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Dealers Don't Want You To Know

There are many types of forgery guitars on the market. Some of them are done deliberately and many of them are done innocently by their owners. 

For example take an authentic original Les Paul and over the years a number of changes are made to the guitar. Swap out one of the original PAF pickups, change the nut to brass, replace several of the pots and replace the bridge. As long as nothing is done to the tuning pegs, involving holes being drilled, then the guitar can be put "back to original". 

So you bring the guitar in because you want to buy a new guitar. You want to get top dollar but no one will pay what you want with all those changes you made. So now you want to put the guitar back to original. When the guitar is rebuilt no one will be able to tell the difference.

There are many more old guitars available today than there were say 10 years ago. How can that be? How is it possible for dealers to have so many  vintage Strats in 2006, when in 1990's there were only a few to be found? 

These guitars brought so much money back in the early 90's that it made sense to start counterfeiting them and you can believe that many of those vintage guitar dealers already know exactly what I am telling you. I can also tell you they turn a deaf ear to it and try to pretend that it's not really happening.
There is a large cottage industry in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and even the Philippines that re-manufacture Gibson parts, Fender parts and even completely counterfeit 50's & 60's complete Fender Guitars. Years ago a  company in the Philippines was producing a guitar that was almost exactly like a Stratocaster.

Over past years there has been almost every counterfeit part you can imagine. PAF pickups, complete with sticker and authentic cigarette smoke mildew smell. Fender JazzMaster tailpieces complete with Fender Logos and patent numbers, Strat and Tele necks complete with authentic stamp and signatures, Pick guards with 60's dated authentic stickers.

The only way sure fire guaranteed way to know if a vintage Instrument is truly original and unchanged is if you purchase it from someone who does not know the value of it. The minute the value of the instrument enters into the pricing equation then the chance of originality is tainted. This info may sound a little off the wall at first but when you think about it for 30 seconds it doesn't take a mental giant to understand that I have to be right.

If the value far exceeds cost, like a 50's Stratocaster selling for thousands of dollars compared to an old Strat from someone's attic for a hundred dollars, I would say that in almost every case the one from the attic is going to be more original than the one costing thousands of dollars.

Watch out for misleading adjectives and other poor grammar when shopping for a vintage guitar. This type of vocabulary isn't just used to describe an instrument's physical condition but also to imply a level of comfort that leaves the listener to draw their own erroneous conclusions.

"Museum Quality" - Museums are not concerned with quality, not in the sense you or I may be when making a purchase. In fact, some of the most screwed-up crap you will ever see is in museums.  A museum's real concern is with an object and it's documented relationship to art, literature, science or antiquities and oddities. If you grind-up Mel Bay's D`Angelico  into a shoebox it would still end up in a museum while being completely restored. 

"Investment Grade" - What the heck does that mean?  It means someday it may be worth more than what you paid for it or someday it may be worth less than what you paid for it. Go figure.  If it's going to be worth more later on in my lifetime then why would I want to sell it to you now?  Implying that the money you are about to spend will be an "investment" rather than a "purchase" is a worn-out psychological selling tool that still works.

"Super Clean" - Who cares about the dirt. What about the sound and the intonations or how about if the neck is more crooked than a dog's hind leg?  When I see a guitar advertised as super clean I'm thinking that it's a good looking, expensive  wall hanger.

"100% Original" - This is not likely either unless the strings have never been replaced.  Most Fender guitars never left the dealer  with all their original hardware. No one wanted a bridge cover that got in the way or a mute that didn't work. However the 100% verbiage does instill the shopper with a great deal of confidence.  After all, if it's all there and all original then how could it be a bad deal?  Now you know.

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