Although objectively overpriced, there’s something heartwarming about instruments used by famous musicians. They sometimes go for astronomical figures, but they’re part of history and are keeping the legacy of rock ‘n’ roll alive. But then there are counterfeits and obvious fakes that are manufactured overseas and sold through online retailers for chump change.
And things get even weirder when someone tries to pass off a Chibson as a Gibson. In his new edition of The Trogly’s Guitar Show, the famous Gibson aficionado known as Trogly pointed out one such case of a Chibson being auctioned as the real thing.
The auction website is called Analogr and the item is supposedly the “Ace Frehley’s Used and Owned Prototype Gibson Custom Guitar.” (Listing link here.) The description explains that it’s “an incredible item” and that it’s “Ace Frehley’s personally owned, used, and signed prototype guitar that was custom made in a limited supply collaboration with Gibson.” This is supposedly the first of three prototypes made for the original Kiss guitarist in 1997. The website also includes an authenticity document which you can see below:
Just to add, the website listed below for 8255 Sunset Street isn’t working. So that’s one of the red flags.
Trogly pointed out what he believes is a “blatant scam” and said (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):
“Analogr… I’m sure you guys are nice guys but fire your authenticity expert. They know nothing about Gibson electric guitars. This is blatant fraud. It’s advertised as ‘Ace Frehley’s used and owned prototype Gibson Custom guitar.'”
“So everybody knows the Ace Frehley Burst. It’s the cherry sunburst color, it’s got the three DiMarzios, it’s been reissued up and down 100 million times by Gibson in various ways. But then there’s always that elusive blue sparkle one. Occasionally, you’ll find guys who do custom commissioned paint jobs of them, or people will rework some other guitars to kind of look like Ace’s. But the big one that Gibson has not ever done, a public release of anyways, is the Blue Sparkle.”
“But this… I don’t even have to show you anymore. It’s such a blatant fake. And they’re saying it was owned by him. ‘Ace Frehley’s signed personal prototype.’ They’re saying he used it, he’s signed it, it’s a ‘limited supply collaboration with Gibson’ and only three of them were made.”
“Which I’m sure there is some truth in that. Gibson did make these for him. But not for the public. So if this was in fact true, this would be a very, very, very monumental listing. It would probably sell for close to $50,000. But no, it’s a $300 Chibson knockoff.”
AliExpress offers this replica for about $300. Here’s the link and a screenshot.
“I mean, look at that headstock. It’s awful. The logo — nowhere near the right font. Ace face is completely bad. Truss rod cover… [laughs] It’s all smooshed down here. Blatantly, not the right style, not for a Gibson.”
And then there’s another obvious red flag with the guitar case style. He adds:
“Super poor-fitting case, Gibson doesn’t do the ‘tweed’ case now. There’s always an asterisk, there was the limited-edition ’57 anniversary once that were tweed, but they don’t look like this on the inside. I’m actually impressed, this fake case actually has a combo lock on it.”
Going back to the guitar, he says:
“And then they’re saying that’s his signature [on the electronics cover]… No, that’s an engraving on the backplate. Fake. There’s no fret nibs, very sloppy inlay work.”
As far as the serial number on the headstock goes, Trogly adds with a laugh:
“I don’t even need to talk about that serial number. That’s not right. I can understand a really good replica fooling a place. But this? They even have a close-up of the metric bridge. And that’s not the output jack that Gibson uses. That’s what you find on the import models. And yet, they’ve taken photos of all this stuff and nobody has questioned any of it!”
“Analogr, seriously, get a new authenticator. Because if this is slipping through your cracks, I can’t trust anything else on your website.”
Photo: Tilly antoine (Ace Frehley en concert à Tilburg en juin 2008), Analogr, AliExpress screenshot