replica guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Roberto, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. Roberto

    Roberto Member

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    Though I have been registered at this website for several years, I haven't been very active. Now, though, with the coronavirus mandates to stay home I am not working much and certainly not playing as much music other than at my own home, so the www is what I turn to for some discussion and pass the time. So basically I'm kind of like a new poster here.

    I noticed the post from administrators requesting we not post about replica guitars due to requests from guitar manufacturers. I don't have a problem whatsoever with that. I don't own a "replica", and in fact never have owned one.

    It does beg the question, however, as to why so many manufacturers get away with copying the design of popular guitars. I don't know how many les paul, strat, and telecaster copies there are, but there are a lot of them. I've played some of them, and some are good, some are not. I am not judging the guitars in any way. I just wonder how other manufacturers copy those guitars with no recourse whatsoever. More perplexing to me is that you can't exactly copy a logo or even the headstock, but the body of the guitar is the most immediately recognizable thing, and they are often pretty much indistinguishable from the real thing, at least for most people.

    I will note that I did search for a thread about "replica guitars" and didn't see any thread specifically about this, though I may have missed it. Any feedback or info may be interesting.

    I will also note that you guys have some great forums here. I look forward to participating more than I have.
     
  2. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    From my understanding, replica of say a strat would have the headstock, logo, etc to make people believe it was a Fender instead of an XXXX.
     
  3. Roberto

    Roberto Member

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    I said I've never owned a replica, but I do think I owned a fake telecaster for a while, back a few years ago. It played ok to me, but I'm just a singer that plays a few songs per set when it's needed, so an accomplished guitar player may not have liked it.
     
  4. notamisfit

    notamisfit Member

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    Fender body shapes aren't trademarked, and an attempt to do so in 2009 went poorly.

    Gibson didn't trademark their primary body shapes until the 1990's, and many of their body trademarks may not be enforceable due to them having sat on it for so long.

    I'd say there's a clear moral difference between selling something as the guitar in question (i.e., the various Chibsons), and selling a popular body shape under your own trade name (Burny, Greco).
     
  5. Lung plunger

    Lung plunger Member

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    Yeh, I've always considered that replicas were generally high end counterfeits or clones. Slashs Appetite LP for instance was a replica, and anything off of AliExpress is a counterfeit.

    A lot of great builders out there may have the design influence of something very familiar, but as long as the headstock isn't identical and brandishing the other companies name... then it's all good. This is all my personal opinion, so take it for what it's worth. I don't make the rules.
     
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  6. Roberto

    Roberto Member

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    hmm. Now that you mention this, I'm going to have to qualify my comment that I've never owned a replica. I do have a single cut PRS and it's clearly a les paul copy of sorts. I had a SE PRS before this single cut, and honestly, both are/were great guitars for what I paid. They both stay in tune better than any Gibson Les Paul I ever owned with the exception of a standard with locking tuners I owned for several years.
     
  7. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    Rickenbacker is pretty much the only one of the old manufacturers who has been vigilant at going after any copies of their guitars. So you don't really see them around much.

    For Fender and Gibson copies it's fair game as long as it doesn't say Fender, Gibson, Les Paul, Stratocaster etc trademarked names on the headstock and isn't sold as such. Chinese fakes would be the example of trying to mislead people into thinking they are buying a real Fender or Gibson.

    There are few high end fakes from Bartlett, Yaron etc and those do say Gibson on the headstock. I don't really understand why they bother when these guitars would do well with the builder's name on it as they seem to be very well made. I am not sure how legal things go for these.

    I currently own two Les Paul style guitars. One is a Fenix LP Custom/Standard hybrid type deal visually and the other is a high end boutique "LP inspired" guitar from Heatley that fixes a lot of the problems of that design by having a better neck heel and better headstock design.
     
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  8. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    Generally speaking a replica is a high end recreation of a vintage guitar, often down to the logo on the headstock. They may or may not be intended to deceive the buyer into thinking they're the real thing.

    A copy is a more general term applied to anything that looks like the guitar it's inspired by without any internet to deceive, so the actual manufacturer's name on the headstock and a greater or lesser number of changes to put the actual maker's identity on it.

    Counterfeit is most commonly those guitars on Aliexpress with Gibson or whatever on the headstock. They're no different to those designer label brands you can buy from the local market for a few bucks. Obviously a high end guitar passed off as the real thing is also a counterfeit, even if the market is very different.

    The terms are informal and a bit interchangeable, but the important thing is if it's a copy that clearly differenciates itself from the real thing and doesn't infringe any trademarks, most people are ok with that. If it's made with the intent to deceive or a trademark is infringed, it's illegal and unethical so those are of limits on the forum. Obviously there are grey areas even with this - for example a high end replica might have 'this is a replica' stamped in the control cavity or pickup rout so the maker is clearly trying to avoid the guitar being passed off as the real thing, but there's still a categoric trademark infringement putting Gibson or Fender on the headstock. Easiest thing is to stick to what's illegal and what isn't.
     
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  9. notamisfit

    notamisfit Member

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    I wonder how Dean factors into this.
     
  10. Roberto

    Roberto Member

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    oh yeah? That's interesting. I never knew it so thanks for that tidbit of info
     
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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    Buyers seem to only want "what was made in the 50s, and how it was made in the 50s" .. until guitar players get convinced that other shapes and woods and materials give them the sounds of the pro players on stage then there is pressure on small and large guitar factories to make the bodies as close as possible to the old guitars with the old woods.

    Really, the pro players on stage, rather than chasing "a guitar deal!" for freebie guitars, should take an environmental stand at least that "I'm only going to play local fast growing woods", not fragile rain forest materials that took five to seven hundred years to grow to guitar size. And then they show how it's not the magic lumber or magic shape of the guitar that matters -- it's the player.

    Rickenbacker may have been very successful in keeping other companies from copying their body design ... but by that they have also remained a niche style. The Fender and Gibson body copies, in the end, encourage those buyers to upgrade to "a real" Fender or Gibson when they have enough aspirational dollars saved up to afford the high end guitars. Had Rickenbacker, because they really became popular with the Beatles, encouraged lower priced body copies (with different headstocks and logos) then maybe their brand would be at the top tier sellers too.

    .
     
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  12. ESW.

    ESW. Member

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    I agree, and I also wonder how much demand for this stuff is going to drop off over the next few decades.
     
  13. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    One of the big Les Paul names - maybe Bartlett? - used to stamp the control cavity for this purpose, basically taking away the possibility that a future owner could pass it off as the real thing.

    The difficulty with the Les Paul market, particularly if you go back twenty or thirty years, is that there were people who wanted detailed replicas that were closer to a vintage Burst than Gibson was offering at the time, so 'legitimate' Les Paul replicas from people good enough to make them were in demand. Nowadays Gibson offer pretty accurate recreations themselves and Bartlett, Yaron etc who made their name on replicas are now well known more generally as high end boutique makers, so it's not as big a big market as it was.
     
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  14. Ron Kirn

    Ron Kirn Gold Supporting Member Vendor

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    The shape of the Fender bodies are now in the public domain, meaning they are open for anyone to use, however the headstock is not... nor are subtle variants which might be misleading to many.

    FMIC has the option to pursue legal remedies in those instances where a maker is cranking out guitars using their intellectual property such as the shapes of the headstocks.

    They typically don't pursue the home hobbyists, but guys like me, were I still using their headstock shapes, could expect a friendly knock at the door.. :eek: figuratively speaking..

    Those that ARE using the headstock shapes either have come to an arrangement with FMIC, or are "drawing to an inside straight".. or worse, holding Aces and Eights, with their back to the door, and FMIC just walked, in, packin'... :eek:

    r
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
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  15. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    Gibson has upped their game tremendously since 2013. The guitars they have been putting out since then are very consistent and sound very good. I've probably owned 10-15 historics over the last 15 years including a Gibson Collectors choice Nicky. That said, I've now owned 2 replica's and played one other VERY high end replica. the high end replica has been THE best guitar I've ever played. The only thing I can say is that the tone on all of the replicas was different. It was airy where the Historics had a more focused sound. One is not necessarily better than the others but to me...I preferred the more open, airy sound. I probably am not going back to historics.
     
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  16. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    I've never been a Les Paul buff but I can remember when people woo knew the originals well didn't like details such as the logo shape on the high end Gibson product and things like trussrods that weren't historically accurate, things I think they've definitely got better on.

    There again, people like Bartlett, Yaron etc who learned their trade making perfect replicas are such amazing makers, I'm not surprised a lot of players still prefer them.
     
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  17. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    The difficulty is Gibson are trying to change the status quo by attempting to prevent people using designs that were previously assumed to be public domain, so things like Flying Vs that have been copied unchallenged for forty years are now being costumer as Gibson's.

    Which is complicated because Gibson did come up with the idea and it can't be argued the shape of a V is necessarily that shape for functional reasons, but on the other hand Dean and others have built a business around making their own spin on the idea, so it's ethically questionable if it's fair to take that away from them.

    Designs where trademark ownership has been aggressively asserted from the first instance - Rickenbacker being a great example - are generally easily defended, but if you've not defended them for half a century then the ethics do became a lot murkier. In the EU there's a fair usage precedent to trademark where you can't shut down a company that's been making a similar product for decades in plain view of the original just because the new boss of the original decides he owns the design.

    Personally I think the Dean guitars are very obviously Dean product, not Gibson. Ok, if someone's in the market for a Flying V then Dean compete with Gibson, but pointy Dean guitars are iconic in their own right, so some of that demand for Flying Vs comes from other brand's versions of the design. If they'd challenged it when Dean, Hamer etc first started making similar guitars I'd have supported Gibson, but I don't think it's fair for Gibson to claim ownership of the V at this point.
     
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  18. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Can be but I would add the manufacturer replicas like Fender's SRV strat, Andy Summer Tele, Ywngie strat, etc.

    Those were all modeled to replicate the original but not as a copy/counterfeit or fake.
     
  19. sitedrifter

    sitedrifter Gold Supporting Member

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    That is really incorrect.

    Generally speaking a replica is a cheap made guitar that tries to look identical to the original guitar. This is simply to fool people including the owner. A replica that is a high end creation is nothing more than an expensive guitar to fool people but not the owner who knowingly paid for it. There is no good reason to purchase a replica guitar with the real brand logos on it. Leave the logos off and have fun!
     
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  20. notamisfit

    notamisfit Member

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    This is a big part of why I've never been big on the whole "dog pile on the counterfeiters" thing. I remember one guitar rag article that came out when the Chibsons really first started getting noticed, and the example the writer used was a guy in some local band playing a Burny singlecut. Looking at the whole "play authentic" hullaballoo, it looks like Gibson's trying similar confusion tactics.
     

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