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Staff member
May 14, 2012
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Companies including Fine Corp and Saein Musical Instruments Co. may have been involved at the time?

Here are serial numbers from that period in Korea and China, authorized and otherwise:



"05" six digit white paint serial numbers over the finish. Korean?
Odd Seven Digit Serial Number Guitar



"06" six digit impressed. Korean?
Six Digit Serial Number Gibson Copies


"06" six digit gold paint. Korean?
Tokais Made In China


"FC06" Fine Corp. Korea? China?
FC Serial Numbers


"F06". Korean?
Monk's Head Headstock



"FC07" serial number. Fine Corp. Korea? China?



"08" six digit serial. Korean?
Six Digit Serial Number Gibson Copies


"CH08" serial number. China.
Tokais Made In China


"C08" serial number. China
Tokais Made In China



"90" seven digit.
Tokais Made In China


"09" eight digit
Tokais Made In China


"C09" serial (Chinese)
Tokais Made In China

2010 - Present


CN serial (Chinese)
Tokais Made In China
Last edited:
TF posts from 2011:

themeinside said:
Hello there,

I'm a new member here, but I have got a Tokai, so I don't feel I'm trespassing :D

I need to ask you good folks a question about the factory that produces Tokai guitars in China.

Firstly, does any one know its name, and whereabouts it is, and secondly, if so, has anyone visited it.

Thank you.

themeinside said:
Hi again,

... I've ruled out one of the factories I thought it was- if you have bought a Tokai 3 or so years ago, it will most likely have been manufactured in the YueSen Musical Instrument Company Factory. I have an EX-55 from their factory and it is a very solid guitar- nice construction, but they lied about the body wood- said it was Korina, and when I spoke to the factory, they said it was most likely basswood or mahogany. Ah well- still sounds alright!

stratmoto said:

Fine Corporation made the guitars, firstly in Korea, then in their Chinese factory. Guitars with FC serial number prefixes, and a particular font are Fine Corp guitars.

Constant supply was always a problem with them, I waited 12 months for an order while production was being phased out in Korea and being transferred to China. Never received the guitars!

Tokai UK organised production with the Yue Sen factory around 3 years ago, because of the slow production and higher prices of Fine Corp. Tokai Gakki Japan also have their Chinese guitars made there.

Because of the production numbers for the UK models, Yue Sen overproduce. These guitars, with the dimple headstock, are sold into the Chinese domestic market and to any overseas buyers that want to take them.

themeinside said:
Ok- that was illuminating stratmoto- thank you.

I had talked to a representative of Tokai UK though and he did say categorically that they no longer use the Yue Sen Plant and that they have them manufactured elsewhere... I don't know XD

stratmoto said:
Actually, a little bit of a brain fart there.

You may very well find that they are made by Saein Musical Instrument Co. They also have their own brand, which I suppose is the same pronounciation as Saein, called Shine guitars.

Not Yue Sen, sorry about that chief!
stratmoto said:

Spec for current ALS48 is the same as the ALS43.

As AlanN mentioned, also, the model change is a result of inflation.

In recent history, the ALS48 was originally produced in Korea. When production was moved to China, the model number was changed to ALS43, reflecting a lower RRP in Japanese Yen. Late last year, the price of these guitars returned to 48,000 JPY, hence the ALS48.

There are a lot of confusion about the spec of these models. The Korean ALS48 were Alder bodied, and the Chinese production is Basswood. The Tokai website and, if you are lucky enough to have one, the Tokai Catalogue has the specs.

I have both models here, and there is very little, if any difference between them
leadguitar_323 said:
Well, i have the latest catalogue and it says ALC 53 Made in Korea. This bloke says this is "mahogany body with mahogany neck", the catalogue says "agathis body with maple neck" So i don't think this bloke knows what he is talking about.


stratmoto said:

The Catalogue was out of date almost as soon as it was printed. :roll:

Korean production was rolling back and Chinese production was taking over.

The ALC53 and ALS48 were replaced with the ALC49 and ALS43, respectively. SG43 was replaced by SG38.

Neck remained maple, but body became Basswood. Slightly different saddles on the bridge as well.

The eBay item is a Chinese made ALC49. The serial number tells me so.
So looks like Saein Musical Instrument Co. (pronounced "Shine") may have been making fake ES Tokais in 2008 (?) at a time when they had factories in Korea and China.

The Mysterious Fake Tokai ES Models

Not sure if they had any legitimate contracts with Tokai at that time, but by 2011 stratmoto said re: Tokais made in China:

"You may very well find that they are made by Saein Musical Instrument Co. They also have their own brand, which I suppose is the same pronounciation as Saein, called Shine guitars."

Tokai Factory in China
I'm not sure, but next time I go into the guitar shop area, I can ask around to see who is still producing here and who moved to China.

Even Korean companies are moving production to China - Cort moved their entire production, including their newer line of all-solid acoustics (Parkwood).

Speaking of Korean quality, has anyone here ever tried an axe from Swing Guitar Technology? They make basically Fender knock-offs but their mission is to break the low-quality myth about Korean guitars. I've heard nothing but good things about them. I'm itching to try one... they also have a custom shop, which, all things considered, is dirt cheap.


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