Friday, 3 May 2013

Could this Tokai MIJ doublecut electric possibly be a Black Widow?

This guitar, supposedly a Tokai doublecut, made in Japan, is currently listed on eBay by the dreaded music-outlet-shop of Cologne. As usual, this seller gives zero information and only one very small photo of a guitar which it is asking quite a large amount of money for.

I suspect that this may be one of the guitars that Tokai made for Acoustic Corporation / Bartell as it looks remarkably like the Paul Bartell designed Black Widow guitars, although perhaps the pickups have been swapped out for something a little more generic. The two-tone sunburst is unusual for a Black Widow which usually were only available finished in black (...if Henry Ford had made guitars!).

If anyone knows any more about this model, please leave a comment below.

This guitar is currently listed on eBay priced at $990.

See also: The Acoustic Black Widow Fan Page

G L Wilson

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  1. not enough information; german carve? pickups?woods? length ?etc... but usually Tokai made really great guitars so why not?

    1. Definitely not enough information... frustrating, isn't it? How music-outlet-shop expect anyone to fork out that kind of sum on zero information is a complete mystery.

  2. There are a few professional sellers on Ebay like this. The American guy who photographs everything on a black background with very little light come to mind. Also there's a british guy who sells bits and pieces for ludicrous amounts and his prices are in dollars (no prizes for guessing who he's aiming for). He also has an annoying tactic of putting "1 Buy It Now = 1 bridge" (or whatever he's selling). Yeah OK. I do understand the basic concept of ebay, Thank you. He had a Vox bridge with a broken saddle for about £150 for at least two years (maybe more). What a wind up! How come it's these irritating irks that are always the ones asking stupid money for junk?

  3. I have a Black Widow. Not in great shape. However, this has the knobs, tailpiece, appears to have the headstock shape, p/u switch isc in the right place ... Bridge looks different and the BW had single coils, sort of dearmond or Rick looking, awful, I junked mine.

    The carve looks different but that could be an illusion. A two octave neck is another giveaway.

    1. But which Black Widow do you have? Some were made in Japan, and some were made in the USA by Mosrite for a period.

      I guess it's feasible that this could have been made alongside the Japanese Black Widows but with different branding. We have so little to go on with this eBay listing. All I was able to do was to compare photographs, but some more detailed pictures would have been preferable.

  4. I have the Mosrite version, which I consider the "original." It is a dead ringer for a Mosrite which I failed to photograph at a store in Ithaca NY a few years back

  5. I found this web page:
    It appears to be the same instrument as featured above, and has a picture of the back as well as the front. A similar instrument but in a natural wood finish is on the same site:
    Judging by that one (which seems to be all original) it looks like the sunburst one here has only had the bridge changed. Going by the info on that website it looks like this is a Tokai copy of the Acoustic Black Widow, but I don't know what the Tokai model is actually called as it just says Tokai on the headstock with no other signs of a name or number anywhere.

    I also found this:
    3 decent pics and a bit of info about construction (basically it's nearly all plywood including the neck).
    Hope this is helpful/interesting to someone.

    1. "It is made almost entirely of laminated wood including the neck. The result is a pretty damn heavy instrument. It needs some tweaking because I had to fashion a new truss rod nut that doesn't work all that smoothly and the neck is kinda flexy.

      One quirk is a neck with very little taper. The strings are pretty close together at the bridge. Another is the most excellent neck tilt adjustment screw between the bridge and the lead pickup. With a slight turn it will change the angle of the neck for super low action. If it had a nice once-over on the frets, it would play even lower and cleaner I'd bet."


      Thanks for that Martin. Very interesting.

  6. This one (or at least the same photo, from the same seller) has been turning up if you do a "Tokai" search on ebay for, I'd say, well over a year. I can't say if it's been taken down occasionally during that time, but it's an old stalwarth. The seller is mysterious to say the least, they've had several interesting-looking instruments (at least for us MIJ nuts) on sale, but there is no way I'm buying from anyone that's so clueless as to what type of info is needed to make a deal/no deal decision. Plus their typography gives me a headache. Act German, be thorough, dammit!:-)

    1. Believe me, that seller is notorious for their TOO HIGH prices.

  7. Found another old friend on their page, a black "1983 Tokai Love Rock" LP copy. It's been around for about a slong as the double-cut. The price would be a steal for an LS-120 and highway robbery for an LS-50. Do I feel like asking? Somehow, I guess they would have told me upfront if they had a clue. Alternatively: they know it's an LS-50, they're just patiently waiting for the right sucker to come along. It's a GASmans jungle out there. :-)

    Hans A/Sweden (That's me above as well, forgot to sign it, sorry)



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