Where were Tokais Originally Sold

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by t-bone2112, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. t-bone2112

    t-bone2112 Member

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    Just a curious question here.

    When I started playing guitar in, say, 1977?, something like that, I only recall seeing Gibson Les Pauls for the most part when looking for a Les Paul type guitar. Around 1978, I got a Japanese (I think) Les Paul Copy from a company called Avila at a small local music shop. It was horrible, the body looked like it was made of plywood, the action was about a half inch high, etc. But, it was all I could afford at the time.

    I know Tokai started their Les Paul copies at the same time with the Les Paul Reborn, then the Reborn Old, then the Love Rock. All of these came out between 1977 and 1980/1981, when I was still playing (started up again in 1989 when I saw Epiphones; still couldn't afford the Gibson version). I never saw any of the Tokais for sale. I lived in the San Diego area at the time, and there were many music shops in town, including a Guitar Center (believe me, back then, too see a whole friggin wall of Les Pauls, Strats, BC Riches, etc, at GC was orgasmic for a 16-18 year old guy!).

    Back in the day, when these were originally sold, where would you likely find these great old Tokais?
     
  2. t-bone2112

    t-bone2112 Member

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    Sorry, the title should be "Sold", not "Old"!
     
  3. kiko

    kiko Senior Member

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    Ebay, reverb, craig's list, classified ads here and other guitar forums. Check out yahoo.jp classified but that will required buying and shipping stuff from japan.

    Also checkout comparable brands like edwards, burnys, grecos.
     
  4. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    Back in the time frame the OP is referring to, There was none of the online sites you're referring him to.

    I could be wrong..
    But back in the day i don't think you could walk into a local music store/s and find the brand you mentioned as "Stocked" items for sale.
    Used/trade ins from people that bought them from over seas probably, But as stocked brands for sale i don't think you'd find them.

    I'm talking about the US market/s..Don't know about EU or Britain etc.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
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  5. J-Dizzle

    J-Dizzle Senior Member

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    They were sold in musical instrument shops in Japan.

    The story goes that the entire Japanese clone industry was born because Japanese music shops were unable to get enough inventory of Gibsons and Fenders from the US to sell. In the 1960s and 70s Gibson and Fender did not value or respect the Japanese market. Requests for stock from Japanese retailers were considered low priority.

    So out of frustration, the Japanese retailers turned to domestic Japanese companies experienced in building violins and traditional Japanese stringed instruments and commissioned them to start building copy guitars.

    As we know, the original copies were poor quality. But the quality steadily increased.

    The turning point for MIJs appears to be around 1977 when Tokai reportedly acquired a 1958 Les Paul and painstakingly took its dimensions, and then based all its LPs on this guitar (aside from variations in headstock angle between the LS50 and higher models).

    Until then, Greco had been making copies of Norlin-style LPs. The emergence of Tokai (and Tokai-made Burnys) changed the focus of MIJs from Norlin style LPs to LPs which were more vintage-correct in design.
     
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  6. t-bone2112

    t-bone2112 Member

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    Yes, I meant back when these were originally sold.

    chasenblues and J-Dizzle, thanks for the info. That make sense why I never saw them in the US.
     
  7. kiko

    kiko Senior Member

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    Sorry I missed that one :)

    These guitars where quite common here in asia. They were offered in several price point from low to high end. Some where even offered carrying the copied brand, almost an exact replica.
     
  8. bertrand4070

    bertrand4070 Senior Member

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    there is an underrated exception. yamaha started to built electric guitars in 1966 and they were very good. only one model this first year: the sa-5 which was a 330 style followed by the sa-50 during five years with a few modifications. i am still wondering if it is the first japanese eclectric guitar of all time. they were not copies but already very good guitars. i have one of each.
     
  9. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    No it wasn't.
     
  11. bertrand4070

    bertrand4070 Senior Member

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    what japanese brand did make electric guitars in 1966 ? aand good ones.
     
  12. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    Depends on how one chooses to define "Good ones"..



     
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  13. bertrand4070

    bertrand4070 Senior Member

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    yes you are right. show more of that old ones. it is very interesting.
     
  14. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    If you click on his link it will bring you to his Youtube page where he has more videos.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Some of the guitars shown here have videos attached to the links.
    https://drowninginguitars.com/guitars/japanese-guitars/
     
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  15. bertrand4070

    bertrand4070 Senior Member

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    excellent.
    this is the one first yamaha's. absolutely excellent. gretsch like.
    sa 50 black.jpg
     
  16. paruwi

    paruwi Kraut-Rocker Super Mod Premium Member

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    I guess not.....

    http://www.fgnguitars.com/history.html

    May.1960
    Established in Nagano Prefecture, Japan through a joint capital investment, one million yen by Mr.Yutaka Mimura and Mr.Yuichiro Tokouchi. Mr.Yuichiro Yokouchi had tried hard to spread a dairy farming and decided to sell his cattle to collect the investment. He reconstructed his cattle pen as a guitar factory. In the guitar factory, first, only ten workers had manufactured trial products of violin and started to manufacture original classic guitars.

    July.1960
    Our classic guitars won the prize in Matsumoto woodwork festival held in Matsumoto city, Nagano.

    May.1961
    Chikuma factory opened and started to manufacture high-grade classic guitars. Then, we had a rush of orders and went in the black from this first year

    Oct.1962
    Started to manufacture original electric guitars.
     
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  17. bertrand4070

    bertrand4070 Senior Member

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    so the japanese electric story starts in 1962.
     
  18. El Kabong

    El Kabong Senior Member

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    No, they were producing them early in the 50s... have a look at "History of Japanese Electric Guitars" by Frank Meyers if you want all the ldetais...
     
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  19. El Kabong

    El Kabong Senior Member

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    The First Japanese Solid Body Electric Guitar - 1954 Teisco TG54/TN54

    [​IMG]
     
  20. paruwi

    paruwi Kraut-Rocker Super Mod Premium Member

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    More about the History of Japanese Electric Guitars:

    https://drowninginguitars.com/store/book/

    [​IMG]
     
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