Documenting Tokai’s 1966 Strat Model – 1982 Silver Star SS-60
Updated: Oct 28
Tokai’s catalog Silver Star (SS) models were introduced to compete with contemporary Fender Strat’s, basically a very high quality copy of a 1976 Strat including large headstock and three bolt adjustable neck. But for just one year there was a lone Silver Star model that was a highly accurate copy of a 1966 Strat, the 1982 SS-60. While the SS-60 appears in catalogs before and after 1982. It is only in the 1982 catalog that shows it as a copy of a 1966 Strat (Side note: I’ve only recently been able to get a hard copy of the 1983 Tokai catalog to confirm it went back to a ’76 Strat in ’83. The 1983 catalog isn’t anywhere online to my knowledge).
Here's the 1966 version of the SS-60:
As you’ll see, Tokai went to great lengths to make an accurate copy of a ’66 Strat. Below documents the differences between this unique ’66 model and the regular ’76 version.
Starting with the headstock, you can see that while both have a large-headstock, the ’66 version doesn’t doesn’t have the serial number on the headstock like the ’76 models.
The Tokai logo and ‘SILVER STAR’ text follow the Tokai’s vintage Springy Sound (ST) models, including gold filled spaghetti logo, ‘Custom Computed Body’ and ‘The quality instruments of the world’ sub text.
Additionally, you can see the bullet truss rod is not present, as the truss rod adjustment is moved to vintage correct, base of the neck.
Looking at the back of the headstock, we can see that while the ’66 model uses vintage Kluson style tuners. ABove you can also see these are the Fender style with a split post.
The typical SS models used either enclosed Fender style or Schaller style tuners.
We can also see the absence of a skunk stripe on the ’66 model.
Looking at the neck plate we can see the ’66 is a vintage four bolt with serial number on it, whereas the ’76 version is three bolt with tilt adjustment. Note that that the serial number on this SS-60 dates it to 1981, but is a model year 1982 based upon the catalogs.
Both the ’66 and ’76 SS models have eleven screw multi-ply pickguards. However, the ’66 model is unique in that it has a relief for adjusting the truss rod at the base of the neck as a ’66 Strat would have.
Looking under the pickguard, we can see that the ’66 model uses Tokai’s vintage ST body route, rather then the SS body route. Notice the relief for the pickup mounting screws on the ’66 model.
Lastly, if we look at the electronics, this model uses ‘U’ stamped ST Vintage Mk II pickups, which as the name implies are a vintage voiced pickup used on Tokai’s ST models and not on SS models other than the unique ’66 version.
So again, the 1966 version of the Tokai SS-60 Silver Star was only offered for a single year, making it a very rare Silver Star model and easily overlooked in the 1982 catalog.