1984 Tokai Super Edition
The Tokai Super Edition is a take on the classic Fender Strat guitar, released in 1984 this guitar is a recreation of Eddie Van Halen’s “Bumblebee” guitar, featuring an ash body, one humbucker, volume control and ‘Bumblebee’ finish.
This Tokai ‘Strat-style’ guitar is in fine fettle for 33 year old rocker! Inspired by the rock icon, Eddie Van Halen’s own build “bumble bee” Charvel guitar. Classic simplicity; one humbucker, one volume (volume is tone as Eddie said), divebomb-ready trem.
Guitar features: Serial L20835 / sen ash body / one piece maple neck / rosewood fingerboard with MOP dots / ACT/3 Floyd-Rose style (possibly licensed) tremolo / original one volume control and jack socket / original tuners / original exposed humbucker pickup
Tokai started making Fender replica guitars in between 1977 and 1983. The Japanese factory would take apart the original Fender guitars from the 50’s and 60’s, take measurements and recreate their own versions. During this period, the American companies were struggling, so they were cutting production costs and quality was reduced. The quality of Tokai guitars were becoming known as better than the American originals and a number of famous players, including Stevie Ray Vaughn and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top were playing them on tour. This was the “law suit” era, though Fender never sued Tokai. Instead, they made a deal for Tokai to produce Fender guitars in Japan and be sold in the US. These MIJ Fenders of the period are now collectible as much as the American Fender guitars.
Details of specific models, particularly limited edition guitars weren’t well documented, so the information of this Super Edition “Bumble bee” guitar is collected from multiple sources to try and give the best description and history of the guitar. Obviously, the inspiration for this Tokai Super Edition was Eddie Van Halen and perhaps timed for the release of Van Halen’s 1984 album. Eddie’s black and yellow “bumble bee” guitar was featured on the back of the Van Halen II album artwork. Quite a rare model, due to limited numbers of production of the factory paintwork.
So, what are the issues? Other than a few of paint indentations (biggest one in detail photographs on underside of lower horn), it’s a very solid guitar – fit and feel of the guitar is excellent, as expected from Tokai. The frets are clean and have a decent life left in them, as it plays cleanly. Action is low and neck feels fast and silky. The fingerboard is very clean and smooth and a lovely colour. The maple neck has some nice textured wood grain and a nice golden colour. There are a number of small surface indentations to the lacquer, which you can feel with your finger tips, more than being visible. Like all guitars, it would probably benefit a set-up to suit your playing style. There’s a couple of screws missing from the tremolo back plate. The pickup plastic surround is cracked in one corner and screws are a bit rusted. And you get vintage dust in the tremolo, free of charge!
Guitar comes with a padded gig bag.