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Sigmania

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1981 SS80

https://reverb.com/item/15701677-to...ece-body-dimarzio-fs-1-1981-located-in-the-us

Tokai SS-80 was the top of the line copy of large headstock Strats originally offered at 80,000 Yen. They are extremely rare, very well appointed and built to Tokai's consistent high quality.

So what makes these so special - quite a bit actually.

Modeled on a 1966 Strat, the Silver Star line was Tokai's large headstock Strat model. These models were introduced in 1979 and offered until 1984. The SS-80 was the only Silver Star model to come finished in nitro cellulose lacquer and featured a brass nut and brass key-hole bridge saddles.

Additionally, this was the only model to come equipped with special DiMarzio high output FS-1 "Fat Strat" pickups, which are still made and described as offering a higher output, with smoother and fatter sound over stock.

This SS-80 has a one piece Sen body finished in three tone sunburst (YS). Sen is a Japanese ash which is known for its intricate grain patterns. Unlike the ST-80 Springy Sound, it appears that all SS-80's may have come with one piece bodies. Stamps on the neck and body confirm they came together from the factory and show the YS color code. Neck is maple and the tuners are Schaller type.

When I purchased this guitar, it had brass saddles installed on the original bridge, but not the original key hole saddles. I was able to track down a set of vintage Japanese key hole saddles which I installed and fit much better than the saddles the guitar came with. Additionally, one of the pickup covers was too short, so I installed a DiMarzio cover which fit perfectly.

Other than the saddles and one pickup cover, as best I can tell the guitar appears to be all original, including the DiMarzio FS-1 pickups which make all kinds of serious 70's Strat sounds.

Condition overall is excellent, but there are bumps and scratches as you would expect given its age. The leather case it had been stored in had a nylon lining which has made some light impressions on some of the finish which can only be seen holding it under the light a certain way. I included one photo you can see this.

SS-38 and SS-40's regularly come up for sale, whereas the Tokai SS-80's are quite rare.

I have four of this model and they are all awesome. Here's an opportunity to get a very rare Tokai, built to the same high standards as the Springy Sounds, but with the big headstock and all the attitude many bands favored in the the 70's. Give the age of this guitar, it is a true vintage Japanese model from one of the top manufacturers.

I'm a serious collector of vintage Japanese guitars with a heavy focus on 70's & 80's Greco, Tokai, Burny, Navigator and Yamaha, regularly buying and selling and do my best to ensure descriptions and pictures are detailed so you know what you are buying. Feel free to ask any questions.


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Sigmania

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Voidoid56 said:
This one turned up in an auction listing in Japan today, and it's more interesting than I first thought.

A 1982 SS-55 with a single humbucker in the bridge position, just a volume control, a mirror pickguard and a darkish Burgundy Mist finish... it's got to be a mod, right?
Well, it looks like it's actually not.

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It's factory-routed for the bridge humbucker and the mini toggles. The only irregularity is the obviously hand-carved channel for the switch cables. But if you look below it, there's an opening. According to the seller, there is a tunnel between the control and switch rout, only it appears to be too narrow for the rather fat cables. If the carved channel is a quick fix at the factory or the result of a frustrating reassembly is anybody's guess.
The pickguard has eight screws with matching, undisturbed holes in the body, so no sign of it ever having had a standard SS 11-screw pickguard.
The stamp is interesting. The font is familiar, I would assume that "MP" is "Metallic Purple" and the X to the right is standard as well. But 093 with no divider? It seems to fall out of the standard month-batch format, and looks more like a individual number to me. Maybe an order number? No way of knowing though. No pics of the neck number, sadly.

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The pickup is unmarked. It has 12 adjustable hex-head pole-screws, so probably inspired by DiMarzio Super distorsion or Dual Sound. No resistance value reading is provided by the seller. Standard SS cast bridge.

SxE2c9S.jpg


The seller provides no info on what the switches actually do. I would assume one is a coil split. The other is connected between the coil split switch and the pot. Could be a kill switch?
The positioning of the switches is actually a bit weird in itself. With no tone controls, there would be plenty of room for them in the control cavity.

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The 55 model sticker is only just readable.

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The tuners are right for that model as well, I think?

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1982 serial.

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So what is it? Well, I've got no idea, really. Some sort of special order? Show model? Employee build? I was wondering if it could be one of the "secret" "Limited Products" shown only in silhouette in the 1982 catalog, but those we've seen (VS', VSB's and SS-70s) all have standard series production markings, at least to my knowledge? Also, all I've seen so far have had 1981 launch-batch serials.

I'll be watching the auction, but I've no idea where it's going. It's unusual enough to fetch a high price if the collectors get in on it, but the concept of the guitar itself is deeply unfashionable right now so it might get semi-ignored for that reason. We'll see.


http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=26698
 

Voidoid56

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EDIT: This one should be read in conjuction, with the post that follows it. Stuff actually came to light as I was sort of writing and researching at the same time... :)

Some more MB fun, a 1981 SS45MBR.

Nothing really remarkable about it, but one of the nicest SS/TSS models I've had, with really tight, resonant sound. The necks on these are a bit too narrow to suit me perfectly though, so I passed it on.

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10 serial. Forgot to take a pic of the headstock back, but the tuners are the standard lozenge Fender F-type.

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Unmarked pickups.

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Bad pic, but the neck code matches the 2=7 in the body.
EDIT: The codes are probably actually 12=7, se the next post.

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In direct daylight, the colour tends towards LPB.

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Voidoid56

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And another one, a 1981 SS50MB Which makes for an interesting comparison with the guitar in the previous post...

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50 sticker. This is interesting, since there is no actual SS50 catalog model in 1981. I would assume that this means it's a very late '81 guitar and part of the 1982 range. In which case the 50 grading makes sense, since MB was a standard finish option for SS50s that year, so no extra 5k JPY for a custom paintjob.

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Another 10 serial, about 250 lower than the SS45MBR I posted above...

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...11=6 in the body....

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...and 11=5 on the neck. Close enough, I would say. BUT it kind of clashes with SS45MBR above, if the month=batch interpretation is to believed. A November date works fine with the theory that this is an early-production 1982 model (which the 50 sticker indicates), but the February dates in the SS45 seem to clash with the serial of this one. If this one was made in Nov 1981, how can it have a serial that is lower than one made in February 1981?? Granted, we have no idea how sequential the serials actually were, but it's pretty weird.

Now, there is one more possibility: that the 45MBR is actually marked 12=7. The smudge on the right of the neck stamp could actually be a 1 and the body stamp seems to have been covered with a piece of masking take with the right-hand side edge either torn diagonally or slighly lifted, leading to a 1 before the 2 being painted over.
It seems the most likely explanation. And if so, the SSS45MBR above is actually an SS40MBR built to 1982 standard, the MB finish being a standard option for that model as well that year.

The fun just never stops, right?

Unmarked pups, brass shield under the controls. I'm not sure, but I think that's a feature of the 50 plus SS models?

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Looks like sen grain under the finish here?

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Quite a looker, this one.

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Sigmania

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I vote for that being a "12" that is partly painted over.

The "Z" is painted over too.

Beautiful guitars! 8)

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Sigmania

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SS50 in the Spring 1982 catalog.

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Zeroing in on the spec sheet.

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Sigmania

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