Right I am sick and tired of seeing these Chinese les pauls being sold on ebay as made in USA guitars. I am sure there is a small factory in China that nestles in a village calles 'usa' But that's where it has to stop.
FORGET the serial number on the back of the headstock...it means nothing. The seller will quote the gibson database that sellers of these guitars use and it is the same data base that the fakers use to add the serial number to the headstock of their copies/fakes. The catch 22 here is that the data base is there for all to see.. take a number of an existing guitar and just stamp it onto the copy.. ah.. instant credability.. NO... a copy/fake
HOW TO SPOT A FAKE/COPY les paul or other gibson guitar.
Look at the neck, at the back. Most copies have a scarf joint , ie there is join in the neck, ususaly it is close to the head stock . look close as you can miss this. GIBSON do not join guitar necks.. If it has a join.. it is a copy.
Look at the frets ends, Gibson leave the binding high and the little ends are called NIBS.. most fakes just have the frets finished over the binding... DO NOT LISTEN if the seller tells you it has been refretted.... ask for a reciept and ask who did it..
Look at the small position dots along the neck set into the binding. are they too small? Yes, they probably are.
Look at the headstock. Look at the GIBSON LOGO... Above the logo does there seem to be too much wood before the ' open book ' headstock end? These copies always seem to have slightly too long a head stock.
Look at the back of the guitar... is there a join in the two piece back? Is it central? If it isn't.. it's propably a copy/fake. There are three joins??? Hey it's a fake.
I could go on and on and on.. Buyer beware... These guitars come with books, certiticates, all the paperwork to make you think that you have a £1000 guitar at a knock down price.. You don't, at best.... you have a decent playable copy but it's only worth 200- 300 quid tops. You'd have done better to buy an Epiphone.. which I may add are also faked... and ... copied in the same factories.
DO YOUR HOME WORK.
I have seen..'Found in old barn' les pauls that some trickster has aged and dirtied up, 'antiqued' etc etc
Found under the bed... it was my dying uncles. etc etc etc.
There should be an alarm bell that rings in your head when the sellers tells you it was her husbands but he's left now.. It's my brothers.. friends.. I know nothing about guitars etc etc
The best fake/copy I have seen for sale on the internet was a 1959 les paul standard found in an attic.. (Yea, right it was..) The seller had aged it, dirtied it all up, even added the PAF stickers on the pickups. he'd done a great job.. Brilliant. BUT... there was dirt where dirt never goes, there was a little mistake here and a little mistake there. The price was thousands... This guitar was a mess, a good 1970's copy that was so good at the time that they called them lawsuit guitars...
THINK ON. Why would a genuine 1959 les paul be for sale on an internet auction site? A real 1959 les paul sells itself. and DEALERS have them. This guitar sold for 11 thousands. ELEVEN THOUSAND.. It was a fake. I wonder if the guy who has it even realises it's a lemon...
So... buyer beware. get to see and play the guitar before you part with any cash... Oh and yes. To an average joe, faking these guitars is as easy as falling off a chair. If you are happy owning a copy/fake then buy one. But it is not a Gibson, it never was and it never will be. Don't let these tricksters con you.