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So you are after a Gibson Les Paul on Ebay and it's your first Gibson. Go for a Standard or a Custom Les Paul and I mean Les Paul single cutaway, not an SG Les Paul or double cutaway. Look for only two fixing screws on the truss rod cover plate, not three. Look for a round locking ring on the treble/rythym switch, not a hexagonal locking nut. Look for a set neck, not a bolt-on. Look for the serial number or email the seller and get the serial number then check it with Gibson via their website, they will happily confirm whether you are looking at a 'real' Gibson or not. If the seller gives says he can't make out the serial number or the number is a bit 'dodgy', get him to give you the code numbers from the volume and tone pots and send them to Gibson. It is of immense help to them if you send pictures of both sides of the headstock and the front of the body when you email them. Compare the ebay sellers pics with pics from the Gibson website. If you are at all wary of the auction listing and the seller asks for, for example, 14 days to deliver, or the English language in the listing is 'dodgy', or the seller has zero previous sales and zero feedback, and particularly if all of this sort of stuff coincides with the seller offering a 'rare' Gibson e.g. 1961 Gibson 335 Dot with a stupidly low starting price and/or no reserve. Then copy the title text of the sellers item and paste it into Google with Google set to 'Images' and you will probably find the original photo used by the seller but stolen from the website you are now viewing. Email the seller and quiz them on your suspicions, ask if you can 'come and view' the guitar even if you live miles away (you don't have to go, do you?) but this will make the fraudster panic. Do not accept any buy now offers which come to you from the seller, after you have emailed them because you are wary, it's a con to get your money, why would someone offer you a Gibson probably worth thousands before an auction ends for  say under one thousand pounds? I'll tell you, because they don't have the guitar it's a con, don't fall for it. Do not bid too high, remember you can buy a nice NEW flametop Standard for 1400 quid with NO POSTAGE  from you local reputable music store. Finally, you can inform ebay of your concerns and they will investigate the listing and remove it if required, do NOT bid on the guitar and in the interest of helping other bidders who have already bid on the item, you could email them and make the aware of your concerns if you can identify them and the item auction has been closed early by the fraudulant seller, I'd like to think that some other prospective bidder would warn me if the need arose. I hope this is helpful to you all out there, watch your hard earned cash and good luck.
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