Tokai Expertise Needed!

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
The case of a Tokai Love Rock with an identity crisis!

Please can anyone help me to identify this model?

I saw this guitar on eBay, these are the images posted there:

s-l1600i_zpshgipfqzy.jpg


Quite a nice top... Tobacco Burst

s-l1600a_zpsrr2dvnpj.jpg


I bought this guitar on eBay, apparently I am the third owner. I find it quite difficult to identify Tokai models, this is exasperated by their crazy model numbers which change all the time, according to value!

s-l1600_zpsns8tai5l.jpg


The back looks like Mahogany and 'could' be one piece, I've looked hard for a join...

s-l1600c_zpsoj6v8zhf.jpg


The headstock with Ping Well's and two hole trussrod cover...

s-l1600d_zpsuvknholr.jpg

It reads on the back of the neck 'Made in Japan" plus the serial number... 2008?

s-l1600e_zpsngjqvq44.jpg


The finish is not Nitrocellulose lacquer, it is something like Polyurethane varnish.

s-l1600b_zpspzbfpj9k.jpg


The owner wanted £525, in the absence of some vital information, I was unsure which model this was, so I made a bid of £475 which was accepted. The owner boasted that these were the 'original' strings; it was unplayable! When I got her home, I striped everything, leaving a bare body and neck.

image_zpsypbajrzc.jpeg


The hardware is chrome. The tuners have PW on them, the same for the bridge and stoptail. I was rather surprised to find Ping Well hardware on a Japanese Tokai! Ping Well tuners are fine, but I wasn't at all impressed by the bridge and stoptail, the stoptail bolts were actually bent by the string tension! What kind of metal bends like this?

The electrics:

image_zps7kjfl4b3.jpeg


Not exactly impressive, the pots have Japan written on them, tiny caps!

image_zpshn4ahx8x.jpeg


The Pickups, they have thick chromium plated covers and pole piece screws, underneath there is nothing written, the wax potting looks very heavy too. I searched on the internet, they could be Kaiyo Mk2...

image_zpsulstnymn.jpeg


The Neck joint is a short tenon, not entering the pickup cavity. The top, it looks like Maple, two piece, however it looks as though it's a veneer over a cap. There is something written in the pickup cavity...???

The next two images are after some serious modifications...!!!!

image_zpsndq1kqnv.jpeg


image_zps9fvixq2n.jpeg


Oh, I almost forgot, here's the case...

s-l1600f_zps3cpkcd7y.jpg


I don't agree with the case logo, "best musical products in the world", I just don't understand the presence of Chinese hardware.... on a Japanese guitar, what's the point? Tokai make cheaper guitars in China, the Chinese rubbish surely belongs on those Chinese guitars, not on a Japanese model!
 

Whoopysnorp

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Messages
1,025
Reaction score
713
I'm no expert, and you're the one with the guitar in front of you, but that sure likes a center seam join on the back to me.
 

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
Yes, I thought the same when I posted the picture of the back, the strange thing is that it didn't show when I looked at the back, perhaps the camera caught something my eyes missed :) So it could well be a two piece back.

Let's agree on this, it's a two piece back!
 

Whoopysnorp

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Messages
1,025
Reaction score
713
Have you looked at the bottom edge of the body where the strap button is? That's often where you can spot two different grain lines converging.

Either way, it's sort of neither here or there, it's a nice looking axe.
 

J-Dizzle

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
3,047
Reaction score
2,570
Looks like a LS-130 or thereabouts.

The modern Tokais dont have the reputation of the old ones (a lot of that is also just mystique and hype) but they are still great guitars.

475 quid with a Tokai case, and in good condition. I'd say you did pretty damn good.
 

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
Have you looked at the bottom edge of the body where the strap button is? That's often where you can spot two different grain lines converging.

Either way, it's sort of neither here or there, it's a nice looking axe.

Thank you! I do tend to be led by my eyes when buying guitars... I've tried hard to use my brain too, but some guitars just get the better of me, I end up trying to fool myself into believing that I have to have them because....

I made a Telecaster last year, that had a two-piece body, so I knew the signs to look for, it didn't make a lot of difference to me if it was one or two piece, but for the sake of trying to identify the model it might be critical. I read somewhere that Japanese Tokai guys are very good at invisible joins... I'm a bit concerned about finding Chinese hardware on it, which I guess is original?

I want to have a go at tinkering with the pickups, I bought thin nickel covers, nickel plated pole piece screws and nickel baseplates and Alnico 2 roughcast magnets, if they still work.... it will be interesting to hear if they are any good!
 

Chef Greg

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
1,122
I'm no expert but that's a great guitar for the $$... congrats
 

Whoopysnorp

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Messages
1,025
Reaction score
713
I made a Telecaster last year, that had a two-piece body, so I knew the signs to look for, it didn't make a lot of difference to me if it was one or two piece, but for the sake of trying to identify the model it might be critical. I read somewhere that Japanese Tokai guys are very good at invisible joins... I'm a bit concerned about finding Chinese hardware on it, which I guess is original?

I want to have a go at tinkering with the pickups, I bought thin nickel covers, nickel plated pole piece screws and nickel baseplates and Alnico 2 roughcast magnets, if they still work.... it will be interesting to hear if they are any good!

I have an old Tokai LS60 that has the nearly invisible two-piece join thing going on. Like you say, knowing that information is only important inasmuch as it helps you figure out the model number, which is tedious with Tokais.

I think I've heard that the pickups that come stock in current Tokais are passable but not outstanding. Not sure what kind of magnets are in there. Magnet swapping is kinda fun, and I find Alnico 2s are ideal for brighter guitars such as ones with a big ol' maple cap.

It is odd to see the cheap hardware on there. I wonder if a previous owner may have robbed the original hardware before selling it? Anyway I'd say you did very well indeed for 475 pounds.
 

Thomas/Sweden

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2010
Messages
3,947
Reaction score
8,456
UK Export ULS 85F VF( if it's a 2 piece back, 2008 made) dimple headstock and the color is Violin Finish. Really nice top!
 

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
I have an old Tokai LS60 that has the nearly invisible two-piece join thing going on. Like you say, knowing that information is only important inasmuch as it helps you figure out the model number, which is tedious with Tokais.

I think I've heard that the pickups that come stock in current Tokais are passable but not outstanding. Not sure what kind of magnets are in there. Magnet swapping is kinda fun, and I find Alnico 2s are ideal for brighter guitars such as ones with a big ol' maple cap.

It is odd to see the cheap hardware on there. I wonder if a previous owner may have robbed the original hardware before selling it? Anyway I'd say you did very well indeed for 475 pounds.

Ha! Tedious, that's quite right..

The magnets in my pickups look like Alnico 5's and they are short like the 60's Gibson pickups when they standardised the magnets across their Humbuckers. The original magnets are quite a bit more powerful than the A2's I'm swapping them with. I've watched some videos on Youtube from a guy who changed the magnets on what I think are the same pickups as my Tokai, they sound really good with I think A2's, I will post the link later. I have the Seymour Duncan Skinnerburst set in there now.

I was wondering if the hardware had been changed, I expected Gotoh's on there, but perhaps they are only reserved for more expensive models; looking at their model specs on the Toakai site, they only start mentioning Gotoh hardware for the expensive models, the humbler models don't have any manufacturer against the hardware, so I think they are original. The next time you change strings on the L60 look under the stoptail, or whip a tuner off and look at that, it;s quite possible that they are Ping Well.

The Telecaster I made was a budget model, I was trying to make a good guitar as cheaply as possible without compromising playability, tone, looks and feel, I ended up using Ping Well tuners, there is nothing wrong with them, they look just like the original Vintage Kluson's. They were £11 cheaper than the Gotoh equivalent, which is significant on a budget build.
 

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
UK Export ULS 85F VF( if it's a 2 piece back, 2008 made) dimple headstock and the color is Violin Finish. Really nice top!

Hey thank you! Yes it looks like that could well be the model, I think it could be a two piece back. Do you know which pickups that came standard with this model? Could they be the Japanese Kaiyo Mk2's?

Dimple headstock, is that the revised shape after Gibson complained?
 

Thomas/Sweden

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2010
Messages
3,947
Reaction score
8,456
Open book headstock is only for the domestic japanese market. The UK headstock is modified with the dimple in the middle, to avoid problems with Gibson. And there's the German headstock shape too for the same reason. I guess you're right about the pickups.
 

AK Epi Player

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2010
Messages
1,407
Reaction score
1,138
Hey thank you! Yes it looks like that could well be the model, I think it could be a two piece back. Do you know which pickups that came standard with this model? Could they be the Japanese Kaiyo Mk2's?

Dimple headstock, is that the revised shape after Gibson complained?

The MK 2's in my 2014 HMR had these stickers, and I'm pretty sure the ones in my 2012 LS-95 also had "MK2" stamped in the back cover too. Too much flash in these pics to tell if these are stamped, but I'm pretty sure they are.

Of course your guitar is a few years older, so maybe no stamps back then? :hmm:
 

Attachments

  • DSCF4017.jpg
    DSCF4017.jpg
    96 KB · Views: 69
  • DSCF4018.jpg
    DSCF4018.jpg
    96 KB · Views: 82

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
The MK 2's in my 2014 HMR had these stickers, and I'm pretty sure the ones in my 2012 LS-95 also had "MK2" stamped in the back cover too. Too much flash in these pics to tell if these are stamped, but I'm pretty sure they are.

Of course your guitar is a few years older, so maybe no stamps back then? :hmm:

Yes they look almost the same! Mine differ in just one respect, they only have 'one' hole for the connection wire.
 

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
Open book headstock is only for the domestic japanese market. The UK headstock is modified with the dimple in the middle, to avoid problems with Gibson. And there's the German headstock shape too for the same reason. I guess you're right about the pickups.

Thank you so much, it looks as though you have done your homework here!

I'm sure that there is only a remote chance, but I have to ask, do you know where I could find a 2008 Tokai catalogue PDF? I tried to join the Tokai Forum, but I never received a link to activate my account.

It would be interesting to see my model with specs.
 

Watersilk

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
92
Reaction score
70
UK Export ULS 85F VF( if it's a 2 piece back, 2008 made) dimple headstock and the color is Violin Finish. Really nice top!

It's quite easy to find Tokai catalogues on the internet, here she is! Thank you again Thomas/Sweden, you gave me the idea to download as many Tokai catalogue volumes as I could find for future reference.

File0219_zpsf9rfctqo.jpg


There were a lot of things about the guitar I wanted to change, really for fun, my next Tokai will be a long-tenon model; there should be a lot less to change on those.
 

wulfman

Let the good times roll....
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
9,031
Reaction score
13,653
Everyone loves Thomas!
51aRz9tOk0L.jpg
 

Thomas/Sweden

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2010
Messages
3,947
Reaction score
8,456
You're welcome! Jacco is driving sportscars. Villager is on Alderaan chasing vintage Yodas.
Round horn MIJ+Maja Salvador in ripped jeans=Natural Priapism.

59614306.jpg
 

Latest Threads



Top