Tokai began making Stratocaster clones in Japan in 1976 and they intended to make high-end Stratocaster replicas not low end copies. Tokai never intended to make EXACT copies so the guitars theselves whilst looking almost 100% like a genuine Stratocaster had their own tone and character. Tokai met the consumer demand for vintage Stratocasters before Fender themselves began to re issue their models. Tokai delivered old style Stratocaster replicas at an affordable price.
1954 Strat Replica
Most of Tokai’s 1954 Strat replicas feature ash bodies, kluson tuners, a five way selector switch for the pups (pickups) and a two tone sunburst finish. The decals looked almost indentical to Fender decals but with cleverly substituted words such as
“Tokai Springy Sound – this is the exact replica of the good old strat”.
“Tokai Goldstar Sound – the quality musical instruments of the world”
“Tokai Silver Star”
Indistinguishable from the real thing unless inspected very closely. At this point you might even like to ask yourself if notable Stratocaster users actually use genuine Fender guitars or luthier made high quality hand made gems mocked up to look like their sponsors guitars? mmmm. Find out more about Tokai and their guitars from the golden era of Japanese clones, here.
Stevie Ray Vaughan Tokai Stratocaster
One of the more notable users of the Tokai stratocaster was the late, great blues machine Stevie Ray Vaughan, reknowned for his monstrous attack and tone, SRV can be seen on the cover of his Texas Flood album with a Tokai stratocaster. BIlly Gibbons of ZZ Top has also been seen sporting a Tokai Les Paul styled replica.
Champagne Taste Lemonade Money
If you’re currently a Squire player or stratocaster clone player and looking to make a move upwards then consider a Tokai Stratocaster. In the early eighties many guitarists even said that they preferred the Tokai Stratocasters – the real tone without the real money. And, after all a Tokai stratocaster was good enough for Stevie Ray Vaughan himself.
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