Wilkinson designed Tokai's
Tokai has recently launched a new series of guitars designed by the legendary
Trev Wilkinson. Wilkinson is best known for his design of guitar hardware and
specifically the Wilkinson bridge is what comes to mind.
Wilkinson had spent the previous three years developing his own Fret-King range of guitars. These guitars
draw heavily on the influences of classic designs but all have their own identity and character. By incorporating
"Authentic vintage" construction techniques he has created a series of guitars that are truly professional quality
with the performance to match.
Why did Trev share his precious designs woth Tokai?
Trev has always been a big fan of the Tokai guitars, in fact he used an old
Loverock and ST 62 to design much of his hardware around , as, at the time
(early Eighties) he felt that these were probably more accurate than the
then current "real thing" and with nobody willing to lend him their precious
original collectables it was the best way of knowing that his designs would
fit the real deal!
So when he finally visited the Tokai factory Wilkinson was impressed with
not only their quality but the enthusiasm from the workforce for building
guitars. The following quote from Wilkinson expresses why Tokai's are loved
by guitar players: "I think that about 90% of their workers are guitar
players! This is very rare in factories around the world."
Wilkinson has adapted the FK designs with a few new twists for Tokai to build. Tokai is now producing
versions of Corona, Countrysquire and Eclat, with Esprits and Elans etc.. to follow this year.
The Coronas (Super 60 series) echo the design cues of the legendary double
horned guitars (ie Strat) , however they are quite a bit different in size being
slightly scaled down bodies with better access cutaways. Their construction
is two piece center joint Alder with Maple and Rosewood necks. There are
three models at the moment, Corona Super 60 ( 3 single coils), 60SP (P90
bridge pickup) and Super 60 HB (humbucking bridge pickup).
These are complimented by the same pickup configurations but in
"Superleggera" guise. This is Italian for "Super-lightwieght!"
These have bodies in Alder with acoustic chambers (9 in all) this means that
they are quite small in area to retain a bit of snap and sparkle in their
response but still warmer in overall tone. The Alder is complimented by a
1/4" bent Swamp ash top.
With the Country Squire range it is not hard to see the inspiration
behind this model although there are quite a few changes if you look close.
The bottom horn is slimmed down giving better high fret access and the whole
body is contoured with arm and rib cage cuts.
There is a newly designed switch plate for this model which puts the switch at
a much better angle, being far easier to use.
Again there are "Super" models, T and S and two "Superleggera" ,T and S.
Following the same pattern as the Coronas either Alder (Super) or Alder with Swamp ash
(Superleggera) and 9 acoustic chambers. "T" designates classic pickup combination while
the "S" features neck and middle full size single coils.
Which brings us to the Eclat models.
There are three in this series. Eclat I and II are one piece Mahogany necks set in to two piece center
jointed Mahogany bodies with one P90 or two P90s.
Eclat "standard" is one piece Mahogany neck, set into a one piece Mahogany
back with 5A flame top. Two solid nickel covered humbuckers with master volume,
tone and a three way rotary switch selecting different coil
combinations, giving nine totally usable sounds and easily selectable via
the three way toggle switch.
There is increased access to the upper frets by designing a body with a
slanted neck pocket and a spoon cut on the inside front of the bottom horn.
The guitar also features an arm contour scoop for increased playing comfort
on the top of the back bout as well as a ribcage contour on the back.
Headstock is a unique design with spoon cut in the front top portion
complimenting the arm contour on the body.
Not surprisingly all the guitars feature the latest Wilkinson by Gotoh
hardware which compliments the guitars and addresses some of the
problems experienced with the old original designs but without losing the
character. Also featured is a new range of Wilkinson pickups, hand wound in Japan.
Click here for page 2 which features pictures and specs for each model.