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WARNING: Watch Out for Chinese FAKE Fender, Gibson, and other Guitars!

by vaughn skow June 04, 2019 2 min read

How to spot FAKE FENDER guitar

Howdy guitar gang!  I have a huge confession/admission to make right here and now:  At the last Guitar Show I showed at, I actually got taken with a FAKE "Fender Custom Shop" guitar!  (It's the one pictured) OMG, how could this happen to ME??? I'm actually considered quite a Fender expert, and routinely appraise and authenticate vintage Fender guitars and amps.  So what the heck?  Well, the short answer is that 1) those darn Chinese are getting much better at faking big-name guitars, and 2) they are really starting to flood the market here in America.  So the take-away is easy:  be careful, and look VERY closely at any used guitar you are buying! 

The Chinese have been faking Gibsons longer than any other brand, so they are most prevalent in the used market.  However, I'd issue this warning that Fenders are now a very close second.  In addition, nearly EVERY major guitar brand is now being faked by the Chinese!  Paul Reed Smith, Ibanez, Charvelle, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Martin, Taylor, Guild ... and so many more!

I am not going to do a full-on "how to spot a fake" blog here because so many others have already done that.  Google it, plus I'll give ya some good links at the end of this article.  What I am going to do is give you this stern warning:

They are getting harder and harder to spot!

The fake I bought, for instance, was a pretty darn good guitar, and she looked cool as heck; and during a quick look on a crowded show floor nothing stood out and screamed "FAKE!".  The seller was also very talented at pawning these things off, rushing me into the sale and then totally disappearing like magic only seconds later when I realized it was a fake.  Yep, he literally disappeared in an instant!   So I guess another take-away is if someone starts rushing the sale, walk away.  Maybe the best take away of all is this, because it applies to ALL guitar purchases, not just the fakes:

Never fall so in love with a guitar you make a stupid purchase!

Yep, that's the truth of it.  That guitar was just so darn cool looking that the minute I saw it I liked it ... and the sensible part of my brain stopped functioning.  Ugg.  Learn from my stupidity, don't make the same mistake :-)

Now, some good "How to spot a fake" links: (For fake Gibsons) (For Fenders)

Sadly, while there is a LOT(!!!) of info out there on fake Chinese Gibsons and Fenders, there is little info on spotting the Fake Rickenbackers, Martins, etc.  So you're kind of on your own there.  Just remember, buyer BEWARE!

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