Dear Vintage Gold Star lovers, Caution! The following sentences are written in Japanese English.
I am posting this if you can participate in the experiment I set up. There must be many vintage Gold Star owners wondering why the Gold Stars played by Tom Adams and Russ Carson sound good but not my banjo. Because the the both banjos were set up by Mr. Chris Warner. I'm sure he knew the weak point or hot spot of the Gold Stars. I didn't know how some 45 years ago but now I got to know it. I was a Gold Star GF series development responsible person at Tokai Gakki(musical instruments). I've been researching if there's something that can help improve tone of these instruments in many years. I also have been investigating the history and the production record of the Gold Star banjo series. I left Tokai in early stage of Gold Star banjo production after completing the JD Crowe model documents(I continued to support the project for engraving and copper flush gold plating). I only had minimum knowledge regarding production history. So I began to feel that I needed to collect accurate information for myself and those who wanted to know that information. From my school years, I really wanted to know the history of vintage Gibson banjo , how they were developed and made but I haven't read any real stories from someone who involved in the development of vintage Gibson banjo in the 1930s. I expected them to leave not only their products but also their record. Our banjo was developed in 1977, so The Gibson's story was only about 45 years old at that time. From my age, it seems not long ago. I recently reunited all the key members(I'm oldest among them) involved in the design and production and got valuable information, such as all the Gold Star banjo drawings, documents. In addition to them, I found NOS original tailpieces, inlays, and tooling. One gentleman who succeeded Gold Star banjo production after 1985 when Tokai failed their business, he told me that he scrapped dozens of original tone rings and brass parts only three years ago. For the sound improvement. I could reach the handy method which may improve the tone quality pretty much. So both studies are likely to complete now. The history and records can talk later responding your request but the tone improvement is an urgent issue for all of us so let me get into action.
Story continues in Banjo Building, Setup, and Repair forum. See my upcoming posting
I attach Gold Star and Tokai banjo catalog and the Vintage Gold Star banjo model-serial number list which was made from the information acquired on Internet. You will find Tokai brand on this list together but Tokai Gakki controlled serial # separately between Japan(domestic) and US(Saga) so it doesn't match together. As far as 81 JD Crow model, Tokai issued serial # upon their control system but I think Saga might have removed the original label then attached JD signed label having Saga exclusive serial #. But in the later lot, they attached JD label over original label which are knows as the Double label JD. First lot was planned as the trial mass-production for total 20 units. Metal parts were made total 21 for security.
Mr. Tsuchida thank you for your posts! Your knowledge of early Gold Star/Tokai and other Japanese marques are invaluable to the Banjo Hangout. The tone experiments are most interesting and the old catalogs are fantastic! Cheers, Mark Decatur, Georgia, USA