Tokai facts, theory, photos & ID thread

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by reborn old, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Thought I would start another Tokai thread for posting pics, identification tips, and serial # dating for all Tokai model years, not just 1978-1985 models like the previous thread.

    There are exceptions, but the following are general guidelines...
    (note: Some Reborn and Reborn Old models will have specs of next model up.)

    Tokai LS 1978 - 1985 model lineup and features:

    LC-60: 2 piece top, 2 piece back, poly finish

    LS-50: 3 piece maple top or off center seam maple top, multi piece mahogany back.

    LS-60: 2 piece center seam maple top solid plain top (or veneer flame top on 1984-85 TLS models), 2 piece mahogany back.

    LS-80: 2 piece center seam solid plain top or blister top, (a few flame tops), 1 piece mahogany back.

    LS-100: Same as LS-80 but top is generally nicer solid blister/quilt maple top or solid mahogany top, 1 pc mahogany back. (a few veneer flame tops, graded lower than LS-120's, have also been confirmed)

    LS-120: 2 piece center seam veneer flametop, 1 piece mahogany back. (a few solid flame tops have been confirmed)

    LS-150: 2 piece center seam solid flametop, 1 piece mahogany back.

    LS-200: 2 piece center seam solid flametop, 1 piece mahogany back. Custom order only.

    Model numbers were stamped on the fretboard (just above neck pickup) until Reborn Old serial range #00076xx , after which, some were stamped while some had black model stickers below the serial #.
    Black model stickers were used exclusively with the introduction of Love Rocks in late 1980.
    Use of black model stickers appears to have been discontinued at the end of 1985.

    Current Tokai MIJ models:


    LS-92: plain top, 2 piece back, long tenon, poly finish
    LS-98: veneer flame top, 2 piece back, long tenon, poly finish
    LS-140 F:veneer flame top, 2 piece back, long tenon, lacquer
    LS-160: plain top, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer
    LS-165 S: GT, P-90s, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer
    LS-260: solid flame top, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer
    LS-420: LS-260 specs but with Brazilian fret board, higher grade flame top
    LS-540: LS-420 specs with Brazilian back + premium flame top

    LC-98: Wine red + BB finish, 2 piece back, long tenon, poly
    LC-195 S: BB,ebony fretboard, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer
    LC-200:
    as above in Wine red finish

    From late 1985 to date, models numbers grew larger to match inflation and selling prices.
    You have to determine your model's specs and find model numbers for your year and specs from catalogs.
    As a general guideline: original LS-80 plain tops are roughly equivalent to Japan domestic LS-160 plain tops today
    original LS-150 solid flame tops are roughly equivalent to Japan domestic LS-260 flame tops today (no FEB on LS-260, but better electronics)
    Models below current LS-92 models are no longer made in Japan.
    ALS prefix models are made in China (ALS-47, ALS-48, ALS-53 etc)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tokai LS + LC serial number dater, with tips for identifying "conflicting year" serial number prefixes:

    1978 = 80xxxxx... 1978 Reborn inkies are part of the same serial # sequences as 1978 stamped models (unlike 1980-81 inkies).
    1979 = 90xxxxx
    1980 = 00xxxxx ... 2nd digit is 0 on stamped serials and 1 on inkies,
    1981 = 10xxxxx ... 2nd digit is 0 on stamped serials and 1 on inkies,
    1982 = 201xxxx
    1983 = 301xxxx
    1984 = 40xxxxx
    1985 = 50xxxxx
    1986 = 60xxxxx
    1987 = 70xxxxx ... tLS-60 model only, listed in European catalog only
    1988 = 80xxxxx ....tLS-60 model only, listed in European catalog only
    1989 = 89xxxxx
    1990 = 90xxxxx
    1991 = 91xxxxx
    1992 = 92xxxxx
    1993 = 93xxxxx
    1994 = 94xxxxx
    1995 = 95xxxxx
    1996 = 96xxxxx
    1997 = 97xxxxx
    1998 = 98xxxxx - Introduction of Arch shaped TRC
    1999 = 99xxxxx
    2000 = 0004xxx ..( 0004xxx serial prefix for all 2000 LS models )
    2001 = 01xxxxx
    2002 = 02xxxxx
    2003 = 03xxxxx
    2004 = 04xxxxx - Introduction of "Made in Japan" ink stamp on back of headstock
    2005 = 05xxxxx
    2006 = 06xxxxx
    2007 = 07xxxxx
    2008 = 08xxxxx
    2009 = 09xxxxx
    2010 = 10xxxxx
    2011 = 11xxxxx
    2012 = 12xxxxx

    1980 inkies = 010xxxx
    1981 inkies = 110xxxx

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Serial # ranges for years with shared serial # prefixes:

    1979 + 1990 (both 90xxxxx)
    1979: 90022xx - 90064xx
    1990: 9000xxx - 90021xx ** see footnote

    1980 + 2000 (both 00xxxxx)
    1980: 00065xx - 00111xx
    2000: all 0004xxx for LS models

    1981 + 2010 (both 10xxxxx)
    1981: 10104xx - 10164xx
    2010: 10219xx - 10248xx

    2001 + 1980 inkies (both 010xxxx)
    1980 ink: 01001xx - 01037xx
    2001: 01044xx - 01047xx

    2011 + 1981 inkies (both 11xxxxx)
    1981 ink: 11010xx - 11020xx
    2011: 1125xxx + up

    **(possibly a few in the same 90022xx - 90023xx range as 1979s, but with LoveRock logo, produced at year end.)

    Spotting tips for shared prefix year models:
    1979 will have a "Reborn" logo headstock, bell shaped TRC + 2 ring klusons
    1990 will have "Love Rock" logo headstock, pointed bell ends TRC + single ring kluson tuners

    1980 will have any of the 3 Tokai headstock logos (only in 1980), bell or pointed bell end TRC, + dull tuner finish. Serial # range is: 0006xxx to 0011xxx
    2000 will have "Love Rock" headstock logo , arch shaped TRC, and shiny tuner hardware finish. 4th digit of 2000 serial # is always a 4.

    1980 "inkies" have inked rather than stamped serial #'s, are all LS-50 or LS-60 Love Rocks with pointed bell ends TRCs, or LC models, usually with blank no design head stocks.
    2001 will have arch shaped TRC, 7 digit serial # stamped into the headstock.

    1981 "inkies" have inked rather than stamped serial #'s, are all LS-50 or LS-60 LoveRocks with pointed bell ends TRCs, or LC models
    2011 will have a 7 digit serial # relief stamped into the wood, arch shaped TRC, and "made in japan" inked at the rear base of the headstock.


    =======================================================================

    Pics of the 3 variations of headstock logos below:

    "Les Paul Reborn" - 1978 - early 1980
    "Reborn Old" - early 1980 - mid 1980
    "Love Rock" - late 1980 to Date

    Some special order and custom shop models can vary from above guidelines, as can serial numbers.
    Note: double ring Kluson tuners were used on Reborn and Reborn Old models and earliest 1980 Love Rocks.
    Later in 1980, Love Rocks changed to single ring Kluson tuners for good.
    (note: single ring tuners and TRC in "LP Reborn" top pic are not original)
     

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    keats, DADGAD, Pekri59 and 22 others like this.
  2. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    Volume 3 is the late 1979 catalog.
     
  3. SingeMonkey

    SingeMonkey Senior Member

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    Heads up. I've seen a current LS92 with a 3 piece back. That might be a thing now?

    Also. What about the difference in spec between LC98 and LC98s? (mahogany 2pc vs. maple 2pc tops)

    Great work again. Thanks for putting all this info down.
     
  4. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Thanks SingeMonkey, good info.

    All recent catalog LS models state "mahogany back" up to LS-160 plain top which specifies a "mahogany 1 piece back".
    I guess in the absence of "mahogany 2 piece back" anything is possible. :D
    SEB specs add "cross cut mahogany middle".

    I'm going to post recent Tokai spec pages soon.
    I'll include LC98/LC98S spec sheets .

    Cheers,
     
  5. muccax

    muccax Senior Member

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    hi
    great work
     
  6. d0nny2600

    d0nny2600 Member

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  7. Matty

    Matty Senior Member

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  8. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    Yep, ask Harold, he has got a Bison Golde Era Reissue. Different routing though, his one has Fujigen written all over it, this one clearly is Tokai made. Never seen such a headstock on a Tokai except for the recent Reborn Old Reissues.
    From my iphone it looks legit but don't know if the story is correct for I have logged numerous Reborn Old with a later serial number than this.
     
  9. wulfman

    wulfman ABB Fan Premium Member

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    Thanks Matt, that is interesting as I saw a reference to one on the Tokai forum but there were no pictures. The "Golden Era" logo is quite different and mine looks to be made by Fujigen. Maybe one or the other company stole the name? That Tokai looks nice! Guitar Gai seems to have restocked lately but I think Jacco needs to teach him a little bit about Burny model numbers and years.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Here is a Korean Dimple headstock A-LS example , to help distinguish MIK from U-LS UK Richtone music examples that are MIJ , and similar to domestic Tokais, outside of headstock dimple and sycamore tops used on LS-150F's.

    This A-LS-xx is a left handed example, which makes it a very unlikely fake candidate.
    The headstock dimple is identical to UK models. Here are the most telling differences:

    1-This 1980's - 1998 pointed bell style TRC is only 1 ply vs 2 ply with thicker white borders on MIJ examples
    2-The nut is very rectangular vs Japan made nuts that slope up towards the fretboard
    3-Fret board wood is very pale on early Korean examples. But they did use darker rosewood on later models
    4-Inlays lacked pearloid detail on early examples
    5-Many have no serial # and they never used black model # decals, but instead had a 3" adhesive tape decal running between tuners on the back.
    6-Heel caps were often, if not always used.
    7-Use of other wood species for backs (basswood), off center back seams, white cover plates were also common. I have seen black cover plates on later models.
    8- You can clearly see bridge thumbscrew insert bushings and thicker thumscrew posts on the last pic.
    9- I have seen instances where the Tokai headstock script is thicker and, sometimes but not always, the a more closed or completely closed on Korean models. (I don't know if these are year to year differences or possible fakes)

    Later 1990's Korean made Tokais have the correct open book style headstock and 7 digit stamped serial number,
    but usually have bolt on necks while earlier ones had set necks.
    Korean serial numbers always have a high 3rd digit and Japan models a low one.
    For example 1990 Japan LS models range from 9001xxx - 9002xxx
    Korean A-LS model prefixes I have found started with 906xxxx

    I don't think they could be confused with MIJ examples in any given year,
    but might be when buying online, without detailed pics or enough pics.
    Hope this helps...
     

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  11. The Voxster

    The Voxster Member

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    Hi folks, I've been hunting for facts about Vintage Tokai's and other "proper" Japanese copies for a while before I decide what to buy. The main thing for me is finding a guitar with a slim neck as my main guitar is a Gibbo '91 Classic with the 60's Slim Taper profile. There doesn't seem to a a hard and fast rule on what vintage Tokai's have what necks - can any of you throw any light on that subject? I'm looking at late 70's and early 80's if I can, though a 90's will be ok if they have slimmer necks.

    Bill
     
  12. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    I don't recall any Tokai owners mentioning a '60 profile neck, but they may very well exist.
    My 4 were(are) all '59 profile. I think many, if not all LS-80's, have thick '58 profile necks.

    Thinner 60's profile necks are quite common on 1980's Burny RLG models, and top Greco Mint Collection models. (EG-60-150 + EG-60-180)
     
  13. sfenn

    sfenn Senior Member

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    My '80 LS50 has a pretty thin neck.
     
  14. jacco

    jacco Senior Member

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    My 1981 LS100OR has a spot on average 1960 neck profile, my 1979 LS80 a spot average 1959 neck profile and my 1981 LS100VF has a spot on average 1958 neck profile. So it varies very much.
     
  15. vladmaximus

    vladmaximus Senior Member

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    VERY VERY NICE INFO !!!

    :) cool...
     
  16. tonebone

    tonebone Senior Member

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    woo hoo! Vlad is back!
     
  17. vladmaximus

    vladmaximus Senior Member

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    hi hi hiii...im always watching >:D
     
  18. moodyedge

    moodyedge Senior Member

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    What colours were the ls80 available in?? Most of the ones Ive seen are in a horrid 'Old Sunburst'
     
  19. JDB

    JDB Senior Member

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    how good are your eyes.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Matty

    Matty Senior Member

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    CS, OS, BS, GT, BB. :thumb:
     

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