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 Date||Serial Number
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
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.
|Guitar||Serial Number||Date Info
|2001 Limited Edition||Model number - not serial number||2001 only|
|Love Rocks Custom Shop||Serial Number||2002 and maybe 2003|
|Love Rocks||Serial Number starts with letter||2003|
|Love Rocks||Serial Number starts with number first 2 digits=year||2004, maybe 2003|