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I have been collecting Japanese vintage guitars for just over decade now and I must say these Tokai made Cat’s Eyes dreadnought acoustics slipped under the radar. I’m not all together sure about their history so maybe someone here can help out but it seems that Tokai had some relationship with Martin to make replicas for the Japanese market. I have no idea why Martin would agree to do this but there was definitely some agreement between them from the Mid 1970s to early 80s.
I recently picked up a used CE 600 for 28,000 yen at a local shop. (CE stands for Cats Eyes and the number refers to the price so this was originally sold for 60,000 yen.) The serial numbers are easy to read with the last 2 digits referring to the year so this one was made in 1975. It has a spruce solid top, Rosewood back and sides and Mahogany neck. The back of the headstock has the diamond indent familiar to Martin. The rosewood fretboard has a lovely dark grain. The tuners are Grover.
The label inside reads as follows:
“This guitar Cat’s Eyes is a masterpiece in folk guitar elaborately manufactured by handicraftsman aiming at a revival of the old Martin guitars."
This is my first post so I will try to refrain from unnecessary hyperbole but I will only say these guitars give you serious bang for your buck. It plays fantastic, holds its tone and has the quality craftmanship you expect from a Tokai made guitar from this era.