‘81 Tokai ES-100 pickups?

jlee

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Anyone know what pickups were stock in the ‘81 ES-100s? I just swapped the bridge magnet for a UOA5. Black bobbins, silver baseplate, I think steel baseplate screws and white hookup wire. No sticker or unique identifying marks. Just a plain silver baseplate. Whatever they are, they sound amazing. Mine is a ES-100J and the original magnets feel and sound like A2. I own Throbaks and OX4 and have owned ReWinds, Wizz, Shed, Fralin, etc...these pickups are total keepers!
 

Emiel

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The original pickups in my '81 ES100J are very low output, a bit too low even compared to my other guitars. But they sound good! I had them replaced with low wind OX4's but it's not a night and day difference to be honest.
 

bluesriffdev

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This is the first auction I could find that showed the pickups: https://www.jauce.com/auction/s645920348

I don't know if all Gotoh PAFs look like this, but this is what they looked like on a late 1980 Tokai Les Paul. I can only assume that they'd use the same coloured wire and baseplate pattern for the Gotoh PAFs that ended up on all guitars. From my understanding, the ES100 came standard with Gotoh PAF Vintage.
 

JDZ

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ES-100 and ES-150 came in Rock and Jazz versions, with different pickups for rock and jazz. ES-150R came with DiMarzio PAF.

Per the '81 catalog pickups were developed specifically for semi-acoustics, again in rock and jazz versions. They refer to them as ES Rock and ES Jazz pickups.

Greco did somewhat similar with 'The Groove' which they made for their full and semi hollow body models.

Here's what Tokai had to say about the jazz pickups:
Here are the infamous pickups that have been bringing tears to the eyes of semi-acoustic connoisseurs. A world apart from the ES rock pickups above, the sound of these pickups is strikingly close to full-acoustic. The sweetly dampened midtones they produce are to die for. They warmly thicken chords using 7ths and 9ths so often employed in jazz playing for a deliciously expanded sound. They are a piece of pride for our project team, who are sure jazz purists and players of new fusion alike will adore them.

I haven't been practicing my 9th's...
 

bluesriffdev

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ES-100 and ES-150 came in Rock and Jazz versions, with different pickups for rock and jazz. ES-150R came with DiMarzio PAF.

Per the '81 catalog pickups were developed specifically for semi-acoustics, again in rock and jazz versions. They refer to them as ES Rock and ES Jazz pickups.

Greco did somewhat similar with 'The Groove' which they made for their full and semi hollow body models.

Here's what Tokai had to say about the jazz pickups:
Here are the infamous pickups that have been bringing tears to the eyes of semi-acoustic connoisseurs. A world apart from the ES rock pickups above, the sound of these pickups is strikingly close to full-acoustic. The sweetly dampened midtones they produce are to die for. They warmly thicken chords using 7ths and 9ths so often employed in jazz playing for a deliciously expanded sound. They are a piece of pride for our project team, who are sure jazz purists and players of new fusion alike will adore them.

I haven't been practicing my 9th's...
Was The Groove any good? How about the ES-100J pickups? I've wondered what a Gotoh PAF would be like with a mag swap but never seen anyone do it; seen lots of people try putting alnicos in screamin 82s.
 

JDZ

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Was The Groove any good? How about the ES-100J pickups?
The Groove are very good pickups. Have had an '80 SA 900, early SA61-90 and early '82 SA 700 that all came with those pickups. For a semi acoustic they work great. SA 700 has coil tap as well.

Here's what Greco said about these pickups:
New specialty semi-acoustic pickup The Groove brings out the lovely rich tone of the semi-acoustic body. This piece is a great source of pride for Greco, as our technicians brought this development to life alongside the pros for total sound response.

Coils are arranged to provide optimum richness to the sound of the bodies of our semi-acoustic and full-acoustic guitars in our The Groove series of humbuckers, made specifically for the purpose of augmenting the sound of the body itself. Semi-acoustic...and full acoustic... are set up to give special emphasis to a bluesy sound. The Groove, developed after lengthy experimentation with numerous test pieces before we settled on its coil specs, is infused with a sound secret that goes against everything you think you know about humbuckers.


I have an '81 ES-150J with the Tokai jazz pickups. I'd put that up near an SA 1200, which for me is the gold standard in vintage MIJ 335's.

One thing on the Jazz pickups, catalog says the 150 model came with upgraded electronics, but I've never gotten to the bottom of what the difference was.
 

jlee

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The ES-100J bridge sounds great with a UOA5 that I got from ReWind.

I swapped the stock bridge with a Faber and it smoothed out the highs and added some low end. Before the bridge and magnet swap, the guitar sounded a touch thin and really bright.

Going to swap the electronics next for some VIPots. Can’t stand the taper on the stock pots.
 

jlee

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The original pickups in my '81 ES100J are very low output, a bit too low even compared to my other guitars. But they sound good! I had them replaced with low wind OX4's but it's not a night and day difference to be honest.
I was very pleasantly surprised by these pickups! Suspected they were Gotoh, but always read that the 80s Gotohs were “meh”. These have a lot of character that I’ve only heard in some of the better winder’s pickups, e.g. ReWind, OX4, etc...
 

JDZ

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The ES-100J bridge sounds great with a UOA5 that I got from ReWind.

I swapped the stock bridge with a Faber and it smoothed out the highs and added some low end. Before the bridge and magnet swap, the guitar sounded a touch thin and really bright.

Going to swap the electronics next for some VIPots. Can’t stand the taper on the stock pots.
Can you post some pics of the pots and caps when you have them out?

If they are original could figure out what was different between 100 and 150.

I've gotten pics of pot codes with an inspection mirror before, but it's a crapshoot :facepalm:
 

jlee

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Can you post some pics of the pots and caps when you have them out?

If they are original could figure out what was different between 100 and 150.

I've gotten pics of pot codes with an inspection mirror before, but it's a crapshoot :facepalm:
Will do. Waiting for the parts to be delivered. Probably won’t happen until next Wednesday at the earliest.
 
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jlee

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@JDZ Did the 150 come with brass saddles? Mine has zinc saddles, which I find odd. Both my ‘81 LS-80 and ‘83 LS-120 have stock bridges with brass saddles.
 

Emiel

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@JDZ Did the 150 come with brass saddles? Mine has zinc saddles, which I find odd. Both my ‘81 LS-80 and ‘83 LS-120 have stock bridges with brass saddles.
How can you tell your ES100 has zinc saddles?
 

jlee

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How can you tell your ES100 has zinc saddles?
I’m assuming they’re zinc. My LS80 and LS120 both have natural brass saddles like JDZ’s photo above. Saddles on my ES-100 are nickel and I don’t see brass in the slots.
 

luis

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I have currently some Antiquities at this time on a similar ES-100 like yours
 

bluesriffdev

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How can you tell your ES100 has zinc saddles?
I was under the impression all brass saddles on early Tokais are exposed. If they were coated brass and not zinc, some of the plating should have chipped away by now, unless it was a case queen. My Greco's saddles were brass but plated in what I assume is nickel, and anywhere around the string slot is pretty much exposed brass now.
 

jlee

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@JDZ
Just pulled the harness from my ES-100 tonight. Has tiny, dime sized pots. Caps looked nice though. Look like they could be PIO. Smaller than Bees or most PIOs. Black casing with white print. I’ll take a photo in the morning.

Planned on just replacing the pots, but I managed to twist off one of the leads on one of the caps.

Have a VIPot harness on order from Jackson Electronic Luthier.
 

JDZ

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Cool, looking forward to seeing pics. Will get some of 150 so can figure out what's different
 


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