How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

djwilbanks

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So I recently came into possession of a Chinese Fake Les Paul (hereafter known as "fake"). I decided it would be cool to get my hands on one of these so I could pick it apart a little, get some hands on time with the enemy so to speak. And no, I didn't buy it or pay one, red cent for it.

The main idea of this post is hi-res pictures of the fake so those of you with question can more easily determine if your LP or one you're looking to buy is fake.

Now on to the pics.


^Here you can see the misaligned tuners.


^Headstock pitch


^Here you can see the seams of the pieces the body. I can see three seams total with a veneer on the back.


^Here's a good shot of the scarf joint showing the multi-piece neck. To my knowledge, no Les Paul ever had a scarf joint. The ones that did have multi-piece necks had a volute (which is up nearer the headstock). This particular guitar also has a small piece at the heel for a total of 4 pieces. (And yes, I know my room is messy, I'm packing to move! :laugh2:)



^ As you can see here, the fret-edge binding or "nibs" found on Real Gibsons is not there. This almost immediately marks a fake, as the only time nibs should be missing from a real Gibson is due to a refret.


^Here you can see the obviously skewed knobs.




^In this shot you can see obviously over-sized washers, and the headstock is shaped incorrectly. (Take a look at a real one and you'll see what they got wrong) Also you can see that the Gibson logo is slightly askew.


^This part is my favorite. It says, "Gibson Original Eqiupment, 'Bench Tesred / Buikkt Approvud'" :laugh2: And you can't see it in the pics, but the skewed knobs lead to a strange shaped control cavity, again, look at a real one and you'll see what I mean.

EDIT to add pictures of differences between the fake and the real deal.

This next one is one of the easiest to spot. Unlike Epiphones which vary between MIK and MIC, 99% of Gibson Les Pauls that sport the 2vol/2tone configuration have parallel knobs, if you were to draw a line through them you'd get two parallel lines. The fakes will have knobs that are skewed. If you were to draw a line through them they would intersect at some point in space.



The second one is of the headstock, and highlights the difference between the Gibson logos and the tops of the open-book. The fake headstock is also wider at the top than the traditional Gibson headstock. And as Dennis pointed out earlier, the dimple in the top of the Gibson is deeper and more radical than the relaxed dimple in the middle of the fake's. Also, if you look, at the Gibson logo the "G" and the "n" almost perfectly parallel where the fake's both slant over toward the treble side. Not all fakes are this way, but nine time out of ten the logo slants inward or outward is almost never perfectly parallel.




This last one shows a more drastic difference in the headstock "ears."



Also a few more things to point out. There are no thumbwheels on the bridge. The TRC goes out over past half of the first washer. And also I believe in a lot of fake Gibbies I have seen, the lettering is a lot thicker. Also the guitar just looks fugly too. I wouldn't pick that thing up if I saw it at a store to try out.
 

Jason

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Well if you're uploading the fullsized photos, it's going to be slow... if you're on cable/dsl your upload rate is like 1/4 what your download rate is...
 

djwilbanks

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Well if you're uploading the fullsized photos, it's going to be slow... if you're on cable/dsl your upload rate is like 1/4 what your download rate is...
I know this, and I'm not. I've re-sized them in photoshop, but my internet is slow, so my uploading is even more so.

Just two more to upload.
 

Jason

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So how does it sound/play? :laugh2:
 

ojedad23

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post a pic of those removable nibs that fakes come with.
 

qwank

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is that Sables wine red custom?
 

JMV

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Did you get a $400 check, too?

Good thread, by the way.
 

djwilbanks

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So how does it sound/play? :laugh2:
Haha, honestly? Its not too bad. Very Epiphone-ish. The pickups have some static and are slightly microphonic and the pots do very little.

And You can clearly see the lack of nibs in a few of the pics. Sorry, OJ, mine didn't come with the removable types. Must be an extra option.

The whole idea of this thread is because some people keep asking about if this Les Paul is fake or if that Les Paul is fake. If it looks like this one, its fake. Simple.
 

ojedad23

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I think I can figure out who this guitar came from, can I take a guess?
 

JPaul

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Excellent, thanks very much for this and for pointing out the clues.
 

djwilbanks

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I think I can figure out who this guitar came from, can I take a guess?
Shhh, he'll reveal himself if he chooses. Plently of people already know, but I think they're all agreed on keeping quiet.
 

qwank

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how is the lower screw for the truss rod cover attached?
 

djwilbanks

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how is the lower screw for the truss rod cover attached?
Not sure, I haven't quite gotten to the taking it apart part yet. :laugh2:

EDIT: Just checked, it actually has a place for the lower screw just like a real Gibson. This is one of the later fakes after they wised up to the two screw truss rod cover. If there's a truss rod in it, the nut is WAAAY down in the cavity.
 

ojedad23

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I say you completely turn it around, route it for p90s,upgrade electronics, remove finish, probably not worth it but you'll get some experience.
 

djwilbanks

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I say you completely turn it around, route it for p90s,upgrade electronics, remove finish, probably not worth it but you'll get some experience.
Not my guitar to do so. And I have some experience stripping poly that I do not ever want to do it again.

I borrowed this from a friend who lent it to me so I could make this thread for you guys.
 

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Most excellent thread!

This means what I think it means then :thumb:

Got a shot inside of the control cavity?
 




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