How to spot a counterfeit Gibson??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by sugarlou, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. sugarlou

    sugarlou Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,652
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Seems to be a lot of Chinese knock off Les Pauls around.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to spot a faker??
     
  2. slogger

    slogger Member

    Messages:
    1,404
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2009
    Location:
    Chester, MD
  3. slogger

    slogger Member

    Messages:
    1,404
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2009
    Location:
    Chester, MD
    There are a lot mistakes the counterfeiters seem to make on a regular basis. Usually the headstock has something wrong whether it be the silkscreen is off center, the mustache is too pronounced, the inlay looks like crap, truss rod cover is incorrect for the model, crooked or has three screws. I'm sure a lot of folks will chime in with some more...
     
  4. RRfireblade

    RRfireblade Member

    Messages:
    1,943
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando
    Probably the most reliable way to start is to verify the serial number and that it matches the guitar model and specs.

    Next is obvious cosmetic flaws and incorrect parts/hardware. Metric parts, misaligned parts/inlays/covers/screw holes/etc....

    Price is a pretty darn good one too, don't be a sucker for too good a deal.
     
  5. mid-city tim

    mid-city tim Member

    Messages:
    1,081
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Location:
    On the banks of the Pontchartrain
    I'm assuming the serial numbers on fakes are generally recycled. I would search the web for "S/N les paul" and see if any hits come up regarding authenticity.

    I know in the Rolex world the typical fakes mostly had a small range of serial numbers that when searched, produced many results. Now the fakes are getting crazy good and the fakers are starting to randomize the serial numbers.
     
  6. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

    Messages:
    26,064
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    They almost never put the tuners on straight. If you look at the back of the headstock and the tuners are all askew, it's a fake.
     
  7. gregsguitars

    gregsguitars Member

    Messages:
    862
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta,Ga.
    Bad routing,no "wings" on the outer headstock (Gibson glues 3 pieces of wood to make the headstock shape),poor electronics and wiring,incorrect bridge adjustment screws and most commonly scarf joints in the neck and heel area with misshaped heel as well just to name a few.
     
  8. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

    Messages:
    8,678
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    The Twilight Zone
    Open eyes should do it.
    Seriously if you've ever handled any Gibson just the feel of it will ring alarm bells.
     
  9. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Member

    Messages:
    2,346
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Location:
    Iowa
    In addition to the ones already listed, absence of fret nibs*, large screw-top bridge posts, and if it doesn't come with a Gibson case, that's a big red flag. If you can pop the truss-rod cover, the truss rod and routing is a give-away. And if you can remove the control cover, the routing and electronics are also a good indication. Also look for inconsistencies like odd colors and rosewood boards on customs. Some have "Gibson" stickers on the pickups, which Gibson never used.

    I've seen a handful of fakes, and could spot them from a distance, but I'm a guitar tech and work on a lot of Les Pauls. Also, the fakers are getting better at the game.

    Fake Gibsons, Ricks, and Gretschs are a lot easier to spot than Fenders, Ibanez, etc. It's easy to build a fake Fender because there are so many variations, and they are essentially a "component" guitar; and because it is much easier to slap on a Fender decal than inlay Gibson in a headstock.

    * Astute readers will note that starting with 2015, fret nibs have been done away with for most (all?) Gibsons.
     
  10. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

    Messages:
    4,026
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    Denver CO
    Just the feel alone is enough. Looking at the serial number is obvious: the fakes are stamped/carved in after finishing, real gibsons stamp the serial number and then finish the headstock.
     
  11. sugarlou

    sugarlou Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,652
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thanks!!!...Ive owned a few real Gibsons in the past but its been years as Ive been much more a Strat guy.

    My friend has a Greco or some knock off someone put a veneer or something over the face of the headstock with a Gibson inlaid logo....very convincing but you are right it feels "wrong" when played
     
  12. B Money

    B Money Member

    Messages:
    4,793
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    the bridge posts are the most obvious sign of a fake. The large diameter posts with slots in them are a dead giveaway.
     
  13. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

    Messages:
    8,705
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    But now Gibson does large pearl blocks with rosewood.
     
  14. 27sauce

    27sauce Supporting Member

    Messages:
    29,299
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Truss rod nut/cavity, metric parts, inlay shape/size/material, scarf joints, overall features...
     
  15. Judas68fr

    Judas68fr Member

    Messages:
    1,093
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    I think opening the electronic cavity and looking in there is a good idea too. I've helped a friend backing of on a deal for a supposedly genuine 2008 SG Std when I came with him to see it in real life and asked the seller to see the guts.

    I had serious doubts just by looking at the overall shape (something didn't feel right). He didn't want to, saying that it would decrease the resale value of the guitar. We just left and reported an abuse on the website the guy was selling the guitar through.
     

Share This Page