Here's a bit of a mystery: a fretted TJB that left the factory without a pickguard. But that's not the only odd thing about it.
Look, no screw holes!
The headstock has the curly black Custom Edition logo, first seen on various super strats etc in the 1986 catalog. In the '87 catalog, this style appears seemingly at random on a couple of the few vintage style instruments pictured.
The tuners are the large, four-screw, reverse-wind type seen on higher models (-60 and up, I believe?). No extra screw holes or pressure marks in the clear coat underneath, so no signs of tampering.
The serial is six digits beginning with 22. That's close to a couple of TST's with 1987 pot codes I've had. Sadly, the pots in this one is the undated type with just a rubber-stamped Ohm number.
The neck and body stamps are mismatched. The neck is 12 = 4...
...while the body appears to be 4 - 2. It's slightly smudged, but it looks like a dash separating the digits, not a =.
Now, I'm not at all sure about the chronology of the change from a = to dash, but looking through my records, I have had a TST-50 with July1985 pot codes with a dash stamp on the neck, a = in the body and matching numbers. So, if we assume that the change happened during 1985, why does this neck have a stamp style that ended in 1985 and logo introduced in 1986? I've never seen a repro of the curly black logo and there is no sign of any sanding or respraying, so I would have to assume that the logo is original to the neck.
I have frankly no idea what the pickups are. I couldn't prise the covers off, but they appear to have black bobbins. I've only had a single TJB before, a 1985 -45, and that had grey bobbin pickups with a brass plate underneath the rubber block.
So, what can it actually be?
Well, there is one obvious candidate catalog model, the bombastically designated TJB45S-AMRR. Pic from the 1985 catalog. No pickguard, obviously available in MR, but the pic shows it with at least a matching headstock, and I would assume that AMR stands for All Metallic Red, in which case it would have a painted neck as well. So, it could definitely be one of those with a replacement neck.
But there are others and much more closely matching basses around out there as well.
This one is in a 2010 Talk Bass forum post. There are no internals, but it's a good match externally, with the large tuners and six-digit serial. It has a standard script logo Jazz Sound headstock decal, though.
Here's a Faber sales ad with another variation on the theme: it's got the Custom Edition logo and is generally similar, only with the smaller three-screw tuners. I can't quite make out the serial, but there are six characters in it, but I'm not sure if it begins L1 or 21. Quite were the "1984 JB50" comes from I' can't say though.
Tokai JB50 MRR 1984 Jazz Bass C.E. #L63, 785,00 €
And there are a few others out there as well if search. A couple have the large tuners but most the small ones, at least one has a 45 sticker still in place. Script logos seem more common but there are others with Custom Edition as well. And similar ones do turn up for sale in Japan from time to time, so probably not super-low production numbers, it seems.
So, just a parts bass or another oddity from Tokai's strange and troubled mid-80s? To my mind, the jury's still out on that and I suspect it's likely to remain so. Either way, it's - hardly surprising - and excellent bass. I won't hang on to it though, but that's more a matter of me being a non-bassist with a limited amount of space in my home than anything else.