My first vintage Tokai :)

Area for Tokai's older than 1985

Moderators: ian, ned

SilverStar
Plucker
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm

My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by SilverStar » Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:08 pm

Hello Tokaiforum

Just want to share some pictures of my first vintage Tokai, a Silver Star SST-40 from 83 hat I bought yesterday.

It is in great condition and plays incredible well with a great neck, that fits my hand perfectly.

All in all a very nice guitar, that has made me consider looking for a LP style Tokai as well :)

Image
Image
Image
Image

mdvineng
Guitar God
Posts: 737
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:01 am
Location: manchester

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by mdvineng » Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:32 pm

Wow, that's been hidden away for a long time. Enjoy, looks like new. 8)
Tokai VSB80 OF, Michael Kelly Patriot custom, Epiphone Elite SG & EB3. 8)

SilverStar
Plucker
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by SilverStar » Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:28 am

mdvineng wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:32 pm
Wow, that's been hidden away for a long time. Enjoy, looks like new. 8)
Thank you :)

Yeah, I think so as well, since it is in such excellent condition. It does have a few minor scratches and very small dents, but nothing severe. It even came with a nice other brand case that was probably bought alongside it originally.

It does need some minor adjustments though, so I'm going to adjust intonation, lower the pups a bit and maybe give it some lemon oil and polish up the frets later today. But it's straight as an arrow, there are no dead spots and action is sweet and clear all the way up the neck, so even as for now, it's a great playing guitar :)

Sigmania
Donating Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by Sigmania » Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:39 pm

That’s a beauty. And if you get more MIJ Tokais you will see that they are consistently well built.

As you move up in models, the construction, hardware, and pickups change.

It’s hard to just gave one. Congrats!
'79 LS80 GT Reborn, '79 ST100 Springy, '81 LS100S Hog, '81 ST80 Springy, '81 TE120 Breezy, '82 LS120 Love Rock (solid flame maple top), '82 JB50 Jazz Sounds

SilverStar
Plucker
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by SilverStar » Wed May 05, 2021 8:39 am

Sigmania wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:39 pm
That’s a beauty. And if you get more MIJ Tokais you will see that they are consistently well built.

As you move up in models, the construction, hardware, and pickups change.

It’s hard to just gave one. Congrats!
Hey, thanks and sorry for the late reply, I've been quite busy lately. :)

Now that I've had the chance to polish frets and adjust it, I can really feel the quality of the instrument.

It's a great playing guitar and the pups are very dynamic, even though I have to play with stainless strings due to allergy.

I'm definitely into get another tokai and currently looking into a Love Rock, but find it quite hard to decipher the serials.

EDIT: Can I kindly ask if you know whether an inked serial in this format: C09xxxx is MIJ, MIK or MIC?

Thanks in advance!

Sigmania
Donating Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by Sigmania » Wed May 05, 2021 8:49 am

I'm no expert on serial numbers on Love Rocks, but believe that is a Chinese made Tokai.

I would shoot for the earlier MIJ ones with the embossed serial numbers. Note, the early ones do not have "Made in Japan" stamped on the back of the headstock in black ink. Those came later.

What I look for among other things is how many pieces the bodies are made of to get an indication of model number. But the craftsmen at Tokai were very, very skilled at disguising joints, so you really need to look closely. Even when in hand, a bright light or headlamp help me to see.

Further, there are always exceptions to rules with Tokais. I had a solid flame top LS80 with a two piece body.

And, multi piece bodies don't necessarily mean the tone is compromised, that simply may indicate model number. You never know about tone unil you have it in hand. So many factors go into that, as I am sure you know.

Have fun in your search. There are some real treasures out there.
'79 LS80 GT Reborn, '79 ST100 Springy, '81 LS100S Hog, '81 ST80 Springy, '81 TE120 Breezy, '82 LS120 Love Rock (solid flame maple top), '82 JB50 Jazz Sounds

SilverStar
Plucker
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by SilverStar » Wed May 05, 2021 9:21 am

Thanks a bunch for the quick reply and great tips on how to spot the different levels of quality.

I have seen pictures and vids of some of those MIJ LP style guitars and they look and sound absolutely fantastic.

I'd be so happy to get my hands on one of those early MIJ's, but as they can be quite expensive and hard to find, I have to either compromise a bit on it being a MIJ or maybe be lucky to stumble upon a barn find somewhere :)

Sigmania
Donating Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by Sigmania » Wed May 05, 2021 1:09 pm

There are ways... One way is to go to where the guitars are.

In the past I had some luck with Yahoo auctions in Japan. I used a translator like Google Chrome for the web site I believe, and an in between to actually buy and ship the guitar.

Other members here may have suggestions.

I live in the US and Tokais are scarce here, but pop up from time to time.
'79 LS80 GT Reborn, '79 ST100 Springy, '81 LS100S Hog, '81 ST80 Springy, '81 TE120 Breezy, '82 LS120 Love Rock (solid flame maple top), '82 JB50 Jazz Sounds

Sigmania
Donating Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by Sigmania » Thu May 06, 2021 11:16 am

Btw, I didn’t mean to imply that Chinese Tokais are bad guitars, I just don’t know anything about them other than what I’ve read.

As in all cases with guitars, you can probably find good ones and some not so good no matter where they were made.

I have noticed that they have some bolt neck Les Pauls which to me defeats the whole idea of a Les Paul.

But if the price is right and your budget is keeping you say under $1,000 then you might grab one for cheap and swap out what needs upgrading.

The hunt is part of the fun. Enjoy the hunt.
'79 LS80 GT Reborn, '79 ST100 Springy, '81 LS100S Hog, '81 ST80 Springy, '81 TE120 Breezy, '82 LS120 Love Rock (solid flame maple top), '82 JB50 Jazz Sounds

Sigmania
Donating Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by Sigmania » Fri May 07, 2021 8:15 am

Btw, I found a good discussion of this topic on another forum. Note many of these guys are on this forum too, and have likely posted similar stuff here, I just have a hard time finding what I’m after with the search function, and go to google instead.

Here you go.

https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/chin ... ai.389082/
'79 LS80 GT Reborn, '79 ST100 Springy, '81 LS100S Hog, '81 ST80 Springy, '81 TE120 Breezy, '82 LS120 Love Rock (solid flame maple top), '82 JB50 Jazz Sounds

SilverStar
Plucker
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by SilverStar » Mon May 10, 2021 8:08 am

Sigmania wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:09 pm
There are ways... One way is to go to where the guitars are.

In the past I had some luck with Yahoo auctions in Japan. I used a translator like Google Chrome for the web site I believe, and an in between to actually buy and ship the guitar.

Other members here may have suggestions.

I live in the US and Tokais are scarce here, but pop up from time to time.
Thanks a bunch for the great help and tip on yahoo auction that I followed and immediately fell in love with a guitar with the most beautiful quilted maple top, that I in no way can afford at the moment :lol: But there are definitely options in the right pricerange out there, especially if one is looking for a player guitar :)

I also believe that guitars are meant to suit the player not the other way around, hence most guitars might have a hidden quality to them that will fit a certain person out there. That's exactly what I experienced with the Silver Star. It might not be the most expensive guitar in the world, but it fits my hands and my need for a great playing and sounding guitar.

I'm defo going to check the les paul forum out in my pursuit to find that exact LP, that'll do the trick for me.

BTW: I couldn't help thinking about your handle might refer to Sigma (guitars)?

Do you have any knowledge about the electrics and LP's they made back in the day?

Sigmania
Donating Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by Sigmania » Mon May 10, 2021 9:11 am

Yes re: Sigma guitars. I have never owned their electrics, but had LOTS of their acoustics and bought and sold quite a few of them over the years. Some rare ones. The supply seems to have dried up, but I see high end Terada examples on eBay in Japan for thousands of dollars.

And I am with you re: the guitar fitting the player. I am sure other members here would agree. We have all had guitars that are not the highest end models, but would hold their own with the most expensive guitars out there. That illusive "mojo".

I have a 1980 Tokai LS100 all mahogany Love Rock, that doesn't have fancy grain and she's a bit heavy, but OMG that is the best sounding guitar I have ever played in my life... period... And I have easily played hundreds.

So trust your ear and your gut and ignore what people say you are supposed to like.

I like the old adage, "A fool and his money are soon parted." 8)
'79 LS80 GT Reborn, '79 ST100 Springy, '81 LS100S Hog, '81 ST80 Springy, '81 TE120 Breezy, '82 LS120 Love Rock (solid flame maple top), '82 JB50 Jazz Sounds

SilverStar
Plucker
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by SilverStar » Mon May 10, 2021 12:56 pm

Oh yes, that's exactly one of those that I've been looking for, would love a LS 100 in yellow burst but with a flame maple top!

I also saw a really roadworn Reborn Old to a fair price, that would also be something :)

The Sigma accoustics seem to be quite well documented and great playing guitars. But for some reason the electrics are hard to find proper info about. I'm scouting a bit for one of those, as I've heard they should have been made on Tokai Gakki, at least for a period of time? Would you know anything about whether that info is correct?
Last edited by SilverStar on Mon May 10, 2021 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SilverStar
Plucker
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2021 3:40 pm

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by SilverStar » Mon May 10, 2021 1:00 pm

BTW: Love the adage, as I would also like to consider myself a smart buyer. Event though my permanent brokenness somehow is sort of a testament to a somewhat different story :lol: :lol: :lol:

Sigmania
Donating Member
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 6:36 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA

Re: My first vintage Tokai :)

Post by Sigmania » Mon May 10, 2021 1:22 pm

No idea who made Sigma electrics. The ones I have seen seem to date from the mid 70s with the SIGMA symbol on the headstock.

I’m not sure when exactly or why but there was a production change in the late 70s. Different construction and different logo on the acoustics, more like an actual Martin.

So I would bet the same is true re electrics and Tokais.

I would not expect a Sigma electric from 1976 to have much in common with a Tokai from 1980.
'79 LS80 GT Reborn, '79 ST100 Springy, '81 LS100S Hog, '81 ST80 Springy, '81 TE120 Breezy, '82 LS120 Love Rock (solid flame maple top), '82 JB50 Jazz Sounds

Post Reply