1981 Tokai ES-100R



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In 1981 Tokai introduced a new ES line of semi hollow body models built to be as close to the original ES-335’s as they were able to. To accomplish this, Tokai closely studied original ES-335’s made from 1959 to 1964, characterizing their research as ‘exhaustive’. This SA 100 is the result of their hard work and attention to detail.

The body is perhaps the most critical part of a semi-acoustic guitar and here Tokai followed the earliest models with three ply laminate top, body and sides. The top and back using maple in all three plies, and the sides maple and mahogany. The center block, the very heart of a semi acoustic, follows the originals using a solid maple block sandwiched between pieces of kerfed spruce which attach to the top and bottom, and running the full length of the guitar. The bridge and tail piece mount directly into the maple block to deliver sustain like a solid body. The pickup guard is a five ply long style, the same as would be found on a 1959 ES-335.

Following the originals, the neck is one piece mahogany with a rosewood fretboard, fret edge binding and mother of pearl dots located in the exact same locations as the originals. Per Tokai, the neck profile ‘remains absolutely faithful to the production cut on guitars made in ’59 and ‘60’.

Since this is a high grade Tokai model, and true to the originals, the guitar is finished in a beautiful transparent red lacquer. Bridge and tail piece are original, bridge featuring brass saddles and tail piece made of aluminum. All hardware is nickel finish.

The 1981 ES 100 came in Rock and Jazz versions, the difference being the pickups installed. This guitar is a rock version as it has it's original 'S' stamped Goto PAF's. I really like these early Gotoh PAF's, especially in semi acoustics, they sound great. These early ES models also came with orange drop style PIO caps and shielding foil on the underside of the top.

If you like the idea of a vintage guitar that is true to an original ’59 335 and built to the highest standards, this almost forty year old Tokai delivers in spades. These guitars are quite rare, with the ES models disappearing completely from the Tokai catalogs between 1985 and 1986.

This guitar is in excellent overall condition given its age, with some minor scratches and dings one would expect in a vintage guitar. The entire guitar has aged absolutely beautifully. While hard to tell in the photos the red lacquer has a faded look to it highly sought by collectors of the originals. This guitar has all the look and beauty of a vintage guitar. Other than the pots, this guitar is completely original which is incredibly rare on these early Tokai ES models. Given its condition and originality, it is a very rare find.

The guitar has been fully set up, frets are freshly polished, neck was adjusted for relief, intonation dialed in and the action is set low. There is no buzzing or dead spots anywhere on the neck. The guitar plays and sounds fantastic, with a true to the original neck profile that is a pleasure to play. A non-original hard case will be included with the guitar. I can provide a brand new case for +$75 and I do have a couple of original Tokai cases at additional cost if you want to really make this a star of your collection.

This is one of the most accurate and highest quality copies of a '59 335 done, from one of the top Japanese manufacturers at the peak of their game. Best of all, the past 39 years have aged it beautifully, so has all the right vintage mojo. This guitar will meet the demands of both the professional musician and serious collector.

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