Sunday, September 11, 2011

Silver Star....A Legend Born Of Seven Years

What hasn't been written about the legendary Silver Star?  Made by Tokai beginning in 1978, Silver Star was a Fender stratocaster copy based on the CBS-era guitars made in the late 60's-70's period.  Silver Star was made exclusively for the Japanese market, however, their quality was far and away better than Fender guitars of the time. 

Tokai celebrated a number of high-profile owners, including legendary guitar god Stevie Ray Vaughn, who was prominently featured on a Tokai catalog endorsing company products in the 80's. He also owned Tokai axes, including a "Springy Sound" guitar and a "Tokai" badged guitar which sold at auction by Christie's auction house in 1984 for a cool $20,315!  Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame also wields a Tokai Love Rock on occasion.  Chris Cornell of Soundgarden plays a Tokai SG-75.  Bass guitarist Erdal Kizilcay (say that five times fast), who has played with Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Roger Waters and Tin Machine, also wails a Tokai strat from time to time.  Roger Waters has also delved into Tokai guitar territory, which tells you how good Tokai made their products during the heyday of Japanese guitar excellence.  That's quite a list!

Some Silver Stars featured a 3-bolt neck, while others had a 4-bolt.  The script writing of the badge is so close to Fender's signature that it had to have seriously pissed off Fender execs.  Earlier versions of the script were gold or black depending on the model, with the script changing to all black by 1984, the year before the end of the Silver Star lineup. 

In 1987, a Korean manufacturer called Un-Sung bought the Silver Star brand and produced guitars with the name, which is disappointing when you consider what Tokai was able to do with the badge.

Silver Star wasn't as successful sales-wise as the "Springy Sound", so it faded after 1985.  But there are literally hundreds of these guitars still around, on the market and fetching good prices.  It's clear to see that many consider these good quality guitars, some even saying they are better built and better sounding than any Fender of the time the Silver Star was made.

Silver Star.  Something to look forward to as a quality investment in guitar history.

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