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Mid 80's Tokai Rebuild

Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:28 pm
by patchel
Here's my Mid 80's Tokai rebuild. My Mom bought this for me from Guitars on George in York Pa in March, 1984 (exactly 30 years ago). Well part of it. I used as many original pieces and my I have a pretty straight AST-56 to play. Big Thanks to Len and Felixcatus for the help and input Here is some images of the build and the final product.....

Nice Tokai Bridge with very clean Final Prospec saddles...


Bridge Mounted in the body, see the nice banana pudding the color faded to...


Mock Up...see where two pickguard holes had been enlarged for US spec electronics..


Neck Mounted (nut was broken and loose, crazy glue is drying) ...


The Electronics...Nice original "E" stamp pickups, and brass plate.


I had two clean period correct "Made In Japan Pots", and went with a brand new CTS 500K for volume...


Assembled Pickguard, I think these are original knobs...


Final Assembly...WOW, I am stoked to get strings on it at this point!....original nut is back in place...


This neck has a lot of little brids eyes in it, I like it....


Final Assembly with strings, action set, and intonation adjusted. I didn't have to touch the truss rod, there's just a little relief, just the way I like it..


Please feel free to comment good or bad, I am not a luthier, just a guy that LOVES Tokai Guitars. Especially this one. I know there is not much of my original 30 year old guitar left in this best effort collection of parts. It took me three years to find a body with that right shade of creamy yellow color. I held off buying Warmoth, Jap Strat and others until I found the right part. Not sure if anyone will even look at this, but if you do, thanks.

Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:08 pm
by brokentoes
Lookin good !! Nice job on getting the job done.

Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:35 pm
by patchel
Thanks brokentoes ! :D

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:14 am
by felixcatus
Well done. That?s a nice color, I?m thinking of buying a ST in that color.
What happened to the original body?

Original Body...

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:56 am
by patchel
The color is great, it has darkened up nicely over the years, it's even richer than new..about the original body.... some 19 year old kid decided he should modify it. The bridge was replaced with a two point khaler locking tremolo system that was meant for an 80's American Standard Stratocaster. Then the pickup route was enlarged for a humbucker. Probably should have thought better than to use a drill and wood chisel to make room for the humbucker. Eventually, one of the post for the tremolo worked it's way into the giant poorly shaped hole where the big pickup resided...a few extra screws in the pickguard held the tremolo post post back for a while...I gave the body away, never to be seen again. I once asked the fellow about it's whereabouts, but he said it is long gone. :( ....... It worked great for a year or two,and while it worked that Tokai was a real screamer! ....ironically, the replacement body came with the HSS route from the factory.

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:26 am
by Mono
i love it
very nice work indeed... i am no luthier either but love fiddling around with my guitars, cleaning, rewiring, setting action, intonating etc
congrats on your 30yr old bit on the side ;)

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:31 am
by marcusnieman

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:16 am
by Len
looks great !
And I suspect it sounds good with the E pickups.

btw patchel, you should check your PM Inbox from time to time :D

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:24 pm
by Peter Mac
Hi patchel,
Wow this is a real bitsa,
Body looks to be Sen under that paint so with maple neck it should sound very bright.
Humbucker route seems factory so I'd be looking towards an '86 SD series . . AST American neck with V profile, 'E' pickups have been changed and electrics are not all original (Pots and wiring are different)
This is both the beauty and failure of Strats. Failure as they can be easily transformed into partsocasters and beauty in that you can make a better guitar from different parts.
Long Live LesPauls.
Anyway, it looks like a damn fine guitar, all the best ingredients put together and a fantastic outcome.

Peter Mac

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:43 pm
by patchel
Peter Mac wrote:Hi patchel,
. . AST American neck with V profile, 'E' pickups have been changed and
Peter, thanks for the kind words. It is nice and bright. and heavy too ! .. I think you are right on about the V profile, it kind of feels like the the neck has two flat spots on either side of the skunk stripe inlay... Why do you call the neck American? I thought these were all "Made In Japan"? I have a TST-56 neck too, but it is a little beat up. The "E" pickups were original to the TST-56 neck. Is there a lot of difference in the AST-56 and the TST-56 other that "T" in Tokai looks a lot different on the TST?
Thanks for the feedback. I am always interested to know more about these guitars.

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:48 am
by funkilius
nice one!!!
credit to ya on a good job of putting it all back together :wink: :wink: :wink:

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:52 pm
by patchel
funkilius wrote:nice one!!!
credit to ya on a good job of putting it all back together :wink: :wink: :wink:
Thanks ! I'm enjoying it a lot. If you are ever near Richmond, VA, USA, you are welcome come by and try it out :)

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:24 pm
by Peter Mac
Hi Patchel,
The TST-56 was made from '82-84 and the AST-56 was made '84-up.
Whilst they are MIJ, they were specifically made for the USA market and had specific logos and electrics. Pickups were 'E' spec but called 'CAR' and did not have a stamp on the grey bobbins. Headstocks were the altered variety.
They also had a TST-62 / AST-62 which had a slab fingerboard. Body woods are ST-56 : Alder - ST-62 : Sen Ash. The curious thing is Fendah used ash bodies til '56, ash & alder til '60 and alder only til 65.

Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:14 am
by patchel
Hi Peter, thanks for the information, Your input is greatly appreciated.
..That clears it up a bit. Especially with regards to the AST-56 and TST-56....Sounds like I should have found an Alder body.
Looks like there are a lot more Tokai Guitars international than in the US. No wonder it took so long for me to locate all the bits!
Peter Mac wrote: ...Pickups were 'E' spec but called 'CAR' and did not have a stamp on the grey bobbins.
...about the E stamps, The E stamped pickups are from my original TST-56, , purchased March '84 (In the US) had the E stamp on the pickups. Maybe some of them slipped thru that run?
Thanks again :D

Posted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:01 pm
by Peter Mac
Hi Patchel.

Thats good to know about the TST-56 pickups.
My AST-56 had the CAR no stamp pups and I had thought this was the case all along. It makes sense they would have used 'E' as the changeover from 'E' to 'V' and 'U' to 'VII" was around the same time that TST-56 became AST-56 and so the CAR was first credited.

This why the forum exists so we can discover the slight changes for a more accurate history and timeline on the instruments.

Peter Mac.