2008 ES-Custom (ES-205) Love Rock

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I received this yesterday, and have done what research that I could here. A similar guitar (though red) was posted here in 2018, and I have been in touch with its owner. The assumption has been that these guitars were part of a custom order from a Japanese dealer. The serial number appears only on the orange label and the warranty booklet. While the label shows ES-COSTOM (sp), notations in the bridge pickup cavity show ES-205 CM VNT which I assume would be a custom natural finish priced at 20500¥ at the time that it was delivered to the dealer. I’m also curious about what looks like 12-20. I’m wondering if this is number 12 out of 20 of the dealer’s order. The K-606B notation in the neck pickup cavity is a mystery. Perhaps it has to do with the dealer?

From what I have learned here, the pickups appear to be from Keiyo, but the bridge measures 8.39 not the overwound 11 or so that I’ve read about, and the neck measures 7.50. Presumably this and the Love Rock decal were part of the ordered specifications. A friend thinks that the fingerboard is possibly Brazilian. I’m heard about the brand for years, and certainly thrilled to have this one. As I’m sure everyone here knows, it holds its own against examples from Collings and Gibson. I was able to do some comparisons yesterday. Any information, opinions, etc. would be welcome.

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Sigmania

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Wow. That is wild. Congratulations.

No idea why it says Love Rock on the headstock?

By 2010 many limited runs for dealers were labeled "Reborn Old", but even then I think the ES versions just had the Tokai logo and the flowerpot in lay.

The other one that you found, did it also say Love Rock? That’s a first for me to see.

The writing in the cavities is somewhat unusual, but one offs have had handwritten codes. I own an ST70 with one.

This one is a mystery. Again congratulations. She’s gorgeous.
 

Paladin2019

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I've got a love rock LS200 which has 8-28 written in the pickup cavity. I always assumed it was a date, but it's a bit of a coincidence that yours ends in 28 as well. Maybe the high end models are made in batches of 28?
 

Sigmania

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glenngross said:
While the label shows ES-COSTOM (sp), notations in the bridge pickup cavity show ES-205 CM VNT which I assume would be a custom natural finish priced at 20500¥ at the time that it was delivered to the dealer.

The finish is not custom. That is a catalog option finish. VNT.

The ES is the custom part. And 205 is obviously the model/price.

So what makes it a custom model? At the least the headstock is some sort of special spec. Maybe the fretboard as well if it’s Brazilian? Maybe even the pickups if they aren’t MK2s?
 

guitar hiro

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@glenngross

nice looking Tokai ES with some very unusual attributes and the Love Rock logo on the head stock is pretty cool 8)

the hand written CM inside the route is likely for 'custom'

the fingerboard looks like Honduran rosewood to my eyes but it could be Madagascar rosewood

Fender Japan used to use the 'K' symbol for a numbering system for their ORDER MADE stamped guitars; K-401, K-464, etc. so, the K - 606B may possibly be some similar custom order number used by Tokia. That is speculation on my part but the similarities are very interesting.

Enjoy your very unusual Tokai ES :) :)
 
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Sigmania said:
glenngross said:
While the label shows ES-COSTOM (sp), notations in the bridge pickup cavity show ES-205 CM VNT which I assume would be a custom natural finish priced at 20500¥ at the time that it was delivered to the dealer.

The finish is not custom. That is a catalog option finish. VNT.

The ES is the custom part. And 205 is obviously the model/price.

So what makes it a custom model? At the least the headstock is some sort of special spec. Maybe the fretboard as well if it’s Brazilian? Maybe even the pickups if they aren’t MK2s?
Agreed. My wording was not the best. My interpretation of the bridge pickup cavity writing is the same as yours. I’d love to know who the dealer was and what the specs were.
 
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guitar hiro said:
@ glenngross

nice looking Tokai ES with some very unusual attributes and the Love Rock logo on the head stock is pretty cool 8)

the hand written CM inside the route is likely for 'custom'

the fingerboard looks like Honduran rosewood to my eyes but it could be Madagascar rosewood

Fender Japan used to use the 'K' symbol for a numbering system for their ORDER MADE stamped guitars; K-401, K-464, etc. so, the K - 606B may possibly be some similar custom order number used by Tokia. That is speculation on my part but the similarities are very interesting.

Enjoy your very unusual Tokai ES :) :)
Thanks. Did Tokai ever build for Fender Japan?
 

guitar hiro

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glenngross said:
guitar hiro said:
@ glenngross

nice looking Tokai ES with some very unusual attributes and the Love Rock logo on the head stock is pretty cool 8)

the hand written CM inside the route is likely for 'custom'

the fingerboard looks like Honduran rosewood to my eyes but it could be Madagascar rosewood

Fender Japan used to use the 'K' symbol for a numbering system for their ORDER MADE stamped guitars; K-401, K-464, etc. so, the K - 606B may possibly be some similar custom order number used by Tokia. That is speculation on my part but the similarities are very interesting.

Enjoy your very unusual Tokai ES :) :)
Thanks. Did Tokai ever build for Fender Japan?


the ORDER MADE examples I have had through my hands were all from the late 1980s era to the mid 1990s era; circa 1989 to circa 1995.

I know that Tokai Gakki did begin to produce for Fender Japan in about 1997.

As far as my speculation concerning the K - *** similarities between Fender Japan ORDER MADE examples from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, and your example with the K - 606B from what looks to be 2008, it is just that; speculation. Still interesting though.
 

Sigmania

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I somehow missed the ES185 in the 2010 catalog that I have (Vol. 26). It is slightly different than the one on line.

Note that the ES185 does not appear to have fret edge binding in the catalog photo.

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Sigmania

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So far, what seems to set it apart from a standard catalog model (ES185) is:

"Love Rock" headstock script
Fret edge binding

And possibly:

Pickups?
Fretboard?

And obviously someone along the way switched out the TRC.

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I wish I knew the answers. Did Tokai ever use a Gibson shaped TRC? Do the pickups look like the Keiyo MKIIs to you (disregarding the 8.39 bridge pickup reading) to you. What little Tokai knowledge that I have is only a couple of weeks old.
 

Sigmania

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There have been many TRCs used by Tokai, but in the 2000s I think all of the MIJ Gibson style guitars had the 2 hole triangle sort of shape like the catalog photo.

I am not sure if the holes line up with the Gibson bell shape. Might take it off an look out of curiosity. I am guessing it was swapped by the owner.

And as for the MK2s, they have changed over time.

Here is a related thread on them:

http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=23703
 
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I thought that I read on another thread here that if a Tokai MKII pickup had braided wire, it was a Keiyo. There are only two holes for the truss rod cover. As the red Love Rock ES from the other thread has the normal Tokai cover, it’s safe to say that they match. I really hope another one of these shows up somewhere.
 

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