Dating Tokai Goldstars

charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
Dating Tokai Goldstar

I bought a Tokai Goldstar some time ago. The guy selling it claimed it was an 1982 – I knew this to be all wrong and guessed the guitar was built later. Anyway the price was okay and being left handed these guitars are rare (any cool old guitar is rare when you shop left handed) so I bought it right away.

The guy or some guy before him has entered this guitar into the Tokai registry as an 1982 (I find the Tokai registry to be mostly useless) and this is all wrong but there is no way to change it. I have been trying to date the guitar since. I live in Denmark and the whole headstock-theory doesn’t really apply in Europe.

The pickup-theory (E,U, VI, VII) and routing-theory applies better. However I am interested in finding a way to date these old Tokai’s across the board (at the source if you will), so it can be applied to both American, Asian and European Tokais – they all came out of the same factory so there must be a system.

Mine is a left handed ST-50 or ST-55 (I’m not sure if 3 tone burst is a special color) 50s style, all maple neck, 7,25” radius, ground soldered to shielding plate, round string tree, 8-screw single ply scratch plate, open slotted tuners, greyback V1 (Vintage mk. 1) pickups and the headstock text reads: "Quality Musical Instruments of the World". Would have loved a "Rock'n Roll Fanatics", but finding one of those left handed... oh.. Impossible

The serial number is 19825 (I guess that’s why the guy thought it was an 1982).

At some point I found this:

upload_2020-4-13_16-54-54.png

If I apply this to my Goldstar that would make it an early 85 or late 84. This fits somewhat with the V1-pickups (I think I read once that V1 was in the Goldstar from late 84 until somewhere in 86).

Then yesterday I read this article about dating Burny’s and Fernandes by looking at the pots. These old Alpha-pots has a production date (year and month).

https://japtone.com/en/chapter-xi-how-to-date-burny-guitar-ii-additional-keys/

The pots on my Goldstar can be dated to May 1984 (45), it seems likely then, that my guitar was produced late 84 or early 85. It thus fits with the serial numbers given in the article.

thumbnail


I work as a researcher and as I said I am interested in finding a way to date these old Tokais so it is possible to date American, European and Japanese examples within the same system. By looking at the serial number chart and the pots dating we might have a pretty accurate tool.

I would really like your help to test this theory (It might be all wrong – most theories are!). Does your serial number fit the pot dating? If you write please make sure to write: serial number, pot date and region (Europe, America, Asia etc.). Then I/we can hopefully see if this theory has any validity to it.
 

charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
I am trying to insert a picture (perhaps I am just too stupid to succeed at it)
e64dcae0-561c-42e6-8206-c37e33548416
 

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charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
None of the pots on my Tokaido are stamped like that. Mine are 1980 and two 1981.
Yours looks later than 84.
Interesting. I actually thought all pots had a production number stamped on the back or along the side. But there you have it.
The infatuating inconsistency of the Tokai factory and their products - it's so wierd especially when you think of how well they built their guitars and the attention to detail in them.
I guess your 80 and 81 are Springys. Maybe they used different pots or something.
Yes mine is most likely later than 84. I can see my pots are manufactured in may 84, but I have no idea how long it takes before they are put into a guitar (since Tokai most likely bought pots bulk, the time between production of pot and guitar will differ quite a bit).
 

charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
I ran into this today:
http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=21370
In this thread they speculate that the guitar is either 85 or 86.
It's serial number is 21958, the pickups are Vintage mark 1 (VI) and the pots are manufactured August 85.
In the serial number data provided by Tokai registry (see above) this guitar should be a late 85 which resonates well (like Tokai's do) with the pot manufacture date.

Now, when I should be working, I am googling pictures of Tokai Goldstar wirings and pots - what have I become!
 

Voidoid56

Strat-Talker
Mar 15, 2012
167
Göteborg, Sweden
Interesting, your guitar is among the earliest Tokai TSTs with that type of pots I've seen so far. From '85, most seem to have them. Same goes for the VI pickups, the E's and U's reigned supreme through most of '84. The previous pot type just have the Ohm number in rubber stamp on the backs.
Btw, do you have resistance values for the pickups? My first set passed through here recently, in a late 1985 TST50BB. I was expecting something like U's with another stamp, but they were a bit cooler than that, 5.7-5.8k, against 6-6,2k for most U's.
 

charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
Interesting, your guitar is among the earliest Tokai TSTs with that type of pots I've seen so far. From '85, most seem to have them. Same goes for the VI pickups, the E's and U's reigned supreme through most of '84. The previous pot type just have the Ohm number in rubber stamp on the backs.
Btw, do you have resistance values for the pickups? My first set passed through here recently, in a late 1985 TST50BB. I was expecting something like U's with another stamp, but they were a bit cooler than that, 5.7-5.8k, against 6-6,2k for most U's.
Yes well I think mine is an early 85, it seems plausible that it could take at least or more than 7 months from pot manufacture to guitar manufacture.
Sorry for the delay, I have just gotten my multimeter back and my pups (IV) reads 5,7-5,9k
 

charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
Tokai is like a gordian knot (and I love it). I was browsing through old catalogues when it stumbled upon this:
https://www.vintagejapanguitars.com.br/en/tokai-1984-catalogue-vol-1/
Look at the logo and the headstock... It just doesn't add up.
And in this catalogue, from 84, they pickups in TST50 are vintage mark II (VII)
https://www.vintagejapanguitars.com.br/en/tokai-1984-catalogue-vol-2/
And here in 85 the pickups are again mark IIs, but the headstock is back to classic look
https://www.vintagejapanguitars.com.br/en/tokai-1985-catalogue/
 

7alkai

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 8, 2023
65
USA
Older post but I had to comment since this is a weird one...

I can only see one of your pics, but I can see that the pot date is May 1984 as Voidoid56 said.

And that in spite of the 5 digit serial number in 1984, you have a rosewood fretboard.

Screen Shot 2023-01-08 at 9.42.13 AM.png
 
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7alkai

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 8, 2023
65
USA
I found another one like yours, so it is not a fluke, but it is very confusing.

Also a May 1984 pot date. 54.

The numbering system from 1982-1985 was a Fender style system based on the model.

5 digit serial number in 1984 should be a maple U neck, but yours is rosewood.

In 1989 there was a weird 5 digit system, but yours and this one has the brass ground plate that was phased out in 1987...

Also, it has an = sign stamped on the neck which was gone by 1985.

The first number is a 3 which the thinking on the TF forum means MArch, and holds up generally, but your pot dates are after the production code date... Another head scratcher. Unless parts were assembled later? I don't know.

What stamp does your neck have on it? I can't see your pictures.

Everything dates this guitar to 1984 but the serial number.

These guitars are definitely head scratchers.

And no idea why it is called a TST60L as indicated by the "60" label. Should be a 55. The YS color, 3 tone sunburst, was a standard color. You can see it stamped in the body cavity. Not sure what the added 5,000 yen cost would be?

That big "V" in the neck pocket may be a clue??

Does yours have one? I can't see your pictures.

SN 20689

https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/ngd-1984-tokai-goldstar-sound-lefty.504741/



C2DC7A86-3300-43C5-9DC9-86895F33B616-1.jpeg
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charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
Ohh, that is a nice looking guitar. I love how they retained the vintage method of creating a curve in the maple and bend the rosewood over.
I am sorry for sending you on a wild goose chase, but my guitar is an all maple U neck, the guitar visible in the pic is a Yamaha Pacifica currently occupying the Tokai-case.
I will however check my neck-bottom and pocket the next time I change strings (which will be soon - 8s cause problems for my nut), and post what I find.
I have never seen a guitar like the one above - to me it looks like two guitars put together. Both parts look genuine. I would think the body and pickups are 1985 50s style Goldstar (in the thread the original scratch-plate is refitted and it is a 50s style one-ply and eight holes), while the neck should be a 60s style (rosewood and butterfly string-tree) about the same age 83-84-85ish. But again, Tokai never imagined that their guitars would have any particular value 40 years into the future, so no records were kept, and maybe they sometimes created guitars with the parts available, who knows - a scrap-o-caster. If the guitar was put together like in the pick, it is odd, but it proves that the production time can be quite long, from March 1984 to mid 1985, and that may well be the case.
It is odd how the pickup-covers, switch-tip and knobs aged differently - the soldering and wiring-components looks original.
I wish we could see a picture of the saddles to see if they are stamped 'final prospec' or 'tokai tokai'
 

charkz_dk

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 13, 2020
16
Denmark
I found another one like yours, so it is not a fluke, but it is very confusing.

Also a May 1984 pot date. 54.

The numbering system from 1982-1985 was a Fender style system based on the model.

5 digit serial number in 1984 should be a maple U neck, but yours is rosewood.

In 1989 there was a weird 5 digit system, but yours and this one has the brass ground plate that was phased out in 1987...

Also, it has an = sign stamped on the neck which was gone by 1985.

The first number is a 3 which the thinking on the TF forum means MArch, and holds up generally, but your pot dates are after the production code date... Another head scratcher. Unless parts were assembled later? I don't know.

What stamp does your neck have on it? I can't see your pictures.

Everything dates this guitar to 1984 but the serial number.

These guitars are definitely head scratchers.

And no idea why it is called a TST60L as indicated by the "60" label. Should be a 55. The YS color, 3 tone sunburst, was a standard color. You can see it stamped in the body cavity. Not sure what the added 5,000 yen cost would be?

That big "V" in the neck pocket may be a clue??

Does yours have one? I can't see your pictures.

SN 20689

https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/ngd-1984-tokai-goldstar-sound-lefty.504741/



View attachment 617334
View attachment 617326
View attachment 617327 View attachment 617331
View attachment 617335
View attachment 617333
body 2.jpg neck 2.jpg
 

Will Lefeurve

Most Honored Senior Member
Mar 1, 2016
6,254
Angleterre et France
As you're in Europe I'd say your Goldstar is 1984/85 on as the last Springy Sounds with the BLOCK LOGO lasted throughout 1983. Your V pickups point to those years onward.

I've a Springy that I bought new in 1981 and the first two digits on the neck plate read 10, and the pickups are U's.

However, dating old Tokai's is certainly not an exact science, and I don't think the Tokai Registry's up to scratch, it seems rather haphazard to me.

@stratman323 is the man to put you on the right path. He has quite some knowledge of these guitars.. hopefully he'll drop in later.. :thumb:
 

stratman323

Dr. Stratster
Apr 21, 2010
39,735
London, UK
Dating Tokai Goldstar

I bought a Tokai Goldstar some time ago. The guy selling it claimed it was an 1982 – I knew this to be all wrong and guessed the guitar was built later. Anyway the price was okay and being left handed these guitars are rare (any cool old guitar is rare when you shop left handed) so I bought it right away.

The guy or some guy before him has entered this guitar into the Tokai registry as an 1982 (I find the Tokai registry to be mostly useless) and this is all wrong but there is no way to change it. I have been trying to date the guitar since. I live in Denmark and the whole headstock-theory doesn’t really apply in Europe.

You're quite right, the Tokai Registry is worse than useless, it's misleading. It's written from the point of view of a rich American guy who doesn't know or care that there are any other countries in the world. Some of it may be true for US market Tokais but it's not for the rest of the world & it's misled a lot of people over the decades. If would be better to remove it altogether if it can't be corrected.

I'm glad that 7alkai has joined the discussion, he has a great eye for detail.
 

stratman323

Dr. Stratster
Apr 21, 2010
39,735
London, UK
Dating Tokai Goldstar

I bought a Tokai Goldstar some time ago. The guy selling it claimed it was an 1982 – I knew this to be all wrong and guessed the guitar was built later. Anyway the price was okay and being left handed these guitars are rare (any cool old guitar is rare when you shop left handed) so I bought it right away.

The guy or some guy before him has entered this guitar into the Tokai registry as an 1982 (I find the Tokai registry to be mostly useless) and this is all wrong but there is no way to change it. I have been trying to date the guitar since. I live in Denmark and the whole headstock-theory doesn’t really apply in Europe.

The pickup-theory (E,U, VI, VII) and routing-theory applies better. However I am interested in finding a way to date these old Tokai’s across the board (at the source if you will), so it can be applied to both American, Asian and European Tokais – they all came out of the same factory so there must be a system.

Mine is a left handed ST-50 or ST-55 (I’m not sure if 3 tone burst is a special color) 50s style, all maple neck, 7,25” radius, ground soldered to shielding plate, round string tree, 8-screw single ply scratch plate, open slotted tuners, greyback V1 (Vintage mk. 1) pickups and the headstock text reads: "Quality Musical Instruments of the World". Would have loved a "Rock'n Roll Fanatics", but finding one of those left handed... oh.. Impossible

The serial number is 19825 (I guess that’s why the guy thought it was an 1982).

At some point I found this:

View attachment 394701

If I apply this to my Goldstar that would make it an early 85 or late 84. This fits somewhat with the V1-pickups (I think I read once that V1 was in the Goldstar from late 84 until somewhere in 86).

Then yesterday I read this article about dating Burny’s and Fernandes by looking at the pots. These old Alpha-pots has a production date (year and month).

https://japtone.com/en/chapter-xi-how-to-date-burny-guitar-ii-additional-keys/

The pots on my Goldstar can be dated to May 1984 (45), it seems likely then, that my guitar was produced late 84 or early 85. It thus fits with the serial numbers given in the article.

thumbnail


I work as a researcher and as I said I am interested in finding a way to date these old Tokais so it is possible to date American, European and Japanese examples within the same system. By looking at the serial number chart and the pots dating we might have a pretty accurate tool.

I would really like your help to test this theory (It might be all wrong – most theories are!). Does your serial number fit the pot dating? If you write please make sure to write: serial number, pot date and region (Europe, America, Asia etc.). Then I/we can hopefully see if this theory has any validity to it.

Oh, by the way, you cannot date a Tokai from the serial number after about 1981 or '82, once they moved the rosewood board guitars to L prefixed serial numbers. So that's all the Goldstars! Thanks for that, Tokai...
 


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