1981 ES-150J (ES-335 Style Tokai)

Area for Tokai's older than 1985

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_JDZ
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1981 ES-150J (ES-335 Style Tokai)

Post by _JDZ » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:27 pm

I've only recently joined, but been following for some time.

Figured I'd share my favorite of the Tokai's I have.

It's an 81 ES-150J. ES-150 and ES-100 were new models in 1981 and each came in Rock and Jazz versions. Mine is a Jazz version, which means it has the Jazz, rather than Rock pickups.

The 100 and 150 are very much the same guitars, with the differences being the 150 has birds eye maple, a cashew lacquer finish (love the amber tone to it), ebony fretboard and upgraded electronics including oil condensers.


On both guitars Tokai used 3-ply maple (all three ply's are maple), single piece mahogany neck, MOP dots on the fretboard, same neck profile as used on 59 and 60 335's, 5-ply long pickguard, and solid maple center block sandwiched between spruce. Tokai’s catalog says they did exhaustive research into the details of ’58 to ’64 ES-335’s and all those details are just how the originals were made.

I’m really into vintage MIJ copies of ES-335’s and trying to document many of them more fully as the details on them aren’t nearly as well known as the Les Paul copies.

And if you are wondering, yes, the guitar plays and sounds fantastic.

John

ImageDSC00757 by JDZ, on Flickr

ImageDSC00740s by JDZ, on Flickr

ImageDSC00750s by JDZ, on Flickr

Image20180205_203145s by JDZ, on Flickr
ImageDSC00742s by JDZ, on Flickr

ImageNeckCavity_s by JDZ, on Flickr

ImageDSC00743s by JDZ, on Flickr

ImageDSC00749s by JDZ, on Flickr
Last edited by _JDZ on Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

villager
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Post by villager » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:06 am

Hi John the 150 does not actually have cashew Lacquer, that was only used on the 200 models, that finish on the 150 is beautifully aged nitrocellulose...

_JDZ
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Post by _JDZ » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:05 am

Hi Mark. The translation I have of the '81 catalog shows the 150 is finished in cashew:

"The whole series comes in black sunburst (SB), Tokai red (TR) or natural (N), with classic lacquer finish on the ES100 R and ES100J or cashew nut finish on the ES150R and ES150J"

Shows the same in the specifications grid.

marcusnieman
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Post by marcusnieman » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:36 am

Very nice. My 81 ES100J has a fair amount of birdseye in the body wood as well

villager
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Post by villager » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:43 am

ah thats very interesting... i was always under the impression it was nitro!! cool..

guitar hiro
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Post by guitar hiro » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:27 am

that is an amazing looking ES :o 8)

what is the neck thickness like at the first fret?

_JDZ
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Post by _JDZ » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:13 pm

marcusnieman wrote:Very nice. My 81 ES100J has a fair amount of birdseye in the body wood as well
I have an 81 ES100 as well :D
The top on it is very nice - a lot of figure in the wood and plays to the light.

_JDZ
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Post by _JDZ » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:19 pm

villager wrote:ah thats very interesting... i was always under the impression it was nitro!! cool..
Thing that is really confusing is trying to understand what cashew lacquer is - made from cashew nuts.

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Post by _JDZ » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:28 pm

guitar hiro wrote:that is an amazing looking ES :o 8)

what is the neck thickness like at the first fret?
Thanks!

0.84" / 21.3 cm at 1st fret
1.01" / 25.7 cm at 12th fret

Per the catalog it's a '59 ES-335 profile:
"The construction of the neck grip remains absolutely faithful to the production cut on guitars made in ‘59 and ‘60—we can promise that musicians who know will recognize the difference. "

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Post by togps » Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:09 am

When cashew nut finish is used you can ID it on yellowish body and neck binding.
Also the Tokai logo appears yellowish

guitar hiro
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Post by guitar hiro » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:30 am

_JDZ wrote:
guitar hiro wrote:that is an amazing looking ES :o 8)

what is the neck thickness like at the first fret?
Thanks!

0.84" / 21.3 cm at 1st fret
1.01" / 25.7 cm at 12th fret

Per the catalog it's a '59 ES-335 profile:
"The construction of the neck grip remains absolutely faithful to the production cut on guitars made in ‘59 and ‘60—we can promise that musicians who know will recognize the difference. "


Thanks for the reply.
I was thinking these (earlier) Tokai ES examples likely have a 'smallish' neck profile.
I have owned several 2000 & later Tokai ES examples but I eventually sold them all because of the smaller necks.

.840" is actually smaller 1st fret thickness than any (Gibson) style guitar I have.
.875" to .900" 1st fret thickness seems to be a good area for my preference.

Would love to locate an early Tokai ES with a larger neck but I don't believe Tokai ever made any that fit that description, at least from what I have heard from owners/players.

villager
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Post by villager » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:32 am

its strange the Tokai LPs vary a lot in neck size, but the ES series do seem to be relatively uniform...

duff
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Post by duff » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:01 pm

I had 3, still have 2 and they all differ in neck thickness.. the sunburst one had a really thick neck, similiar to my gibson es-175 vos. The natural one and cherry have a thinner neck.

lovely es-150! The binding on those is always more yellow then on the es-100's. Definitely different lacquer. They are my favorite tokai's as well.

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Post by luis » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:15 am

I will check my ES100 SB 1981 finally restored back to stock and with Antiquities, TVT pots and Sprague Hyrel (PIO military 50s) caps.

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Post by Emiel » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:33 am

A friend of mine has a '81 ES100 that is just three serial numbers apart from my '81 ES100. His has a noticable thicker neck and soundwise a little bit more low end, other than that they are identical. Fantastic guitars!

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