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Strat identification

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by micoconnell, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    I'm new to this forum so you will have to excuse me if this is not the right place for my question.

    I'm trying to find out the history of my stratocaster and I am hitting dead ends everywhere I try to find answers.

    On the plate behind the base of the neck it has the serial number L13178. I believe this references to an American made 1963. I had the neck taken off recently and their was no date but it had the marking '9=3' and a small blue pen marking in the corner '24'. I have absolutely no idea what these marks mean. I have also taken off the scratch plate and under the pickup it has the label '9=3 YSOY'. If anyone could give me some guidance it would be greatly appreciated. I am thinking it's a japanese copy but I'm not sure. I'll attach a few photos

    20170102_134901.jpg . 20170103_000142.jpg 20170102_234600.jpg 20170103_194712.jpg 20170103_194726.jpg
     
    Percy likes this.

  2. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
    London
    Hi and welcome
    May I ask when/where you got this strat from?
     

  3. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    I bought the guitar off a friend 10ish years ago. I was told that it was a japanese copy from the 60's but I don't think he was sure about this info.
     

  4. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    I got it in Sydney australia
     

  5. Pulsar

    Pulsar Strat-Talker

    458
    Feb 6, 2016
    Savannah
    That's mighty pristine lookin'...
     

  6. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    Yeah it is a fantastic guitar
     

  7. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Ah - this is an easy one! It's a Tokai with a Fender decal applied to it. YSO is the colour code for sunburst. The L serial number & the thin cap board are correct for a Tokai that's a copy of a 1964 Strat. Probably a Goldstar from the 1984/5/6 period. Shame about the decal - it's not even a period correct Fender decal from 1964. Far too many Tokais were butchered back in the 80s as they were only "cheap Strat copies" (as people then thought) so be grateful that yours only suffered a decal change, many suffered far worse fates than that!

    Congratulations, they are excellent guitars, I have one or two of them myself. This article may be of interest.

    http://www.tokairegistry.com/tokai-info/Andrew Munro Article-July2008.pdf

    Take some pics of the underneath of the scratchplate & I'll let you know if the pickups & electronics are original. Is the switch a sort of cross between a 5 way & a 3 way? 5 positions but the 2 & 4 positions are a little less positive than the other 3?
     
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  8. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    Thanks for the detailed response. Ill pull the scratch plate off tomorrow and send through some pics.
     
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  9. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    It's a strange Fender decal to choose, isn't it?

    [​IMG]

    If the owner was trying to make it look like a real '64 Strat he could have used either a spaghetti decal or the transition decal, both would be correct for a '64. But he's chosen a strange modern looking decal. Is it one of the Fender Mexico logos?

    I'm not sure I see the point - from a few feet away the original Tokai decals look like they say Fender!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Unless it was a 1983 Springy or Goldstar - the block decal on those wasn't very attractive.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Also, what is stamped into the bridge saddles & tuners?
     

  11. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    51
    May 7, 2014
    UK
    Maybe the owner can get a Tokai logo to put back on there. Maybe write to Tokai and ask for a replacement, just a thought. :)
     

  12. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    I pulled the bridge apart and nothing was stamped on it. Would this mean it has been replaced at some point?

    The tuners have 'DELUXE' stamped into them. Ill attach some photos. 20170104_132051.jpg 20170104_132042.jpg 20170104_132005.jpg 20170104_131940.jpg 20170104_130437.jpg
     

  13. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    A couple of parts have been switched out a few years ago but I kept them. The switch (that isn't in the guitar anymore) is as you say...a five way with the 2nd and 4th less positive. Ill send more photos. 20170104_133308.jpg 20170104_133343.jpg 20170104_133552.jpg 20170104_133602.jpg 20170104_133619.jpg 20170104_133627.jpg 20170104_133657.jpg
     

  14. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    I'll send a close up of the decal. It looks like it has been cut out with scissors and stuck on.
     

  15. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    20170104_130413.jpg 20170104_114803.jpg
     
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  16. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    I will definitely ask for a sticker if it's possible once I know what exact model it is. Thanks for the idea
     
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  17. micoconnell

    micoconnell Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    31
    14
    Jan 3, 2017
    AU
    It's surprising how similar the decals look when they are side by side.
    It looks like you have quite the collection
     
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  18. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    No not the bridge block - the bridge saddles. Each should have lettering on them.

    DELUXE is good on the tuners - they should be original. Which isn't surprising, few people bothered to replace the tuners as they are as good as what Fender used. Probably came from the same factory....

    Pickups are Us, which is good as they are original. They're my personal favourite of all the Tokai pickups. The controls seem to be mounted on that neat & unique little brass plate which provides grounding points without the need to solder wires to the backs of the pots. Pots seem to be Alpha 250As.

    The original switches are great - my favourite Strat switches ever. Do you know why it was changed? Knobs have discoloured while pickup covers have not - again, typical for Tokais from the 1980s.

    So from what I can see, it looks all original. The only unwise thing that the earlier owner did was fit that horrible decal. Can you see any shading underneath to indicate which of the three decals I showed above was in place? If not, it's guesswork.

    With U pickups, it could be a late Springy, a 1983 block decal Springy or Goldstar, or an early (1984?) script decal Goldstar. I think that the Springys started to get the L serial numbers in 1981, so probably from 1981 to 1984.

    It's hard to be sure about which model, but the body looks like alder, & unless it is definitely a centre joined two piece body (indicating an ST60) it's probably an ST50 - by far the most common model.

    Congratulations, it's pretty much all intact & original. And as you already know, these are great guitars.

    :cool:
     

  19. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    Well they had to change from the original Springy decal due to "pressure" from Fender, even if there wasn't actually a "lawsuit". They were probably tempting fate a bit much with this!

    [​IMG]

    That's well known. What many people don't seem to have realised is how similar the Goldstar script decal is to the transitional decal Fender used from around 1964 to 1967. It's only when you see them side by side (as in the pic above) that the similarity becomes clear. Just different enough to keep Fender off their corporate backs. You got to love Tokai's audacity! Well I do anyway.

    I still have the Tokais, but the Fender Custom Shop '65 that provided the decal pic didn't stay long.
     

  20. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    I don't think that Tokai will be a lot of help, though you might be able to find one somewhere on the internet. I know that the list owner of Strat Talk won't tolerate discussions about fake Fender decals, but I'm not sure where he stands on the issue of fake Tokai decals!

    The difficulty is deciding which Tokai decal to use - it could have had any of the three decals pictured above, which is why the owner needs to look carefully to see if there is any hint of shadowing from the original decal. There usually is - but not always.

    My guess is that it might have been a 1983 with the block decal, simply because these were the decals most often replaced as the originals were so ugly. But you probably wouldn't want to use one of those even if you could find one. It's more likely to be a Goldstar simply because they made a lot more script decal Goldstars in 1984 than they did Springys in 1982. And those Springy decals are so cool that few people were unwise enough to remove them. But it could be a late Springy, & it would be tempting to choose that decal. It would certainly be an improvement on that horrible Fender decal.

    I have the same problem with a Tokai Breezysound (Tele) I bought directly from Japan a few years ago. The previous owner tried to make it look like a Fender, even though Fender never made a Tele that looked anything like this. At least he chose an appropriate Fender decal, & it's a professional job.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After some research it appears that it's either a 1982 TE120 (top of the range model) or maybe a 1985 TE80. So one would have a script decal & the other would have the later decal, & there is no sign of which it had. I replaced the Fender bridge with a period correct Tokai bridge, but I decided to leave the Fender decal as it is. At least for now.
     
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