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epistrat

Do I have a fake Epi LP Special II?

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I got it from Reverb.com in 2016 and the Serial # is 1008102530. From what I can surmise after consulting the Epiphone Wiki is that my Epi was made in August 2010 in Factory 10 and is Unit 2530.

 

But when I looked at the factories, there was no Factory 10, they started with Factory 11 and went up to Factory 23.

 

Can somebody help me with identifying my Epi LP?

 

I recently put a mahogany neck from GFS on it, btw. Here are a couple of pics

 

tPV84S5.jpg

 

O5mqYEH.jpg

 

ZWE8y7I.jpg

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EpiStrat,

 

The guitar has an after-market neck on it, the hard-tail was removed in favor of an after-market tremolo system, and it's covered in stickers.

 

All I can divine from those photos is that it's a guitar.

 

Play it, enjoy it, and be at peace, leaving the origins of the guitar a sublime mystery.

 

[unsure]

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EpiStrat,

 

The guitar has an after-market neck on it, the hard-tail was removed in favor of an after-market tremolo system, and it's covered in stickers.

 

All I can divine from those photos is that it's a guitar.

 

Play it, enjoy it, and be at peace, leaving the origins of the guitar a sublime mystery.

 

[unsure]

I was just wondering if anybody could help explaining the serial # :) Edited by epistrat

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I wish I could help in that regard, but I cannot.

 

a. The serial number is on a neck plate, which is easily moved from one guitar to another.

 

and,

b. The serial number doesn't come up as legit on The Guitar Dater dot com, and I have come to trust that resource.

 

The question now is, "Does it play well, stay in tune, and sound good?"

 

Then play it, and enjoy it.

 

:)

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I wish I could help in that regard, but I cannot.

 

a. The serial number is on a neck plate, which is easily moved from one guitar to another.

 

and,

b. The serial number doesn't come up as legit on The Guitar Dater dot com, and I have come to trust that resource.

 

The question now is, "Does it play well, stay in tune, and sound good?"

 

Then play it, and enjoy it.

 

:)

Thanks for the info, sparquelito, that was the info I was looking for. If it’s a fake, I can change out the neckplate, too.

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Thanks for the info, sparquelito, that was the info I was looking for. If it's a fake, I can change out the neckplate, too.

I don't think the body is a fake. In the 80's and 90's Gibson had several different factories in different countries building Epiphone's, while trying to find builders that could manufacture quality guitars and keep the cost down. During this time period there were not a lot of records kept on mass produced guitars, sometimes none at all. The neck is definitely aftermarket, readily available on the internet and can be purchased with just about any label you want.....

mcf3cYVRnDSJAI3W2yiYlvQ.jpg

This one looks very similar to what you have on your LP..

Also note that you could find a used bolt-on Epi LP neck on ebay..

 

But all that said, if the current neck is working plays good, I would enjoy playing it as it is...

 

 

Edited by mihcmac

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I don't think the body is a fake. In the 80's and 90's Gibson had several different factories in different countries building Epiphone's, while trying to find builders that could manufacture quality guitars and keep the cost down. During this time period there were not a lot of records kept on mass produced guitars, sometimes none at all. The neck is definitely aftermarket, readily available on the internet and can be purchased with just about any label you want.....

mcf3cYVRnDSJAI3W2yiYlvQ.jpg

This one looks very similar to what you have on your LP..

Also note that you could find a used bolt-on Epi LP neck on ebay..

 

But all that said, if the current neck is working plays good, I would enjoy playing it as it is...

Hi mihcmac,

 

I did all of the mods to my Epi LP myself, including the mahogany neck from GFS. I have the original neck in my closet as we speak. It doesn’t have any markings except for these stickers

MSeGmWB.jpg

 

As you can see, I put aftermarket Gotoh tuners on it (not very well, either :( )

 

This is the front of the headstock

 

yS30gD9.jpg I put an aftermarket unbleached bone Nut from Stew-Mac on it, because the original black plastic Nut was chipped on the low E string slot, it wouldn’t hold the low E string on.

Edited by epistrat

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Thanks for clarifying.. After looking at all of your pic's I would say its not a fake. However the unusual shaped pickguard does not seem to be from the current era.. Probably early 90's or late 80's... Maybe...

 

Update: I just found an Epi LP Special II neck plate on Reverb that looks a lot like yours claiming to be a a 2010 era..

 

kfkywhishxjf1cwtldwk.jpg

Edited by mihcmac

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Thanks for clarifying.. After looking at all of your pic's I would say its not a fake. However the unusual shaped pickguard does not seem to be from the current era.. Probably early 90's or late 80's... Maybe...

 

Update: I just found an Epi LP Special II neck plate on Reverb that looks a lot like yours claiming to be a a 2010 era..

 

kfkywhishxjf1cwtldwk.jpg

Yes, the neckplate looks a lot like mine. Except that neckplate shows a factory that is listed in the Epiphone Wiki, Factory 13.

 

I got the pickguard (specially made for Epi LP Special IIs) from eBay back in 2016, and put it on myself. I don’t think they’re available anymore.

Edited by epistrat

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I don't think anyone makes fake Epiphone Les Paul Special lls...

 

The genuine guitars don't sell for that much money, so there's no financial incentive.

 

What you have is like a parts-caster. We can assemble Fender style guitars out of parts

that have been bought or made or stolen, and make a playable instrument.

 

This is true for bolt-on neck Epiphones also. And this is what you have.

It doesn't look much like what left the Epiphone factory, but that's okay because

it is something you have changed to meet your own needs. Or just to have some fun.

 

Epiphones respond very well to upgrades. Inexpensive Epiphone guitars can be made into

real players. I know this because I have done it. Repeatedly.

 

One of my favorite instruments is a 1997 ex-Squier P-bass that was abandoned by its owner.

The original instrument probably didn't cost more than $150 US when it was new in 1997.

By the time it came to me, it was in bad shape... it had been down in some basement,

under piles of debris, and the hardware was all rusty and the instrument was covered in

mold and mildew or other life forms.

 

I got it free, and treated it like a rescue puppy. I actually took it to a good luthier, asking

him if he thought he could get the neck straight. I said, if he could, I'd take the instrument

on as a project. Otherwise, it was bound for a Viking Funeral.

 

He got the neck straight. That was the key. With a playable neck, all I needed to do was

install good quality parts. I stripped off and threw away all the hardware, including the neck

plate with the serial number. I bought new (good) parts: Schaller tuners, Fender nut, StewMac

Golden Age P-bass pickup, Alpha pots, Switchcraft jack, and a Gotoh Bridge.

 

My reward for doing the work was to end up with a very playable Precision Bass. It weighs about

nine pounds and balances perfectly. Great tone and sustain. The neck and frets work fine, no

problems. I have about $450 into it now, including an excellent high end gig bag for it. This bass

can take its place alongside instruments costing ten times as much, and not give up a thing.

 

So I would not worry about whether your Special ll is a fake. I would just mod it to suit yourself

and play the hell out of it. What you have is a cool custom guitar that will be what you make of it.

It likely has a low resale value... like my ex-Squier bass. So its real value is in the music it can make.

When I had my bass stripped down, I sanded off the Squier decal. And installed a new blank neck

plate. So my bass is no longer a Squier P-bass. It is now one of a kind, and so is your guitar.

 

Get it set up perfectly by the best luthier you can find or afford. That's the best mod you can do to it.

Then play it loud.

Edited by Col Mustard

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I don't think anyone makes fake Epiphone Les Paul Special lls...

 

The genuine guitars don't sell for that much money, so there's no financial incentive.

 

What you have is like a parts-caster. We can assemble Fender style guitars out of parts

that have been bought or made or stolen, and make a playable instrument.

 

This is true for bolt-on neck Epiphones also. And this is what you have.

It doesn't look much like what left the Epiphone factory, but that's okay because

it is something you have changed to meet your own needs. Or just to have some fun.

 

Epiphones respond very well to upgrades. Inexpensive Epiphone guitars can be made into

real players. I know this because I have done it. Repeatedly.

 

One of my favorite instruments is a 1997 ex-Squier P-bass that was abandoned by its owner.

The original instrument probably didn't cost more than $150 US when it was new in 1997.

By the time it came to me, it was in bad shape... it had been down in some basement,

under piles of debris, and the hardware was all rusty and the instrument was covered in

mold and mildew or other life forms.

 

I got it free, and treated it like a rescue puppy. I actually took it to a good luthier, asking

him if he thought he could get the neck straight. I said, if he could, I'd take the instrument

on as a project. Otherwise, it was bound for a Viking Funeral.

 

He got the neck straight. That was the key. With a playable neck, all I needed to do was

install good quality parts. I stripped off and threw away all the hardware, including the neck

plate with the serial number. I bought new (good) parts: Schaller tuners, Fender nut, StewMac

Golden Age P-bass pickup, Alpha pots, Switchcraft jack, and a Gotoh Bridge.

 

My reward for doing the work was to end up with a very playable Precision Bass. It weighs about

nine pounds and balances perfectly. Great tone and sustain. The neck and frets work fine, no

problems. I have about $450 into it now, including an excellent high end gig bag for it. This bass

can take its place alongside instruments costing ten times as much, and not give up a thing.

 

So I would not worry about whether your Special ll is a fake. I would just mod it to suit yourself

and play the hell out of it. What you have is a cool custom guitar that will be what you make of it.

It likely has a low resale value... like my ex-Squier bass. So its real value is in the music it can make.

When I had my bass stripped down, I sanded off the Squier decal. And installed a new blank neck

plate. So my bass is no longer a Squier P-bass. It is now one of a kind, and so is your guitar.

 

Get it set up perfectly by the best luthier you can find or afford. That's the best mod you can do to it.

Then play it loud.

Thanks for the reply, Col. Mustard, I enjoyed reading it. Since all I can afford are cheap and/or used instruments, I enjoy tinkering with them as much as I can, it helps me to bond with the instrument.

 

But like you said, you have to have that “key” that makes investing in an instrument worth the effort. Then it becomes all yours :)

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In most cases, it would cost much more to build a fake Epi than it would to buy a real one. Building a guitar is not as cheap as it sounds.

Edited by Big Bill
  • Upvote 2

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In most cases, it would cost much more to build a fake Epi than it would to buy a real one. Building a guitar is not as cheap as it sounds.

[thumbup]

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[thumbup]

The key thing here is if your hands can coax the sound you want to hear out of you guitar, it doesn't matter how much it costs or who made it...

Edited by mihcmac

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Thanks for the reply, Col. Mustard, I enjoyed reading it. Since all I can afford are cheap and/or used instruments, I enjoy tinkering with them as much as I can, it helps me to bond with the instrument.

 

But like you said, you have to have that “key” that makes investing in an instrument worth the effort. Then it becomes all yours :)

 

I'll bet your ex-Epiphone is worth the effort. I have a step daughter who expressed an interest in playing guitar when she was

about 11 years old. Her dad responded by buying her an Epiphone Les Paul Special ll. *grins

 

She brought that home and was all excited.

I responded by getting her some cool upgrades for it. I actually thought it sounded pretty good just out of the box.

But I knew it could be better. I ended up replacing almost everything I could unscrew or unsolder. Just a labor of

love, that's all. Grover tuners, Tusq nut, Gibson 490 pickups out of my SG, Tone Pros bridge and tail, a good quality

wiring harness. The neck and the frets were fine. The body is made of plywood, but that doesn't have much effect

on the instrument. Wood is like, not magnetic.

 

The Gibson p'ups sound better in the Epiphone that they did in the Gibson. A decent nut is also a key point, as is

the bridge. Good quality parts there make a difference, an important difference.

 

So she ends up with a guitar that is much more than it appears to be. Great tone and sustain, it's set up very well

and is easy to play, and stays in tune. Hard to beat. Also, it doesn't attract thieves. We kept the original "Special ll"

decal on. So it looks like an inexpensive Epi, but it plays like a million.

 

I'm sure yours does too.

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The key thing here is if your hands can coax the sound you want to hear out of you guitar, it doesn't matter how much it costs or who made it...

True ^_^

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I'll bet your ex-Epiphone is worth the effort. I have a step daughter who expressed an interest in playing guitar when she was

about 11 years old. Her dad responded by buying her an Epiphone Les Paul Special ll. *grins

 

She brought that home and was all excited.

I responded by getting her some cool upgrades for it. I actually thought it sounded pretty good just out of the box.

But I knew it could be better. I ended up replacing almost everything I could unscrew or unsolder. Just a labor of

love, that's all. Grover tuners, Tusq nut, Gibson 490 pickups out of my SG, Tone Pros bridge and tail, a good quality

wiring harness. The neck and the frets were fine. The body is made of plywood, but that doesn't have much effect

on the instrument. Wood is like, not magnetic.

 

The Gibson p'ups sound better in the Epiphone that they did in the Gibson. A decent nut is also a key point, as is

the bridge. Good quality parts there make a difference, an important difference.

 

So she ends up with a guitar that is much more than it appears to be. Great tone and sustain, it's set up very well

and is easy to play, and stays in tune. Hard to beat. Also, it doesn't attract thieves. We kept the original "Special ll"

decal on. So it looks like an inexpensive Epi, but it plays like a million.

 

I'm sure yours does too.

Wow, you definitely can't judge that book by it's cover. Inspiring story, Col. Mustard, thanks for the reply B)

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The inspection sticker looks legit and indicates that the guitar was made in China. I don't remember where we determined that the Gabor inspection sticker hailed from, however. It's either Qingdao or Daewon. There was a thread somewhere, either here or MLP, that used other examples and a process of elimination that sorted it out, but that was many years ago. 12 was Daewon and 11 was an early unknown Chinese factory, much like 10 is in this guitar. 2010 seems to have been a transitional year for Epiphone serialization, since in 2011 they switched all serials to this format and eliminated serials on neck plates and moved them all to the headstock.

 

From what I have seen, it appears that every LP and SG Special made from 2011 onward has been made in Indonesia. I've never seen one made in Qingdao. In the recent years leading up to 2011, the majority of thise guitars appear to have been made in chinese OEM factories. So with that i would surmise that this guitar was made in either Unsung or Deawon. However, this is just an educated guess and I could be wrong. There may have been another factory still being used in 2010.

Edited by RobinTheHood

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The inspection sticker looks legit and indicates that the guitar was made in China. I don't remember where we determined that the Gabor inspection sticker hailed from, however. It's either Qingdao or Daewon. There was a thread somewhere, either here or MLP, that used other examples and a process of elimination that sorted it out, but that was many years ago. 12 was Daewon and 11 was an early unknown Chinese factory, much like 10 is in this guitar. 2010 seems to have been a transitional year for Epiphone serialization, since in 2011 they switched all serials to this format and eliminated serials on neck plates and moved them all to the headstock.

 

From what I have seen, it appears that every LP and SG Special made from 2011 onward has been made in Indonesia. I've never seen one made in Qingdao. In the recent years leading up to 2011, the majority of thise guitars appear to have been made in chinese OEM factories. So with that i would surmise that this guitar was made in either Unsung or Deawon. However, this is just an educated guess and I could be wrong. There may have been another factory still being used in 2010.

Thanks for the very informative reply, RobinTheHood, that was a great help. Now i’m sure I don’t have a fake and i’m going to keep the original neckplate. I’m also going to keep the original neck for the informative inspection sticker (just not on the guitar :) ).

 

I wish I could find out more about the mysterious “Factory 10”, tho.

Edited by epistrat

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On 5/18/2019 at 7:42 PM, VladTheImpaler said:

Epistrat, how well did the GFS neck fit your Special II? Did it bolt straight on, or did you have to adjust it?

Hi Vlad,

The GFS neck fit perfectly in the neck pocket of the body. I did put the tuners on first and put two high E strings on to align the neck, then clamped it into place with two wood clamps. Then I marked where the holes needed to be with an ice pick through the body holes, and then drilled the holes.

These GFS necks fit perfectly in Epi Special II bodies (well, @ least in mine it did).

The GFS neck isn’t as substantial in your hand as the original neck is, but it is comfortable enough. And the GFS neck feels more “solid” for some reason, for lack of a better word, than the original neck. And the frets definitely feel better, too.

Not bad for a $65 neck.

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