Spotting fake vintage Gibsons?

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7/14/2018 8:01 PM

I stopped by an auction house today that is getting ready to auction off a big collection of guitars, and I went to check out one les paul I had seen a picture of, and found several old (and very beat up) Gibsons, that I had my doubts on their authenticity. I looked up a couple that seemed to check out, a '75? Melody Maker, and a possible mid 60s ES125t, but there was a Les Paul that was worn pretty hard, and according to the serial number, is a '57. It just did not feel right though, headstock was bare except a Gibson decal, no script Les Paul, or name on the truss rod cover, knobs seemed a bit off. I snapped a couple pictures just to try and ease my curiosity, but didn't get too detailed because I felt convinced it was a fake. But after convincing myself the other 2 were legit, I'm having 2nd thoughts. Did any LP models in '57 not have Gibson inlayed in the headstock?

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7/14/2018 8:02 PM

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7/14/2018 8:18 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/14/2018 8:20 PM

I'm not sure how they are doing after filing for bankruptcy, but I've emailed Gibson's customer service to verify authenticity on a LP I was buying. They spotted a fake one immediately, and also gave me the history of the LP Traditional I ended up buying.

Edit: I'll also say I think you're right, something seems off with that '57, although if it's a ripoff it wasn't as obvious as the one I tried to buy.

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Nick
-2015 Grom grocery getter
-2011 Road King Classic
-2010 WR250X supermoto

7/14/2018 8:33 PM

I might email Gibson, that would probably be the sure thing to do, after googling common fakes, this isn't ticking any of the fake boxes, but it just felt off. The fretboard inlays looked poorly done, combined with the Gibson decal instead of inlay... it just seemed way too good to be true. All the guitars were in fairly poor shape, very old strings, the LP standard I went to look at had some fretboard wear, and a few strings weren't sitting right in the bridge. A tiny part of me is holding onto the hope that the auction house just has no idea what they have and the guy just treated it like any old guitar.

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7/15/2018 7:03 AM

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Here's the archtop that looks to be legit, possibly a late 50s-mid 60s ES125t. It's a little rough, hopefully I can pick it up cheap!
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7/16/2018 9:13 AM

This always a good site for information. http://guitarhq.com/gibson.html

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7/17/2018 4:13 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/17/2018 8:39 AM

All Les Paul Standards* made before '58 have a gold finish. It has pretty decent historical specs other than that, making me think it's a newer guitar aged to look like an old sunburst LP.

*Edited as I forgot to add this magic distinction. But custom or standard, there are no 1957 sunbursts.

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BT20 ๐Ÿ‘‰ 02/20/20 ๐Ÿ‘‰#TICKLETIMEBITCHES

7/17/2018 4:47 AM

davis224 wrote: Photo
Here's the archtop that looks to be legit, possibly a late 50s-mid 60s ES125t. It's a little rough, hopefully I can pick it ...more

I think of that as the "Gary Clark Jr. guitar." He was playing one a lot around Austin at one point and Google Images has a few shots of him with it. Good luck on snaring that one--

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7/17/2018 7:09 AM

freebroctickle wrote:

All Les Paul Standards* made before '58 have a gold finish. It has pretty decent historical specs other than that, making me ...more

What?

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7/17/2018 8:11 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/17/2018 8:35 AM

freebroctickle wrote:

All Les Paul Standards* made before '58 have a gold finish. It has pretty decent historical specs other than that, making me ...more

borg wrote:

What?

The "sunburst" Les Pauls (ie. the finish you see on the guitar OP posted) were not made in 1957. Aside from a few very rare custom factory orders, ALL Les Paul standard models made from '52-'57 had goldtop finishes. Here is Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, playing an authentic 1957 Les Paul:
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OP's guitar has been made to look like a '58-'60 LP sunburst, but is not. The cheap plastic and metal parts give it away immediately, as does the "branded" 1957 style serial number. Lots of players purchase "'Burst copycat" guitars as they are considered THE most valuable and desirable to have - and real sunbursts cost hundreds of thousands to own. Gibson themselves have sold reissues for decades now.

Basically, this isn't a terrible guitar at all, but "real" it ain't.

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BT20 ๐Ÿ‘‰ 02/20/20 ๐Ÿ‘‰#TICKLETIMEBITCHES

7/17/2018 8:19 AM

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54 Les Paul Custom. I have a reissue made in 72.
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7/17/2018 8:36 AM

borg wrote: Photo

54 Les Paul Custom. I have a reissue made in 72.
w00t w00t w00t That...is incredible. You are a lucky man indeed.
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BT20 ๐Ÿ‘‰ 02/20/20 ๐Ÿ‘‰#TICKLETIMEBITCHES

7/17/2018 8:48 AM

That one's an original it's not mine. Mine is a reissue but none the less, it was first issued in 54. Fretless Wonder. Some people say they hate the frets. I think it's jealousy.

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7/17/2018 9:12 AM

borg wrote:

That one's an original it's not mine. Mine is a reissue but none the less, it was first issued in 54. Fretless Wonder. Some ...more

Forgot to add the word *Standard (vs LP Custom, which came in black) to my spiel. Dumb pre coffee brain. Still doesn't change the fact there were no 1957 sunburst LP's of any type, and I certainly hope the sunburst style guitar OP posted isn't sold as one!

A 1972 '54 Custom reissue is nothing to sniff at, I would love to have one of those w00t I bet it plays amazing. And IA about the "fretless wonders," haters gonna hate! tongue That's how you know it's pre-'74 (or so), though I hate thinking how many of these guys got refretted.

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BT20 ๐Ÿ‘‰ 02/20/20 ๐Ÿ‘‰#TICKLETIMEBITCHES

7/17/2018 5:02 PM

freebroctickle wrote:

All Les Paul Standards* made before '58 have a gold finish. It has pretty decent historical specs other than that, making me ...more

Gibson confirmed that was not a legit Gibson in an email. I had to work late, so I couldn't be there in person, I shot the auctioneer a few top bids, I offered $1200 on the '96 Standard, $500 on a Swamp Ash PRS (that had a pretty decent gash through the finish), and $400 on the ES125. All of them were put away wet and abused, the Les Paul was in best shape, and I'd rate it fair. I know I low balled the PRS and Es125, but they're in rough shape, and it's an auction. Hoping they dont convince someone in the audience to fork over top dollar for some guitars in poor, but playable shape.

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7/18/2018 3:22 AM

Well, I'm empty handed. They all ended up going about as high as I could imagine anyone paying for their condition, $1700 for the LP, $800 for the ES125, $900 for the PRS. Oh well, more money for the guitars I already wanted to build!

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7/22/2018 9:09 AM

My grandpa had an original Les Paul something or other, apparently he knew him and hangout w him during the period of development, well when I was about 6 I found his guitar in the case, broke a few strings playing w the adjustments....he seemed angry. It had a note written by Les Paul on the back, after my grandpa died his daughter from his 2nd marriage got addicted to meth and pawned it for like 3 grand and never got it back.

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7/22/2018 11:28 PM

I love vintage guitars that have character. I picked up an early 70โ€™s Gibson SG that is an ugly duckling but itโ€™s my favorite in the arsenal. The laqeur is checked/cracked everywhere, thereโ€™s 2 holes near the knobs, screw holes from a diff bridge, diff tuners and truss cover..I paid $500 for it. The guy said, you sure you wanna drive out here to look at it? Itโ€™s pretty rough. I told him that was what I was looking for. Itโ€™s got mojo

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7/23/2018 6:51 AM

I love beaters like that. If they are set up right they sound just as good as the pretty ones.

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7/30/2018 8:00 PM

Do yourself a favor and buy a California made Strat and never look back. for $1700 you can get an American standard deluxe and it will be the last guitar you'll ever want to play.

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7/31/2018 8:28 AM

borg wrote:

I love beaters like that. If they are set up right they sound just as good as the pretty ones.

Exactly this.

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BT20 ๐Ÿ‘‰ 02/20/20 ๐Ÿ‘‰#TICKLETIMEBITCHES

7/31/2018 8:30 AM

Kelz87 wrote:

I love vintage guitars that have character. I picked up an early 70โ€™s Gibson SG that is an ugly duckling but itโ€™s my favorite ...more

Wow, great find. You're not kidding about mojo.

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BT20 ๐Ÿ‘‰ 02/20/20 ๐Ÿ‘‰#TICKLETIMEBITCHES