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Fender or Tokai ??? Indentification HELP???

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by bugbiteaudio, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. bugbiteaudio

    bugbiteaudio Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Gentlemen and Ladies,
    I have a guitar that I purchased off of Ebay --pictures located at:
    ---The guitar was listed as a 1979 fender stratocaster with aftermarket pickups. Long story-short...I bought the guitar, and found some 1978 strat pickups (also pictured in the link above) and put them in the guitar. Sounds great/plays great. I decided to sell the guitar (one too many) and I listed it on Ebay.
    With 4 minutes to go, someone sends me a message through ebay that this guitar is not a Fender... It is a Tokai...!!!!!
    I freaked out... There were only a few minutes left and I didn't know what to do. The auction finished and I started doing some research. I could find no evidence that the guitar was a Tokai... The only suspicious thing on the guitar I could find was the sharpness of the upper horn. It did seem less round than most other Fenders of that era (again, you guys can check the pictures).
    Well, the crazy thing is, the winning bidder decides he/she doesn't want the guitar (no pay - no contact - nothing - very annoying). So I have started the process to cancel the transaction and I can now relist the item. However, I want to be sure of what it is before I sell it. I am a very ethical person, and I need some expert advice on what this guitar truly is before I relist it on Ebay.
    So what do you think??????
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010

  2. mahler

    mahler Strat-O-Master

    Mar 8, 2010
    Well, I can't say I'm an expert in this area, but I just can't see Fender having to been able to let out a strat that misshapen at the horn. QC was iffy at this time but that is just unstrat like. The neck looks fairly original to me, but the body can't be fender. There seems to be some strange scribblings in the neck pocket, can't see but could it be japanese lettering? The only thing that strikes me odd is the microtilt.

    I'm sure someone more in the know on this can help you, but I have never seen a strat with a horn like that.....maybe best case scenario the guitar was modfied?

  3. CeltRocka

    CeltRocka Senior Stratmaster

    May 28, 2009
    Wales UK
    The horn does look wrong and the finish is nitro [70s strats were polyureathane] looks like the neck has been sprayed nitro as well.So the body and neck has had some kind of refinish OR it is MIJ of some kind

  4. Kyri

    Kyri Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 28, 2009
    Not sure that the pickups are from 1978, the plastic bobbin pickups appeared around 1980 and prior to that they had grey bobbins. From their appearance they could be 3 x-1 pickups from around 1980 (the resistance should be aroudn 7.5K with cherry coloured windings).

  5. fenson

    fenson ----------------------

    Jan 11, 2009
    Hard to say really Could be someone did butcher the horn when they refinished a real 79 Strat. I never saw a Tokai with a stubby horn , they just changed the headstock I thought in the 80's ?

    Strats where ployester finished bodies , polyurathane necks from ? mid 69 and up. So thats either a refin or bogus relic on Polyester. I have seen poly checked with a razor blade.
    Had to say what the heck it is. Maybe the codes on the pots could tell ya some thing but then again!???

  6. CeltRocka

    CeltRocka Senior Stratmaster

    May 28, 2009
    Wales UK
    Dunno about it being poly,the wear on the back looks like nitro wear.A lot of the early MIJ copies were really good and used nitro,i believe

  7. Steve!

    Steve! Strat-Talker

    Dec 19, 2009
    weather its tokai or fender it sure looks great and i bet it plays great too them old tokais where fantastic

  8. OldFartRocker

    OldFartRocker Strat-O-Master

    Nov 23, 2009
    I own a Tokai, looks very near what I have.

  9. WayneS

    WayneS Strat-Talker

    Apr 10, 2010
    Cornwall UK
    No clue mate, but I can say that I owned an old battered looking tokai silver star in the late 80s and that was one killer guitar, really cheap back then: now desired by many (in the UK anyway) looks a really nice strat.... whatever it's birth

  10. Pete McC

    Pete McC Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 25, 2008
    Co Down, N. Ireland
    That body couldn't be any more wrong if it tried! apart from the upper horn looking extremely stunted, the jack socket is totally out and the whole thing looks like a cheap copy made by someone with no template. OK the finish looks old but that's easily faked, maybe the neck is 70's Fender, the wear looks genuine enough on that and not the usual 'beltsander' fake wear finish. dunno about the pickups though..

  11. StratDen

    StratDen Senior Stratmaster

    May 23, 2008
    I am not sure you'll end up with a bad guitar either way, and maybe the seller too was hoodwinked himself when he acquired it? But it looks cool. Yes, the horn is off, but if you paid for a Fender and it's not (and you have an issue with that) it may be worth a nice & calm discusson with the seller. Start by asking if he thinks it is a possibility that the guitar may not be 100% fender...

  12. bugbiteaudio

    bugbiteaudio Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Well, The finish looks very real in person, but I'm hardly and expert. The neck however feels exactly like every other 70's era strat or Tele that I have played (and I have played many) I would be shocked if the neck was some kind of fake. The pickups sound fantastic, but I have no idea how to tell if they are truly '78. I just bought them from someone who claimed that they were.
    The pots and switch do me no good because they are not original to the guitar.
    I wish there was some definitive way to tell that the body was for SURE not a Fender. But so far, seems to be mostly conjecture and best guess type of stuff. All opinions are welcome however.

  13. Yogi

    Yogi Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 21, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    guys what makes you think this guitar is finished in Nitro? Old poly does fade/check and wear. I had an 1981 that the finish had yellowed and it had checking in the finish.

    I do agree that this one looks weird, but I believe it is atleast made up of some genuinely old Fender parts. I don't think it is a Tokai, because Tokais have the correct Horn shape

  14. Vintage59

    Vintage59 Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Lost Angeles
    This might sound kinda crazy, but that body reminds me of a Duo Sonic shape? Naaaaaaa...that would be a LOT of rework...but that upper horn is just hella funky!

    Maybe CBS let some bad QC go out the door...they were all about the money and let quality flag.

  15. bugbiteaudio

    bugbiteaudio Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 27, 2010
    Los Angeles
    The upper horn does have a duo sonic feel to it but the rest of the body is all Strat.

  16. scotzoid

    scotzoid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Music City
    The neck looks to be authentic '79 Fender, but the body is just wrong on so many levels, horns are *not quite right* & the wood grain looks different from anything I've ever seen in a Fender. The neck pocket has "shoulders", like they overshot the template somehow. I just noticed that the bridge pup cavity has an HB cavity that's been filled & re-cut.

    I wouldn't call it "fake", but it's definitely a partscaster with a Fender neck & possibly copycat body. Kudos for trying to be honest about it, we need all the ethical Ebay sellers we can get. :)

  17. BarryWuthrich

    BarryWuthrich New Member!

    Jul 3, 2010
    Lane City, TX
    Tokai Fender

    I am selling a Tokai Fender on ebay right now. (barelyworthit is my user name). Tokai is licensed by Fender to make non-export Fender guitars for sale in Japan.
    Where the neck joins the body, it clearly says Crafted in Japan and has a seriel # that dates it. These guitars are made too well for Fender to allow them here. It would compete with their USA strat sales. The neck on mine is finished with a high gloss varnish which is about the only negative, for me.
    I didn't look at your pics, but I am looking at my Tokai Fender and my 97 USA fender, (both configured like a 62RI) and the contoured body is identical.
    You could have a Takai that is not a 'Fender' and is their knock-off strat. Mine says fender right on the headstock and doesn't say Tokai on it anywhere.

    Hope this helps

  18. BarryWuthrich

    BarryWuthrich New Member!

    Jul 3, 2010
    Lane City, TX
    Okay, I glanced over your post too fast the first time. Fender didn't begin licensing Fugigen and Tokai till the '80s, so my previous post is moot. I will tell you what I've read in the past, which is that the Japanese knock-offs were better than the CBS era strats. When the employees bought back Fender from CBS in the early '80s, they sent the specs for a 57 strat and a 62 strat to Fugigen and Tokai and asked them to make them while they secured a new manufacturing plant in America. The results shocked the Americans as to the superior quality and the early JV and SQ (squire) serial #'s are some of the most sought after Fenders by collectors.
    Sorry for my confusion in my earlier post.
    I noticed the body of your guitar has the 3-bolt micro-tilt adjustment that my G&L Legacy has. Maybe that could be a clue worth researching.
    good luck

  19. jflintmac

    jflintmac Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 2, 2010
    The shape of the body does look way off. The lower horn too. But the one thing that stands out to me is that it looks like at some point in time, someone has put a coat of satin lacquer over the front and maybe the back. It looks like the checking is burried. Now this could be wax, i don't know but the scratches just look to have a shine on them.
    The neck looks great but the rest leaves me my suspicians.

    I hope I am wrong!

  20. fenson

    fenson ----------------------

    Jan 11, 2009