Cat's Eyes Summary?

Discussion for acoustic guitars from Tokai

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Cat's Eyes Summary?

Post by m0b1liz3 » Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:57 pm

I am trying to piece together a summary of the Cat's Eyes guitars. (I was expecting to find one here.) I am going to post some of the limited information I have put together and hopefully others can fill in the blanks.

Brief History (From Tokai Wiki):
Tokai Guitars Company Ltd., is a Japanese guitar manufacturer founded in 1947 and situated in Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka prefecture. Tokai have produced acoustic guitars, electric guitars, electric basses, autoharps, and melodicas. Tokai first started making classical guitars in 1965 and started making Hummingbird electric guitars in 1968 and Hummingbird Acoustic guitars in 1970.

In 1972 Tokai went into a joint venture with Martin to supply acoustic guitar parts and also to build Martin's solid-body Sigma guitars. In 1973 Tokai started making the "Cat's Eyes" Martin acoustic replicas.

Mid to late 80s seems to be a complete stop in production (restarted in 90s).
2006 Is the year the current made in China Cat's Eyes guitars appeared:

Model Details:
There are few threads on here (and elsewhere) that say different things about the models that had solid tops. From this site CE400 and above = solid top. Numbers below 400 are laminate tops, with the exception being the CE350S. However, other sites describe CE700 and below as laminates.

I have found conflicting information on what model of Martin the Cat's Eyes were based off. D28 or D45?

Another uncertainty is which models used nitro finishes. >CE800?

Serial Number Dating:
The serial number dating system is partially mentioned on another thread on this forum. On a few sites I found some conflicting information. (ie. different system used on models below CE400).

Originally from Greco_burst:

1970s, the last two digits give the year.
1977 is xxxx77 6 digit serial

The format changed around 1980 to 1984, just to help confuse us all.

In 1983 and 1984 serial the year is identified by the first digit only.
eg 400xxxx is 1984 and has a 7 digit serial
eg 100xxx is 1981 and has a 6 digit serial

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Post by felixcatus » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:30 am

Of all the 80's CE photos or serial numbers I could find, the first 2 digits are always the same as the model type number, e.g. 20XXXXX= CE2OO, 25XXXXX=CE250, 30XXXXX=CE300, etc.

So, here's one more theory for dating a (early '80s) 7 digit serial number :wink: :
-first 2 digits are the model, 3th digit is the manufacturing year, last 4 digits are the production number.

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Post by wulfman » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:16 am

There are sure a lot of different models from Tokai. I am in Japan now and saw this one in person. Very nice and rare (I believe) CE-1500. It seems to have had some repair work done so no comment on the price. ... ory_id=631

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