Fake instruments only produce sour notes

July 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

The process of distinguishing a real guitar from a fraud is a little like Photo Hunt. You’ve likely seen it before: two near identical pictures are placed side-by-side and the goal is to identify as many differences between them as possible. The discrepancies are usually small, like a missing clock hand or different pieces of jewelry worn by identical people in each photo. The whole thing plays like a puzzle game.

And while Photo Hunt can be hours of fun, the process of separating genuine guitars from their fraudulent counterparts is a more serious event that happens to work in the same way. Placed next to one another, there are slight dissimilarities that reveal the impostors: the neck of a sham guitar is flat where an authentic Gibson rig has a slight curvature as the neck meets the head. Or, if you pull out the pickup (the magnet wrapped in a coil that transfers vibrations to the amp), the cavity where it rests is painted black on a fake, but red on a real Gibson. These are but a few. We point you to the Gibson website for a comprehensive guide.

Like all bogus goods, the size and scope of these inconsistencies depends on a number of factors including the manufacturer of the components and the final assembly. As a result, the process of identifying the bogus products may require expert analysis or be as simple as pointing out some glairng differences. Either way, it’s daunting. But never forget that behind all these minute differences is a large collection of victims.

And now the good news – progress is being made.

In a significant win for guitar makers, Li Dan, of Beijing, has finally lost the game of high stakes Photo Hunt she’s been playing for years. The Electric Guitar Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (EGACC), the industry group that represents the guitar makers in the fight against counterfeiting, has successfully fought for the arrest and prosecution of Dan for her ownership and operation of multiple websites where she sold sham guitars advertised as originals.

After years of petitioning and accumulation of evidence by the EGACC, Dan received a sentence of three years from the Chinese government and had over 1,200 guitars confiscated from her warehouse, 861 of which were Gibson and Epiphone branded. We congratulate the EGACC and Chinese government for their fantastic example of the multi-national cooperation necessary to fight the fake trade. Collaboration is the best way to combat what has become the underbelly of globalization and though it’s clearly a difficult process, the results are well worth the strain.

You get what you pay for: hollow instruments produce hollow notes. If we are the music we play, it’s time to be vigilant in choosing authentic instruments.

Read the entire story.


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