ever see) with the 7okai logo that I loaned to my nephew. It sounds great, too. I may get it back, and I'll cover my eyes and play the heck out of it. :)
  9. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Nov 25, 2005
    In The Basement
    If there are green streaks in the wood it's probably poplar.
  10. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

    Mar 23, 2004
    Pacific NW
    Ditto...mines a 78. As you said, as good ( in many cases much better ) as any "real" strat I've played in the past 25 years.

    Just a great sounding and playing guitar with wonderful acoustic resonance.

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