Skip to comments.Fake Guitars Seized From Oakdale Music Shop (Counterfeit Gibsons)
Posted on 09/18/2007 5:14:02 PM PDT by Drew68
An Oakdale music store owner was arrested Monday for selling fake versions of the legendary Gibson guitar at his Montauk Highway shop, the Suffolk police said.
Investigators seized 15 fake Gibsons from the store, the police said.
Bernard Musumeci, 44, of 2 Domino Way, Centereach, surrendered to the police Monday night, and was charged with trademark counterfeiting.
After he was released, Musumeci turned over another 18 guitars from his home, and Gibson Guitar Corp. experts will determine whether they're authentic.
The arrest came after a two-month investigation by Fifth Squad detectives, working in conjunction with the Nashville-based Gibson company.
After authorities were alerted that Musumeci may have been selling fakes at Oakdale Music, at 925 Montauk Hwy., an undercover security expert from Gibson determined that several guitars from the store were, indeed, counterfeit.
Suffolk detectives applied for and executed a search warrant earlier this week and the 15 guitars, all of which were determined to be counterfeit, were seized at the music store.
Now based in Nashville, the original Gibson Guitar and Mandolin Company was founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Mich., by shoe clerk and musician Orville Gibson.
Gibson now produces what many consider the world's foremost guitars, especially reissues of the Les Paul model first manufactured in 1952.
Authentic Gibsons are pricey. An original 1959 Gibson Les Paul Flame Top guitar was listed on eBay Monday at a buy-it-now price of nearly $100,000. And a 2007 reissue of the same guitar was listed for $4,500.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...
Many of these guitars are handcrafted by Chinese and Korean luthiers and so closely mimic the originals that experts from Gibson had to be called in to verify that the guitars were fake. In many cases, these instruments far surpass Gibsons in quality and playability!
I was gonna say that they are probably a step up from Gibson’s current productions... but ya beat me to it!
Now that's interesting.
I used to own a J-45, many years ago.
wait till we get swamped with Supernotes.
I have just purchased a 2007 Flying V and it’s a beauty
I have an old SG I bought used for $75 over 30 years ago. Great action. Great guitar.
Nah... I already own the real deal :-)
However, there are two noteworthy makers in California who built flawless Gibson knock-offs. The late Kris Derrig built 1959 copies and became famous when one of his Les Pauls was procured by Slash and used to record GnR's Appetite for Destruction. Another luthier goes only by the name Peter "Max" Baranet and still builds them. These guitars are identical to Gibson Les Pauls, including the "Gibson" logo on the headstock. They sell for well above the $20,000 range and are highly sought after.
Gibson's quality control leaves much to be desired these days. I would never buy a Gibson without playing it first. There are some gems and some klunkers. When I bought my Les Paul Classic, I didn't even need to plug it in. As soon as I held it in my hands, I knew I would be walking out the store with it!
Funny thing though, when I feel like jamming out, I almost always reach for my Highway One Stratocaster. It cost about 1/3rd of what my Paul set me back but I just love it! My Paul is just too d*mn heavy!
Interesting statement. I suppose the chinese and koreans will knock off basses, drums and cymbals next, then corner the market on musical instruments.....oh wait. to late..... On an a side note, I have a Lee Jackson Metaltronics (complete with instructions signed by Lee Jackson) and a few very nice really beautiful old tube amps that I will keep for my kids.....enjoy your chinese junk.....
Heritage guitars are better than the real deal.
Agree! I also like the fact that there are a lot of frets and they are all accessible.
I know some people who have a Tokai Love Rock and Edwards Les Paul copies. I personally wouldn’t mind getting one of those. Then again, I tried out one of the newer Epiphone LP Standard flametops and was impressed with how the workmanship had improved. I’ve been a Strat guy, but also have a 335TD. Would love to get an LP & possibly a Tele.
Here's "my baby:"
And "my baby" on a visit to "her papa" for some loving care last December:
That's Carl Thompson with my bass that he built back in December of 1975, one of the first dozen or so he built.
If it is still in good shape it would now be worth about 50 times what you paid for it.
As a teenager back in the 80s, I had a friend who wanted to trade me a mid 1960s SG with a Vibrola tailpiece and trapezoid inlays for a pair of cheap skis I had just received for Christmas. I turned him down. Those skis are long gone and that SG is worth well over $10,000.
The mistakes we make...
A lot of people think so. there is a great debate going on over on the various guitar forums about Gibson vs. Heritage. The Heritage Les Pauls used a lot of the features that Gibson used in the 1950s but discontinued later for cost-cutting reasons.
I didn't think Heritage was still in business? I had figured the Gibson's lawyers had long ago shut them down.
Having owned several of these now “vintage guitars” I don’t see what all the hubub was about. In most cases, the originals had very poor quality of materials and workmanship. I guess that it that they are now 50 years old and that is the allure.
My latest axe is a custom guitar where the materials and workmanship are second to perfect and about the same price as the average Gibson.
I have a mid-70’s Gibson ES347 which is pretty smooth and of excellent quality. Many of the mid-70’s to mid-80’s Les Paul’s had some pretty funky quirks about them with setting up the intonation and harmonics and would not sustain very well.
Nope; not worth going digging for...
I’ve been buying and selling old guitars since about 1968. I used to insist on playing older, vintage guitars with fetish value. But as the prices of these older instruments has climbed, I now feel that much of the hoopla is pure fetish. There are valid arguments on both sides of the old vs. new issue.
On one hand, to some extent, most musical instruments (other than the violin family) are mechanical devices plus sounding devices. It is true that for most acoustic instruments, aged woods can impart tonal qualities that simply cannot be duplicated with newer woods. That is, if they were quality instruments to begin with. Not all old ones are great guitars. It is also true that SOME high quality older instruments have certain intangible inspirational qualities to them. Some of this is imaginary, but some is not. I’ve owned and played older guitars that have amazing “vibe” to them.
But, as a fan of Strats and having owned well over a hundred vintage examples over the years, I recently bought a near new one on ebay, never having actually played it. I knew, though, from playing others of that specific model, that this model had a neck profile that I really liked, was unavailable elsewhere, and was a precision-made deal. I’m about the last one who would reco a new guitar over and old one, but this one utterly devastates any one of the six 35+ year old ones I own. Maybe tonally it isn’t quite as good as my favorite old ones, but it’s better in every quantifiable way. And after you run it through effects and whatever, the tonal differences are pretty much swamped.
Better or worse, older or newer, is pretty subjective. I owned a 1959 Strat that was an absolute dog, both sound wise and playability wise. I’ve owned a very low-end Squier guitar, which is a Korean $139 Strat that had a killer, knockout neck and made a super guitar with a drop-in pickup upgrade ($150). I will say that a brand new or near new guitar (or most any other instrument) will tend to have much more uniform mechanics. Likewise, older instruments in the era I happen to prefer (say 1957-1968) more often than not have wear-based mechanical issues that (in some, many cases) you can’t fix because fixing them will de-originalize them, and/or they are too valuable to take out and jam on in a sleazy bar. In fact, the more valuable some of these things get, the more they seem like liabilities.
You are correct. The vintage market has been taken over by collectors driving the prices of sub-standard guitars through the roof. 1970s era Gibsons and Fenders used to be considered inferior (not that there weren't some good ones made during the 1970s) but now command top dollar.
Even today's Indonesian, Korean and Chinese made Squires and Epiphones are often better instruments, playability-wise, than 1970s era American made Fenders and Gibsons but they have no collectible value.
|Chinese Les Paul
I have a Samick. It is my "take to the boat guitar" for when I deploy to sea. It is basically a double cutaway Les Paul with a set neck. I replaced the p'ups with DiMarzios. It is a great little guitar and a lot of fun to play! Since it only set me back about $250, I don't worry about it. It has great action and a nice, slim neck. It is heavier than my Les Paul, though!
I have a Godin SD that has excellent sound that is made in Canada and assembled in N.H. Great clean sound and versatile, an excellent jack-of-all-trades guitar!
How can I tell the difference between an original Gibson Air Guitar and a cheap knock off?
Boy, that one would fool almost anybody! When they are that new(ish), you can’t even judge from tarnished solder joints or older pots/caps inside the body cavity.
One of the guitarists in my band owns 9 genuine Les Pauls. To each his own I guess.
That's why the "vintage re-issue" and "reliced" lines of guitars have become so popular. Owners of valuable, collectible vintage instruments can leave their priceless guitars at home and hit the road with a worn, "reliced" version that is identicle to their prized vintage guitar but worth only a fraction of the original.
I did some google research on these Chicom Gibsons when I noticed them en mass on eBay last year. It was something about buying a ‘59 Les Paul re-issue for $20 with $175 shipping that made me curious.
End result was I found an Chicom goods importer website where they had thousands of items that had to be ordered in bulk and could be customized to your specs, whatever you wanted it to look like they would do; The musical instrument inventory section showed a picture of a knock-off Les Paul.
My $150 Chinese Epiphone plays better than my 1972 Les Paul Anniversary special (which I sold).
There are other teletale signs as well.
For one. The headstock is too big. The inlays on the neck are wrong and the ‘bell’ cover is shaped wrong and also too big.
It’s like they took a Les Paul and an Epiphone and combined them.
I’m sure if you took it about it probably has cheap electronics in it as well.
This is true, but the ‘57 “relic’ed” Strats I’ve seen still seem to cost at least in the upper $2K range.
I’m personally fond of the “Strat Plus” models that were made from about 1989 to about 1997. These had the roller nut, Sperzel or Schaller tuners, and the Lace pu’s (which are not that great sounding but they are loud and resistant to dimmer noise) AFAIK, these were the first Fenders to have a “rolled” finish process applied to the fret-edges which is very friendly to my hand. Great “out” guitar.
about = apart
I've seen a few of those as well. they have bolt on necks and "Gipson" stamped on the headstock. Only a beginner might confuse one of these cheap, plywood guitars with a real Gibson. They are the $40 Rolex of guitars. What this article talks about are knock-offs that are so good that it takes experts to be able to determine the guitar's authenticity.
My guess is that if you a musician and bought a $2000 guitar that was so convincingly copied from the real deal that it takes and expert to determine it was fake, you probably still bought a good guitar. Now if you are a collecter and you bought a bogus '59 Les Paul for $200,000, then that's a whole different story altogether.
“How can I tell the difference between an original Gibson Air Guitar and a cheap knock off?”
Chicom air guitars are easily recognizable due to a higher level of pollution.
There lies the problem....the Original Poster, no doubt selling chinese knock offs on EBay......would like you to belive it's just a mystery that chinese and koreans are selling guitars, that just happen to have every marking, down to the proofs...on the American market.......
What do you think a 1962 Vega acoustic would be worth today?
What I noticed was the Grover tuners seemed a little inaccurate, and the stamped letters on the back of the peghead seemed almost too clean! Also, the edge inlay around the headstock seemed almost too clean, compared to genuine examples. I’ve owned/bought/sold plenty of Les Pauls but I was never a big fan of them.
Beg to differ. They're all over this story on lespaulforum.com and on thegearpage.net. The guy was, indeed, selling Chinese LP fakes. They brought in an "expert" to make an airtight case against the guy.
Fake in the sense of counterfeit, not fake in the sense of "not real."
I beg to differ. They are made "after hours" in the Epiphone factories in China, but they use crap wood (usually plywood). They're not anywhere close to real Gibsons in terms of construction or playability. These things flooded ebay about a year ago, and it was just a matter of time before they started showing up in the US on resale.
Heritage is for sale due to a factory fire. Gibson never sued them because Henry J. rightfully realized that, frankly, Heritage wasn't their competition.