As part of the new BBC Four programme, James May (formerly of Top Gear, currently working on The Grand Tour available on Amazon’s Prime Video) took the challenge of assembling an electric guitar from the ground up. May’s guitar of choice was a Stratocaster copy from the 80s made by a Japanese company Tokai.
According to May, this Stratocaster was made using exactly 147 different parts. These apparently include the six strings, a guitar pick, a guitar strap, and a cable – so some of you might argue that number to be a few digits less.
Regarding the guitar itself, this appears to be a 1984 TST-50 Goldstar Sound Tokai. A dead giveaway is the logo design which changed significantly in comparison to the previous year (photos of both of them are available at Tokai Registry website). This model was built as a direct replica of 50s era Fender Stratocaster, and generally looking, these were probably the best value guitars sold in the mid-80s.
James starts the build assembling the tremolo bridge, which is built in respect to the specification of the 50s Strat bridge featuring six screw holes and vintage style saddles.
Slowly but surely, over the span of over five hours, May assembles the parts together filling in the silences with interesting stories and remarks regarding the history of the guitar and rock and roll music.
So if you’re interested in the basics of what makes an electric guitar work, presented with classic British humor by May, head over to the BBC website and cross your fingers that the programme will become available at some point globally on their iPlayer – because it currently isn’t. A little bird told us though that there is a website out there where people have uploaded the show themselves.