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Chibson Gold Top Rivals the Real Thing?

Wharfcreek

New member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
10
So I saw an ad for a Les Paul Gold Top, read it, and while disclosed as being a forgery, I decided to at least go look at the thing. For $150 the SKB Pro Case was worth the price of entry. Got there and couldn't say no, so home it came! The woman said it had been 'upgraded' by her husband, so I decided to check it out a bit further before restringing and set up. Sure enough, a nice new set of Lindy Fralin vintage PAFs in it. Nice!! At this point Im just going to make a long story short. The guitar was playable, but frets were horrible and it fretted out all over above the 12th fret. So I had an expert friend of mine look at it and he was amazed with the neck carve and overall build quality but appalled with fret job. So, he refretted it! It is now an amazing 'pro-quality' player, and a definite 'keeper'!!! When I consider having had to return to the factory a recent 'new' Gibson I purchased, I can't help but wonder: Like Americans with buying Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans and more, when will we (Americans) abandon Gibson, Fender, PRS, etc in favor of these 'Asian' beauties? Maybe the answer is simply: When they learn to do a decent fret job (which is about all that's left to be critical of).
 
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El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,188
There is literally and figuratively an oceans difference in playability and tone from a foreign made forgery versus an original . To each there own and I do not wish to debate the merits of the differences .
 

Wharfcreek

New member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
10
Tollywood..... glad to hear it! I spent 34 years working for Chrysler before their bankruptcy in '08 cost me my job..... along with 50,000 other US employees at the time. GM went through the same devastation not only losing employees, but 'brands' as well. All because of foreign competition and lack of US loyalty. So, glad you're still driving a US car, and glad it's a Chrysler product.....helps my retirement!!!

El Gringo, I don't expect an answer from you, but I'll just address your comment: If you were to buy another 'new' guitar, albeit a Les Paul, SG, Strat, Tele, what ever...... would you not 'try' a few of them first? Or even the same for an amp? If there were 10 'new' Les Paul 'Standards' all hanging on a music store's wall, and you tried all 10 of them, would you not agree that of the 10, there would be at least 1 or 2 that you simply didn't like for one reason or another, while perhaps there might be another 1 or 2 that you just had a hard time deciding which one was best? If you answer 'no', then I call 'Shenanigans'!! Of course you'd try them out! And, of course you'd pick the one that, to you, was the diamond among pearls. That's part of the point; every guitar is different in one way or another. For the most part, it's the owner/player/musician that 'adapts' to that instrument when playing it. That's the other part of the point; that people are 'adapting' to these differences, not just to include the difference between a Strat or a Les Paul, but to include all the Asian versions there of! Fender has Squire, Gibson has Maestro, and PRS has SE. All 'Asian' made, and now gaining momentum in the market, particularly Squire and SE. Not so sure about Maestro, but it seems to be making a pretty good comeback. There's a pretty big difference between a Strat, a Tele, an SG, and a Les Paul, but that doesn't make only one of them 'good' and the rest 'bad'. Just....'Different'!! Anyway.... I foresee the growth of Asian made instruments and people's willingness to buy them as being the kiss of death to Gibson, and perhaps turn Fender and PRS into nothing more than 'import' houses that also crank out the occasional 'custom shop' instruments. The Gibson brand may survive, but perhaps it will go the way that Chrysler did and be 'bought out' by Ibanez or Samik or some other Asian company. If we Americans keep allowing our hard earned $$ to be turned into Yen or some other Asian currency, then our future is weakened accordingly. I just think it's time we ALL understood that!

Anyway, I've been playing for nearly 60 years now, and had literally hundreds of guitars and amps. Not saying I'm any world class authority, but I'm finding guitars like this Chibson to be a real 'threat'. While there may be 'oceans' that separate it from it's domestic equivalent, the 'playability' and 'tone' of this guitar is every bit as good as anything made here in the USA. Granted, it took a good quality refret and some good pickups, but I had to do the same with both a Tele I bought new, as well as an Les Paul. I had to send the last SG I bought back to the Factory due to manufacturing defects. So, I just see the door as being wide open here in the US, and if the Asians can learn to do a good fret job and put some better quality electronics in these things, they're dangerous.
 

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Tollywood

Active member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Messages
162
Tollywood..... glad to hear it! I spent 34 years working for Chrysler before their bankruptcy in '08 cost me my job..... along with 50,000 other US employees at the time. GM went through the same devastation not only losing employees, but 'brands' as well. All because of foreign competition and lack of US loyalty. So, glad you're still driving a US car, and glad it's a Chrysler product.....helps my retirement!!!

El Gringo, I don't expect an answer from you, but I'll just address your comment: If you were to buy another 'new' guitar, albeit a Les Paul, SG, Strat, Tele, what ever...... would you not 'try' a few of them first? Or even the same for an amp? If there were 10 'new' Les Paul 'Standards' all hanging on a music store's wall, and you tried all 10 of them, would you not agree that of the 10, there would be at least 1 or 2 that you simply didn't like for one reason or another, while perhaps there might be another 1 or 2 that you just had a hard time deciding which one was best? If you answer 'no', then I call 'Shenanigans'!! Of course you'd try them out! And, of course you'd pick the one that, to you, was the diamond among pearls. That's part of the point; every guitar is different in one way or another. For the most part, it's the owner/player/musician that 'adapts' to that instrument when playing it. That's the other part of the point; that people are 'adapting' to these differences, not just to include the difference between a Strat or a Les Paul, but to include all the Asian versions there of! Fender has Squire, Gibson has Maestro, and PRS has SE. All 'Asian' made, and now gaining momentum in the market, particularly Squire and SE. Not so sure about Maestro, but it seems to be making a pretty good comeback. There's a pretty big difference between a Strat, a Tele, an SG, and a Les Paul, but that doesn't make only one of them 'good' and the rest 'bad'. Just....'Different'!! Anyway.... I foresee the growth of Asian made instruments and people's willingness to buy them as being the kiss of death to Gibson, and perhaps turn Fender and PRS into nothing more than 'import' houses that also crank out the occasional 'custom shop' instruments. The Gibson brand may survive, but perhaps it will go the way that Chrysler did and be 'bought out' by Ibanez or Samik or some other Asian company. If we Americans keep allowing our hard earned $$ to be turned into Yen or some other Asian currency, then our future is weakened accordingly. I just think it's time we ALL understood that!

Anyway, I've been playing for nearly 60 years now, and had literally hundreds of guitars and amps. Not saying I'm any world class authority, but I'm finding guitars like this Chibson to be a real 'threat'. While there may be 'oceans' that separate it from it's domestic equivalent, the 'playability' and 'tone' of this guitar is every bit as good as anything made here in the USA. Granted, it took a good quality refret and some good pickups, but I had to do the same with both a Tele I bought new, as well as an Les Paul. I had to send the last SG I bought back to the Factory due to manufacturing defects. So, I just see the door as being wide open here in the US, and if the Asians can learn to do a good fret job and put some better quality electronics in these things, they're dangerous.
34 years is a good run. I’m sorry to hear that you lost your job. Enjoy your retirement in good health!

Does the Chibson‘s headstock inlay say Gibson? I did not know they did that.
 

Wharfcreek

New member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
10
Yea, its a pretty good forgery! Aside from a bit of masking error between the neck joint and body top (allowing just a tiny bit of the gold to creep on to the neck) this thing is hard to tell from an original, depending on year and color mix. But I think the biggest thing it has going for it is its overall construction quality and the neck carve! I've had a lot of LPs over the years, and were it not for the clearly asian bridge this could easily be mistaken for the genuine article!!
 

ADP

Active member
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
289
The only reason foreign guitars are a "threat" to the market is because nobody in the younger generations has ever read a book.
 

Wharfcreek

New member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
10
Fraud is a basis for legal action, but doesn't address the quality of the item. In this case my point is that these 'forgeries' are getting pretty good, which speaks to the capabilities of these Asian shops. That, in turn, is where my concerns come in as related to US production AND costs at retail! My local Harley dealership just closed up. Another casualty of Asian competition and the lack of US loyalty, particularly among America's youth!
 

dwagar

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 18, 2005
Messages
4,372
the OP has been around long enough to remember that ever since the lawsuit guitars of the '70s, this import brand or that import brand is going to 'destroy' Gibson.

As far as I'm concerned, if it is counterfeiting the Gibson logo on it, it belongs in a fire pit. If they were in fact decent guitars they would be their own brand. As so many decent imports do.
 

catawompus

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
Messages
39
I would never buy a counterfeit guitar. I do have a Japanese LP Standard though (Tokai) and I'm still blown away by the quality of their workmanship. I also have a Les Paul Junior DC coming in (also Tokai, a special run). Since I'm from Switzerland I'm buying foreign anyway, either from the US or Japan. So I'm concerned what quality I get for what money. To me it's clear, good Jap guitars beat Gibsons by miles. I do have a LP Custom from '92, nice guitar, but I'll sell it and keep the Tokai.
 

Wharfcreek

New member
Joined
Apr 11, 2022
Messages
10
I have a friend that is a collector /musician. He has hundreds of guitars, including a couple if The Epi Les Pauls with US pickups and electronics. According to him, they're better than his US LPs
 

rialcnis

Active member
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
126
No matter how you look at it a Tokai is still copying the Les Paul and at a cheaper price. My opinion is it is bad trademark enforcement and opportunism by USA entrepreneurs in the first place.

I used to have a Hondo Doubleneck Pro 12/6 string. It was trying to copy the Danelectro., although longer horns. Workmanship was excellent. I sold it because it was too heavy for my liking but it was beautiful.
 
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catawompus

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
Messages
39
On a counter note. I love G&L guitars. I have an S-500, an ASAT Deluxe, an ASAT Classic, all American made. They're perfect instruments. Then I have/had two G&Ls Tribute from Indonesia. One had fret sprout from the beginning, the other developed a warped neck. Those things seem to be hit or miss. If you get a good one, you'll never get that much bang for the buck.
 

Norton

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Messages
94
So, Asian Les Paul copies have been around for what now - 40 years? You could have literally had this conversion in the early 80/late 70s. The market has been fairly well established and there are plenty of folks still more than happy to buy the products Gibson and other american builders are putting out.

As far as outright frauds that put Gibson's name on their headstock - I agree with the comment that they're firewood. I love reading articles where shipping containers full of them get seized and destroyed. I honestly think it's appropriate that the people who import them lose every penny they sent to the fraudster builders, it's a shame they don't catch them all. Want a good Asian build copy there's Epi, ESP, Schecter, Eastman and countless others that aren't built with the sole intent of ripping someone off. A "chibson"? I'd never in a million years play one, but I might have a blast throwing the POS in a woodchipper.
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,188
Tollywood..... glad to hear it! I spent 34 years working for Chrysler before their bankruptcy in '08 cost me my job..... along with 50,000 other US employees at the time. GM went through the same devastation not only losing employees, but 'brands' as well. All because of foreign competition and lack of US loyalty. So, glad you're still driving a US car, and glad it's a Chrysler product.....helps my retirement!!!

El Gringo, I don't expect an answer from you, but I'll just address your comment: If you were to buy another 'new' guitar, albeit a Les Paul, SG, Strat, Tele, what ever...... would you not 'try' a few of them first? Or even the same for an amp? If there were 10 'new' Les Paul 'Standards' all hanging on a music store's wall, and you tried all 10 of them, would you not agree that of the 10, there would be at least 1 or 2 that you simply didn't like for one reason or another, while perhaps there might be another 1 or 2 that you just had a hard time deciding which one was best? If you answer 'no', then I call 'Shenanigans'!! Of course you'd try them out! And, of course you'd pick the one that, to you, was the diamond among pearls. That's part of the point; every guitar is different in one way or another. For the most part, it's the owner/player/musician that 'adapts' to that instrument when playing it. That's the other part of the point; that people are 'adapting' to these differences, not just to include the difference between a Strat or a Les Paul, but to include all the Asian versions there of! Fender has Squire, Gibson has Maestro, and PRS has SE. All 'Asian' made, and now gaining momentum in the market, particularly Squire and SE. Not so sure about Maestro, but it seems to be making a pretty good comeback. There's a pretty big difference between a Strat, a Tele, an SG, and a Les Paul, but that doesn't make only one of them 'good' and the rest 'bad'. Just....'Different'!! Anyway.... I foresee the growth of Asian made instruments and people's willingness to buy them as being the kiss of death to Gibson, and perhaps turn Fender and PRS into nothing more than 'import' houses that also crank out the occasional 'custom shop' instruments. The Gibson brand may survive, but perhaps it will go the way that Chrysler did and be 'bought out' by Ibanez or Samik or some other Asian company. If we Americans keep allowing our hard earned $$ to be turned into Yen or some other Asian currency, then our future is weakened accordingly. I just think it's time we ALL understood that!

Anyway, I've been playing for nearly 60 years now, and had literally hundreds of guitars and amps. Not saying I'm any world class authority, but I'm finding guitars like this Chibson to be a real 'threat'. While there may be 'oceans' that separate it from it's domestic equivalent, the 'playability' and 'tone' of this guitar is every bit as good as anything made here in the USA. Granted, it took a good quality refret and some good pickups, but I had to do the same with both a Tele I bought new, as well as an Les Paul. I had to send the last SG I bought back to the Factory due to manufacturing defects. So, I just see the door as being wide open here in the US, and if the Asians can learn to do a good fret job and put some better quality electronics in these things, they're dangerous.
I am sorry for your job . For me my love affair with Gibson goes back to my childhood as a Gibson Les Paul Custom was my very first guitar as a kid , so that is embedded into my DNA . With the exception of a handful of my herd I have purchased them sight unseen and found the majority on the internet and picked up the phone and called and chatted for more details and I use reliable established music shops such as many of the sponsors here such as Zoo, Wildwood, Dave's , Wild West , Gruhns, Chicago Music Exchange . Your better shops want repeat business and are pretty straight up about what's what , and this process has worked very well for me . I will never say anything and everything is perfect in life as life is not perfect . P.S. No comparison between what Mexican or Squire made by Fender instruments are quality wise versus a Chibson .
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,188
So, Asian Les Paul copies have been around for what now - 40 years? You could have literally had this conversion in the early 80/late 70s. The market has been fairly well established and there are plenty of folks still more than happy to buy the products Gibson and other american builders are putting out.

As far as outright frauds that put Gibson's name on their headstock - I agree with the comment that they're firewood. I love reading articles where shipping containers full of them get seized and destroyed. I honestly think it's appropriate that the people who import them lose every penny they sent to the fraudster builders, it's a shame they don't catch them all. Want a good Asian build copy there's Epi, ESP, Schecter, Eastman and countless others that aren't built with the sole intent of ripping someone off. A "chibson"? I'd never in a million years play one, but I might have a blast throwing the POS in a woodchipper.
Very well said !
 

Wilko

All Access/Backstage Pass
Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
20,151
almost every asian guitar that I've seen that was made in the 10-15 years has wonderful fret jobs. It's like they use machines or something! ;)

Seriously, don't just assume because it's asain that the fret will be bad. Quality control is amazing, specially considering the price.
 

mjross

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
165
I have a friend that is a collector /musician. He has hundreds of guitars, including a couple if The Epi Les Pauls with US pickups and electronics. According to him, they're better than his US LPs
Yeah right, seems there’s always someone or somebody’s friend saying that! Epiphone makes fine guitars, no doubt about that, have a few myself. However, they are not Gibson! That can be good or bad depending on which side of the fence you are on. I’ll go with Gibson every time!

Guess we’ll just keep beating this dead horse!
 
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