You have just spotted the deal of a lifetime the classic guitar that you have always dreamed about owning is available online, and the price is just too good to be true.
And maybe it is just that too good to be true. To avoid becoming a victim of this musical version of three-card Monte, you might want to spend some time doing some basic research before making your purchase. What are the methods for recognizing a counterfeit guitar?
First, consider the price being asked for the instrument, then check around with some other music stores or online sites. Generally, prices do not vary a great deal.
Next, really begin your investigation by taking note of all of the fine details that make the instrument unique. What colors and patterns were available for the model in question? What style of bridge was used? Bear in mind that most guitars have gone through design changes over the years. So you should compare the features for the make and model year that you are evaluating.
Always check with manufacturer for the key points, including measurements of critical areas. That is probably one of the easiest ways to detect a counterfeit. For example, if the standard method for installation of the truss rod includes an additional wood inlay, the odds are that the counterfeit will not have this feature. The reason for the omission is because it costs more to include that feature.
Look at the quality of the work, and at the level of craftsmanship. Is the Mother-of-Pearl inlaid? Does the wiring look professionally done, or is the work sloppy?
Does the guitar neck plate have a three-hole pattern, or a four-hole pattern? Which one is correct? What does the manufacturer's website indicate it should be?
Check the serial numbers against the list on manufacturer's website. Some even provide a page of unusual serial numbers for models made in other facilities, but still under their supervision. So, for example, if you see a 1955 Fender Stratocaster with a serial number in the 20,000's, check their website to see if that number range matches up to that production year.
Logos used to be a good way of catching a fake, but with computer technology it has become much easier to print very realistic looking fake logos.
There is also some excellent knowledge to be gained on most community forums that are supported by the different guitar companies. Make use of the expertise available at these sites.
There is no one giveaway that will let you always spot a counterfeit. You must use a combination of common sense and some investigative research. Make sure that the electric guitar for sale you are spending your hard-earned dollars for is the real deal.