~ MIJ guitars that defy catalog specs ~

reborn old

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I want to start a MIJ anomaly thread of sorts, in the hopes members can check here when they stumble on made in Japan mystery guitars that vary from catalog specs.

I thought 1983 to 1985 Tokais might be a good place to start since many specs change from prior years.
These spec changes sometimes vary from guitar to guitar within certain models, complicating identification even further.

A 1983 LS-60 flame top I owned years ago:






Specs included : VF finish, 18* headstock angle vs 14* (found on LS-60 domestic models in earlier years),
57 PAF stickered zebra Gotohs, found on LS-80 models in previous years, and not on LS-60's.
The flame Maple top was probably a new 1983 LS-60 feature, based on the '59 model description in the 1984 catalog.
There is no mention of an LS-60 model whatsoever in the English 1983 translated Tokai catalog,
an accidental omission perhaps ? :hmm:
That English catalog lists LS-50's as being solid plain tops and LS-80 and LS-100 models as veneer flame tops.
The only models listed with a one piece back and solid flame top in the 1983 English catalog are LS-150 and LS-200 models.
In the 1983 - 1984 catalogs LS-120's aren't mentioned whatsoever, but LS-120 solid tops with valid headstock oval model stickers are know to exist in substantial numbers.
I haven't found a 1983 Japan catalog, but it may be the very same as the 1984 Japan catalog, which does list an LS-60 '59 model.
The 83 +84 LS group picture is the same in both catalogs.

Joe Walsh LS-100 Cherry top models and LS-75 AG (all gold) models are listed in 1983 + 1984 catalogs, but are believed to have been discontinued by the end 1982. Not 100 % sure of this however, because both models are fairly rare.


I encourage anyone who has encountered MIJ catalog exceptions, regardless of brand or model to share them here, with a focus on how they differ from listed catalog specs.
 

GammyBird

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1992 Orville By Gibson Reissues are not catalogued. I Don't think the 95's are either.
 

villager

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199? orville by gibson solid top fret binding long tenon wierd routings, pure nitro finish, strange serial number format...prototype possibly














 

Udonitron

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1978 Tokai TE-85 perhaps?
Made a year before regular production, unique colour and pure lacquer finish, slight tummy contour on the back, untouched solder/wiring which shows the finish is original, and no headstock logo.
Pre-production prototype I suspect.

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reborn old

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Lovely guitars guys !

199? orville by gibson solid top ... prototype possibly

Mark, I always wanted to ask how your Spotlight Special Exhibition model Orville sounds compared to other Les Pauls you own ?
Does the neck thru design contribute to a very different sound do you think ?
.. or does it sound more or less like other Les Pauls equipped with '57 classics ?
 

villager

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its not neck through, its a strip of walnut the same thickness as the maple top

 

Udonitron

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Also this rare bird.
100% Tokai made..seems like a higher model with a 1 piece back but also has ebony & MOP inlays.
No stamped Serial and it looks to have never had a headstock veneer on it.
Maybe another prototype, who knows?

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Udonitron

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And of course this gem.
All lacquer, no neck heel which was uncommon in '82, old growth tight ringed top, brass truss cover (original...who knows), and a nice 59 neck.
Neck tenon has 90, 120, 240 written on it and then crossed off underneath the lacquer.
Drew it to see it better but that is what it says...never seen them write the model on the tenon before.

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jacco

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I want to start a MIJ anomaly thread of sorts, in the hopes members can check here when they stumble on made in Japan mystery guitars that vary from catalog specs.

I thought 1983 to 1985 Tokais might be a good place to start since many specs change from prior years.
These spec changes sometimes vary from guitar to guitar within certain models, complicating identification even further.

A 1983 LS-60 flame top I owned years ago:






Specs included : VF finish, 18* headstock angle vs 14* (found on LS-60 domestic models in earlier years),
57 PAF stickered zebra Gotohs, found on LS-80 models in previous years, and not on LS-60's.
The flame Maple top was probably a new 1983 LS-60 feature, based on the '59 model description in the 1984 catalog.
There is no mention of an LS-60 model whatsoever in the English 1983 translated Tokai catalog,
an accidental omission perhaps ? :hmm:
That English catalog lists LS-50's as being solid plain tops and LS-80 and LS-100 models as veneer flame tops.
The only models listed with a one piece back and solid flame top in the 1983 English catalog are LS-150 and LS-200 models.
In the 1983 - 1984 catalogs LS-120's aren't mentioned whatsoever, but LS-120 solid tops with valid headstock oval model stickers are know to exist in substantial numbers.
I haven't found a 1983 Japan catalog, but it may be the very same as the 1984 Japan catalog, which does list an LS-60 '59 model.
The 83 +84 LS group picture is the same in both catalogs.

Joe Walsh LS-100 Cherry top models and LS-75 AG (all gold) models are listed in 1983 + 1984 catalogs, but are believed to have been discontinued by the end 1982. Not 100 % sure of this however, because both models are fairly rare.


I encourage anyone who has encountered MIJ catalog exceptions, regardless of brand or model to share them here, with a focus on how they differ from listed catalog specs.

Never seen a 1983 catalog either. The 1984 volume 10 catalog however is displayed on Vintaxe and shows a LS-60 with flame veneer.
 

reborn old

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Never seen a 1983 catalog either. The 1984 volume 10 catalog however is displayed on Vintaxe and shows a LS-60 with flame veneer.

The '84 spec sheet at the end of volume 8 catalog describes this as well.
Part of the frustration for me at least, is the lack of exact catalog printing dates on catalogs themselves,
but volume numbers help.


Also this rare bird.
100% Tokai made..seems like a higher model with a 1 piece back but also has ebony & MOP inlays.
No stamped Serial and it looks to have never had a headstock veneer on it.
Maybe another prototype, who knows?

Definitely an interesting example.

No evidence of finish or shielding paint either. Is that stain residue left in pickup cavities or ?
If there was evidence that it was finished at some point, it might have been a 1978 inkie, if any had ebony boards ?

Is the neck tenon medium or long ? I can't tell for sure from your pic.
Difficult to tell without shielding paint, but is there any evidence of scratch or tool marks on the floor of the control cavity like those that might be left from removing a circuit board ? (as in the pic below)

Trying to narrow date range of yours to pre '86 or post '85. :hmm:
 

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Udonitron

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Yeah no shielding paint...looks like stain that ran into the cavities at some point but no sign of lacquer or finish at all.
Typical Tokai transitional tenon and cavity routing.
The stain in the back cavity looks poorly done...like someone bought this unfinished and tried to do something and stripped it?

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reborn old

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Lack of a tenon offset to the bass side or angled wire channel are interesting differences.
Everything else looks Tokai.

I never tire of looking at that RLG, whatever the model # is/was. :)
 

Udonitron

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Yep...its dead center, which is odd but if it were a test model perhaps they realized the lack of treble side meat for strength and offset later as a result.
It is a smart choice either way.
 

reborn old

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Some 1980 Tokai Nagano plant inkies featured square end tab routes and centered neck tenons and were inkies (no serial stamping) so it may have originated from that plant also, shortly before Wulfman's Bison, which was a 1981 build, without square end tab cutouts or squared off lobes. Nagano production Tokai inkies were all LS-50 or LS-60 with 2 piece backs + rosewood boards I think, but it might have been a special order of sorts.

These usually had gouged out angled wire channels instead of angle routed like the main plant, or drilled through like yours and dowel tenon plugs, that were possibly installed after neck was set for added strength and stability ? ..not sure.

Yours is definitely one for this thread due to inconsistencies, regardless of origin or history. :hmm:
 

Udonitron

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Yeah I am gonna rebind and refinish it this summer.
 

JDB

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Neck heel is different shape than a regular Tokai too.
 

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