Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Logos & Clones

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by nosmo, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2012
    Lake Jackson, TX
    Quick question about brand name labels on clones.

    I mostly hang out in the Home Depot forum. I’m much more of a woodworker than an electrical tech, but I love the sound of tube amps. May make one one day.

    To that end, I have been lurking around here for a little bit. (I must say there are a BUNCH of really sharp folks here)

    So, here’s the question. Why is it OK to put brand name logos, tube charts, etc. on home made clone amps?

    I’m not trying to stir anything up, but most of the people building guitars think that is a no-no. The attitude here appears to be the opposite and I was just wondering why.
  2. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    As you suggested, people here will have different opinions, I imagine. My opinion is that my clone is not a "Fender." Taking a leaf from the notebook of others, I named my first clone, a 5f2-a, "Farber," which is a street in Princeton, NJ. This allowed me to reference Princeton indirectly, and it also looks like "Fender" from afar. I also made my homemade tube chart so that it referenced my amp in particular, including my city and state, and so forth, so that no one could ever be confused that this was a Fender amp. It is obvious in every other way that I am paying homage to Fender.

    IMG_9756.JPG 5f2a_Tube_Chart_v_3.jpg
  3. brobar

    brobar Tele-Holic

    May 30, 2017
    Not sure about the proper etiquette when it comes to amps... but when it comes to guitars I’m not going to put a Fender logo on one of my guitars unless it is a Fender guitar! So my Squiers will stay Squiers. But I don’t consider them “clones” so that may be irrelevant. However, I do know a guy who builds clones of old Porsche’s (none of this kit on a VW chassis stuff... hand built chassis) and if I ever order a 356 from him some day it sure as you know what better have a Porsche badge on it! So I guess if I’m ok with that (a Porsche badge on a Porsche clone) then I should be equally as ok with a Fender badge on a Fender clone. As long as I don’t misrepresent it as a real Porsche car or real Fender amp when selling it, I don’t see an issue.
  4. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2008
    i've built two tweed deluxe clones and i didn't once think about putting fender name on it. here is my logo.
  5. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2012
    Lake Jackson, TX

    Prof - your approach with the "close but custom" seems to be what a lot of guitar builders do.

    Bro - I guess as long as you know what you have it doesn't matter. I think the problem pops up in the resale of what could be considered fakes.

    muscmp - cool.

    I'd be proud to have an amp built by just about anyone on this forum. And it wouldn't bother me a bit if it had their name on it
    El Tele Lobo and Piggy Stu like this.
  6. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

    If I make something I put my name on it, if someone else makes something I expect to see their name on it. If they put someone else’s name on it I assume they have no pride in what they have made.
  7. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 9, 2010
    Western Canada
    When I hand build a replica amp using the best hand skilled talent I know of. For my personal use. I use quality parts. USA transformers. USA speakers. Local pine wood hand cut and shaped right here at home. A clone of Leo's best work. Built as good or maybe a little better than original. I am not attempting to hide the fact that I attempted to mimic the best of the Golden era of Fender. I am proud of my work. Yet I take no credit for what Leo and Company created. I put Leo's last name on it. He earned that right. I did not. I have no rights to the sum of all the parts that make up the best of Leo's efforts. Sure I made it. I copied it. Leo Fender gets the credit. Not me.

    Fender puts their logo on Re-Issues of Leo's classic awesome built holy grail amps. Riding on the coat-tails of Fender's best ever era of vintage amps. Doing everything they can to make them look like original vintage amps. Yet cutting corners on quality, made with offshore parts, cheaper labor and efficient manufacturing efforts to keep prices low, and maintain profits. They have a right to offer some of the worst Fender amps ever built, with Leo's name on it? Yes, because they paid enough cash for the right to do so?
    Many of Leo's best men, his most trusted partners tried to carry on without Leo after he sold his company. The most important key players lasted but a few short years after CBS started cutting corners and putting Leo's name on their amps. Where they frustrated? Embarrassed with what the Fender name had become?

    When I build a tribute to Leo, I put his name on it. My name goes inside in the back. You have to look to find it. On stage you see the man's name who started it all. Fender.
    I hide nothing when if I sell one of my clones. I let people know exactly what it is and that I built it. Look in the back, see my logo burned in? I'll take a little credit, but not much.

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  8. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    This question comes up all the time, but usually in relation to decals on headstocks in other parts of the forum. The answer is simple - if you don't own the trademark/copyright you don't have the right to use it. Doesn't matter if you never plan to sell it or not (which is the excuse everyone gives) since you could keel over tonight and your girlfriend pawns it tomorrow.
  9. Outlaws

    Outlaws Tele-Meister

    Jan 16, 2007
    When you say Leo’s name on it, do you mean an actual Fender TM logo?
  10. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Hmm, I browse in here fairly often, and I hadn't noticed people putting Fender badges on clones. Offhand I would have guessed it was less common here than on guitar builds, though I can't really explain why I thought that, either...
    Piggy Stu and awasson like this.
  11. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    As others pointed out, this question comes up regularly. I agree that a brand name should be only used on an authentic item. A gray area develops when an amp or guitar is partly authentic. If someone replaces their Fender Tele body with a Squier body, keeps the neck and all other parts originally made by Fender, should the decal be removed from the neck? What if an amp cabinet gets damaged, and someone builds a replacement and installs the Fender chassis, tank, speaker, etc. into the new cabinet, is it wrong to put the Fender logo from the old cabinet on the new one? How about if the neck on a real Fender guitar gets replaced with a new one, made by someone "licensed by Fender", is it OK to apply a Fender decal? Or a "real" Fender, with Dimarzio pups, Grover tuners, aftermarket bridge, nut, knobs, pots, switch, jack, and pickguard, where is the line? When is it not a real Fender?

    Let your conscience be your guide, I guess.
  12. DonM

    DonM Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Apr 21, 2016
    I just got a Chibson Vox Teardrop. I’m ordering a custom decal of Voxx or Voxe. Probably will go with the double x’s.
  13. kleydejong

    kleydejong Tele-Holic

    Aug 30, 2010
    Orange City, IA
    My own personal ethic would say that I would never want for someone to buy one of my amps believing it is an authentic Fender, when in fact it is not. When people exchange money for goods I think it is important that both parties have an accurate understanding about what is going on. When you buy a Fender amp, it is about a lot more than just the physical amp. You tap into things like branding, cultural history, equipment used by famous musicians, expectation of warranty or product support, etc...

    The concept of brand is particularly interesting to me. It is very powerful. But it sometimes disconnects with the physical reality of the product. For example, say some guitar player who doesn't really know that much about amps goes to Guitar Center and buys a 'Hot Rod Deluxe' with Fender's logo on it. Compare that to one of the many fine 'Deluxe' amps built by the fine craftsmen of this forum in their basements. The HRD is made in a factory using PCB's and a very modern circuit with channel switching. Meanwhile the TDPRI Deluxe is made from finger jointed pine using eyelet boards and high quality american made transformers. The two amps will sound and play drastically differently. I'd personally argue that the second amp is quite a bit closer to Leo Fender's creations, and is objectively speaking a better and more desirable amp. Yet I think many of us may struggle to go sell that Deluxe for $729. Conversely Fender will sell a bazillion more HRD's at that price. Fair or not, that's reality.

    Branding is a powerful force. It drives a ton of commerce both in the cost required to build a brand, and the rewards you reap once it is established. It should be legally protected.

    On the other hand, it can get a bit ridiculous when some hobbyist in his basement with no commercial aspirations needs to heed some silly law. But laws often suck at telling the difference, so they must err on one side or the other.
    soulman969 likes this.
  14. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    I’ve seen enough counterfeit guitars to know that, that is a thing but I didn’t consider that anyone would create a replica of an amp without clearly noting that it’s a “tribute”. My clones are unmistakably clones.
    CFFF and soulman969 like this.
  15. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    I'm not sure what the law says in every country but there are strict counterfeiting and copyrighting laws in the UK. Even using a "similar" name with the same or nearly identical font can fall foul of these laws - particularly if the item was up for sale or trade.

    I can understand that some would like to like to give the impression that an item they made was made to the exacting standards of a proprietary-branded manufacturer. However, there's always a risk of being taken to task about branding and copyright infringements even if it doesn't go as far as prosecution for counterfeiting.
  16. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 3, 2004
    I consider the badge to be part of the period cosmetics, I have used both Fender and Marshall badges on front of my personal amps, while using a custom tube chart (Fender) or rear panel (Marshall) that denotes I built it.

    I will admit, I have been leaning more and more toward using custom badges as quality-made options become easier to find or make.
  17. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    My 5E3 clone, a Mission kit build, has a Fender Deluxe, Fullerton, California log plate on the front. In the back, it is clearly and permanently identified as a Mission Amps product. No one who made the slightest effort would miss the conflicting identification. Yeah, I know that's not OK, but I just had to. Keithb7, Wyatt, I get it.

    Oddly, I didn't have the same urge when I built my blackguard Tele partscaster. Blank headstock there.
  18. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    You're right, amp folks have a very slightly different take on this. Think about how easy it is to make a fake Fender guitar (waterslide heaven) and then check into complaints about eBay guitar buys -- fakery really pays. OTOH, nobody who really knows amps is gonna be faked out when they open up my clones. But as you see here, there's more to it than that.

    Even in amps, plenty of folks will argue against 'carbon copy' looks, mentioning both:
    1. not-so-honest amp builders and not-so-aware buyers
    2. concerns about copyright and trademark infringement.

    I don't live by black and white rules and I don't automatically obey every federal law in the privacy of my own home. Likewise, I completely respect the honesty of known citizens here who want their clones to look "100% real" but would never sell on an amp that they'd made as a Fender. This may be one reason TDPRI appears to tolerate 'identical' clones -- we have long-time members who are well-known to be transparent here and in all their dealings.

    OTOH I've been on several forums over the years where it was clear somebody, sometimes in the US, sometimes in Europe, was hunting for genuine faceplates or name badges in order to turn a profit, and forum members knew it, and massive flaming ensued, people were banned, etc. I haven't seen that so much on TDPRI -- this forum seems to attract mostly nice, honest people, and just be more tolerant and varied.

    A sneaky problem arises when an innocent or ignorant seller gets hold of an amp that looks like something it isn't. If you follow complaints about amps bought on eBay, you run into this pretty quick. Uncle Cletus dies; his trusting widow sells off stuff based on pictures, buyers start to notice Cletus was creative with decals, nameplates, and badges. Cosmetically 'blackfacing' a SF can add big bucks on many Fender models. We'll never know if Cletus did it honestly or not.

    When I started building, I *really* wanted my amps to 'look and sound' just like the real deal. Before I finished that first build, though, my fear of flames was replaced by my pride of 'buildership.' Forget legalities, I wanted to say it was mine.

    I've tried various stuff. Old chrome name badges really personalize an amp -- my '57-inspired 5F2a is a (Chevy script) 'Nomad' -- wish I had a real '57 Nomad. My new brown Princeton is a 'Pennington' -- another small town in southern NJ. Bog standard Brush Script font gets most of the Fender vibe but clearly doesn't violate any copyright. My tube charts are vintage-correct, soaked in tea, slightly wrinkled, stamped with real 'rubber stamp' dates -- and have my last name and my city in the text where theirs said 'Fender' and 'Fullerton'.

    The best I saw was a guy in Germany who built something that really did look exactly like a '64 PR. He even figured out how to mold blue resin over modern caps and print up and age real 'Ajax' style labels. He used vintage wire and vintage transformers, vintage knobs, etc. etc. He had a vintage Fender badge and the nameplate Princeton Reverb-Amp in script -- there's just something about the long tail on that 'n' that makes the amp sing, you know?

    But in the tiny letters where it would have said "Fender Elect. Inst. Co." he substituted his last name for Leo's, and where the original said "Design & Circuits Patented 68" his said "Design & Circuits Modified 64."
    theprofessor likes this.
  19. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    That's why I've never understood the often used "well, I'm never going to sell it!" You may not, but when you get run over by that semi tonight your wife will have it at the pawn shop tomorrow.
    Piggy Stu and CFFF like this.
  20. Les Gear

    Les Gear TDPRI Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    There's so much great design work out there to steal, why limit yourself to Fender?

    My 5E3 -- brand by Audi via EBay and model by Ford via EBay:


    My just-sold Weber 6A14HP -- brand by Audi via EBay and model by Toyota via EBay:

    Mr Ridesglide, Deeve and King Fan like this.
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