Who here plays a Tokai strat?


Silver Supporting Member
Im checking out a 81' Springy Sound, but dont know much about Tokai. i hear they are really good Fender copies, almost exact!. im either looking at a Tokai strat or a Fender MIJ ST-62 ri from Ishibashi. which would you go for more? thanks

Mark C

Tokai's and MIJ Fender's both have good reps. If you can, play before you buy. Even 50's and early 60's real Fenders aren't exactly consistent as far as tone, so when buying a Strat it is usually best to play before buying if possible. Good luck.


I'd always go for the early Tokai. They are good to very good. Do you know the model number (as with every Tokai model, there are several prices and specs)? ST-50 is the most common, but an ST-80 has better pickups and the (rare) ST-100 adds some other fanciness (I forget which). There are some that have custom colours, too. Early Tokais are usually priced at or above their original list price - ~50000 yen for an ST-50, for example.

I've had a '78 Springy, and still have a '81 Breezy (Tele) and '83 Springy. They're going nowhere :)

Beware of fakes - believe it or not, people are now faking early Tokais - using bitsacasters.The '7okai' style logos are sold via Ebay, and I've had to break the bad news to several people about their faked Tokais. An '81 should have a date-based serial numbering (stamped serial number like 10xxxxx on the neck plate)that matches the info you can find at www.tokairegistry.com - which also has a section stuffed with scans of old catalogues. You should be OK buying from a reliable dealer like Ishibashi.

Oh, and www.tokaiforum.com will get your more detailed questions answered. :)

Dave Paetow

I have a Tokai Strat that I use all the time. I found it at a second hand store for cheap, but it had some issues. I swapped on some Sperzels, a John Mann bridge, some Dimarzio VV pickups, and refretted it with Dunlop 6000 frets and a 12" radius, and it is a very useful guitar for me that sounds good, doesn't hum, stays in tune, and plays great. Has a nice vibe to it a lot of new guitars don't have.


I have a Tokai strat from the late 70s. I have had a 54,57, 59, 60 & 64 model of the real thing. My Tokai is 90% as good as the best I ever had.


The tokai ST-80's are great the 100's are rare and have gold hardware..

The Fender (not Squire) JV series, are more accurate vintage copies, and have more accurate vintage style necks, and a deeper (correct) rib contour.


Cor, first post and I'm correcting someone - sorry!!

You'll find that the early Japanese Squier JV models (at least the export ones) are exactly the same as the Fender JV models. The headstock logo was changed in the middle of 1982 or thereabouts. As far as hardware goes, the Squiers have US pickups, exactly the same body contours as the Fender badged ones, exactly the same necks etc etc etc. The only difference is that they have Squier in big type and Fender in small. Oh, and mine has a Kent Armstrong replacement in the middle.

How do I know this? Well, first of all I've bought a Squier JV model, 62 RI, made in feb 1983 which is pretty period correct according to my father in law who owned a proper 1962 strat. And secondly, the guy who runs the website http://squierjv.info/ seems to know what he's on about!

And finally, hello everyone!! And sorry to villager again :)


I have a '79 ST-80 Springy Sound, and it's better than any post-1970 Fender i've ever played.


I have a Tokai strat that years ago I traded some cheap pedals for.
The only change that I have made is a blend pot.
It sounds like an old strat with old strat pickups,it plays like an old strat
(except for factory installed big fretwire),it's lightweight, and it stays in tune.
The feel and playability is comparable to my Cunnetto era Mary Kaye relic
strat.An unbeatable value for the cost-conscious player


I've got a red '84 Tokai ST-'62 that I've had since the late '80's.

It was my main axe for many years. I did some work on it a few years ago, including refret, shielding and p'up swaps. I'm not even sure what I've got in there anymore...I think it's a Texas Special, a SD vintage staggered and (definitely) a Cool Rails in the bridge.

Whenever I pick it up, I'm amazed at how well it sounds. It is easily one of the nicest sounding Strats I've played. The neck is not really to my current tastes (i.e. too thin) so I don't play it as much anymore, but I do pull it out once in a while and I have gigged with it in the recent past.

So...I'd go for the Tokai. I played an '81 ST-80 when I was in Tokyo last summer (I almost bought it but I figured my wife would freak if I came home with three guitars - as it was I came home with two) and it was quite nice.

If it were between an early Springy and a first run JV Strat, I might go with the JV. I've got a low serial number Japanese market JV strat (later Japanese neck) that is pretty sweet. I actually bought that over the Tokai on that trip to Tokyo.


A buddy of mine has one from the 80s and it is a killer guitar. It's had a bit of work done on it, but it's as good as 96.4% of the strats I've ever played.
I retailed Tokai's in the 80's and was mightily impressed. Strats, Teles, LPs, and basses, all fine insts for the $$$. The only thing I personally ended up with was a '57 P-bass-copy and I still play it.
Buell XB12S
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