Facts Fallacies & Falsehoods
A Guaranteed Sure Fire Way To Tell The Real From The Rip-off's
Read the whole page for the answer !!!
It Never Ceases To Amaze Me !
When I Worked For Gibson Guitars In The Early 90's. The Target Market For Their Line Up Of Medium Quality, Mass Produced, Outdated, Old School Products. Were All Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants & Various Other Professional People.
These are the same people
who are trying to recapture their youth by going out and buying a
Harley Davidson In the hopes of somehow getting their groove back.
These words almost verbatim were conveyed upon me by several of my
direct superiors at Gibson. These large corporations today, use mind
games on people to program or brainwash them into thinking what they
are told to think.
A copy of a guitar is not necessarily a forgery unless the person selling it to you tells you it's real"
Read this page before you buy an expensive overpriced
vintage instrument. The Vintage Market peaked 10 years ago and people have
been losing money ever since except on a few select models.
Companies like Gibson & Fender effectively destroyed the vintage
market with relics and the prices got so high that counterfeiters abound.
All guitars in my inventory that are sold as vintage will be approximately 25 years old or older. Ed Roman guarantees they are all what we say they are. If any guitar turns out to be a copy or forgery, Ed Roman will buy it back no time limit involved. If the guitar in question turns out to be a 1956 and It was advertised as a 1958 that is not grounds for a return. Ed Roman will make every attempt to try and get the year correct in the description but sometimes it is impossible to be 100% sure.
A little story
to brighten your day
Evil Manufacturer Profiteering
Imagine, if you will....
What If, any guitar
manufacturer wanted to profit from the Vintage Craze of the early
They could simply, reissue copies of their old guitars for 3 to 4 times the price of their normal guitars. Selling them fully knowing that it would be very easy to forge & artificially age.
The people who buy them for such ridiculously high prices could easily turn these into what appears to be original vintage guitars. They could then easily sell these forged guitars for an even bigger profit to one of those more-money-than-brains types who thinks he is buying a real vintage guitar. I am not making any accusations, I am simply pointing out. What If...........
As a guitar manufacturer myself, I am keenly aware of what it actually costs to manufacture a guitar both by hand & by machinery. If I decided to reissue my original Quicksilver model, it might cost me ever so slightly more to build than the ones I am building today. The difference in manufacturing cost is so negligible, that it doesn't merit any real price increase.
As a guitar builder, It would make sense to me that if the public wanted the old style cosmetics, why not build all the guitars that way. I think it is unfair profiteering for a company to charge $3,500.00 or more for a guitar that costs the same to build as the one that sells for $1,400.00 which is usually already over inflated.
Be aware, today a custom made guitar is no longer considered expensive!!!!
Due to the ridiculous perceived value of guitars, that all of the major companies are peddling. These corporate bean-counter suits are selling production, machine made and imported guitars, for such high markups!! That it has finally leveled the field for hand builders like us.
Today you can come to a builder like us, and get a complete & total custom made guitar, built exactly the way you want it, usually for about the same price as buying a production made model.
Ed Roman 01/24/04
When purchasing an old guitar you must be very careful, There are a lot of FORGERIES.
There are many types of forgery guitars on the market. Some of
them are done on purpose and many of them are done innocently &
unsuspectingly by their owners.
He brings the guitar to me because now he wants to a PRS. He tells me he wants to get strong money. I told him that no one would pay what he wanted with all those changes. So he now wants to put the guitar back to original. (this happens all the time). When this guitar is all rebuilt no one not even me will be able to tell the difference. Anyone who is foolish enough to make a statement like "They can't fool me" or "I can always tell" is living in a fools paradise.
I have been going to "Vintage" guitar shows for about 21
years. It seems to me that there are many more guitars available
today to buy than there were 16 years ago. How can that be? I mean
how is it possible for dealers to have 15 to 20 vintage Strats in
1999, when in 1991 there were only a few to be found. What's up
Here's one for ya'
Be careful of cheap lower cost tuning pegs. Don't think you can
replace them later. If you do you can ruin the value of your guitar.
It's extremely hard to find a good set of tuning pegs, that will
retrofit correctly on your guitar. Most will not use the same screw
holes as the original.
$3,500.00 later you will have a new neck with an original set of tuners a matching finish and a signed non disclosure statement. That I will never reveal to anyone that I modified or repaired your guitar!!!
| 1. Are these guitars magically materializing at
yard sales? (Yeah Right)
2. Did these guitars bring so much money back in the 90's that it made sense to start counterfeiting them?
3. Did forgers & eBay maggots buy factory reissue guitars & artificially age them so they would look like old guitars?
I suspect that #2 is definitely much more likely than #1, And you can believe me 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. As for #3, I strongly believe, that several large companies have fueled the illegal flame by putting out stupidly overpriced reissues to appeal to the forger.
It has come to my attention that 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. I remember 25 years ago a company in the Philippines was producing a guitar that was almost exactly like a Stratocaster. It had Fenders Logo and patent numbers on the tremolo plate and it even had the big reverse "F" logo on the Tremolo cover plate.
Recently I accidentally acquired some instruments that looked so close to the original models that I started to suspect that companies like Tokai were actually building the original instruments for many of the major corporations. I did some investigating and I found a company called Skye manufacturing in Korea was shipping thousands of Humbucking pickups to a large well known supposedly American guitar company. These pickups were shipped FOB Seoul Korea at $2.10 each. including a chrome cover. I actually have a copy of the invoice and I will show it to anyone who asks if they are at my store. I also have a copy of the Bill of Lading, customs declarations and even a signature on the bill of lading that the pickups were received.
I got into a 3 year lawsuit, with Gibson Guitars regarding some guitars I received that were exact copies
right down to the trussrod covers, headstock shape and double
diamond trademark. There were only 16 of them. I will gladly show anyone an actual
I bought these guitars I had no idea that they would be EXACT
copies, I assumed incorrectly that I was getting the standard look
alike guitars that I had been buying from him for many years. They
were close but there would have been no lawsuit, because there were
enough minor differences where Gibson didn't care.
This lawsuit with Gibson wasn't a problem for me because I was
insured to the hilt for just such an eventuality. I am very careful
to insure myself for malicious and frivolous lawsuits. Meanwhile
Gibson has expended huge sums on legal fees a useless pecker contest.
Over the past 10 years I have been offered almost every part imaginable. PAF pickups, complete with sticker and authentic cigarette smoke mildew smell. Fender Jazzmaster tailpieces complete with Fender Logos and patent numbers, Strat & Tele necks complete with authentic stamp and signatures, Pick guards with 60's dated authentic stickers. At the Fall Philly 1997 show there was actually a guy walking around with Fender neck plates complete with the original die marks on the holes. He would actually make any plate with any number you want he was even giving out a phone number (that is rare). Usually these people want you to buy the items on the spot, pay cash and then they quietly disappear. There was also a guy who had a whole table of decals, I swear this guy had every single obscure decal that Fender ever made. I have since heard that Fender sued him and now he no longer goes to the guitar shows, But I would bet anything you can still buy them from him somehow.
In 1995 I personally was in a small dimly lit room where I witnessed 8 Japanese nationals working on 9 tables recreating Fender guitars. These guitars were accurate in every way. These guitars were being signed inside, serial numbers, stickers and decals were being meticulously applied and there was even an ultra violet system to age the lacquer. There was classical music playing and no one spoke a word while I was there. I had the distinct feeling that these people did not speak English.
I have been around electric guitars since 1964, well over 35 years, and I could absolutely not tell if these guitars were real or fake. Anyone who could tell would have my deepest respect.
There is a local Trunk Gypsy* (Guitar guy who works out of his car) who I guess is more knowledgeable than me. He has told me several times that "He could easily tell the difference between a real PAF pickup and one of the imitations." He was recently in my shop. He was buying some original Fender bodies from me. (Hmmm I wonder why). He happened to have a pair of what seemed to be original PAF pickups. He told me he had "Scapped them out of a '61 SG that he bought for $300.00." His exact words. I asked him what he replaced them with? He replied that he aged some stock Gibson pickups and was going to sell it that way. He wasn't trying to sell me the pickups. We were just talking. I had in my possession a PAF copy that I presume was Asian made because I bought it from a nameless Oriental gentleman for $100.00. I told him that this pickup was presumably not real. I told him I had acquired it for a customer who wanted to put his Les Paul back to semi original condition for the purpose of selling it. He became defensive about his pickups, Claiming to me that his were real. I had never made mention of his being real or fake, he just became defensive for no apparent reason. The pickups were virtually identical in every way, The sticker was right, etc. I said to him let me see yours, let me hold them both in my hands at the same time, I would like to know how you could tell the difference. (Well of course that never happened)
Incidentally a pickup, any pickup costs less than two ($2.00) dollars to manufacture. Do the math 35 cents for a little wire, 33 cents for a plastic bobbin, and 6 magnets that are probably less than a nickel each. All you need is a $300.00 winding machine. I will bet money that the packaging on a new Gibson pickup costs more than the pickup costs to manufacture. All the cost is for the advertising, endorser royalties & packaging.
(Today with all the tremendous price increases I am estimating 5.00 for a pickup)
(YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL)
|The next piece of information I am going to tell you. Is
probably the only sure fire way you can tell if a guitar is 100%
original or real. This information may sound a little off the wall
at first, but when you think about it for 30 seconds.
it doesn't take too much brain power to see that, I have to be right !!!!
So Here Goes:
The only way sure-fire guaranteed way to know if a Vintage Instrument (or anything for that matter) 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. In other words if you pick it up at a garage sale, you can bet it's real !!!!
This does not hold true on lower cost Vintage Instruments because there would be no reason for someone to go to the trouble & cost of recreating it. For example a Dan Armstrong guitar would be more likely to be original than say a 62 Stratocaster because replacement parts are simply not available cheap. A Mosrite would cost more money to reproduce perfectly than it could fetch. But a 1962 Stratocaster could easily be accurately reproduced for less than $600.00 and even in today's waning Vintage market still fetch $13,500.00 easily. (Update: Mosrite prices have now gotten high & now there are many fake Mosrites out there.)
Remember if the value far exceeds the cost like a 1962 $180.00 (list price when new) Stratocaster selling for $17,500.00. Compared to an old Stratocaster at a tag sale or from Grandma's Attic for $100.00. I would bet money that in almost every case Grandma's $100.00 one was actually more original than the $17,500.00 one.
It's just as easy for a counterfeiter to make fake $50.00
bills as it would be to make fake $1.00 bills. Which one do you think he
is going to make.
Fun Questions to Ask
My shop alone did at least 2000 brass nut conversions in the 70's.
I ask you: Where did those all go? (I can't remember seeing a brass nut anywhere for almost 20 years)
Here's A Big One
How about those extra tuner screw holes that were on every
single old guitar in 1988. Where did they go??
My shop used to sell over 200 (low estimate) Dimarzio pickups a month during the 70's. Most of them went into Les Paul's & Strats. (Seymour Duncan Pickups were not available then)
I ask you: Where are they now? What happened to all those original pickups. (I used to toss them in the garbage) They never did sound that great and nobody wanted to buy them. I remember my wife tossing out a whole box of them.
Today I have at least 400 sets of PRS pickups that I removed from new & used PRS guitars in the last 5 years. No I am not throwing them away!!! Just because I was stupid once doesn't mean I'm still stupid. Currently no one wants them so maybe I'll hold on to them for several decades and see if people are still as stupid as they are today. I have a $1,177.00 dollar Craftsman Toolbox sitting chock full of PRS pickups. Currently (1997) the toolbox is more valuable than the pickups.
I have been going to guitar shows for many years, I remember going to shows in the late 80's and early 90's the few dealers who were present had very few old Fenders and Gibsons. Now when I go I see many dealers with over 25 Vintage Strats alone.
I ask you: Where did all those older guitars come from???
My shop alone did well over 1000 Floyd Rose Conversions on Stratocasters, Les Paul's, SG's, and once even a 1983 Moderne. (I only mentioned the Moderne because we did the conversion for a person who today is a large vintage dealer himself. I usually rib him about it every time I see him)
I ask you: When was the last time you
saw one of these guitars anywhere?
)))))) IMPORTANT (((((((
As people get older the guitars that become valuable are the ones that were played 20 to 25 years back. So pay attention to trends instead of buying emotionally.
Hello Ed Roman,
I'm beginning to think that fake vintage guitars are actually better than real vintage guitars. The real vintage guitars I've seen are heavy, have clubby thick necks, have noisy switches, are buzzy, and have faded pickups. The new fake vintage guitars I've seen are lighter weight, have easier to play necks, new switches, have new louder pickups, and seem to be assembled better.
The mint condition vintage guitars I've seen are mint because they weren't playable and/or didn't sound very good - so they didn't get played all those years. The beat up worn out vintage guitars I've seen are the ones that were built right and did sound great so they were played all those years.
| Preface By Ed Roman
People have flamed me, and bashed me because I have exposed many myths about so called "Vintage Guitars". Nobody wants to be told that their guitar is a fake. In fact most people simply respond by calling the person an A-hole who has burst their bubble by showing them the fake. I remember going around the Dallas show in the late 90's and showing several dealers my secret mark on their supposedly vintage guitar.
I have always offered a service to convert a guitar to a vintage one. I have never sold a fake one as "The Real Thing" I call them "Fabulous Fakes" What my customer chooses to do with it after I do the work to it is his business and not mine. So Buyer Beware !!!1
now read this letter below
Just a quick message to let you know how RIGHT ON you are about the dangers of \" Vintage guitars\"...I don't know much about guitars but I know a hell of a lot about 18 th century antique furniture--
How is this for a fun fact? There is more 18th century furniture available now then there was 200 years ago--Since at least half of the genuine old stuff has been lost to floods and fires how can that be???
Simple!!! All the same reasons you list for the dangers of old guitars... When something becomes worth $200,000 or more there will soon be a lot of them on the market! How do you make a 18th century piece of furniture...simple ...use old wood and old tools leave it on your roof for a couple weeks... Surprize!!! $200,000 out of pieces of an old barn...You are right on man!!!!! buyers beware!!!
Jim Papageorge San Diego, CA