OK, getting back to the original topic....
I checked out a guitar last night that is currently listed on the Inland Empire craigslist.
It's listed as an "Epiphone Les Paul Slash Goldtop".
He wanted $600 (US) for it, and after researching I figured it might be a good buy if genuine.
The first thing that bothered me was no Certificate of Authenticity.
However, I could see some lameass maybe selling that on Ebay at some point, since it would actually be signed by Slash. In fact, it seems like I recall seeing something like that on Ebay some time back (2008-2009).
So, I figured that for $400 less than GC price would be OK, if the guitar rocked.
The other thing that I noticed in the pics was that the "Epiphone" and the Slash signature on the case are in white, whereas the pics on the Epi site are in Gold...
I just now went back and checked real pics again, and the case is obviously NOT right! The real Slash case is obviously a smooth one similar to the one that my Ultra II came with.
The other thing that I wondered about was the lack of a pickguard. The Epi Slash has one, whereas the Gibson does not.
I went to check it out, cash in pocket, anyway.
The first things I checked was just basic condition, and to see if it had pickguard holes, which it did not.
Hmmm, well the finish looked good on the top, a little better than my Epi 56 goldtop... so maybe it was OK after all...
Then I noticed that the back was painted black! All of the Epi Slash GT pics I'd seen had a natural back, with figured mahogany. Why would they paint it black?!
Pickups still had plastic on them... hmmm this thing hasn't been played much or at all?
I had already told the guy that I'd have to pass on this, due to the black back, since part of the allure was the nice mahogany. But, why not plug it in and hear it anyway?
This guy said he bought it on Ebay for his son, but his son wanted a Zack Wylde instead.
So he said sure plug it in anyway.
Plugged into his son's Line 6 Spider IV. Sounded like crap. Tried Blues setting instead of Crunch... sounded like crap.
I have a Spider III and can play various guitars through the Crunch setting and they all sound good. This one sounded like crap no matter what.... ?!
I was really suspicious about this thing by this point, but wasn't aware of the Epi fakes issue (just looked at this forum this morning), although I figured the Slash GT would be a good target.
I then finally looked closely at the pickups, and read the text on the plastic....
"Designed by Epiphone USA Alnico Classic Plus... blah blah".
Well, had to inform the guy at this point that this was apparently a fake.... perhaps with good pickups it would be an OK guitar for someone.... however now I don't even think it's a mahogany guitar, as I noticed it was also way too light, and I was pretty sure that the Epi site said it has a maple top. It is WAY lighter than my Epi LP Customs! So, it's probably some crap wood... hence the black back, and crappy tone!
Another thing that I had noticed was that the Slash on the truss cover had a blemish, and the "Limited Edition Custom Shop" logo on the back of the headstock was smudged. Now that I think about it, I don't think it was even under a gloss coat, which I'm sure it is on my '66 Limited.
Now that I've read this thread, I see that you can tell in the picture from the ad that the EE in the serial number seems to be larger than the numbers... oh yeah, look at the pots... look familiar?... thanks for more validation guys!
Wow, so now I have to be careful if I look at any more used Epis.... fortunately I've collected a few real nice ones over the past 3 years, and they're all real:
-Korean (U) LP Custom Plus vintage burst (great action, mint condition) $400
-Gorgeous China (EE) LP Custom (the top is better than most Gibsons I've seen) $375
-Korean (I) '61 LP Custom (SG) Black Beauty (3 pickup) Reissue
(well used, but looks, feels, and sounds like a vintage Gibson!) $200
Sorry for the long post, but defenitely on topic!
Glad I did enough research to dodge that bullet!
Thanks for the futher info guys!