Tokai Custom Edition ST-style Sunburst 1987
Tokai Custom Edition Strat, sunburst, made in Japan around 1987. Sometimes a guitar comes in that's annoyingly good... am I meant to sell this? Can I just keep it? Dang. Tokai's Custom Edition line is a bit mysterious; it only pops up in the catalogs briefly in 1987 approx without a lot of supporting details. The consensus seems to be that these were made-to-order or limited run type offerings, made with 'modern' (for three decades ago) appointments and built to an outrageously high standard. You feel the integrity and craftsmanship of this as soon as it's in your hands: the neck is a gorgeous piece of maple, arrow straight and super resonant, capped by a streaky premium rosewood board... it feels amazing; it just has a *thing*. The body is made from a tightly grained premium bit of alder; it's super lively and resonant unplugged and springs to life at the lightest touch. Under the guard, this is routed for an HSH setup, but the pickups and pots etc look to be unchanged; whether this came out with a different setup and was modded or left the factory exactly as it appears now is anyone's guess. I made the dubious decision to A/B this against the fanciest USA made Strat I could find, and oh boy: plugged in, this will outperform just about anything for punch, sparkle, articulation, complexity... it sounds absolutely terrific. The pickups sound closer to a hot single coil than a humbucker; they have that crisp clarity and singing high end, but it's balanced by a certain fatness through the low end that's very satisfying. It's a stupendous sounding Strat, it's too good. This absolutely counts as a 'sleeper': easily slips under the radar, but performs like an absolute dream machine. It's a bit of a weirdo, but oh boy, I love it a lot.
Model: Tokai Custom Edition Strat style
Made: Japan, 1987 approx (no serial on these, dated by catalog)
Finish: sunburst, 3-ply black guard
Neck: maple with rosewood board, 25.5" scale, 7.25" radius
Mods: none (or, maybe, heaps? Hard to say!)
Pickups: Tokai rails style slim humbucker x2
Cosmetic condition notes: minor finish wear. Headstock has some minor dimples on the end and bottom edge. Neck is nice and clean, no major marks, just a few dimples on the back. The back has widespread light scuffs and dimples, there's a lot of marks but nothing nasty. The sides have minor dimples around the whole body, nothing nasty. The front is pretty clean, just some widespread light dimples and scuffs and some play wear on the guard and horn. Overall: good condition (7/10)
Playing condition notes: Action is low, neck is straight, intonation is good, truss rod works. All electrics tested and working properly. Frets have a bit of normal wear, nothing nasty, 7/10 for fret life left. Wearing fresh 10/46 Moonshiners strings.