ST70 "Rare Model"

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Sigmania

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(image of a 1981 ST70R YS from Flikr Myxi2. )


Starting this thread to try to gather info on ST70 Springys and Goldstars.

Looks like they were first made in 1981 and the maple fret board version is described in the 1982 catalog as the 1964 Rare Model and a rosewood slab version described as the 1960 model.

They continued to be made for several more years with limited color options and were eventually discontinued in the mid 80s.

The main thing that seems to set them apart is fretboard construction.

They came with two different fret board options, maple (ST70) and rosewood (ST70R).

The maple fret board was actually a thin maple veneer over a maple neck and no skunk stripe.

The rosewood fret board is a slab construction similar to Fender Stratocasters from 1959-1962. The ST70R was the first ST Tokai made with the slab board construction. Followed by the TST-62 in 1983 and the AST & TST80 in 1984.

The most common color seems to be the 3 tone sunburst, YS, for the rosewood and maple versions, although none of these guitars were ever common it seems.

From what I have read, the bodies were spec'd as 2 piece center seam construction, but I read one or two accounts from members on this forum saying theirs were one piece, and I have a rare MG version that seems to be 3 piece alder. So I am not sure what the specs were actually "supposed" to be.

Does anyone read Japanese? That could really help untangle some of this.

Apparently they had a thin poly finish, although that has been debated on here.

The ones I have seen had "E" marked pickups.

Would love to find out more info if folks want to share.
 
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Sigmania

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1982 catalog shots with an ST70R (YS sunburst on right) on “Traditional Model Series” page and ST70 in YS sunburst finish on “Vntage” page.

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Can anyone translate this?



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Sigmania

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Note that the rosewood version, ST70R, should have a serial number with L+5 digits.

The maple version, ST70, should have a 6 digit serial number.

However, the serial numbers I have seen (all dating from 1981, rosewood and maple) all have 7 digit numbers beginning in 1024xxx.
 

Sigmania

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Note the colors available in this 1982 catalog spec sheet (GS, YS, N, OW, BB, FO, MR, MB).

Would be curious to know if anyone has actually seen GS, N, OW, BB, MR, or MB??
 

Sigmania

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I just bought a 1981 ST70R in metallic green, MG, that may be a custom order as it’s not listed as a color option in the spec sheet. Serial number follows the pattern of 1024xxx.

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Sigmania

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Here’s part of an interesting discussion about the use of veneer and slab boards on Fenders from the Gear Page:

“…. a veneer is actually a thinner layer of anything placed over a thicker layer of anything else, and may have no "decorative" purpose, but may be for structural reasons so technically a slab is also a type of veneer.

In this case, however, the term is used to describe a thin layer of rosewood or other fingerboard material, radiused on top and inversely radiused on the bottom(similiar to a pringle's potato chip with a slighter curvature), which is placed over a radiused maple surface.

In other words, the maple neck is curved to the radius of the fretboard, then a thinner piece of rosewood is curved on back and front to the same radius as the maple surface and glued onto it.

A slab fretboard is curved on top to the radius of the fretboard, but is flat on the bottom. the neck surface is planed flat to match and the rosewood is glued down. The slab gives you a thicker piece of rosewood absorbing sound.

Rosewood is a denser, very oily wood which absorbs more vibration than maple, so a thicker piece of rosewood on top of the maple gives the guitar a darker sound with less resonance.

The veneer was introduced, as mentioned above, to counteract the effect of the different densities of wood contracting/expanding at different rates, which causes fretboards to lift or crack, and so is a more stable construction over time, but it sounds different and takes away much of the reason for choosing a rosewood over a maple fretboard.

At best, tonally, a veneer is somewhere between a one piece maple neck and a rosewood slab neck, but I cant tell much difference between a veneer and maple.

If I need a darker tone from a Fender, I would pick the slab and just live with the possibility of having to repair the fretboard.

I like maple necks too, but see no need for an in between choice, other than stability in design, which is less important than tone to me.

The only way cost may have entered into Fender's decision to go with veneer in 62 would be the mentioned possibility of a more stable design from a warranty perspective.

From a manufacturing perspective, veneer would have been a more costly method requiring a more detailed process, and rosewood wasn't in short supply back then, so i doubt the lower quantity of wood used would have entered their minds as a cost savings.

The reason they have brought slabs back, either in part or wholly, is player demand for authentic design, even if most players may not know the possible tonal effect of a slab vs a veneer.

I hope that helps someone.”

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/...fference-on-veneer-vs-slab-fretboards.975379/
 

Sigmania

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I should point out that the ST70R is a bit of a mixture of elements rather than a faithful reproduction of a specific year guitar.

The ST70R has a slab fretboard construction. That ended for Fender Stratocasters in 1962.

The pick guards on the ST70s and ST70Rs are 1964 screw patterns.

Further, the 1982 catalog is calling the 3 tone sunburst with a maple fretboard the “1964 Rare Model”. I don’t think I’ve seen a 1964 Strat with a maple neck. I’ll have to check on that.
 

Sigmania

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Just found this awesome post by Peter Mac from two years ago in another thread:

“Tokai released an ST-70 model in 1981 where BOTH fingerboards were veneer - Rosewood = 1962 slab ; Maple = 1967 veneer.

In nearly 35 years, I have only seen 4 real examples of ST-70 R, all were YS finish and serial numbers were in a 200 number range.

To date, I have never played one but I would think it similar to the TST-62 American model of the early 80s.

regards
Peter”



http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=25169&p=189888&hilit=Maple+veneer+springy#p189888
 

Sigmania

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So taking what Peter said, it looks like both the rosewood and the maple fretboard guitars are a mixture of years and not a faithful reproduction of one particular year.

The maple version has a 1964 pick guard, a 1967-1970 maple veneer fretboard, and the small pre CBS headstock of an earlier Strat.

The rosewood version has a 1964 pick guard and a 1959-1962 slab fretboard construction.

Curious guitars for sure.

I read in another thread that Tokai had a sort of pattern of duplicating the golden era Strats and Les Pauls until those companies woke up and started making vintage style reissues themselves at which point Tokai would do something a little different so as not to directly compete I guess? This may be an example of that?

This was around the time of the negotiations with Fender to make their MIJ reissues. Fujigen won out and made the JV series and a 1962 reissue beginning in 1982 I believe with a rosewood slab fretboard construction. So it’s interesting timing.
https://www.fuzzfaced.net/jv-sq-strat.html

The non production metallic green 1981 ST70R I just bought could have been part of Tokai’s effort to get the contract in 1981? It’s a curious piece for sure. No telling.

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HAMAMATSU

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8) i m japanese so ask me for the translation when i m available. i translated the explanation of the ST70 here. hope this helps!

the new myth of "ST-series" ST70YS. in the mid 60s when there was only the rosewood fretboard available, there was also a few laminated maple neck model available. the hardwear is high-grade and perfect. there are the celluloid 3-ply pickguard the same as the original material. plus the newly developed pu assembly makes "one of a kind" guitar which exites the excellent old guitar manias. if you dont know who is playing this old rare model then you aint a true guitar freak!
 

HAMAMATSU

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8) ST70s here are the tokai reissue of the 1964 fender strat both the rosewood-fretboard and maple laminated fretboard. in 1964, fender only offered the rosewood fretboard basically but there were some existed with the maple laminated fretboard somehow. this becomes more after 1965 after the CBS took over the original fender company and after 1967, the laminated maple fretboard was officially available until the early 70s when the 1 piece maple neck was back as the standard option. the laminated maple fretboard strat was very famous by jimi hendrix.
 

Sigmania

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Oh man…. You are the best Hamamatsu!!!! Thank you so much!

That excited my “old guitar mania”. I think I might be a “true guitar freak”. Lol.

What a gift. Thank you! 🙏
 

Sigmania

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HAMAMATSU said:
the new myth of "ST-series" ST70YS. in the mid 60s when there was only the rosewood fretboard available, there was also a few laminated maple neck model available. the hardwear is high-grade and perfect. there are the celluloid 3-ply pickguard the same as the original material. plus the newly developed pu assembly makes "one of a kind" guitar which exites the excellent old guitar manias. if you dont know who is playing this old rare model then you aint a true guitar freak!

I guess the “1964 Rare Model” is the maple fingerboard version then? Rare because it was apparently made in 1964 in very small quantities? Has anyone seen a 1964 Fender with a maple neck? That’s wild.

I wonder if Fender shared that during their negotiations?

I guess I’ve seen two maple neck ST70s. One is a flamingo orange FO Springy on this forum, and the other a yellow sunburst YS Goldstar on this forum.

So not only were 1964 maple fretboard Strats rare, but Tokai replicas are very rare as well.

Amazing.
 

Sigmania

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HAMAMATSU said:
https://guitarpoint.de/en/electric/1965-fender-stratocaster-candy-apple-red-super-rare-maple-cap-neck/

You’re amazing! Thank you!

"1965 Fender Stratocaster - Candy Apple Red ...super rare maple-cap neck!

Rare 1965 Fender Stratocaster in custom color Candy Apple Red with maple-cap neck! The guitar has been played, so there is some play-wear, mostly on the backside of the neck and body, and the finish has faded to a more bronze-like look! All original, a hole of a second stringtree has been filled on the headstock, electronic and pickups are untouched, all 3 pots are stamped 137.65.01, the original 3-way switch has never been changed the neckstamp reads 2 JUN 65 B! Nice weight of aprox. 3,45 Kg, the nice medium -c shaped neck is very comfortable to play. Incl. orig. black Fender Tolex case with orange interior.


Techn. details:

Solid alderbody in Candy Apple Red,
1-piece maple-neck/ small headstock,
Rare maple-cap fretboard with 21 frets,
Black dot inlays,
3x original “grey-bottom”-singlecoil pickups,
3-ply white pickguard,
1x volume, 2x tone, 3x way switch,
6x orig. Kluson "double-line" tuners,
Fender “synchronized” tremolo with 6x “Pat.nr.stamped” steel saddles,
Incl. orig. black Fender Tolex case with orange plush interior."




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Sigmania

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Hamamatsu, if you have the time sometime, could you translate the two lines in this table for the ST70s and why two sections? Is it rosewood and maple fretboards?

And I’m particularly interested in whether it talks about the body construction. One piece or two?

Any information about pick guards? Was tortoise shell an option?

Any info is much appreciated.

Thank you again!

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