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Chinese Fake Guitars Scams on Ebay

How to spot a fake Gibson

There are a lot of fake guitars out there, most of them are sold on EBay. Most of them don't represent themselves as the real thing, but rather as "copies" of popular models like Gibson Les Pauls. However, there is a newer breed of guitars currently being built in China that are attempts to be exact copies of the high end Gibson Les Paul guitar and are built to fool the unwary consumer. These guitars attempt to duplicate the real thing by even including the Made in USA and realistic looking serial number on the back of the headstock. But there are ways to identify these guitars. First off, if anyone, especially a seller based in China is selling a Gibson Les Paul for an alarmingly low amount and there isn't a lot of activity driving the price up to market value - beware. Most of these guitars do not fool high end guitar buyers, but the uninformed buyer can be easily taken in by what appears to be a real Les Paul.

Here's some simple ways to tell if these guitars are imitations:


1. The guitar is located in China or some other Asian country. No Gibsons are manufactured in China, all Gibsons are US Made. Gibson has satellite companies like Epiphone that manufacture overseas and are much less expensive.

2. The sellers sometimes state that the country of origin is China, apparently in a half hearted attempt to dispell that the guitars are real, even though they stamp Made in USA right on the guitars.

3. There are some subtle differences between the fake Les Pauls and the real thing. Look closely at the headstock front. Most of the fakes have a Gibson logo that is of a thicker font than the real Gibson logo and is aligned almost horizontally at the top of the headstock. The real Gibson logo is a thinner font and is angled with the G started near the post of the D string tuner. The real key is to look at the truss rod cover. Real Gibsons have a bell shaped truss rod cover with TWO screws. Every fake I've seen has a cover with a similiar shape but with THREE screws. Also, the copies of Les Paul Standards often say "Gibson" right on the truss rod cover, NO Les Pauls say Gibson on the truss rod cover, some Epiphone Les Pauls do but those aren't made in the USA and say Epiphone at the top of the headstock not Gibson.

4. These guitars that are often stamped with legitimate looking serial numbers but they don't always match the true manufacture years of the real Gibson guitars.

5. All high end Les Pauls come with nice Gibson cases, these fakes rarely include a case.

6. ASK THE SELLER - many of them will admit that the guitars are made in China, and remember, no Gibsons, especially those that say Made in USA, are made in China.


These sellers are a real menace and frankly I'd like to see them shut down. Report this kind of abuse to eBay and alert Gibson of this, even though I'm sure they are aware of this piracy. These guitars can be manufactured in great numbers and flood the market place, making it hard for a lot of everyday guitar players to know a fake from the real thing so please don't support these sellers by buying these guitars.

The best way for consumers to protect themselves against fraud is to purchase your Gibson guitar from an authorized dealer.