Bogus ‘56 Junior

AtomicModern

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Hello everyone - I’ve been working with a customer of mine who recently made a purchase of what was supposed to be a dream guitar. He tracked down what was advertised as a nice 1956 Les Paul Junior that had been badly refinned. The plan was for me to rework the guitar with a vintage-accurate refin and to replace any modern replica parts with authentic vintage parts. The guitar in question looked good from the pics - no real alarm bells were set off due to the refin being disclosed. So, imagine my surprise when he brought the guitar by and this was discovered:

EC6F8638-5FC5-43C0-95A8-E74137C41091.jpeg


C58623AA-B997-498B-965B-8199CA97A23D.jpeg


E16C7A9D-C4BF-492A-BEF8-2D3B8E94772C.jpeg


This is all pretty surprising considering the seller is a known vintage dealer who has a good reputation.

I guess the point of this post is to get some opinions from the membership here on the responsibilities of vintage dealers - I personally think that any dealer who sells vintage guitars has a duty to fully vet an instrument before selling it as a genuine vintage Gibson. The seller in this case responded to the photos by claiming to have had no idea that this guitar was fake. I find that hard to believe, given his reputation as a supposed expert. Fortunately, a full refund has been offered, but it could have easily turned into a nasty situation. So, what say all of you? Is this an oversight that can be excused? Or, is this even an oversight?
 
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scovell001

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So glad the customer got a refund, that goes a long way on the part of the dealer I say.

Would be great to hear a bit more about the background (without incriminating anyone).

There’s so many variables with things like this, it could have been part of a job lot from a reputable source of the dealers, or perhaps the dealer doesn’t have much knowledge of this particular model (all speculation).

With that being said, the truss rod wouldn’t have taken a minute to check, so you do have to say, hold on a minute, why wasn’t this spotted.

A tricky one to call & why buying in person is so important.

How does it sound btw ?
 

Caretaker

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The dealer should/would have accessed the truss rod to make sure it worked properly, especially knowing it had a refin(why).
It should have been inspected for breaks/repairs, etc, as well as parts and electronics to see what, if anything, is original(are they?).
If I ever do find out who the dealer is, I would never even look at anything offered for sale.
IMO, he knew and attempted to pass it off and is offering a refund to try to be the hero and not the rip off dealer that I suspect he is.
Just my educated opinion.
 

AtomicModern

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With that being said, the truss rod wouldn’t have taken a minute to check, so you do have to say, hold on a minute, why wasn’t this spotted.

A tricky one to call & why buying in person is so important.

How does it sound btw ?
So, some more relevant facts:

The Junior was advertised as having a vintage bumblebee cap, but replacement pots; an original bridge, original studs, original knobs, original truss rod cover, pickguard, cavity cover, jackplate, and a Lindy Fralin P90.

How does one identify the Lindy Fralin pickup and not notice the pup route issue? How do you state that each of these parts are genuine without doing some investigating to confirm this? Needless to say, there’s not a single original vintage part on the guitar, with the exception of the jackplate. The “vintage bumblebee” is a modern Gibson bumblebee.

Here’s the bridge:

A00731D0-7044-4B0D-9DAA-451A46908F68.jpeg

2E379AF3-6AC4-470C-8597-5BC216245771.jpeg


Studs:

CD373A69-EBD1-489F-B9B5-D8435F417029.jpeg


Bizarre bushings:

656E9DD5-7788-4B48-BC61-BF13ECBB409B.jpeg



While I do give the seller credit for offering a refund, the Guitar was bought in such a way that the buyer was fully protected on the purchase. In other words, he didn’t really have a choice. That being said, the guitar is being shipped back to the seller and my customer has to wait until he receives it to actually get the refund.

Couldn’t agree more with the idea of buying in person. Sadly, that’s getting harder and harder to do with so much being transacted online.
 

AtomicModern

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How does it sound btw ?
Surprisingly good - whoever built it did a decent enough job, minus the obvious fails with respect to the truss rod and the other problems. The Fralin noiseless P90 sounds pretty nice!

Just doing a quick internet search of kit juniors that are on the market, this looks like it might be one of those “Precision Guitar Kits” that are available online.
 

AtomicModern

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I buy a pretty decent number of vintage parts for customers when I’m doing restorations and I’ve been more than a little disappointed at the number of garbage listings I come across on the various online sites... this kind of stuff is a little too common for my taste...

Here’s a current example:

7CAAABC6-1F8A-406B-B7E9-C10D32D80A8E.jpeg


I mean, come on...
 

ajory72

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The perils of online buying it seems, I guess the greed gets to some people, to me its like (some) tradies - they're more than happy to show you all the great pics of works they say they've done, but when it comes to brass tacks they fall short... I've heard many a tale over the years of the car salesman running after their prospective buyer like some rabid gazelle, chasing them down to try and prove they have better quality goods in the next lot.... only to one day be the subject of this myself! the mind boggles at the desperation of some people. Which brings me to wonder if the seller in this case thought he could pass a quick one off to pay the utilities.... perhaps the normal honest approach is getting the person no-where and pennies are short in an era where people are spending more on holidays and their kids than they are on that often coveted object that will complete the life. Who knows but the seller.....

However I would like to see pics of the whole guitar if possible - not to point out all the tells of where the buyer went wrong, as is counter productive and offensive - but I am very interested in seeing this guitar.
 

izzwardo

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Some People suck. What a bummer and I feel they should be called out to protect other buyers. My 2 cents. Id also love to see the guitar. I am glad he was smart about paying in such a way as to protect himself.
 

eric ernest

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There is a vintage dealer from Florida on eBay that has such a high number of clearly incorrect and outright fake parts that it is shocking. Does he not know that people are making a judgement about his shop every time someone sees his listings????

Unbelievable.

Here’s a current example:

View attachment 371481

I mean, come on...
 

AtomicModern

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There is a vintage dealer from Florida on eBay that has such a high number of clearly incorrect and outright fake parts that it is shocking. Does he not know that people are making a judgement about his shop every time someone sees his listings????

Unbelievable.
I couldn’t agree more, Eric. It’s truly ridiculous.
 

AtomicModern

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I’ll definitely post photos of the guitar once the refund is secured. I don’t want to do anything at this point to jeopardize that.
 

sws1

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As I learned all too well this weekend, the consignment business at some big dealers seems to be nothing more than..."Take what the owner sells you and echo it to the website. We'll deal with an issue if and when it comes up."

I can sorta see that happening with a cheaper guitar, particularly if it immediately looks/feels right. But on 5 and 6 figure guitars, I can't exactly chalk it up to laziness or being too busy.
 

Fugazi39

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This is one of the reasons why I don't trust anyone. I really don't know how anyone can buy a refin vintage guitar, especially a Fender. The market is awash in bogus refin "vintage" Fenders. Yikes.
 

AtomicModern

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This is one of the reasons why I don't trust anyone. I really don't know how anyone can buy a refin vintage guitar, especially a Fender. The market is awash in bogus refin "vintage" Fenders. Yikes.
I think a lot of it comes down to budget - a refin is a good way to get a nice, player’s grade vintage guitar for a lot less money. Of course, it helps when the guitar isn’t a fugazi...
 

Deftone

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Having purchased a couple older Gibsons and a Fender recently, I was thinking there is a a definite need for a vintage guitar authenticating service that could provide some sort of proof of authenticity.
 

AtomicModern

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Having purchased a couple older Gibsons and a Fender recently, I was thinking there is a a definite need for a vintage guitar authenticating service that could provide some sort of proof of authenticity.
That’s where experts like Eric Ernest come in - if it’s a big enough purchase, it’s definitely worthwhile to hire him to vet what you’re buying.
 

Casella

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I purchased this guitar guys. I usually know what to look for and I had suspicions on this one; however given it was on Reverb I thought well the worst that could happen is i get my money back. Well we know how that ended up...

I got scorched on this one, but it happens!
 

AtomicModern

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I purchased this guitar guys. I usually know what to look for and I had suspicions on this one; however given it was on Reverb I thought well the worst that could happen is i get my money back. Well we know how that ended up...

I got scorched on this one, but it happens!
Did your refund come through today? If so, I’d like to post some pics of the guitar.
 

Zentar

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So, some more relevant facts:

The Junior was advertised as having a vintage bumblebee cap, but replacement pots; an original bridge, original studs, original knobs, original truss rod cover, pickguard, cavity cover, jackplate, and a Lindy Fralin P90.

How does one identify the Lindy Fralin pickup and not notice the pup route issue? How do you state that each of these parts are genuine without doing some investigating to confirm this? Needless to say, there’s not a single original vintage part on the guitar, with the exception of the jackplate. The “vintage bumblebee” is a modern Gibson bumblebee.

Here’s the bridge:

View attachment 371462
View attachment 371463

Studs:

View attachment 371464

Bizarre bushings:

View attachment 371466


While I do give the seller credit for offering a refund, the Guitar was bought in such a way that the buyer was fully protected on the purchase. In other words, he didn’t really have a choice. That being said, the guitar is being shipped back to the seller and my customer has to wait until he receives it to actually get the refund.

Couldn’t agree more with the idea of buying in person. Sadly, that’s getting harder and harder to do with so much being transacted online.
The copper colored bushings are the result of bad relicking. They soaked chrome bushings in gun bluing which removes the chrome and leaves the copper.
 




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