It is interesting to see bluesman Philip Sayce name-checking the quality of old Tokai guitars (page 2 of this exhaustive interview on MusicRadar.com or hard copy in Guitarist magazine). When they first appeared in the late 1970s and early 1980s, these Japanese replicas attracted some big fans like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billy Gibbons and Jeff Walsh but you don’t see them mentioned widely these days, despite their very loyal fan-base.
I’ve been a fan for many years and a couple of years ago, I wrote an article for Guitar & Bass magazine which gave on overview of Tokai and their “Springy Sound” Stratocaster models. I have a couple from the early 1980s and they are easily the best guitars I have ever played. The ST80 (the Sunburst replica of a 1957 Fender Strat here) is just a phenomenal guitar with a great bark and growl on the bridge/mid setting and a marvellously tight-but-loose feel. The ST60 (the red 1963-ish Strat here) is warm and mellow and “real”.