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1984 Tokai Cats Eyes TCM-50V Vintage Herringbone Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar w/ Case, Japan


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Up for sale, a 1984 Tokai Cat's Eyes TCM-50V herringbone dreadnought acoustic guitar in exceptional, 100% original condition and in perfect working order. A rare guitar virtually unseen outside the Japanese domestic market, the TCM-50V is a faithful replica of a Pre-War Martin D-28.

While the exact nature of the relationship between Martin and Tokai in this era is somewhat opaque, Tokai purportedly signed a contract with Martin in 1972 for the official use of Martin's design elements for their Japan exclusive Cats Eyes line, while also conclusively being Japan's distributor for Martin guitars in the era. Tokai's marketing for the Cats Eyes line, as well as the text on the serialized instrument labels also directly references Martin with some models stating "C.F. Martin & Co. Japanese Counterpart."

100% original and complete with the original hardshell case, the Cats Eyes models are among the finest steel string acoustic instruments to ever come out of Japan. The TCM-50V features a gloss finish, ambered spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, with a mahogany neck and solid rosewood fretboard and bridge. A guitar befitting the reputation for extremely fine Japanese fit and finish work, this Tokai Cat's Eyes dreadnought offers a warm, sweet, rich tone with a sparkling treble register and plenty of power when strummed with authority. Weighing 4lbs 3oz and professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Tokai is dialed in with comfortable action and fresh 12-53 phosphor bronze strings.

The mahogany neck has a V-shaped neck profile carve, measuring .865" deep at the 1st fret and .950" at the 9th. With 14 frets clear of the body, a 25.4" scale, 1 11/16" wide bone nut, and 2 1/8" string spacing at the bridge, this Tokai will feel right at home to the most discerning Martin fan. The original slender fretwire has its full factory height and well-rounded crowns, showing only light wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-3. The headstock features a diamond volute and rarely seen Martin inlay pattern, known as a "torch" inlay in some circles and particularly cleanly inlaid on the rosewood headstock veneer. The Kluson-style tuning machines turn smoothly and hold pitch well.

The carved rosewood bridge sits flush with the top with no lifting edges, and the original through saddle has plenty of height. Cosmetic accents include herringbone top binding and a dark tortoise pickguard. The instrument is crack-free and a strap button has been added to the neck heel. Cosmetic war is limited to just a few scattered minor nicks and light finish scratches on the body as a whole, with a spot of more concentrated wear adjacent to the endpin on the treble side lower bout.

The original black tolex hardshell case is included.