So has any forum member ever bought a Chinese 'replica' direct from a seller on Aliexpress or a similar chinese-based site?
Go on to youtube and search for 'Chibson'. There's a lot of people doing this. There's a user called "China Guitar Sceptic" who's posted a series of interesting vids on the process.
I've tried an ESP which was Fido's testes.
That aside, I am still interested if anyone has dealt with any Aliexpress sellers. Chibson is what people who buy these things call the guitars it seems (blend of China and Gibson). These guitars are attempts to produce exact replicas.
They look interesting to me, but I'd expect to have to do a bit of work on them.
My honest answer to your question is "I don't know if a forum member ever has".
But I hope not. At least, not one that says Gibson on the headstock.
If you are just talking about cheap copies, then that's fine. If they are not branded as Gibson, then it's fair for anyone to take their chances.
There are a couple of things anyone considering this should be aware of, though...
Regardless of what any YouTube reviewer may say positively, these are quite simply not cheap Gibsons. There have even been preposterous claims, such as that Gibson setup a Chinese factory, built a load of guitars, changed their minds and that these guitars then somehow found their way onto the market. That is sheer nonsense, and never happened. The people making those claims are usually the guys (or working for the guys) selling them.
Even if, though, you buy a guitar not branded, it is virtually guaranteed that you will be getting inferior woods and inferior electronics.
People go on about the build quality being great, and indeed it often can be. Labour is cheap in the Orient, so a lot of labour can be spent fitting and finishing the guitar so that it looks great. But at the end of the day, it will have cheap woods - not mahogany, maple and rosewood, but cheap alternatives that may not even be considered tone woods. The fretboards are often softwood stained to look like rosewood or ebony. Also, you can pretty much guarantee that none of the wood comes from sustainable sources, and the working conditions of the people who make them will not be regulated.
The electronics will almost certainly be substandard. A vast amount of the tone of a Gibson comes from the electronics. The pots and capacitors in the genuine article are expensive, quality items, and it makes a huge difference. Let's not even talk about the pickups!
If someone wants to buy one of these then this is what they should be aware of. They would be getting exactly what they are paying for: a cheap guitar. But definitely not a bargain Gibson.
Of course, none of this covers Chinese guitars actually branded as Gibson.
They are simply illegal.
I HAVE bought one!
I contacted a Chinese factory about producing me some of my own brand guitars.
They sent me a 100% Gibson Fake Les Paul. Fake guitar, fake case, fake stickers on the pickups, fake booklet.
Hand on heart it was utter crap. It LOOKED awesome from 6ft. Required major setup to remove fret rattle - frets were very poorly seated - pickups squeeled like a dying cat.
I gave it to a friend and he now has it on his wall in his house!
So, as pots are just variable resistors, does this imply that the quality of the pots has nothing to do with tone? but cheap ones will not last as long?
You got it. Only difference is feel and reliability. I have been spouting this since I joined the forum. A capacitor is a capacitor, a resistor is a resistor. These are known as "passive components". Once you start getting into valves and semiconductors, then things are different.
There is still masses of stuff on the web, some of it in reputable places like the Bare Knuckles pickups site for example, about the benefits of certain capacitor types. I think BK even sell their own specially commissioned paper-in-oil capacitors. I'm embarrassed to say I have been pulled in by all this capacitor stuff too, and a while ago bought quite a few Russian PIO capacitors from an ebay seller in Moscow (they weren't expensive though). And even now, there is a part of me that can't let go of the capacitor mojo thing - I do feel I have to use these capacitors in my guitars for them to be "right". Jocko is a qualified electrical engineer - he must know what he's talking about. But I can't let of this obviously daft idea - at least it's harmless I suppose!
Very possibly it does Jocko! but I can't escape the feeling that a lot of people, some of whom should perhaps know better, actually do believe in this stuff...
Apologies 23rd, probably I'm being slow, but not understanding what you mean here...
As you said previously, there is no harm in it. I buy quality components but not expensive components. I just don't believe the "mojo".
I got a box of 20 Russian PIO 0.015uF caps for £10 ish, so at least I didn't pay the £10 or more for a single capacitor that I see some being sold at on ebay! They look quite nice at least, aren't too bulky, and the value seems to suit me, so I may as well use them...
At least that was the case until Gibson started cutting costs and using PCBs. Sorry - on my little hobby horse again - still can't believe they're doing this with no mention in the specs .. and still can't come to terms with how bad that last Gibbie sounded. Oh dear - the disappointment still hurts a lot.
At least these "Chibsons" are currently so bad that it should be less likely we'll get fooled into buying a fake. Though there's plenty of good quality fake Gibsons out there. Plus fake Tokais. Plus fake strings too!
I can see why they're cutting corners and making these guitars cheap as that seems to be where the big sales are. According to musictrades.com ib the early coming up to 2008 Beginner / starter guitar sales ($350 or less) accounted for slightly over 2/3rds of all electric guitars that were sold. Also interesting that average prices of guitars sold were $571 in 1992, $560 in 2000, and $372 in 2008.Despite inflation!
BTW over 4 times as many guitars sold in 2008 as in 1992. With that and the restrictions on sources of wood it's no wonder it's difficult to get good tonewoods.
Good quality woods of a light weight, pickups capable of producing clear singing sustain, and the guitar built for easy aftermarket upgrades. I hadn't thought that would be so difficult to obtain. Certainly won't get those requirements met with the Chibsons, that's for sure.
Epiphones are faked too
I and a pro player friend of mine did a test with a bunch of different caps. Different values and different materials.
The only difference we could hear was when the value was changed. The materials used were not audible to us. I knew what was in there and if anything had been changed as I did the soldering but the Muso was blind.
Its like guitar cables with directional arrows on them? Like the electrons care?
Can we be so certain?
I haven't tried one of the Chibsons, which was why I posted originally out of curiosity. All I can glean from some of the more informative youtube vids is that some are most definitely awful and need a lot of work. But others report adequate guitars in need of the usual few tweaks and a new set of pickups, and that then perform as well as other legit budget axes.
So, anyone else got any experience of these?
Irrespective of how they play, they are Rip-offs. Some poor soul, some where down the road, having heard of Gibson guitars but knowing nothing else, will pay good money for firewood. They should be seized by Customs and burnt. Rant over.
I dunno, call me psychic, but I'm picking up a general vibe that you're not a fan, Jocko...
Call them something else other than Gibson and I don't mind. It was on the news the past couple of day saying that most "fake" goods, and that's what they are, are going to fund organised crime in this country and others. I don't mind someone copying a particular guitar as long as they call it something else, other than the make of the guitar they copied (hence my "Jocko Trucaster" I built).
I'm sorry but there seem to be plenty of punters out there pleased with these things. After giving them a bit of TLC they're sticking Burstbuckers and all sorts into them and seem very pleased.
As ever it seems a case of caveat emptor.
I'm afraid I'm pretty certain as I don't get even get these requirements met by the legit big name guitar suppliers. Not without aftermarket upgrades - which some of the big names seem to do their best to make more difficult.
Maybe I'm wrong though and we're maybe entering an era like when the Japanese did those better than Gibson and Fender guitars at lower prices back in the 80s.
I await developments with interest!
They don't appear to be supporting organised crime in this case. They're supporting factory owners in China who aren't bound by the exact same copyright issues at play in the EU/US.
To be fair, knowing what is and isn't supporting organised crime isn't something any one of us can say for sure. I'm fairly sure these guitars don't come with a sticker stating "Supporting our local Triad organisation. Throat slitting with a smile."
A friend of mine has got a fake Gibson les paul, and he raves about it. He is a good guitarist, and owns plenty of decent axe's. He knew it was a fake when he bought it, but as he got it from a guitar show, he was able to try before buying.
I have not seen it but he says the finish in the guiatar puts most low end real Gibsons to shame, and it apparently sounds great.
I wouldnt get one myself, but they are not all just fit for the bin.