Tokai Gakki Company, Ltd. (東海楽器製造株式会社 Tōkai Gakki Seizō Kabushiki-gaisha), often referred to as Tokai Guitars, is a Japanese guitar manufacturer situated in Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka prefecture. Tokai is one of Japan’s leading makers of acoustic guitars, electric guitars, electric basses, autoharps, melodicas and guitar amplifiers. In the past, Tokai also made pianos.
Tokai was founded in 1947 by Tadayouki Adachi and remains family-owned.
Tokai started making classical guitars in 1965. It made its first electric guitar in 1968 with the Humming Bird, a guitar loosely based on the Mosrite Mark I and II. This was followed in 1970 with the Humming Bird Custom acoustic guitar (not to be confused with the Hummingbird guitar model produced by Gibson).
From 1970 to 1973, Tokai produced the Conn line of acoustic guitars under contract with C.G. Conn (History of Conn Guitars and Conn Acoustic Guitars). In 1972, Tokai entered into a joint-venture with C. F. Martin & Company to supply acoustic guitar parts and also to build Martin's Sigma electric guitars. In 1975, it launched its own Cat's Eyes line of acoustic guitars, which were replicas of C.F. Martin guitars.
Between 1977 and 1978, Tokai began making various Fender and Gibson replica electric guitars and basses. These models are generically known as "lawsuit guitars". Tokai's replica of the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, named the "Les Paul Reborn" model, started in 1978. By 1980, the name was changed to "Reborn Old" and later to its current name, "Love Rock". The name change was in response to threats from American guitar companies to go to court to protect their copyrights. Tokai also made Fender replicas, the “Springy Sound” (ST series, Fender Stratocaster replica) and the “Breezy Sound” (TE series, Fender Telecaster replica). Stevie Ray Vaughan played a "Tokai Springy Sound" at one time. This guitar was fitted with lipstick pickups and can be seen on the cover of his second studio album Couldn't Stand the Weather. By the late 1970s, replicas of Fender guitars, such as the ".38 Special" guitar and the "Hard Puncher" bass (replica of the Fender Precision Bass), began to be sold in Japan and Europe.
In 1983, Tokai introduced an aluminum-body guitar called the Talbo (Tokai Aluminum Body) which the band Devo played at one time.
Tokai has its own instrument making factory and have built guitars for well-known brands under contract (OEM). Tokai and Dyna Gakki produced the Fender Japan solid-body models from 1997 until the end of the Fender Japan joint-venture in 2015.