Chinese Counterfeit Guitars Are Upping Their Game

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by homesick345, Mar 20, 2016.

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  1. Tele1966

    Tele1966 Friend of Leo's

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    As do I.

    You two gentlemen have illustrated the quandary, and the reasoning I've employed to justify buying, or not buying a Chinese knockoff. I never have bought one.

    First of all, my primary goal would be removing Fender or Gibson from the headstock. My second concern is gigging it. It goes without saying I wouldn't gig one of these with Fender or Gibson on the headstock, but quite frankly even with the branding removed I can't see myself being seen in public with one, and yet Nick and Bones (I'm generalizing their positions) aptly point out how much we admire a Luthier or a skilled woodworker such as some TDPRI members that make a Les Paul style guitar, and yet we thumb our noses at the Chinese workers.

    What difference does it make if I gig a Chinese LP with blacked out headstock vs. a LP copy made by a Luthier? It really is a good question.
     
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  2. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have seen the vids on youtube of people unboxing Gibsons /PRS clones etc and they do look really well made except for the junk hardware and pickups
     
  3. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A good guitar is a good guitar, and a bad guitar is a bad guitar

    No matter who made it, and no matter what it says on the headstock

    We find these truths to be self-evident :D
     
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  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Remember that time a guy changed his mind after battling it out in one of these threads? Me neither.
     
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  5. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    So if the Chinese sell counterfeit Fenders it will be cheaper than buying a Squier and putting a Fender decal on the headstock ? If so it seems that there will be a niche market to sell them to the charlatans and make believers . Actually the Chinese Fender will be the more legitimate of the two as it was manufactured to be a copy .
     
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  6. Tele1966

    Tele1966 Friend of Leo's

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    I think this may be the uncommon topic where it's not about polarity of opinions, but attempts at validating opinion.
     
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  7. HotDan!

    HotDan! Friend of Leo's

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    So...Here's the argument. These days, some of the counterfeit copies of really desirable stuff is now being done so well done that they're worth buying...Especially if it plays well and is of descent quality. Folks buy 'em so they continue to make 'em...
     
  8. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    People in general are willing to look away from an awful lot of indiscretions as long as they're able to get stuff as cheaply as possible. Joyo, Behringer/Bugera, and Wal-Mart are prime examples, and counterfeit products are just that same mentality taken to the next level.
     
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  9. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Yep, this is a topic that always brings out all kinds of rhetorical gymnastics designed to justify the writer doing what he wants to do--not that that's an uncommon thing...
     
  10. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You telle me. :p

    But seriously - I love and admire the guy's work (ignoring the glorification of CITES listed woods, the pseudo-science tone BS and the trademark infringement and focusing on the super-clean, precise woodwork, detail and finishing brilliance) and I honestly believe those threads deserve their post-count and he deserves to get rich doing such masterful work.

    As an aside, his latest original creations are better guitars IMO. He's done some really cool stuff there - the "bone" stuff especially. I have wondered why though - could it be a C&D letter from the Big G? Or could it be the natural progression of the business model of an honourable man? Who knows - but one thing's certain: the ratio between thread hits to his replicas vs hits on his originals make evident how much coat-tail riding was going on there.

    The same coat-tail riding the Chinese do. To someone not invested in the TDPRI community, they would probably find it difficult to see the difference. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind as to rights or wrongs - but I believe whenever we're faced with a commercial irony, it's a discussion worth having.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
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  11. Tele1966

    Tele1966 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not familiar with this topic. People seeking justification in normalcy is a natural part of life. People seeking objective opinions is also a natural part of life.
     
  12. HotDan!

    HotDan! Friend of Leo's

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    No need to quote here but the deal is that some builders that offer a quality copy or counterfeit are recognized by most of us and we know who they are. Some buyers, however, may think that they are getting the 'real thing' and therein lies the problem.

    For me...I'd be perfectly happy getting a well done Haggard Tuff Dog Tele (for example) for a grand or so knowing that it's a fake, clone or whatever but some folks buy them thinking they're getting the real deal and a bargain. It's folks that buy those and later attempt to market them as 'original' that creates a significant problem...
     
  13. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    How many guitar designs are legally protected? I've no idea, but I've been assuming that the ones commonly copied don't have any protection. - The world is full of strats, teles, LPs, 335s, Torres-pattern classicals, Martin-style dreads and the like, and I would have no qualms about buying any of these, provided they didn't have a misleading name on the headstock. But there are shades of grey in this. For example, one of my favourite designs is the MM Silhouette. Would I buy an unauthorised copy of something like that, even with a different name on the headstock? No, but it is a value judgement, not an absolute, it would depend on the specific circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  14. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I forget the company, but one Asian built guitar company puts there name on the headstock and states their guitar that retails for under $500 has 31 out of 33 or so specifications on a Martin D-18, and I kid you not, they are as perfect of a fake as you can get. They just don't have the name, aren't built in the USA, and don't cost several thousand dollars. Does it hurt Martin, no, because the people who buy these guitars wouldn't go after such an expensive "dream guitar". I may never in my life afford a double neck ric because it's an absurd novelty, but if they offered a secondary brand one just like Gibson had the Epiphone double neck, I'd consider it. The sad thing is they don't, and thus the only option for me would be a cheap copy, which we all know wouldn't be close, but I'd still get the vibe.

    You can't patent a sound. Harley tried to. They couldn't. Oh well.

    Nothing in my mind says that a guitar with "cheap pickups" can't sound better to me through a certain amp than a custom shop. Will it play as well, maybe, maybe not. The bottom line is that consumers will buy what is the best bang for the buck in their eyes.

    It is a shame when sub-$1000 instruments are copied and sold for $400. It's literally not worth it considering the fact that you'll be upgrading an inferior instrument anyways.

    Epiphone Masterbuilts beat most Gibsons any day. It's sad, but true.
     
  15. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Personal opinions don't mean squat . Either the product is produced legally or it is not . This is not rocket science . When you buy that illegally produced product , you are supporting criminal activity and participating in it . A pox on you .
     
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  16. Tatercaster

    Tatercaster Friend of Leo's

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    I'd buy a copy, but only if it didn't have the trademarked name. I'm not about to try and pass off a copy as an original, and it's shameful to do so. However, making a faithful copy is not shameful. Folks make copies of Fender and Gibson stuff daily and sell it proudly with their own names on the peg head.
     
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  17. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

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    Honestly to me there isn't a gibson trademark or shape I would knock off. Personally I don't agree with copywrite infringement in anyway. If I ever did or ever do It would of been an accidental thing or a mistake. I play S and T type guitars. Leo fender kind of laid out the law on those so I know I am cool. I won't even click on a thread for an LP build so I don't know the builder your talking about. The only really good shape that ever came from gibson was the SG and I still don't like them that much.

    I am just saying I don't think who ever your talking about is a hero. Like I said before there are people that are sketchy anywhere you go around the world. Except for the people of Gvardeysk, Russia of course. The fine people of Gvardeysk can do no wrong.:D
     
  18. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    Are all the Fender lookalikes legal or not?
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's actually possible that a good looking 335 copy for $300 would draw a younger buyer toward saving up to pay Gibson prices for a real one in the future.

    I doubt many players would buy a total fake with ripoff logo and stick with it as their long term gigging instrument.

    What I think might really hurt the big American makers- maybe more in acoustic instruments- is superb guitars with Chinese makers names on the headstocks for around half the price of an American equivalent.

    There are already a lot of classical instruments made in China sitting in the front of orchestras sounding as good as their big name equivalents, and actually affordable for classical players meager incomes.

    Right now the market is flooded with cheap guitars for cheap prices.
    What the market could use is more $500- $1500 Martin killers.
     
  20. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's illegal to use their headstock shapes or their registered brands (eg. "Fender" or the characteristic "f", or "Strat" etc). Their body shape has been contested in court and they lost it due to, well, not keeping it.

    Gibson owns their "open book" headstock and as above, their brand name etc.

    In a commercial sense: you need to be making money (IOW, losing them money, commercially) from these infringements to bother their lawyers. Home built for personal use? Grey area ... see the build challenges for an idea of how it's ignored. Basically, if you're profiting off someone else's legacy - they'll come knocking with a scythe.

    People on this site have had their letterboxes raped by cease and desist letters. They've changed their headstock shape and carried on.

    Rickenbacker's an exception. I don't think it's actually legal to even say their name out loud.
     
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