New Les Paul. Possible fake pickups? Tampered? Debating returning.

InTheEvening

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Hi guys! So a few of you might know I recently got a new Les Paul standard 60’s from Guitar Center. It’s an awesome guitar, but after bringing it home I found out the bridge pickup was put in backwards, as seen here.


At first I assumed this was a Gibson QC issue or factory mistake but I got the suggestion the check baby picture and turns out the pickup was in the correct position from the factory.


I just got back from the Gutiar center and they confirmed the guitar was bought and returned once before to a store in a different state, they don’t know how it got to my store and is a bit fishy. We still don’t know who flipped it or why.

My biggest concern is if someone took out the original pickups to sell and put in some fakes.
They were nice enough to open up the guitar for me at the store to confirm the pickups are still original and we took photos of the undersides.
They seem legit. But what do you think? Do these look like the original 61R/T pickups? The stickers seem to match up but it’s still odd. Should I just return it and take the refund? I can order another standard 60’s but this one looks and plays great, so if pickups look to be original and everything seems okay, I would just keep this one. But the whole story is odd, even the staff were perplexed. They said it’s up to me if I want to exchange or return.



UPDATES!! this thread got massive so I thought I’d do a TLDR of what we found in the thread.

1) We confirmed from several other posters sharing their own pickup pictures that these look to be the original Gibson 61R/T pickups and do not look like fakes.

2) I posted pics of back cavity and all wiring and soldering joints look clean and untampered, so most likely pickups were not removed or switched. Seems someone just flipped the pickup...no idea why, but nothing seems to be tampered or damaged.

3) Guitar Center staff were helpful, they flipped the pickup back in the correct position for me and offered a full refund or exchange. I planned to exchange and tried several standard 60’s, a standard 50’s, and a Les Paul custom, but none of them played AND looked as well as the one I have. Some played well, others looked a bit nicer but none had both looks and feel down as well as this current one I have. No matter how much I tried to replace this guitar, nothing matched up. So with all the parts being original and my pickup back in the correct position, I’m keeping this guitar. A gem is a gem, even if it’s got an odd story behind it. :)
 
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Gitter

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I almost regret mentioning that I noticed it was backwards at this point. The pickup isn't fake and if it was put back in the correct way, then it's perfectly fine. Why would you want to return a guitar you obviously really like? Take a look around...people are getting guitars with fretboard, nut and finish issues. This is nothing.

As I said before, someone probably bought it and turned it around and then returned it. Some people do this. They think it will affect the tone but it's very minor and most can't even hear a difference. My guess is they didn't like the 61t and when they didn't hear a difference after flipping it they decided to return it. The only issue now is whether GC sold it as new when it was a return. Did you pay the full $2499?
 

CattleDog

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These are my 61’s I just popped out of my Classic yesterday

A8821108-3DDB-4396-8AD5-449DD9956B46.jpeg

Slightly different but I don’t know what that actually means.
 

InTheEvening

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I almost regret mentioning that I noticed it was backwards at this point. The pickup isn't fake and if it was put back in the correct way, then it's perfectly fine. Why would you want to return a guitar you obviously really like? Take a look around...people are getting guitars with fretboard, nut and finish issues. This is nothing.

As I said before, someone probably bought it and turned it around and then returned it. Some people do this. They think it will affect the tone but it's very minor and most can't even hear a difference. My guess is they didn't like the 61t and when they didn't hear a difference after flipping it they decided to return it. The only issue now is whether GC sold it as new when it was a return. Did you pay the full $2499?
No I appreciate you bringing it up. I’m not bothered by the flip but I want to make sure everything is original and as it should be.

Yeah, I got is new. I got a small discount for their Preidents Day sale but it was sold as brand new.

Like I said, if those are the original pickups I won’t return it. But in my other thread someone said it might have been replaced with fakes and I just want to be sure that’s not the case here.

That’s why I’m asking here. If the pickups seem fine, I’m most likely keeping it. I really don’t care if someone flipped it but since the whole story behind it is odd, I want to make sure I’m getting the original pickups and nothing else major is wrong.
 
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InTheEvening

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Well, honestly I can't imagine anyone looking at, playing and buying a Les Paul and not notice that. Have your sunglasses on? Or is this like, your first guitar?
It’s my first Gibson. I’ve got teles and a few super strats but I’m not familiar enough with Gibsons to know it was flipped just from looking. It’s also not something you look for, I checked out the frets, neck, nut, fretboard and binding...all the stuff that usually have issues. But I didn’t expect the pickup could be placed in wrong. Apparently the employees didn’t notice it either. It’s not something you expect to see.
 

CattleDog

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Stickers match, that’s good. The Gibson USA stamp isn’t there, but I guess that can vary?
could be they were low on supply, or because the Classic isn’t affiliated with an era they use modern plates instead of the PAF sticker?

I would definitely ask for a discount based on the hassle and them not being clear about it having been returned previously.
 

BadMongo

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If those aren't one of the ones with wonky overdone electronics, why not pop off the control cavity cover and check the solder joints? Also unsolicited advice - I might be anal, but I always set a cloth down over the top before setting the pickups on it.
 

Pop1655

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Well, honestly I can't imagine anyone looking at, playing and buying a Les Paul and not notice that. Have your sunglasses on? Or is this like, your first guitar?
A totally logical statement, but can’t swear I’d catch it. Thrill of the moment, taking in the looks of the top, running through the typical checklist; easy to see doing it to me. Sure, it’s something you know, but “make damn sure a pup isn’t backwards” isn’t on the standard checklist.

Don’t much care for GC not being straight up.
I would want a discount.

Nice guitar OP. Congrats.
 

tzd

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Pickups look more legit than the other example with modern Gibson USA backplate on... but open the control cavity and check the soldering as well.

If you like to keep it, ask GC for more discount since they sold you a used guitar as new.
 

spartacus slim

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Great colour, beautiful top! If that guitar was mine, I’d definitely be keeping it for those reasons plus the not inconsiderable matter of it being a great player.

Pickups look original to me, but if you want to set your mind at ease you could always post a couple of photos of the wiring inside the control cavity and I’m sure some very knowledgeable forum members will be able to confirm for you if the soldering there suggests a pickup swap may have occurred...

PS: I can totally understand missing the guitar’s backwards pickup due to the fact the rest of that thing is frickin’ beautiful!
 

BDW60

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What do we really expect with these return policies? Said it before in other threads — we cannot be shocked we’re not getting new guitars even if we are paying for new. Places with far more scruples than GC are doing this. But most of them would at least take the time to put the pickup back in correctly before shipping it out to the next guy.

There’s no way we’re getting risk free, 30 day demo/rental experiences without paying the piper. The stores sure as hell aren’t gonna take the hit. It always gets passed to the consumer.
 

PauloQS

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I’m about to list my original collection Gibson USA SG Standard ‘61, which have the same exact pickups I got a Custom Shop version of the same guitar as a belated birthday present to myself.

Your pickups look original. Maybe take a look at the solder joints, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked original. My guess is previous buyer or GC tech took it out just to look inside the pickup cavity and put them back on upside down.

These pickups are amazing by the way. If you set up the height correctly, it is virtually impossible to get a bad tone from them. I was very happy that my custom shop SG came with custom buckers with output reading nearly identical to the BB 61s.

Edit: My opinion don’t return it.
 
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CattleDog

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Odd - mine posted above seem to be the odd man out (with the stamped backs). Wonder if it because they’re 4 conductor in the Classic vs 2 conductor in the more vintage specific LP’s?
 


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