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Q&A's with Mr. Shohei Adachi, president of Tokai Gakki

 
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hans-j?rgen
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 4:36 am    Post subject: Q&A's with Mr. Shohei Adachi, president of Tokai Gakki Reply with quote

Recently togps asked me to write a list of questions that this forum might have concerning old and new Tokai guitars, because he would meet Mr. Adachi soon. So I did some brainstorming what would probably be most interesting for us and came up with the following topics. The other day togps forwarded the replies to me, and I would like to thank him and Mr. Adachi very much for this opportunity and for his verbose answers.

[The words in square brackets are my supplements.]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q1: Will there ever be officially distributed exact Tokai copies of Gibson and Fender guitars in the two major export markets USA and Germany again?

A1: We will never sell our LS models in the USA and Germany as you know.


Q2: When will we see a 2005 and/or 2006 catalog of all available domestic and export models, i.e. Gibson and Fender copies as well as the PRS and Rickenbacker copies and all original Tokai guitars like the Loverock II, Talbo, Tsunami etc.? Can this new catalog be published on the Tokairegistry site?

A2: We will have our new catalog for Japanese market early next month. We will send 1 copy of it to you soon.


Q3: Do you plan to update your Japanese and international web sites with more content and another look? It would be great if the Japanese site had normal text parts, not images of text, because then a web translation service like WorldLingo, Google or Excite could at least give a rough idea to international users what is written on these pages.

A3: We will try to update our web site for Japanese and other countries. We have no plan to translate Japanese site into English. They are just for Japanese market.


Q4: Since when does Tokai Gakki produce Fender Japan guitars, and will this cooperation continue? Do you make all available models in Japan, or are there some models that you outsource to your or other Korean partners?

A4: We started to make guitars for Fender Japan 8 years ago. All of the guitars are made in our factory, Japan. One other factory, Daita Gakki, is making guitars for Fender Japan. So we do not make some of the models of Fender Japan. They export some of them. But we do not.


Q5: What are the exact specifications of the new LS150 model (origin of wood, hardware), and how is it possible to offer it at this relatively low price vs. the LS200 and LS320 models? What are the differences to the new LS120, does this model really have a veneer instead of a solid flamed maple top? How many pieces does the mahogany body of a LS120 have, and where does the mahogany come from? Is it possible to give an average weight of these guitars, maybe in the next catalog?

A5: We import the flamed maple tops directly from Canada for LS150, 200 and 320. We want to sell a large quantity of solid figured maple top models and we reduce the price and introduce LS150 model. We use 5A maple top for LS200 and LS320 and 3A for LS150. But actually our Canadian supplier supplied 4A maple to us. So now LS150 is good to buy.

LS120 has a veneer flame maple top and two piece mahogany back. LS150 has one piece mahogany back.

The average weight is about 4.2kg. We use a hard maple top. Some factory use a soft maple or a chamber body. So our LS guitar is heavier than soft maple top or chamber body guitars.


Q6: Is there a general rule or guide line which Gibson Les Paul model is copied with each Tokai Love Rock model? This refers especially to the neck shape which seems to have changed since the "Reborn" days, i.e. 1978 it was a '58 copy according to the catalog, then there were both '58 (cheaper models) and '59 copies (higher models), and nowadays everyone has a different opinion on his new Tokai and its neck shape... Were there ever '60 copies with a slim taper neck (e.g. my 1981 LS120 has a rather thin neck compared to my 1984 LS60)?

A6: No rule. Naturally our scale was changed a little in our history. Or our customer ask us to change the scale and we changed at some time. We do not know the actual reason. In the future we may change the scale/grip according to some customer.


Q7: What about the inked serial numbers on Japanese Reborns/Love Rocks? When did you use them, and why? Are the impressed stamps since 1979 the only "correct" ones, or is it true that in 1980 (and 1981?) you used inked stamps on the Reborn/Love Rocks (and maybe other guitars as well)? How did the numbering scheme for those models differ from the one with the impressed stamps? The Tokairegistry says the first two digits would indicate the year, so the inked models with "01, 11..." etc. would not fit into that explanation, because they are said to be from 1980. Is it true that the other following digits simply are a production counter for each model running sequentially over several years, and if yes, when did that counter start at x000001, was it 1978 or 1977?

A7: We do not [know? remember? recall?] the reason. Actually in some period our serial numbers were stamped in black ink. The first two digits show the year, which the guitar was made. The rest of 5 digits are serial number. But we do not start with 00001. Maybe from 100 and sometimes from 200. We do not have a strick rule for it.


Q8: Is there a similar way to date the Fender copies with the serial number, or do we have to use other means to date them like pickups, neck plate, Tokai logos etc.?

A8: The serial number of our Fender type guitars are ram dam. So we can not guess which year the guitar was made. Firstly we used spaghetti Tokai logo. For some period, we used block Tokai logo for the UK.


Q9: When did the logo change from "Les Paul Reborn" to "Reborn Old" and finally to "Love Rock"? Is it possible that all three versions existed in 1980, so guitars with one of them (especially the Reborns) and a serial number indicating 1980 do not necessarily have to be fakes?

A9: In 1980 we change our Logo from Les Paul to Reborn. But soon we started to use Love Rock logo. So Reborn logo model is very rare.


Q10: What did the additional characters like "A" or "N" in front of the usual "LS" mean in the past? In the 2003-2004 catalog it seems that "ALS" stands for Korean models for the domestic Japanese market, i.e. with the exact Gibson headstock shape. On the other hand the available "ALS" models from Tokai UK do not have the exact headstock, so is there a rule what these additional characters mean or meant? Another example would be "NES" for export models of the ES copies.

A10: In 1980's we sold LS model with modified headstock to the USA, which model number is ALS. So actually A means America and the modified headstock. In 2002 we modified LS body and headstock and tried to sell them in the USA, which model is NLS models. N means New. So NLS model has a modified body and neck. NES model is ES body and a modified headstock. So the body was not modified. So we know there is some coufusion about the model number.


Q11: Is it possible to mention the Korean manufacturer of Tokai guitars publically in order to clear up the confusion about different specs for their guitars, i.e. mahogany bodies for the Canadian distributor, alder bodies for the rest of the world? Is this manufacturer still producing other brands like Epiphone, Dillion etc. in the same factory? Is there any kind of quality control from Tokai Gakki on the Korean models?

[edit]This information has been removed due to problems with verification.[/edit]

Q12: Does Tokai have any plans to license their name to Chinese, Vietnamese or Indonesian manufacturers?

A12: We will never license Tokai logo to any companies in the world.


Q13: Is it true that Tokai and Kasuga cooperated in the late '60s and early '70s to produce guitars for the U.S. market? Were these named "Hondo", or is this another story? Which other brands did Tokai produce in the past, either alone or in cooperation with another Japanese company?

A13: We do not know about the relationship with Kasuga. We will try to find it. Hondo name comes from IMC/Rhythm band, Texas, USA. Long time ago we made Hondo guitars for them. At that time we had a tight relationship with them. Hondo means "Main Land" in Japanese. So sometimes we called our American headstock Hondo Headstock.
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ned
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hans-

Awesome. Great information here. Did not know about the new Canadian distributor.

Ned
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Jim Jones
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting! Thanks very much for doing this guys!

Jim
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chrisheyes
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Joined: 05 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Detective Hans-Jurgen does the business yet again

Well done

Would have been nice to solve the mystery of the 9=11 stamps on
Strat copies as well though
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stratmoto
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks topgs & hans-jurgen,

A great interview.

Cleared up a few "urban myths" for me.

Peter
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hans-j?rgen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments! One of my biggest surprises was that Tokai produces Fender Japan guitars since 1997 which probably isn't too well known around the Fuji Gen Gakki and Fender fan communities.
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ArthurS
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome! What's the deal with these supposed 'fake' Korean/Canadian Tokais? Which models are these and when were they sold?

Also, since he says that the company "Will never license the Tokai logo to any company in the world" what's the deal with Korean tokais in the first place?
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hopjohnskins
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic sleuthing!

HJ, I agree with you- it's interesting that Tokai makes Fender Japan models, but not those models that are exported to the USA (which are made by Daita Gakki). This explains why that while the quality of the Japanese models we see over here are pretty good, they are not quite up to Tokai quality standards, IMO. The recent paisley Strat comes to mind - a good guitar, but not as good as the Tokai Strat replicas (which are at least 20 years old, of course). There's just something about that Tokai tone ...

The cool thing is that I can get a "genuine" Tokai/Fender by ordering from Ishibashi. They offer two Yngwie models, so ifI ever get the jones for a scalloped board, wheedle wheedle wheedle weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
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hans-j?rgen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArthurS wrote:
Awesome! What's the deal with these supposed 'fake' Korean/Canadian Tokais? Which models are these and when were they sold?

Like Mr. Adachi mentioned their Korean partner produced Love Rocks with other specs (i.e. with mahogany bodies) for the Canadian Tokai distributor without his permission, and that's why there will be a new Canadian distributor soon.

Quote:
Also, since he says that the company "Will never license the Tokai logo to any company in the world" what's the deal with Korean tokais in the first place?

Right, I thought about adding the word [other] in that sentence, because I believe he rather meant to say this. The important fact in that passage is that Tokai is not going to outsource their production to these other countries in the future like Epiphone/Gibson and other manufacturers which probably means they can supply the demand with the factories in Hamamatsu and Korea.
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INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
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hans-j?rgen
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hopjohnskins wrote:
The cool thing is that I can get a "genuine" Tokai/Fender by ordering from Ishibashi. They offer two Yngwie models, so ifI ever get the jones for a scalloped board, wheedle wheedle wheedle weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Right, but with the wrong logo...
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ned
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All-

There are conflicting reports on the Canadian distributor information. I am double checking with Mr Adachi on this information. Until it is confirmed let's hold off on passing judgement.

The guitars JSD has are official Tokai's, he has been dilligent in ensure his stock are authentic.

Ned
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