The Tokai Guitar Information Source

 

Tokai Gibson Copy Information

Tokai - Gibson Replica Date Information

Tokai copies of the Gibson guitars (Japanese manufacture) typically have seven-digit serial numbers ("SN") impressed into the back of the headstock. These numbers correspond directly to the year of manufacture (see below for Korean models). The only known exception is that the numbers are sometimes found stamped in black ink (ie NOT impressed into the wood). These inked numbers have been the subject of ongoing debate, however, it now appears they are mainly from 1980 & 1981. Inked numbers are discussed separately below the main list. Note also that Tokai's numbering system results in a confusing duplication for numbers from 1980 & 2000; again this is described separately below.

Impressed 7-digit Serial Numbers's Japanese Tokai's

Manufacturing DateSerial Number
1977700xxxx
1978800xxxx
1979900xxxx
198000xxxxx
198110xxxxx
198220xxxxx
198330xxxxx
198440xxxxx
198550xxxxx
198660xxxxx
198770xxxxx
198880xxxxx
198989xxxxx
199090xxxxx
199191xxxxx
199292xxxxx
199393xxxxx
199494xxxxx
199595xxxxx
199696xxxxx
199797xxxxx
199898xxxxx
199999xxxxx
200000xxxxx
200101xxxxx
200202xxxxx
200303xxxxx
200404xxxxx
200505xxxxx

I you look closely at this list you will see that Tokais numbering system raises potential problems each time there's a change of decade. In particular, SN=00xxxxx (ie beginning with two zeros) may indicate either 1980 or 2000. So far the only way to distinguish these guitars is either from their fittings, or from general signs of ageing. A similar confusion also arises with "Inked Numbers" for dates 1980-1981 vs. 2000-2001, see below.

Inked Serial Numbers

Over the years quite a few have turned up with the SN simply stamped in black ink (ie NOT impressed). So far all the inked numbers seem to begin 01, 10, or 11, ie the very years for which the confusion exists (see table & comments above). Until recently it was thought these inked numbers were all from guitars made in the late 1990's or 2000's, and possibly made outside the main Tokai factory (maybe in Korea). However, recently several of these guitars have been discovered with what appear to be early original features (eg double ring tuners & "Reborn" decal), and it now seems likely these are Japanese made Tokais dating from 1980-81.

Korean Serial Numbers's

Current Made In Korea (MIK) models have serial numbers that start with a letter (A, B, C, etc) but a date scheme has yet to be determined. Certain models have serial numbers as seen in the table below.
GuitarSerial NumberDate Info
2001 Limited EditionModel number - not serial number2001 only
Love Rocks Custom ShopSerial Number2002 and maybe 2003
Love RocksSerial Number starts with letter2003
Love RocksSerial Number starts with number first 2 digits=year2004, maybe 2003

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