1982 Tokai SR-60 OWR - Ritchie Blackmore Model
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Unlike many of the other Japanese manufacturers in the early 1980’s, Tokai didn’t do many artist specific models. When I saw this 1982 Silver Star, at first I thought someone had scalloped the fretboard of a Silver Star, but it also had the tell tale signs of a possible Ritchie Blackmore model – white body and pickguard with black knobs and pickups.
I started going through the guitar magazines of the time and sure enough I found a new product announcement for the Tokai SR-60, a Ritchie Blackmore model Stratocaster with a scalloped fretboard and high output pickups with large diameter pole pieces. It also had a picture of the guitar with the full model name ST-60 OWR, indicating Olympic white with Rosewood board. In another magazine I found a store advertising that they had the Tokai SR-60 Ritchie Blackmore model in stock.
So this is a non-catalog Tokai Ritchie Blackmore Silver Star model and exactly matches what I found in the magazines, including a 60 model sticker on the back of the neck.
This particular guitar is a real time capsule and shows few signs of play wear, including the frets which only needed a polish to clean them up. It even still has some of the plastic from the pickguard underneath the control knobs. The guitar appears to be completely original. While a scalloped fretboard is something new to me, I was intrigued to see how interesting the grain pattern of the rosewood from scalloping.
The neck and bridge pickups are high output with large diameter pole pieces, have no covers and a copper wrap, similar to what other brands were doing at the time, emulating Schecter. I haven’t found any reference to a Tokai model for these pickups. The center pickup looks like a typical Tokai pickup with a black cover, gray base plate and regular diameter pole pieces. The switch is a five-way and with the differences of the pickups positions two and four deliver a somewhat unique tone. Its unclear if Tokai did this for the tone or was a partial nod to Blackmore who didn’t use a center pickup on his Strats.
I haven’t found any prior references to this model, so this may well be the first one to be positively identified. Either way it’s a great find.
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