New Cat's Eyes Guitars in Japan (June 2021)

Discussion for acoustic guitars from Tokai

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Drag&Fly
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New Cat's Eyes Guitars in Japan (June 2021)

Post by Drag&Fly » Fri Jul 09, 2021 12:20 am

Hi folks,

I'm a brand new member here. This year I sold my Fender (Japan) '72 Custom Tele ("Black Beauty") to a good friend here inYokohama, Japan with visiting rights. I'm about to retire my old Seagull spruce top electric-acoustic. Was just gonna hang on to and strum my even older Yamaha FG beach(-y) dread and sell all my pedals. Go all unplugged. Then I got the bug again.

My aforementioned friend turned me on to Yairi guitars, I tried a couple and thought they were pretty good.

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Then I got looking at Martins. Then I fell in love with the D-35. Then my eyes popped when I saw the price :o . Then my wife found out I was thinking about buying another guitar. Then... well, another story.

Needless to say, I started looking around for alternatives. Specifically: made in USA or made in Japan, pre-owned. Not much luck. Then I saw these in my neighborhood (big box) music store: Cat's Eyes guitars.

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Never heard of 'em. Thought they were cheap, Chinese knock offs. Did some research and found out they were made by Tokai. In Japan. And that they had a D-35 copy.

I'm not that interested in buying a brand new guitar. I was after something that had already been loved and had opened up (nicks, scratches and all).

Can anyone on this forum tell me a little more about these guitars and when perhaps they started reissuing them?

I'm going to head back over to the guitar store and ask some questions and see if they have any used ones, badger them about the guitars themselves. But until then any intel would be greatly appreciated.

I know I'm a first-timer here, but thought I would just insert myself into what seems like the most appropriate forum on the interwebs.

Thanks for being a source right at the time a person needs it. Can think of no better way to spend confined times in closed spaces than with a guitar and some music.

Cheers!

wulfman
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Re: New Cat's Eyes Guitars in Japan (June 2021)

Post by wulfman » Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:55 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum!
I'm in the middle of Tokyo which is rather dangerous for temptation in guitar stores.
Those Tokais you saw are actually made in China under Tokai instruction (whatever that means) and probably are pretty decent guitars.
https://www.amazon.co.jp/Tokai-%EF%BC%8 ... 01N7UZW7Q

You can still find tons of Tokai 70s/80s Cat's Eyes around used for 40-50,000 yen for a mid-level model.

guitar hiro
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Re: New Cat's Eyes Guitars in Japan (June 2021)

Post by guitar hiro » Sun Jul 11, 2021 1:38 pm

@Drag&Fly

I'm a fan of the older K. Yairi acoustics; my 1979 YW is all the acoustic I will ever need.

If you're in Japan you should be able to locate some old wood acoustics that will sound great & won't break the bank. :wink:
'holier than thou cuntiness' was originally exported to the entire planet from the land of rocks and trees aka Cadada, and now the entire solar system is infected :lol:

Drag&Fly
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Re: New Cat's Eyes Guitars in Japan (June 2021)

Post by Drag&Fly » Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:09 am

Hi All. Thanks for the replies! Sorry for my late reply, but things have a been a little, uh, strange lately here in Japan!

@wulfman
"Those Tokais you saw are actually made in China under Tokai instruction (whatever that means) and probably are pretty decent guitars.
https://www.amazon.co.jp/Tokai-%EF%BC%8 ... 01N7UZW7Q"

Yes, I actually contacted Tokai and was chatting with Shohei Adachi and he confirmed that those Cat's Eyes are made in China. Too bad. But he also linked me to their online shop where you folks can custom order (セミクストムオーダー) guitars (apart from the Cat's Eyes, more geared to electric) that are made on the bench in Hamamatsu (and they deliver internationally, I believe): https://theguitarshop2.jp/custom/

I have seen those '70s Cat's Eyes on Kurosawa Gakki and Reverb. Just want to get my hands on one and find out how they play!

@guitar hiro
I have just recently become a convert to K. Yairi guitars and also want to give them a go. My photos show one (a KF-65B) and then a S. Yairi (YD-42) Martin copy which I played. Was very nice! Wasn't ready to put the cash down for it at the time, and it will most likely be gone the next time I'm there.

I've really been looking at the Alvarez-Yairi models handmade in Kani by the Yairi luthiers. They have a Honduran mahogany model that looks just gorgeous (https://www.alvarezguitars.com/guitar/dym60hd/). Seems that master Kazue had stockpiled some of that mahogany from Honduras over 40 years ago and that'S the tone wood they used. I also really love the genius parallel bridge system that puts more tension and vibration on the top wood. One can dream, I guess...

So I guess that leads me to another question: had anyone here ordered guitars online? Whether from a store or auction site? Seems like such a gamble to me without ever having played something. I've seen those Cat's Eyes come up and some K. Yairi dreadnoughts as well in that ¥50,000 range. I almost wanted to pull the trigger on one, but thought: "Hmmm... That's a little too impulsive — even for me!" Opted to keep strumming the ol' Seagull. More than 25 years old and still going strong and one owner — me.

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