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Tokai TSG 60 CH


Homage to the Gibson SG Standard

The Gibson Solid Body (SG) was introduced at the 1961 NAMM show as a replacement for the classic single cutaway Les Paul (LP) design. For its first two years of production, however, it was referred to as the "Les Paul" and it only took on the SG name from 1963. LP sales were in decline towards the late '50s, and the company wanted to give the model a full makeover and turn it into something more aggressive and resonant with modern players of the time. This was the aim behind the SG's characteristic slimmer and lighter body, bevelled edges, double cutaway allowing access to the highest frets, and pair of sharp horns that gave it a distinctive and edgy look. 


1961 Gibson Catalogue

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In the 1960s, Gibson offered a few different types of SG guitars - most notably, the SG Standard, the SG Special, the SG Junior, and the SG Custom.

  1. SG Standard: This was the template model for the SG series, and was designed to replace the Les Paul Standard. It featured a solid mahogany body and neck, two humbucking pickups, and a bound rosewood fingerboard. 

  2. SG Special: The SG Special was a more affordable option for players who wanted the classic SG look and feel, but without the high price tag. It featured a solid mahogany body and two P-90 pickup.

  3. SG Junior: The SG Junior was a more stripped-down version of the SG, designed for budget-conscious players. It had a smaller, solid mahogany body and a single P-90 pickup. 

  4. SG Custom: The SG Custom was the highest-end version of the SG, designed for professional players. It featured a solid mahogany body and neck, bound fingerboard and headstock, gold hardware, and multi-ply binding. 

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1966 Gibson Catalogue

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Initially, there weren’t many famous guitarists that used the SG. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the exception. But eventually, it passed through the hands of legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Angus Young, among many others.


Sister Rosetta Tharpe

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1966 Gibson Catalogue

Pic Credit: Gibson Brands México (Pintrest)

Angus Young of AC/DC

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The Tokai "TSG Refine Model"

Two Models...Seems like it was made all the way till 1989 catalogue?


1984 Tokai Catalogue

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This article focuses on a guitar I recently acquired - the Tokai TSG 60I love doing research on these vintage instruments, and so here is a synthesis of information from all the catalogues and websites I could access...


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c. 1985 German Catalogue

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The serial number on my guitar dates to 1982 production, when the company published a teaser announcing the soon-to-be-launched V shape. But the first catalogue to feature a series of guitars in this shape was in 1983. Interestingly, that catalogue does not have an "80" model, but my guitar's features match the top-of-the-line "60" model in that catalogue. This might imply that my guitar was an export model and hence the number was adjusted to match pricing in the export market (since the numbers of these models typically correlated with the price). Another reason I am sure it is a '82 production is that the headstock logo is what is known as the "fat script" or "export" logo and was used between 1982-84, based on this very interesting thread on (link).


This is tricky! The one thing I know for certain is that my guitar is the top-of-the-line variant in the series because it comes with the flame maple top finish. But what did it cost? The second highest model (FV 55) in a US 1983 catalogue was priced at $475. Considering this, we might estimate that the top FV 60 model was priced at around $520. This was about the cost of the absolute top-end Tokai Strat ST-120 just a year before it. 


To understand the origin of the star-shaped guitar, we must go all the way back to 1957-58 when Gibson introduced three futuristic-looking guitars -  The Explorer, Flying V, and Moderne. A prototype of the "V" was presented at the NAMM show in 1957, and the model made its way into the 1958 catalogue where it was priced at par with the Gold Top Les Paul. Notice the "Cadillac" tailpiece and Korina (Limba) wood natural finish of the first model. These details, along with some others, changed over the subsequent decade. 

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1958 Gibson Catalogue

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Initially, the modern guitars were a failure in terms of sales - the V only sold about 100 over the first few years of its introduction. Then, in the 60s some popular players like Albert King and Jimi Hendrix were seen with the Flying V. The model was reintroduced in the late ‘60s as seen in the 1966 catalogue.
Since then, a bunch of players have at some point experimented with the V or made it their main guitar, including Tom Petty, Brian May of Queen, James Hetfield of Metallica, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and many more.


1966 Gibson Catalogue

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Over the subsequent decades, the Flying V firmly established itself as an iconic design in the Rock 'n' Roll scene. This led companies like Tokai in the 1980s to make replicas or designs inspired by it, including Ibanez, Charvel-Jackson, and ESP, among others. 


1981 Ibanez Catalogue

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1983 Charvel-Jackson Catalogue

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The 1984 catalogue explains the the SG 60 was made of mahogany, true to the original Gibson. The guitar is 10 kg or 20 lbs.



1984 Tokai Catalogue

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The TSG 60 has the Tune-o-matic style bridge by the stopper tailpiece, correct to the 1963 Gibson SG that it is playing homage to. Unlike harmonica style bridge on 50

Headstock & Tuners

Deluxe vintage tuners with ___ tuning pegs....

Flower pot inlay, just like OG.


Neck & Fretboard


The neck is made of mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard. The fretboard has white "celluloid" binding that has aged into a lovely ivory colour. The binding goes over the fret nibs, which provides for exceptional aesthetics and playing comfort, and is a rather laborious and difficult job for the craftsman. It has a beautiful 60s shaped neck profile, with a 25 1/2 inch scale, with 22 frets. Also, it is a set neck, not a bolt on - true to the original. And the neck joins he body at around the 20th fret just like the 1963 Type 1 SG that it is paying homage to (unlike joint at 18 fret like 50).

_______ the fretboard has a 12" radius. 

Crown inlay starting at the 3rd fret (not block inlay starting at 1st fret like on the SG50), just like the OG Standard it is paying homage to.



The truss rod is the Allen key style, unlike the Philips style rod ends used on some Tokai strats at the time. The rod is adjusted from the bottom of the fretboard, as expected. 



Two colours were available - Olympic White (OW) and Cherry (CH). Mine is the latter,  and has maintained its vibrancy even after 40 years! The finish is poly? Catalogues later int he 80s show the colour options as WR, BB, and OW.



I have to say, the pickups are really incredible! My guitar has the higher end '57 PAF Vintage' humbucker pickups, as advertised in the 1984 catalog (while the 50 has Vintage MKII). However, it seems that these were switched to the lower 'Vintage MKII' from the 1987 catalogue onwards. 

 My tests showed that the neck and bridge pickups present __ ohms when using the single pick-up sound option. This is substantially hotter than my vintage Tokai Strats. Though I must say, the single pickup option does sound surprisingly close to my strat pickups (albeit hotter). In the regular humbucking option, the neck presents __ ohms and the bridge presents __ ohms. Yup, seriously hot! The neck is warm and easily pushes my small tube amp into a warm overdrive, while the bridge is articulate and crunchy!


1983 Tokai Catalogue

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1984 Tokai Catalogue

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The 1984 catalogue claims that these electronics also came with options for coil tapping, a 5-position toggle switch with phase-out half-tone options, and a booster switch to create an overdrive sound with the help of a battery. I could not find any of these settings on my guitar. They must have been available on customer request only?  

Finally, the 1983 catalog claimed that the "double shielded electrical control cavity keeps it quiet", and "hand-wound humbucking with 5 leads for custom wiring versatility".

Control Knobs & Switch


A toggle switch with three positions allows you to choose betwen neck, bridge, and both pickups. There are two volume and to tone knobs. The tone knob has a push/pull feature. When pulled up the "dual sound" function is activated and the pickups sound like single coils - their outputs are reduced to around half of what they are when in the pushed down position where the pickups work like typical humbuckers. 



The nut looks and feels like the typical strat-style Tokai bone nut, except it is followed by a locking system and string tree that spans across all strings.



My Tokai came with this beautiful original gig bag that perfectly fits the unique shape of the guitar! It has held up remarkably well over the years!



  1. Tokai catalogues (link)

  2. Tokai catalogues (link)

  3. vintage Tokai catalogues (link)

  4. Fender catalogues (link)

  5. thread on vintage Tokais older than 1985 (link)

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