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Have I just bought a fake Tokai Jazz Sound bass? (many pics)
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In your expert opinion, is this bass a genuine Tokai Jazz Sound bass?
Yes, it's a Tokai alright!
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No, it's certainly not a Tokai.
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Total Votes : 8

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Fender32
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:59 am    Post subject: Have I just bought a fake Tokai Jazz Sound bass? (many pics) Reply with quote

Firstly, "Hello to all in Tokailand"! This is my first post .

Well, this morning my new eBay purchase turned up and having had a screwdriver to it, I'm very concerned that it may not be all that was advertised . I hope that the collective wisdom of you good people will be enough to unravel the mystery. Before anyone asks, I won this "by accident" and didn't do my research properly before bidding, so if it is a fake, it does indeed "serve me right".

The seller didn't specify which year the bass was supposed to hail from - only that it was "from the '80s" (which it very probably is, judging by the ageing of the paint and metalwork). So, I'm not even sure which model this is supposed to be. Let's go through the 'pros and cons' ....

The Serial Number:

As you can see, there's no "L" prefix, which rings alarm bells with me. Could this possibly be a Tokai Jazz Sound serial number, or not?




The Neck:

The build quality of the neck is actually very good and appears to be consistent with other Tokai Jazz Sounds that I've seen pictures of. The fretboard is a round laminate of tight grained, Indian (IMO) rosewood and the frets are nicely seated vintage jobs. There is a stamp on the end of the neck, which looks to be in the same font that I've seen on other Tokai guitars and basses.



There is also a "Made In Japan" sticker (on top of the lacquer) on the back of the neck, which I haven't seen on other Tokais before.



At a guess, I'd say that the finish was poly/acrylic and not nitro cellulose, but I won't really know until I've played the bass for a while (the sweat from my hands makes nitro go very sticky after about 20 mins).

The headstock shape looks good (very Fender) and there are four small divots drilled out underneath each tuner, just like Fender Jazzes of the mid-1960s. The tuners themselves are 4-hole mount models and are very much like late '60s Fender ones (without the Fender stamp, obviously). Nice as they are, they are not the same as the (frankly rather shoddy), 3-hole mount Tokai ones, which I've seen on most other '80s basses. Did Tokai ever use tuners like mine, because if they didn't, then I think that we can safely say that this bass is a "fake"




The Headstock Logo:

More cause for concern here. The logo is exactly like most '85 Jazz Sounds and looks to me to be genuine, but it has been cut in two, with the "Oldies but Goldies" part mounted on the ball of the headstock. Again, this is period correct for a mid '60s Fender Jazz, but did Tokai ever do this? The logo appears to have been applied over the top of the lacquer, although where it has been scraped, the wood underneath seems to be matt and not glossy (maybe that's more a function of it having being scratched, rather than an indicator that the logo was applied to an unpolished surface!?).








The Body:

When I took the bass out of it's case, I immediately panicked - it weighed almost nothing!!! I was convinced that when I got it apart I was going to be confronted by several dozen layers of plywood. Thankfully, this was not the case and the body actually appears to be made of two pieces of very lightweight alder . I'm happy about that, because there's a good chance that this bass is going to have the vintage Jazz tone that I'm looking for (it came without strings, so I haven't played it yet).

There are no stamps or markings in the body cavities, apart from some red crayon in the neck pocket. Is this normal for painted bodied Tokais, or should there be some maker's mark somewhere?








The Scratchplate:

Almost ceratinly the original, as it looks like it's never been taken off before (it still had fragments of polythene in the screw holes, from the original protective sheet).

Things is, it's not very convincing looking tortoiseshell and it's only a 3-ply, so it's black on the back, is this correct?






The Electronics:

The pickups look wrong to me . They are semi-sealed units, with the cover being glued to the pickup. Along the bottom of each pickup, underneath the foam pads, are two bar magnets running across the entire width of the pickup. These are obviously nothing like Fender's design, but would Tokai have ever used pickups like this?






The pots and wiring look pretty standard for a passive Jazz Bass. Can anyone tell from the photo whether or not these are standard for Tokai?




The Hardware:

The bridge looks exactly like the sort used on Tokai Jazz Sound basses, but then many other Japanese basses used these parts too, so I guess that doesn't mean much .



The control plate is very rusty and therefore of dubious quality, but then I have seen early Tokai ones starting to show signs of rust, so again, this doesn't rule out the possibility of it being original. What do you guys think?




In Conclusion:

I plan to clean up the bass, put it back together with new strings on and give it a good 'road test'. If it plays OK and sounds (acoustically) as good as I'm expecting it to, I may just keep it and use it anyway. But, I did pay for an original Tokai and if we can be sure that it's not a Tokai (particularly if it turns out that it sounds crap), then I may yet decide to try and get my money back from the seller (not always easy with eBay).

So, I really need as much quality input as I can get on this one, please folks . If anyone can post pictures of similarities between my bass and theirs, it would be very reassuring, but equally I need to know the truth - so there's anything that clearly labels it as fake, I have to know about it.


The other big question is: If it's not a Tokai, then what is it?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks in advance for your help with this one. If it does turn out to be genuine, I look forward to a long and happy stay on this forum. If it's a dud though, you might well never see me again .


Last edited by Fender32 on Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject: Update. Reply with quote

OK, seems that I'm going to be the first to answer some of my own questions here (having looked through nearly every post in the Tokai Bass forum now ).

I have just made two very encouraging discoveries, right here on our own boards, which lead me to believe that some, or all, of my bass is genuine Tokai !

Firstly, the "Made in Japan" sticker on the back of my bass's neck is identical to this one, found on a late '80s Hard Puncher 60:



Also, there was a thread here about a set of '86 Tokai Jazz Sound pickups, and whilst nobody actually answered the OP, his pickups (below) are identical to mine:




So, that's all I've found so far, but it looks encouraging. Perhaps I haven't been ripped off afterall .

Please feel free to chime in, folks!

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Goestoeleven
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the Tokai Forums Fender32.

Your new purchase looks pretty genuine to me.

Tokai internals do sometimes look pretty cheap and nasty, but it's how they sound that counts.

I'd try stringing it and setting it up for a play before jumping in and swapping the electronics. Certainly the pickups in my Love Rock sound amazing, yet if I'd read "Gotoh" somewhere first I would have thought "Hmm. They'll be coming out then".

Just goes to show, you can't judge by appearances sometimes.

I've never seen a bass "Fakai" yet either. The Love Rocks and similar are prone to fakery, but I guess the bass market isn't big enough to make it worth the counterfeiter's while. Luckily!

The Made In Japan sticker looks genuine as you say. The sticker above with the "Model number" is the original price in Yen x 1,000. They're only paper and they frequently either come off or get taken off because they get tatty.

(I could of course be wrong in my evaluation, in which case someone will be along to correct me I'm sure. Although it may be a little while. This forum doesn't have thousands of members, just a select band of the discerning).

Nice pics by the way.
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Koubayashi
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That red PB60 is mine

Anyways: your JB looks straight to me.
I recently had a candy apple red Silverstar that looked cheap under the hood (no ceramic pickups though) but it played and sounded better than any 70's Fender I have tried.

I found that most Tokais have the logo mounted in a different manner than modern Fenders. The logos are also among the first things to get aged on Tokais for some reason.
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doudoubass
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm agree with goestoeleven.
that's a real Tokai jazz sound! no doubt!

The tuners are genuine, you can see the same on the pre-1983 Hardpuncher PB60 and above model. there aren't like the 3 screws cheaper type that you can find on the 48-50 model.

The neck plate is also original. That's probably a tokai factory mistake, as it normally goes with the mapple neck model, and never with the jazz model!
but, i already had a mapple neck goldstar sound with a "L" serial. As it isn't a real serial number, tokai didn't care about it.

So, enjoy your tokai bass!
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goestoeleven wrote:
Welcome to the Tokai Forums Fender32.

Your new purchase looks pretty genuine to me.

Tokai internals do sometimes look pretty cheap and nasty, but it's how they sound that counts.

I'd try stringing it and setting it up for a play before jumping in and swapping the electronics. Certainly the pickups in my Love Rock sound amazing, yet if I'd read "Gotoh" somewhere first I would have thought "Hmm. They'll be coming out then".

Just goes to show, you can't judge by appearances sometimes.

I've never seen a bass "Fakai" yet either. The Love Rocks and similar are prone to fakery, but I guess the bass market isn't big enough to make it worth the counterfeiter's while. Luckily!

The Made In Japan sticker looks genuine as you say. The sticker above with the "Model number" is the original price in Yen x 1,000. They're only paper and they frequently either come off or get taken off because they get tatty.

(I could of course be wrong in my evaluation, in which case someone will be along to correct me I'm sure. Although it may be a little while. This forum doesn't have thousands of members, just a select band of the discerning).

Nice pics by the way.


Thanks Bruv !

More pictures on the way ....
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koubayashi wrote:
That red PB60 is mine

Anyways: your JB looks straight to me.
I recently had a candy apple red Silverstar that looked cheap under the hood (no ceramic pickups though) but it played and sounded better than any 70's Fender I have tried.

I found that most Tokais have the logo mounted in a different manner than modern Fenders. The logos are also among the first things to get aged on Tokais for some reason.


OK, then thanks for the use of your piccy !

I must admit, it's the only "Jazz Sound" logo that I've ever seen where it has been cut and put on in two parts. Still, maybe the guy on the production line thought that he'd make it "more Fender" by copying the post 1965 positioning of the "Original Countour Body" decal. Who knows !?
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

doudoubass wrote:
i'm agree with goestoeleven.
that's a real Tokai jazz sound! no doubt!

The tuners are genuine, you can see the same on the pre-1983 Hardpuncher PB60 and above model. there aren't like the 3 screws cheaper type that you can find on the 48-50 model.

The neck plate is also original. That's probably a tokai factory mistake, as it normally goes with the mapple neck model, and never with the jazz model!
but, i already had a mapple neck goldstar sound with a "L" serial. As it isn't a real serial number, tokai didn't care about it.

So, enjoy your tokai bass!


That's great news! Everyone seems so sure about it, but it's all Greek to me, as I'm more of a Fender nut ( can I say that here?).

The tuners on mine are different to the other two, 4-hole types, which I've seen on other JSs and HPs. Here are the other two types, for comparison ...





As you can see, the base plates on mine are four-sided, not six like the others. Mine are the same sort, which Fender used from the late '60s until 1977, on P Basses and most Jazz Basses.



So, is it likely that mine was a higher end model (not a 45 or 50), as it defintitley has a nitro lacquered, lightweight alder body, although the pickups aren't all that great?

Any more comments would be much appreciated !
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togps
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fender32 wrote:
... So, is it likely that mine was a higher end model (not a 45 or 50), as it defintitley has a nitro lacquered, ...


What makes you sure to have nitro lacquered body?
Did you made the acetone test already?
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Goestoeleven
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's definitely a difference in the tuners, as you say.

Could it be though, that rather than a definitive aid to recognition, they just happen to be the tuners that Tokai had in stock when yours was produced?

I know you're a Fender expert, so think of Tokai in the 1980's as being how Fender were in the 1950's. Both were new companies producing small numbers of guitars and racing to keep up with the demand.
There would often be quite noticeable differences in what the same models of guitar were fitted with from year to year according to what was available from the component manufacturers.

Most Tokai hardware is made by Gotoh.
If Tokai specified Gotoh's "Tuner, Mk1, Bass guitar for the use of" for example then Gotoh subtly changed the specification but kept the same part number that could explain the difference in the shape of the base plate?

Just speculation of course. A real Tokai expert like Togps will have a better answer I'm sure.

Quote:
These are obviously nothing like Fender's design, but would Tokai have ever used pickups like this?


They would if they gave Tokai's engineers the sound they were looking for.
If you look at an early Love Rock for example, you can see that the control cavity houses a printed circuit board of all things!
A true Gibson purist would turn his nose up at that and rant for hours about how the character of the cotton-covered wire on a real '59 was an essential part of the sound.
Tokai's engineers would listen to the results instead. If they can get the sound they want from a PCB and some cheaper components then why go to the bother?

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you put some strings on and fire it up.
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

togps wrote:
Fender32 wrote:
... So, is it likely that mine was a higher end model (not a 45 or 50), as it defintitley has a nitro lacquered, ...


What makes you sure to have nitro lacquered body?
Did you made the acetone test already?


Good point .

What I should have written was:

"In my opinion, based on previous ownership of many guitars and basses with both nitro cellulose and polyester lacquers, the body of this Tokai bass has a nitro finish. I say this because the finish is soft (you can dent it with a tough finger nail), the colour has yellowed significantly and even when polished, the surface has a slightly matt quality to it".

What's more, it smells and sounds like nitro .
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goestoeleven wrote:
There's definitely a difference in the tuners, as you say.

Could it be though, that rather than a definitive aid to recognition, they just happen to be the tuners that Tokai had in stock when yours was produced?

I know you're a Fender expert, so think of Tokai in the 1980's as being how Fender were in the 1950's. Both were new companies producing small numbers of guitars and racing to keep up with the demand.
There would often be quite noticeable differences in what the same models of guitar were fitted with from year to year according to what was available from the component manufacturers.

Most Tokai hardware is made by Gotoh.
If Tokai specified Gotoh's "Tuner, Mk1, Bass guitar for the use of" for example then Gotoh subtly changed the specification but kept the same part number that could explain the difference in the shape of the base plate?

Just speculation of course. A real Tokai expert like Togps will have a better answer I'm sure.

Quote:
These are obviously nothing like Fender's design, but would Tokai have ever used pickups like this?


They would if they gave Tokai's engineers the sound they were looking for.
If you look at an early Love Rock for example, you can see that the control cavity houses a printed circuit board of all things!
A true Gibson purist would turn his nose up at that and rant for hours about how the character of the cotton-covered wire on a real '59 was an essential part of the sound.
Tokai's engineers would listen to the results instead. If they can get the sound they want from a PCB and some cheaper components then why go to the bother?

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you put some strings on and fire it up.


Well, the 'rennovation work' is all done and (as usual) it looks like a different instrument to the tatty example which I pulled from it's case only 2 days ago. Some people will disagree with my policy of "cleaning up" dirty old instruments, but I really don't think that bridge saddles that have rusted solid or tuners that won't turn are all that "big and clever", myself .

Having spent a few hours playing it, I have to say that it's pretty good - not stunning, not exactly like a good mid-60s Fender Jazz (it's got no 'bark'), but still ... pretty good! When plugged into my Sadowsky outboard pre-amp, it really came alive and, IMHO, sounds far better than the two Sadowsky basses (with built-in pre-amps), which I recently owned. It's a remarkabley good "slapper" too .

Quite honestly, I can't think of anything else in it's price range (used), which would be as well made, or have the same investment potential, so it was a very pleasing purchase.

Best of all, it's dead light (8.3lbs) and plays better than just about any bass I've owned (and as you know , that's quite a few). The action goes down even lower than on my Status-necked "JazzRay", which I bought this Tokai to complement.

I've got a load of photos to post, so I think I'll put them in a new thread.

Cheers for your comments, everyone .
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bluejeannot
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another convert methinks!Gabe.P.S I Knew a good slapper once,heart of gold she had.
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool! Now I know it's all original, there's another one exactly like it (same logo position) for sale on German eBay ...

http://cgi.ebay.de/Tokai-Jazz-Bass-80er-Japan-Jazzbass_W0QQitemZ150378422267QQcmdZViewItemQQptZGitarren?hash=item2303409ffb&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14



I've had my Jazz Sound for 3 months now and it's actually become my favourite bass, ever. As I've been playing (on and off) for over 25 years and have owned over 25 basses (including Fenders, Sadowskys, MM, a Status, a Wal and an Alembic), that's really saying something!

It's not a remarkable looking or sounding instrument - it just does exactly what it's suposed to do! It makes my playing sound as good as it can and encourages me to keep on playing, long after other basses would have been put down .

Tokai #2 is already on the way and I don't think that it will be the last one that I buy either. I'm officially addicted .
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Goestoeleven
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know what you mean. The only Tokai I've had is my LS85F Love Rock, and it's just such a lovely thing to play that I very rarely pick up anything else now.
It even does a passable acoustic impersonation if you turn the pickup volume down to about "4" and select the middle position.

I should have listened to the experts years ago and just bought a Tokai or two from the start!
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