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1980 Tokai Springy Sound ST-80 S-Style Vintage Guitar '54-Spec w/ Lacquer Finish, Japan


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Up for sale, a 1980 Tokai Springy Sound ST-80 in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. One of the more storied vintage Japanese Strat-style guitars, the Springy Sound models were celebrated upon their introduction as a faithful, high-quality spin on the classic Fender platform, even finding their way into the hands of players like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Billy Gibbons.

Produced from 1978-83, this early Tokai is one of the highest tiered Springy Sound models offered, boasting a comprehensive feature set evoking a circa 1954 Stratocaster with a two-piece sen ash body, one piece soft V-shaped maple neck, single line Kluson-style tuners, round string tree, steel tremolo block, and a nitro lacquer two-tone Sunburst gloss finish. The ash body yields a certain authoritative quality and midrange heft, and the maple fretboard ensures glassy immediacy. The trio of gray bobbin single coil pickups have a chewy snap and sparkle, with a round-sounding neck pickup and plenty of sparkling cut in the bridge position. Weighing 7lbs 7oz, this Tokai has been professionally setup here at Mike and Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.

The maple neck has a substantial soft V-shaped profile carve, measuring .860” deep at the 1st fret and .940” at the 12th. The fretboard has a vintage-spec 7 1/4“ radius, and the stock slender fretwire is practically perfect, ostensibly benefitting from a light level and crown in the guitar's lifetime. This guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the bone nut measures 1.650” (42mm) in width. The headstock sports the original Tokai waterslide decal (the “Springy Sound” text is no longer present), and the single line Kluson-style Tokai-branded tuning machines turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should. The 0-prefix serial is stamped on the four-bolt neck plate, dating this guitar to 1980.

All of the electronics function as intended, with a standard Strat Volume/Tone/Tone control configuration and a five-way pickup selector switch. The original full-size Japanese pots are present, and the gray pickup bobbins retain the “E” stamps. Plastics comprise the replacement one-ply pickguard, original pickup covers, and the original uniformly aged trio of knobs (the original pickguard is also included). Hardware includes the vibrato which has individually Tokai-stamped saddles and a vintage-spec steel block, engaging smoothly and complete with the original arm.

The gloss two-tone Sunburst nitro lacquer finish highlights the dynamic grain of the sen ash body; the lacquer finish is lightly sprayed, and the grain can be faintly felt through the gloss. Cosmetic wear is limited to a handful of minor scratches and dings on the body as a whole, largely relegated to the lower bout perimeter, and one small nick on the top behind the bridge. The smooth gloss finish on the neck profile is flawless.

A gigbag is included, along with the original pickguard.