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Jazz Sound JB45 Project (with pics).
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GrumpyOldMan
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Lancaster, UK.

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject: Jazz Sound JB45 Project (with pics). Reply with quote

Hello Everyone. New on here and looking for some advice please.

I've wanted a Tokai for many years but have only just aquired one. I think it is a 1983 JB45. It belonged to a mate who has had it for years and he suddenly asked me before Christmas if I wanted to buy it for ?75. Of course I did!
It's very well used and in need of some TLC. At first I had planned on stripping and doing a complete rebuild but have now decided to retain as much of the original as I can. Here we go then..................

This is the Bass how it came to me. I have removed the neck and taken off all the stickers.


I would like to know if these are likely to be the original knobs. I have seen similar ones on another Tokai JB from the same period but I would actually prefer Fender type ones. However if they are original I will try to clean them up and keep them.


I was slightly shocked to see mini pots for the volume controls so I am guessing these are replacements? I may change these even if these are originals. Would 250k Log be the ones to go for?


The truss rod adjuster is a bit mangled although does seem to work fine and the neck is absolutely straight. Will a Fender adjuster fir or will it need to be a metric one? Am I being a bit picky here? To me a mangled truss adjuster looks like the guitar has been mistreated and it grates with me a little. Also, what do the markings tell me?


Finally (for now), what can I do to stop these decals deteriorating further?


Hope you guys don't mind me asking all this but I want to fix it up right.

Cheers,

Ian.
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mrsuspend
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Joined: 06 May 2008
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Ian, congrats on the bass! A block logo Tokai is quite rare although I don't know if it affects value either way.
It's odd the headstock stickers have aged so differently, can you figure out why? I've never seen anything like it to be honest. Maybe you could try clearcoating them?
I normally use a large screwdriver for trussrod adjustment and I've never had any problems. The truss rod doesnt' look much worse than on any other 27-year old bass IMO.
Pots are most probably replacements, I'd use 250KA pots and an orange drop .047uF cap.
The neck and cavity codes are a source of lengthy and heated discussions. Some say they are date markings (like batch 12 in May), some say they are routing codes. I doubt very much we'll ever know.
Did the bass originally have a scratchplate? I can see the screw holes but they may be from a later modification. If it didn't the knobs may well be original.

/Magnus
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Ian. You've only just joined & already I dislike you! ?75? Mine cost me ?300 a year or so back, & I doubt if you could get one for ?300 now.

Oh well......

I'm no bass player, so I can't answer many of your questions, but mine is definitely a 1983 JB45, so pics of mine may be of help to you. I think mine is all original, but the bass players who read this should know if that's correct. Yours is definitely a 1983, as you obviously worked out from the block decal.

The truss rod adjuster looks fine to me, I use a large screwdriver to adjust mine.

Here's mine:



& here's the link to the rest of the pics.

http://s183.photobucket.com/albums/x153/stratman323/Tokai%20JB45%20Jazz%20Sound%20bass%20white/

Mike
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrsuspend wrote:
It's odd the headstock stickers have aged so differently, can you figure out why? I've never seen anything like it to be honest. Maybe you could try clearcoating them?


If you have a good look at the decals, are they covered by a layer of lacquer? Most Tokais seems to be, but on one of my Goldstars, the decal seem to be on top of the lacquer. I'm not clear if the decal was replaced, or if it's how it left Tokai, but I'm not touching it.



Personally, I wouldn't coat it with anything, sorry Magnus.

Fender seem to deliberately create that aged decal look on some of their Custom Shop instruments. Here's my 2004 Tele.



It's the only thing about the guitar I don't like!
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GrumpyOldMan
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Lancaster, UK.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Chaps,
Thanks for all the replies and the interest.

The ?75 price does reflect the guitars condition to be honest. It will probably need a refret fairly soon and the rosewood fingerboard has some areas of wear. The photo makes the wear look worse than it really is though.


Most of the chrome is going rusty but I am going to keep it as it all works well and will improve with a good clean. The body was very grubby but luckily the stickers haven't left any fade marks and T-Cut is bringing back a lovely shine which I will then finish with some carnauba wax. There is a small area of wear to the paint but interestingly it doesn't seem to go down to wood but appears to be laquered underneath, but as I know the guitars history I am certain it hasn't been repainted ever.



The headstock transfers are actually on top of the laquer, I have seen other Tokai's like that too. They are kind of bubbling up, like very (very very) old varnish goes on wood and look very delicate and probably brittle. I am going to keep clear of them for the time being.



I know the guitars history for about the last 20 years and I am pretty certain no work has been done on it in that time and the scratchplate screwholes are 99.9% likely to be original. I have a picture of the bass being played at least 15 years ago and there was no scratchplate on it then. I guess it would originally had a white scratchplate so I am going to get one or get one made to fit. I hear that finding one to fit off the shelf is a bit of a nightmare.

You've convinced me to leave the Truss Rod adjuster! I have a 31 year old precision I bought new and have never adjusted the truss rod ever so I wanted it to look like that. But thinking about it the worn look matches the rest of the guitar, this is a relic guitar in the true meaning of the word.

It is more than likely that this guitar has never left Lancaster where I live. Blue Suede Music were the original importers of Tokai in the mid to late 1970's and at one point virtually everyone in Lancaster had at least one Tokai, people could just nip round to Eric Dixon's house and buy one off him at very favourable prices. I played in a band for a while with a guy who rented a room in his house and whenever I went round there there were boxes with Tokai guitars in absolutely everywhere. He ran the business from his house until he moved over to Yorkshire (Huddersfield or Bradford maybe) in the early 1980's. I think there are still quite a few Tokais in the area, probably stashed away in lofts and attics by now, waiting to be discovered by grateful children and grandchildren.

I'll keep you all posted on the Bass' progress.

Cheers,
Ian.
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, it's a genuine relic, & none the worse for that. I think Blue Suede continued to import Tokais to the UK till the late 80s. I get the impression that we may be better off than the rest of Europe with regard to the number of these babies that reached our shores. Which can't be a bad thing, can it?
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Fender32
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Joined: 14 Jul 2009
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Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stratman323 wrote:
You're right, it's a genuine relic, & none the worse for that. I think Blue Suede continued to import Tokais to the UK till the late 80s. I get the impression that we may be better off than the rest of Europe with regard to the number of these babies that reached our shores. Which can't be a bad thing, can it?


You're not wrong there, S Man! eBay UK always has more (geniune) Tokais than anywhere else in Eurpoe, IME. Two of my three Jazz Sounds came from England.
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Fender32
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject: Re: Jazz Sound JB45 Project (with pics). Reply with quote

GrumpyOldMan wrote:
Hello Everyone. New on here and looking for some advice please.
...
I was slightly shocked to see mini pots for the volume controls so I am guessing these are replacements? I may change these even if these are originals. Would 250k Log be the ones to go for?




Yes, all of my basses have them ...





BTW, ?75 is an insult to the legacy of Tokai ! I demand that you go back to your friend and press a warm quartet of ?50 notes into his sweaty palm, forthwith!

Failing that, enjoy the bass - it's a classic!
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GrumpyOldMan
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 27 Nov 2009
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Location: Lancaster, UK.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a bit of a story really behind why it took so long for him to sell it to me, but eventually he needed some pocket money for a night out he was having in Manchester and this was the only thing he knew he could sell quickly. A text to me and the deal was done! If I did give him that quartet of fifties he would only drink it away so it's best in my pocket until I find more guitars to buy. I'm thinking of his health, really!

I will order sone 250k pots, probably Alpha as I think they are made in Japan. I'll do all three and keep the existing ones intact as they are. I'll put a new jack in there too as the original looks a mess - hmm, don't know though as I'll end up with a mix of relic and new and it might look bad.
I could possibly get an entire new control plate so that I could replace the original whenever I needed. May even give the scratchplate a miss and I'm even starting to regret removing the stickers although I think they were fairly recent.

Some great pics appearing by the way. All your basses look so clean I wonder if they have ever been loved and used properly, lol.

Cheers,
Ian.
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are quite a few 80s Tokais that seem to have been rarely played, so it's nice to see one that's actually been used as it was intended to be used. Personally I would change only what I had to change - it's a genuine vintage bass now.
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GrumpyOldMan
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Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Lancaster, UK.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,
Getting along nicely with my bass, if a bit slowly. Should have some pics to show you soon.
One question I need to ask is if the knobs on other peoples JB45's are push on or if they have a screw insert? If they have a screw insert is it a hex or screw? If a screw is it Philips or flat? I know I'm being really nitpicking here but I do want to get the details right! I'm actually really struggling to find some jazz knobs which fit the Japanese pots. I have found some but they are push on and I'm holding off buying them until I know they are right(ish). I suspect originally they would have had flat screw inserts. The knobs I have which came on the bass are really too far gone to clean up and I suspect they aren't original as they are unchromed brass.

I'm also undecided about the capacitor. I have the original but I also have an orange drop of the correct rating. I also like the idea of a paper in oil cap though and I'm thinking of buying some from Russia. NOS Mustard drops are also pretty easy to get hold of so I've been thinking about that too. Am I getting too carried away with the cap thing? Should I keep the original ceramic? The one thing holding me off using the Orange Drop is it's just too new!

Something I noticed from other peoples pics of their electronics is the different wiring colours. My wires are Blue and Black but I noticed the Red jazz bass has Black and White wires and the White bass has Blue, Red, Black and White. What's all that about?

One last thing (for now), Scratchplate screws - Philips or flat?

Cheers,

Ian.
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mrsuspend
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Joined: 06 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ian,

I'm fairly sure Tokai used flat head screw on knobs, strange really as they used split shaft pots.

IMO you won't hear the difference between an Orange Drop and a Mustard or paper in oil in this application. The ceramics are not very good though, I'd steer clear of them.

Scratchplate screws should be Phillips. Don't have a clue about the wiring, sorry!



/Magnus
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GrumpyOldMan
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 27 Nov 2009
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Location: Lancaster, UK.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Magnus,
Thanks for the speedy reply. The original cap is a ceramic but I suspect you are right and I will probably use the orange drop, but in my head I will know there is a modern part in there, lol.
Regarding the knobs I will order the push ons for the time being and keep looking for screw ones.
I'm surprised about the scratchplate screws being Philips. I thought Tokai were sticklers for detail and I'm sure a '64 Fender would have had flat slot screws. I have a '79 Fender Precision which is a 50's reissue and that has slotted screws. Bugger, I don't know what to do now, go for a 60's authenticity or an 80's Tokai authenticity. Would anyone notice anyway apart from me!

Cheers,

Ian.
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stratman323
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GrumpyOldMan wrote:
One question I need to ask is if the knobs on other peoples JB45's are push on or if they have a screw insert? If they have a screw insert is it a hex or screw?


My 1983 JB45 seems to have push-on knobs, there is no sign of any retaining screws. They are a tight fit though, so I haven't tried pulling them off.

With regard to scratchplate screws, I'm pretty sure Fender only ever used flat slot screws for the very earliest guitars, perhaps some early Broadcasters. By the time the Strat came along in 1954 they were using Philips screws. I can't swear to that (sadly, I don't have a 1960 Strat here to check), but I would be amazed to hear I'm wrong on this point. Anyway, Tokai only used Philips.
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GrumpyOldMan
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Lancaster, UK.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Stratman,
Push on and Philips it is then!

Hoping to have the bass finished by weekend. Pics will follow.

Cheers,
Ian.
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