tokai vs. cij fender

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by parkerbro, Nov 26, 2005.


  1. parkerbro

    parkerbro Supporting Member

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    i've shopping around for a strat that won't break the bank. i was leaning towards a cij strat. i'm now reading about tokai. can anyone tell me about their build quality, etc.? thanks!
     
  2. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    SRV played Tokai strats back in the 80's I believe. Dunno if that speaks to their quality though...Stevie could make any guitar talk :)
     
  3. Joe Gamble

    Joe Gamble Member

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    I've played many MIJ and CIJ Fenders and I think the success rate is pretty high on those guitars. I upgrade the electronics and install a Callaham steel block and then it's there. The necks are what is special to me. Whatever stock profiles they have going in Japan feel much more comfy and dare I say "vintage" than what's offered on the american guitars. I've also heard nothing but good stuff about the Tokai guitars. I'm looking into thier 335 copies myself. Good luck!
     
  4. gassyndrome

    gassyndrome Member

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    [​IMG]

    :)

    Phenomenal guitars for the money. Pretty sure they've stopped making their Strat-type guitars for the moment, as part of an agreement with Fender because apparently they now produce Fender's japanese guits. No wonder you guys are impressed with MIJ fenders - they are Tokais!
     
  5. Joe Gamble

    Joe Gamble Member

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  6. woof*

    woof* Member

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    locate a late 70's springysound or very early 80 goldstar,breezysound for teles. you will not be dissapointed. one of my goldstar's neck is in the same league as the fender custom shop as far as flame and finish. skip the second series where they were forced to change the headstock. even tho they are good guitars i think the guys at tokai didnt put the same effort into them as they were doing before fender bought the factory. skip the canadian/korea knockoffs totally..a small tip...ask the seller to stick a magnet on the trem block on a prospect your thinking about..the good ones have the same rusted solid steel blocks.
    also same time period(78-80) fernandes "revival" series are great. and yes..SRV owned several tokais. one of my goldstars was refretted by rene (srv's tech) and rene told me stevie always had a red tokai strat leaning against his bedroom wall in his dallas apartment for inspiration. not positive on the exact albulm cover he has a black tokai on the cover and they airbrushed the logo out. another thing rene told me was that the rev billy g turned stevie onto the tokai's as he was using tokai pauls on tour for years...and thats another thing..in all these relic bashing threads no one mentions the fact this whole thing got started was because guys like billy didnt wanna travel the globe with a bunch of 50k guitars. im not a les paul player but a good old tokai les paul is so similar to a real vintage one in weight and tone and yes..even nitro finishes. IMO thats how the relic thing began.(of course before that they were forgeries to fool the guys with too much money)
    all of this is my opinion as you can tell im a tokai fan and own several.
     
  7. Joe Gamble

    Joe Gamble Member

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  8. woof*

    woof* Member

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    that springy has a transition logo.not the normal spaghetti logo that looks like it says fender from ten feet away, but still has the fender headstock. if it was older with the original logo it would be worth what hes asking maybe, you can get lucky on ebay from time to time and get an original springy for 400-500. latley they have been going from 600-1200. i got one last year for 420.
    sorry but i dont know much about the history and quality of the thinline 330's-335's etc but based on the strats,teles, and les pauls my guess would be they would be very good guitars.
    rand
     
  9. hans-jürgen

    hans-jürgen Member

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    Basically there are no "cool years" for them, because the new ones are very good, too. If you want to read some praises, do a search for "ES120" on the Tokai forum:

    http://www.tokaiforum.com/
     
  10. woof*

    woof* Member

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    hey hans!
    im registered at the tokai forum but rarely post there. ive read alot of yours though. also love your tokai les paul pics!
    id say if hans says the new ones are good ..hes gonna be on target. hans knows ALOT about tokai.

    rand
     
  11. loverocker

    loverocker Member

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    The strange thing about the early ES Tokais is that most (all?) of them had an overly ornate inlay on the headstock and fingerboard. It all looked a lot like the Les Paul Artisan inlays. This is peculiarly wrong for Tokai, which got its rep by doing anally retentive replicas. :confused:

    I still have my '83 Springy (same transition logo as that Ebay one) and an '81 Breezy (7okai logo) and they're going nowhere :)

    FWIW, John Philips (who used to hang out here) reckoned there was some construction detail that made Tokai's Fender-style necks more prone to breaking at the headstock, but I never heard anything to back that up.
     
  12. Joe Gamble

    Joe Gamble Member

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    Thanks for the input guys!
     
  13. hans-jürgen

    hans-jürgen Member

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    I should add to the original question about Fender copies by Tokai and their build quality that Fender chose to picture a Tokai Strat (not a Fuji Gen Gakki copy) on the back of their first Reissue catalog in the early '80s which might tell you something about their opinion concerning this issue. ;) And lately the President of Tokai Gakki confirmed that they are building the Fender Japan guitars for the domestic Japanese market since 1997 which is the reason why the MIJ Tokai Strats and Teles with exact headstock shape are not available anymore in Japan.

    Concerning the ES copies with a lot of inlays I only remember one high end model in the '80s, I think it was the ES180 or ES200 with ebony fingerboard back then. It's shown in the catalogs on the Tokairegistry, so you can find it there. The other ES models always had dot inlays for the neck, but may have had different headstock inlays than the usual crown.

    By the way, the new Tokai catalog features the ES155 top model with flamed maple top, sides and back, Honduras mahogany neck, brass saddle bridge and aluminum tailpiece as well as CTS pots, sprague orange drop condensers, Switchcraft jack and lacquer finish. The new ES135 has block inlays, by the way. For those who don't know: the model number is the list price tag in Yen x 1,000, but the Japanese online shops usually sell them with a ~20% discount to foreign customers.
     
  14. parkerbro

    parkerbro Supporting Member

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    are tokai guitars made in japan and korea? where can one purchase a tokai?
     
  15. marinblues

    marinblues Member

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  16. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    The Tokai strats are very nice. I have a blonde 62 ri. The neck is more beefy than my Fender 62 ri. The electronics look cheezy, but it sounds very good. I don't know what they go for nowadays, I've had it for over 20 years.
     

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