Of all the “lawsuit” guitar manufacturers of the 1970’s and 1980’s, by far the most collectible and widely-known brand is Tokai. Tokai began making electric guitars as long ago as the early 1970’s. Two reasons Tokai is the most famous of the lawsuit makers are #1: Stevie Ray Vaughan played a Springy Sound on occasion, and #2: ZZ Tops plays Love Rock Les Paul’s on stage on occasion.
Aside from their celebrity introduction to the masses in the US and abroad, the older Tokai “lawsuit” guitars have the single- most likeness to original Fender’s and Gibson’s of the 50’s and 60’s. The headstock logo of their famous “Springy Sound” Stratocaster is a splitting image of the Fender “spaghetti” logo from the 50’s and 60’s. What a great replica logo! Aside from the logo being cool, Tokai melded excellent craftsmanship with extremely smooth pickups; hot “U” series, vintage “V” series, and Dimarzio “E” series on the strats, and really smooth Dimarzio PAF replica humbuckers on the Love Rock Les Paul’s.
Tokai quality and craftsmanship isn’t in their own league above other companies as many think, it is just that Tokai’s are more widely known than the Greco’s and Burny’s. Those 3 brands share similar quality and craftsmanship, but the little details and tone are all their own. I personally like the Tokai Dimarzio PAF replica pickups on their Love Rock Les Paul’s more than any other Les Paul tone, including Gibson tone. The only other pickup that can match the tonal qualities of these pickups are the Greco rare “Dry Z” PAF replicas. Those are extremely rare to find on Greco Les Paul’s, but are just as sweet.
For more really good information about Tokai’s, I’ll leave it up to the experts at the Tokai Registry. They do a fabulous job at keeping eBay safe from fraud (concerning Tokai’s) and also offer an excellent forum where Tokai lovers can learn more and share stories. To visit the Tokai Registry, click HERE.
Or click HERE for an interesting review of the “Love Rock”