How They Do It.

Stark Naked

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For several years when I would go to the annual Orlando Guitar Show, I would notice one particular booth with no guitars on display. The booth was manned by several Oriental gentlemen who were buying every classic or vintage Gibson or Fender guitar that was laid on their table, at Blue Book price. The fake Angus Young SG that I bought on line had a legitimate Angus Young serial number from a guitar that was twenty years old. The guitar that I received was obviously brand new. The case, the case candy and hardware were exactly right. Only the urethane finish and Epiphone like body contours gave it away. If I hadn't already owned an Angus I would have been easily fooled. I would have ended up paying almost three thousand dollars for a four hundred dollar guitar. These fakes are all over the internet and even experienced retailers are being duped. I don't know what the solution is but they undermine the value of authentic guitars and collections. Let the buyer beware.
 
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SG standard

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The booth was manned by several Oriental gentlemen who were buying every classic or vintage Gibson or Fender guitar that was laid on their table, at Blue Book price.

Are you suggesting they were buying guitars to copy? That seems highly unlikely to me; I'm pretty sure most of the profit on vintage fakes goes to the dealer who first sells them on, not the workshop in China. A more likely explanation is that they were dealers who know they can get Blue Book + x% in their market - perhaps Japan. This is a classic way of trading. I recall a car dealer in the 80s that always had an odd mix of classic British sports cars at crazy prices and cheap left-hand drive Porsches. I eventually discovered the classic British cars would get shipped to Germany, and the transporter would return loaded up with Porsches - the price difference in each market was enough to return a worthwhile profit, despite the steering wheels being on the wrong side!

The vintage guitar market has some highly unscrupulous people operating in it - and by nature of their design faked vintage Fenders are all over the place. If the Chinese fakers have got good, it's most likely down to a very small number of dealers who've been supplying them with anything they need to produce high quality fakes at low cost, for the dealers to profit from, rather than the producers - they won't be able to sell the guitars into the vintage market themselves. But once they've got that knowledge, knocking out more high quality fakes is easy enough. Really, the 'bad guys' are most likely American or European rather than Oriental.

But if the fake you bought had 'a urethane finish and Epiphone like body contours' I'd guess it left China as a regular Chibson, rather than a particularly high end fake - no dealer would risk their reputation selling that - but once it arrived at it's destination, some chancer tried to make a quick and large profit.
 

Stark Naked

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There getting legitimate serial numbers from somewhere. I even called Gibson to check it out. Maybe they think that's our gold standard for validation. I tried to post pictures of the guitar but media kept telling me the file is too big. The guitar was beautiful just not the real thing. BTW I bought this guitar through a very big name on-line Gibson franchise dealer. Knowing they would of course spot a fake. Fortunately they were willing to refund my money. You may be absolutely correct. I once delt with a guy who was selling certified Rolexes for fifty bucks.
 

SG standard

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Serial numbers are easy: Some dealers list them, photographs show them, even Gibson's old website clearly showed close ups of the backs of headstocks with legible numbers.
See a guitar you want a copy of? Call the dealer, ask for the number saying you want to check it out. Then give it to the guy in China to put on the Chibson you just ordered.

I'm surprised a dealer would've taken in a fake Gibson with a non-nitro finish and dodgy body shape, but I guess some dealers are large enough to have staff who really don't know much about old guitars. Someone must've walked away with a part ex bargain!
 

Stark Naked

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I put some interesting details of the transaction in the (Angus Yang) thread of this heading. The guitar sales manager of their retail store put it right back on their web sights used guitar postings the next day. Had to call head office to get it taken down.
 

cerebral gasket

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Doesn't matter if they get a valid serial number in the correct format when they always seem to get the font wrong which is a red flag that it's a fake.

You have to look at all the details.
Something will always be off.
 

Stark Naked

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In the media section of this chat room I managed to post pictures of the Angus Yang. Just couldn't get them into this thread. Take a look at the back of the head stock. Gibson says it's a legit serial number.
 


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