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AST 56 - Looking for info

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:15 pm
by mjinli
Hi all,

New to this forum but it came up when I was looking for information on Tokais.

Am in Canada and just purchased this used. I had heard only great things about vintage Tokai strats, and true to form, it sounds amazing and feels great in the hand.

Any info anyone could provide would be great! The ID/dater page has a very similar headstock as a 1985, which would be pretty cool as the serial number is also 1985.

Tried to provide all the pics that I typically see are asked for, if any others are needed then let me know.

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:18 pm
by brokentoes
It's all tokai except i don't know about the neckplate. Good score !!!

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:19 pm
by felixcatus
Hi and welcome.

I think that the brass ground plate puts it's at least somewhere between mid and late '80s.

With that serial#, a 1985 build would indeed be cool.

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:18 am
by mjinli
Thanks guys. In case anyone in the future is looking, the tremolo arm was missing when I bought it and a MIM Strat trem arm fits perfectly.

What I can tell you....

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:44 pm
by patchel
Hi, that is in deed a very late 1984, or 1985 guitar. The AST 56 has the T in Tokai that does not look like a F from the strat it is based on.
The TST 56 from 83 / early 84 has the script T that looks like Leo put it there. These were made for the USA market, thus the pointy headstock, and you may not notice , but you will find the pickguard is slightly not the same as a Strat. This is on purpose , again for the US market. You probably have a steel trem block block , the Final Prospec saddles are hard to find , hang on to them for sure. ... people rave about the E stamp pick ups, but the V and U stamp are pretty close. Some say a little more microphonic, IDK I have seen twonversions of the E , one about 5.9 k ohms , and the other about 6.2. I like the under wound a little more.... dont get rid of the pickups either. If itbis painted, it is probably three peice alder. The blonds are Sen ( some call it Japan Ash )... you can tell a lot if there is a bare spot where in the neck pocket. The stamps dont mean a lot ,they should be close. I have at least one thats off by one number between the neck and body. The ASTs get almost as much as the TSTs. .... yours is very nice that the saddles, tuners and pickups are not swapped out. It is rare to find them in tact, and whatever you do, dont get rid of the tuners, nothing else fits quite right.greqt find !

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:22 am
by Peter Mac
Hi guys,

This is quite a nice find, an original AST-56 in Snow White.
The body is Alder and the stamps are for production and verify that the neck was made for this body (4=6), the colour (SW= Snow White) and export quality (V). There was also a TST-40 and TST-62.
The pickups are the high-end Tokai - equivalent to the 'E' - as the 'U' pups were re-badged 'VII" on other export guitars. These pickups being here show that the changeover had definately occured which would place this guy around late-84 or early-85.
Consider this model on par with an ST-60. For the US market, Tokai did not produce a TST-80 equivalent.
Good find and should you swap out the pups, keep then handy - don't sell them as these guitars ae worth more with everything intact.

Peter Mac

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:01 am
by mjinli
Great info patchel, Peter, really appreciate it! Most likely going to be holding onto it as is (might shield the pickguard and pickup cavities with some copper tape) but I'll definitely hold onto all the parts if I do swap anything.

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:30 pm
by Peter Mac
- No need to use tape or shielding - Tokai already did that with a brass grounding/shielding plate under the pots. It works brilliantly as well as keeping solder of the back of the pots.
I believe they stopped them in 1989 or so . . .

Peter Mac

Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:42 pm
by luis
My first Tokai back in 2001 was an AST-56 with a maple neck, it was a good strat and pickups sounded really good! I did not took it appart unfortunatly and lost some pics I took