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Scarily good fakes

andy k

New member
Dec 6, 2006
I just spent the afternoon trying to educate myself on fake Gibsons, and must say I am still not 100 percent confident I can spot one.
I have been a regular on this forum for a couple of years now, and have owned,and still own some nice Gibsons, but a couple of years ago, came across a White custom, autographed by Steve Jones- sex pistol on uk e-bay.
I made a few enquiries- and it turned out to be a Jap copy, which has some provenance that it was actually signed by Jonesy, the seller admitted he had done a trade in good faith, and had not realised it was a Jap copy ( I asked him to pull the pickups- and they have made in Japan on them)
I am a big fan of the pistols, and still did the deal by trading for a low price studio re-fin.
Today I was having a good look at this custom, and apart from the pickups- I still can't believe it isn't a genuine Gibson---
There are a few other things that point to fake-- but anyone who hasn't done a LOT of research could miss --
This thing has--
Pearl headstock inlays-- Definately inlaid-- missing dot over the I, but 74-75 Gibsons have that too
2 hole truss cover-- looks good to me,
Well worn Grover machines-
Correct binding to headstock- correct angle,
Bone nut,
Custom shop decal on back of headstock- very professional looking, and under finish.
7 digit serial number--imposed into wood-- NO CS prefix, which was one of the things that made me suspicious, but having looked around- there are a lot of variations of serial
Nice chunky neck shape- can't make out any scarf joints, or joints on headstock
Definately isn't an ebony board, and inlays look a little cheap-- which is the biggest tell-- I think.
It has binding nibs,
Real nice top carve, with plenty of recurve
I can make out a couple of joints in the top- 3 piece top at least,
Can't make out joints in back, which is nicely battered, and is Definately mahogany,can't make out any joints to indicate a pancake.
It has the small correct bridge posts, and a wireless ABR, which looks a little cheap,gold plating worn off.
This guitar was presented to me as previously been owned by a guitarist with a pistols tribute band- that toured the US, and appeared on a radio show hosted by Jonesy- which is where it was signed. I looked up this band on the net, and it is all documented- with photos of them in the studio, with Jonesy.
It came complete with a DVD of their live show in Dallas, and a recording of the radio show, and a signed pic of the original owner.
Like I say- I THOUGHT I could tell a fake easily, but some of the things with this guitar are beyond the normal TELLs for identifying Gibsons,

I guess I got a fake Gibson,via a fake band member- signed by the original artist-verified.
I don't think the real Gibson custom shop version of this guitar, was ever offered signed by Gibson.

I have bought 99% of my guitars on e-bay, but now I will be very VERY careful about anything with Gibson on the headstock-- look up Fibson.com on the net if you want to see how good the fakes are getting-- scary.
Andy k


New member
Jun 7, 2005
The Chinese guitars haven't changed in the 5 years that they have been out.
Same old giveaways. Now what people do with them after they get them is a different story. The Japanese have always worshipped American guitars. Go to any music store in Tokyo and you'll see. Real Gibson LP headstock Veneers are sold on Yahoo Japan all the time. So yeah, someone with some skills could easily make a convincing MIJ forgery out of an Orville, Burny, Greco , Etc.