Monday, April 14, 2008

Beware of Counterfeit Electric Guitars from China

Word is starting to get around the internet that there are many fake electric guitars, branded with Gibson and Fender logos, flooding the marketplace in America. These guitars are offered at ridiculously low prices, and to the uninformed, look like the real deal.

These guitars have been selling through e-bay for quite some time. Only recently has there been any kind of publicity about it. One hates to think of any young guitarist losing all their money, thinking they bought a real Les Paul, only to find out it was a plywood fake.

It is not always easy to tell by looking at a small picture if the guitar is fake. To me, the first thing I notice on a modern Gibson is that the fret ends are always covered with the neck binding. Not so on a fake one - the frets go right over the binding and to the edge of the neck. Also, Gibson uses two screws on the truss rod cover. The fakes use three. Most often, the control covers on the back of a real Gibson are brown. Fakes are white or cream.

The links below go into detail about spotting the fakes. I would imagine that the biggest problem is Americans who buy these in bulk, and sell through Craigslist or other classified ads to unsuspecting adults and kids who just want to own the real thing, be it a Fender, Gibson
or PRS. E-bay does not seem to be doing anything about it yet, although I suspect that will change in the near future.

Here are a few links to read about: Modern Guitars, Vintage Rock, Sonic State,, and Free


Anonymous said...

These Counterfeit Gibson Les Paul guitars I believe were being made at the Epiphone factory in China without Gibson's knowledge. They appear to be Epiphones with a Gibson style headstock and have Gibson on the pickups. That is why Gibson is low-keyed to pursue the matter. I saw one first hand and realized that these were most likely Epiphones by the hardware, truss cover is just like the Epiphone Les Pauls, Pickups, tuners and back covers.

Anonymous said...

anonymous clerifying update...

The Counterfeit Gibson I saw was a Les Paul Standard with a Gold Top and cherry red back and neck with Gibson on the Gibson style shaped head stock. The color combination was generally "bizarre", as they didn't seem to go well together, 3 screws truss rod cover with "Les Paul Standard" scripted across bottom to top just like Epiphones. Tuners were like tulip klusons. The back plate covers were cream in color pretty much like the back of Chinese Epiphones and the covers are NOT smooth, but grainy texture. The Gibson on pickups is clear protection tape with Gibson on it that just peels off, just like a Epiphones when they are new. The quality is not as good as a USA Gibson and I guess as good as the Chinese Epiphone, which are OK, because that is what I believe they are - Epiphones.

I worry that because these guitars are an oddity, that collectors may want to buy one for the strange collection value and cause the price on this "red herring" to go up, but there may be criminal charges selling/buying them, especially if its being passed off as a Real USA Gibson. Be care out there - and "buyer beware"!

Abid Shahzad said...

thanks for information about fake ones and indentifying real ones.

actually there is a fake for every best thing in the market all over the world and they are in business. The companies must introduce some mechanism to warn the peoples about fakes like promotional card printing, flyers etc.