Anyone who has recently shopped for a guitar on eBay or Craigslist is probably already aware of the growing counterfeit guitar market. Ads featuring "quality Gibson guitars" for less than $300 have been appearing for months, and although eBay and other authorities have been cracking down much harder on the fraudulent guitars of late, they are still fairly easy to find.
Also disturbing is the trend of disreputable guitar dealers snapping up these cheap-o fakes and passing them off to their customers as the real deal.
One such story that made the headlines recently involves a dealer in North Carolina who was selling fake Les Paul Customs for $1,000. A local teen who purchased one of the fakes became suspicious, and after doing some online research discovered his guitar was not an authentic Gibson. He reported the dealer, which has led to a State investigation of the counterfeits which spans "half the globe". (Click here to read the entire article.)
In an effort to help our fellow guitar players out there from being duped, we are publishing below a press release from Gibson USA that includes information on how to detect counterfeit guitars. Take a minute to do your own investigating before you buy any used guitar, and remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true then it usually is.
From Gibson USA:
Gibson Guitar is looking to provide consumer protection against the growing problem of counterfeit instruments being shipped from and sold by outlets and individuals in China.
Several complaints from consumers who were sold fake instruments has prompted an aggressive move on Gibson Guitar’s part to work with government officials and other instrument marketers in an effort to curtail the growing problem. Gibson Guitar advises all consumers to purchase Gibson instruments only from their network of authorized dealers. Authorized Gibson dealers can be found on the company’s web site at gibson.com and should be referred to by consumers when purchasing their choice of Gibson instrument. A consumer is warned against purchasing any Gibson brand instrument outside of the authorized dealer network and the inevitable risk of purchasing what can turn out to be a fake.
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The growing problem, originating out of China, has been reviewed by the U.S. Trade Commission and currently has the attention of Washington. China regularly defends its record in fighting piracy and counterfeit production of merchandise, however many pirated consumer products continue to be sold in various Chinese cities which affect a multitude of international manufacturers across many categories.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our consumers and the integrity of our family of brands,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. “We hope that by issuing this warning our consumers will be armed with the right information to protect themselves and understand what they need to do to insure that what they are purchasing is, indeed, an authentic Gibson instrument.”
Consumers can check any of the references below when examining a Gibson guitar in an effort to insure its authenticity:
-Make sure the size is not undersized
-The headstock and headstock logo should match those of authentic Gibson guitars
-Pearl should always be inlaid
-Les Paul Model script is always in cursive
-If the guitar has a 3 screw truss rod it is not authentic
-Check the control and pick up cavities for sloppy routing or wiring
-Real Gibson guitars use one piece necks
-Many fake Gibsons have their pickup cavities painted black inside
-If purchasing a Gibson always ask for the Gibson’s Owner Manual and Gibson/Warranty Inspection Card
-Check the wiring, if it is plastic it isn’t a true Gibson
Other information on spotting a fake guitar can be found on gibson.com
Auction web sites currently have hundreds of instruments which resemble Gibson Guitars and other brands. Some even feature trademarked headstocks and logos. Many of these items carry a very low sale price but exorbitant shipping costs. Upon close inspection the guitars will not feel or sound like a true Gibson and most are not of good standard of quality overall. If a guitar is up for an auction for a straight price or a fraction of what one would cost typically, the consumer is taking a great chance in purchasing it. Gibson Guitar warns against such action. Consumers should be wary of such sales that also offer shipping prices that are more than the guitar.
Illegal merchandise entering the country offer great damages on many levels; and counterfeiting in the United States is a serious crime punishable in a court of law. By Federal statutes, selling and also owning counterfeit merchandise is a felony. By issuing this warning, Gibson Guitar hopes to educate its loyal consumers about such wrongdoings and protect them. For more information on how to protect themselves and report incidents, consumers should contact their local policing agency and can also go to www.ic3.gov.