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Recently purchased 1983 Tokai LS flametop

 
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Reborn Old
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Joined: 11 May 2010
Posts: 481

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:18 pm    Post subject: Recently purchased 1983 Tokai LS flametop Reply with quote

I would first of all like to thank Wulfman for pointing me to the store listing in Japan for this guitar.

With odds of vintage LS-120 models having solid flame tops being pretty low, (under 33% by recent estimates)
I thought the odds of a Tokai listed as an LS-80 flame top being solid topped, were that much smaller.

The store asking price was under current LS-120 veneer top valuations,
so I went ahead and purchased it with little hesitation, since the top was pretty appealing
and condition was described as "near mint", and an original hard case was included.

A NGD thread wouldn't be complete without pics:









The guitar arrived in near flawless condition.
There is no case damage and only a few rub marks on the back and zero fret wear.
This 30 year old time capsule definitely puts to bed the premise that a guitar has to be in player condition to be a worthy instrument.
There was no warranty card but '57 PAF pickups do point to an LS-80 model catalog designation.
There was a bell shaped TRC in the storage compartment and a pointed Tokai TRC and pick guard installed.
Seeing how thin finish is on the back, with mahogany pores showing through finish, I'm pretty convinced finish is lacquer
as the store suggested it was.
It sounds great unplugged and pretty good amplified as well.
It has a nice '58 profile neck and average weight at 2 ounces over 9 lbs.
A pleasant surprise when I removed pickups for a look :





Last edited by Reborn Old on Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:47 am; edited 3 times in total
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Sigmania
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Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 484
Location: Asheville, NC USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my...... That is stunning!!!
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Peter Mac
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guys,

An extraordinary top - and definitely solid flame. I would guess it's an LS-120 rather than an LS-80.
Prior to 1983, I'm pretty sure LS-80's were plain top. In 1983 they started with a tiger veneer on a solid plain maple top. I know this to be a fact because I worked on over 40 of them and owned 2. I also owned a TLS-200 and the difference was amazing.
I also own a '59 Gibson for comparison.



1984 TLS-80



1983 TLS-200



regards
Peter Mac
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Reborn Old
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Joined: 11 May 2010
Posts: 481

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sigmania.

Peter Mac wrote:
Hi Guys,

An extraordinary top - and definitely solid flame. I would guess it's an LS-120 rather than an LS-80.
Prior to 1983, I'm pretty sure LS-80's were plain top. In 1983 they started with a tiger veneer on a solid plain maple top. I know this to be a fact because I worked on over 40 of them and owned 2. I also owned a TLS-200 and the difference was amazing.
I also own a '59 Gibson for comparison.

regards
Peter Mac


All stunning guitars Peter, thanks for sharing your experience + pics of these beauties.

An original '59 burst ??? ... WOW ! ... every player's fantasy.
Glad a few got to realize the dream.

Hard to quantify 1959 honduras mahogany and original PAF's of your '59 vs your TLS-200 I imagine,
but if you owned both at the same time, how did they compare ? What pickups were ordered with the TLS-200 ?

Thanks again.
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Peter Mac
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 1060
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Comparing the 2, they were like twins.
I had the LS-200 first and played it for many years with SD SH-1 pickups. Always been a Duncan fan. It also had a Honduras body. I used to do blindfold tests with Tokai vs Gibson using the LS-200 against an '84 LPS, and in 99% of cases the Tokai was preferred.

In 1986 I got to meet Joe Walsh and Waddy Watchel who were on tour in Australia. Waddy had a 59 with a bigsby. Joe had a 1960. This was where my real interest to own one was started as they let me play them briefly. Prior to then I knew a lot about them but wasn't really fussed.
When the opportunity came up to buy the Gibson, I had to sell a few guitars - including the LS-200 - to pay for it.
The neck and tone were marginally different but overall it was like having the LS-200 back again.
The front PAF is zebra and the rear is double black. Ohms are 7.2 and 8.0. both are Alnico II.

Peter Mac
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wulfman
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Joined: 07 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad it worked out and you got it, that is a beautiful top for sure!
Perhaps it was a 120 or 150 and was downgraded. Does it have a circuit board?
1-piece back??
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jacco
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Joined: 25 Feb 2010
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Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats John, that really is one of the most beautiful CS finished Tokai's I have ever seen. Congrats again & enjoy!!

My 1979 solid topped LS-80 you already know;

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Reborn Old
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Joined: 11 May 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jacco, .. your '79 is a rare beauty to say the least !

wulfman wrote:
I'm glad it worked out and you got it, that is a beautiful top for sure!
Perhaps it was a 120 or 150 and was downgraded. Does it have a circuit board? 1-piece back??


Thanks again, Wulfman, you made owning this beauty possible.

It's definitely a lower model than an LS-150, thanks to presence of a circuit board and back not being one piece.
Sorry, I should have stated this in my initial post.

another pic ...

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