It was always my dream to be able to reproduce Santanas distorted Sound. Since I always played Strats and Teles I never was able to reproduce this sound. I always loved the looks of the PRS guitars but the models I got to play didn't convince me. But since I started to do more studiowork and was able to use different amps and plugins I broadened my view and started actively looking for a Santana Modell. They are quite pricey but had a great review from everybody who had owned one.
When I got the chance to get a Modell from B-Ware that had some Lacquer issues I decided to give it a chance. And yes... now it sounds like Santana. A very fine instrument that has every possible playing comfort a modern guitar requires. Furthermore it is very resonant acousically played. The ideal guitar for my collection! Thanks to the Lacquer issue I use the guitar every day without being afraid of taking it out of it's case. Actually it doesn't have a hardcase nor does it have papers since it was not sold as a regular PRS Santana.
Price: 4'900 Euro (if I sell ;)
This is the second Tokai St 80 in the fantastic Fiesta Red colour which is similar to my Fender Squier. It has a stronger touch of orange in it. The neck is not as thick as my 82 50-ies style but it has the same V-form which is not really accurate regarding 60-ies Strats. But it feels pleasant to play, beeing a little thicker than my JV Squier. I prefer in general Japan Strats to the US Fullerton copies produced between 82-84. Their necks are fuller and this one even more. Very nice. The neck reminds me visually of the good Cunetto necks.
Contrary to my 82 Tokai this one was in a better state regarding electronics and mechanics. Often they are rusted and loose sound. I really dig the E3 PU on this one. On my 82 they sounded dull and I was prepared to change them. On this guitar they sound warm and smooth. The warmest sounding neck pick up I ever played without loosing presence. They sound like on a old Vintage Strat. No need to change PU or electronics. For the moment I only changed the tremolo setting and the springs to raw & vintage springs because the old ones didn't sound open anymore. To me it is perfect that way. A little darkish with a touch of Hendrix "The Wind Cries Mary".
The instrument has been professionally refretted with Vintage frets. Really nice! Still the best piece of guitar if you look for the old sound on a budget price. Kills most CS Strats I played.
I finally changed strings and used the chance to change the saddles with Raw&Vintage saddles. It smoothend sound and playability even more. Was really worth it! The neck pu roars incredibly, wow!!
A potential buyer remarked that the PU weren't typical for ST-80 ies so I asked Gottfried Schmid from Faber Guitars who is importing Tokai to Germany. He believes that the neck is original ST-80 but the Body/PU is ST-50. It seems for sure that the pickguard isn't original. Which makes it a perfect match for great-player-guitars.ch
It is a Killer Vintage Axe.
Price: 1500 Euro
This beautiful ST80 is a result of Tokai making great 50-ies vintage copies before Fender decided to to copy this japanese concept for the Post CBS Fender guitars. This is a fantastic example with great parts, a fantastic neck true to real 56/57 specs. The neck also feels like a real vintage guitar. The guitar is resonant and sounds very balanced and with a vintage sound you only get from the real ones. The pickups have a mellow vintage touch. The neck PU is very warm and bluesy. The bridge PU has real bite. Really, really impressive. Hard to beat by todays CS Strats. As with all japanese guitar from the 80ies, I would recommend a refret. Very impressive guitar still in an affordable price segment. This Tokai as opposed to the JV's are unbelievably close to the original. The JV's are a league of their own and created a new Fullerton-sound in the 80-ies. But they are not real reissues, especially side by side to this Tokai. I am thinking about refretting.
The weight is 3.4 kg
Update1: I decided to let Matz refret the neck and finetune the guitar. I sort of fell in love with this instrument.
Matz really made this guitar shine. He turned a good guitar into a fantastic one. Tones before refret were sort of cut short by the frets that were worn down. It really irritaded because when bending notes the sustain was endless. Still the guitar sounded vintagelike but with less sustain. Now it simply is a fantastic great looking guitar that beats my Fender CS MB Strat in vintage standards by far. Waiting for the first gig to compare these two in a live bandsituation.
Update 18.9.20: The Tokai PU really have that dark Vintagesound. I still love it on my Fiesta Red. On this one I missed the bite on Neck PU and felt too much brightness on the Bridge PU. So I wanted to try out my Abby handmade PU. Taking off the old PU we discovered a lot of rusty parts which we decided to replace with absolute highend material.
Replaced: Tremolo springs and saddles by Raw&Vintage
Urs fromhaensler-electronics changed all electronic parts and installed my Abby 57-62 handwired PU!! Check fotos!! Video2!!
Finally I decided to change the tuners with Forrester Stone Aged Kluson Goldö tuners. The tuning wasn't stable enough. Well that went along with a small surprise. Jörg Walther from Forester Guitars mixed up the tuners so the low E-Tuner doesn't have the typical endform (check foto). But everything is stable and in perfect working condition. I called Jörg who first complained that I was calling 3/4 year later (counting isn't everybodys thing ;) Since he gives up this part of his business he wasn't really interested to be any help. So let's look at it from the bright side: No one else owns a Strat with this Kluson setting. The screws and the inlays remained from Tokai since the Kluson screws didn't fit and turn loose in the Tokai holes. Well this is Great-Player-Guitars. For collectors all the old stuff is still there. I wouldn't put them back on though!
Pimped 82' Tokai St80 with documented updates (see fotos)
2'700 Euro Includes all new and original parts including Abby handmade PU (700 Euro), Forrester Stone Aged Kluson Goldö tuners, Tremolo springs and saddles by Raw&Vintage.
You won't find a better sounding 50ies Strat Reissue with this true vintage feel!! Considering CS Prices being over 4'000 Euro!
A killer Stratocaster with the best necks on this planet. This guitar is sonically exceptionally close to the real vintage deal!! The playing comfort is out of this world. Dan simply makes the best vintagestyle Strats. I am not so much a fan of the finish. The same goes for the Kelton Swade finishes. But soundwise they are really close to the real good vintage guitars.
This strat reacts to all the player nuances and is really resonant. It has the quality of deepness without sounding harsh even with the bridge pickup.
I love it!! This guitar is a killer, way better than the last one that I owned.