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Mystery “Epiphone By Gibson” Sheraton with no skunk stripes?

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I have this Epiphone Sheraton with the “Epiphone By Gibson” headstock, leading me to believe it is a 1986-1988 Samick factory Korean made. There is no serial number sticker or engraving.

Now, the weird part.. The headstock is different than the standard ones. I’ve seen more of a “cursive” type Epiphone logo on a few, but never one exactly like this that’s missing the “registered” symbol. Also, there’s no black decorative lines in the binding on the sides of the headstock like the others have, and the tuners are different (could be aftermarket). And the floral design is different slightly.

The weirdest thing is that there aren’t skunk stripes on the back of the neck. Every single Sheraton I can find has these, but this one does not. Also, the bridge is different than the 86-88 models.

Has anyone seen this before? I’ve emailed Gibson but haven’t received a reply. Photos included.

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That's not an Epiphone Sheraton body, in my opinion.look at the shape, the cut outs on the ears aren't deep enough, toggle looks in the wrong place.

The biggest apart from the stripes, the inlays, I've never seen a sheraton without the split square.

It  just looks so off. 

Looks more like an ibanez body. 

Also, it looks brand new apart from the headstock overlay.

Fake.

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It’s definitely not brand new, nor does it look it. The photos are deceiving, but all the hardware is pretty corroded (it’s obvious it’s cheap stuff), there are some dings and a cracking in the poly by the jack. 

I’ve actually had it for 8 years now and it’s been put through the ringer. The pickups are brand new though.

And you are likely correct in that it’s probably a fake. I’ve gotten two conflicting answers to this weirdness today, Gibson said via email that it’s “definitely a 1986 sheraton II” which I don’t really believe, and Gruhn Guitars here in Nashville is saying they think it’s likely a well done copy from China.

Either way, I still love this guitar and personally I think it feels better than every new sheraton I’ve picked up lately. Who would make a copy of this guitar is beyond me, and who bought it new and when is a mystery, but I’m happy with it and it’s served me well.

 

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Your guitar also has more fretboard inlays than a Sheraton normally would have.

An odd duck, to be sure - and again, why bother to fake an Asian Epiphone?

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Anyone have any ideas on who or how to verify for sure that this could have made it out of a Korean factory with so many differences?

It’s just so hard for me to believe that this would have been sold during that time period being so “off”..

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13 hours ago, WeirdEpiphone said:

Anyone have any ideas on who or how to verify for sure that this could have made it out of a Korean factory with so many differences?

 

The only way to confirm a Korean origin would be with a serial number.  Codes for the multiple Korean factories used by Gibson are well known.

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Fake epiphones exist, they just do. Look them up some are pretty obvious.

Another thing, which is hard to tell properly. Does it have nibs? Or has it had a refret?  I think all of the 80's Sheraton I've seen have nibs.

And the tuners, angled screw in. Again most of the ones I've seen and can find images of have a straight screw at the bottom of the machine not like these. And it doesn't look like there are any holes from a change?

 

Whatever it is, if it pleases you to play, that's really all that matters. 

 

 

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Another email from Gibson. Doesn’t sound like they’re really interested in figuring out if it’s a copy or not lol: “There were small variations like this on the model during the mid-late 1980’s. The bridge was likely added after the guitar left the factory.”

I just don’t think there would be so many variations, especially with things that they’ve literally never done on another Sheraton in the history of the guitar. I’m concluding for my own sanity that this is indeed a copy, which I’m cool with. At least it’s not a Gibson copy that I could have paid a lot of money for!

BTW, I wish I knew who made this copy so I could find more guitars by them, this one is so well made.. it’s been on large festival stages and recording studios etc without even a second thought of what it might be. If you see one of these in the wild somehow grab it for cheap!

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More from Gibson rep when asked about the discrepancies in the headstock, tuners, skunk stripes, and inlays specifically: “I have indeed seen other like this. It is nothing to worry about. Thanks!”

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Looks like someone put an Epiphone neck on an Ibanez body to me.

In fact, no 5 ply binding on the headstock or fret  board, not the right 5 piece next and not the right inlays  either.

Someone built that nest and put it on an Epiphone body. Not a Chinese fake, but a Luthier fake.

Not an original Epiphone.

Hope you did not spend a lot on it.

Edited by mgrasso

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If you look closely on the back of the neck and head stock, it looks like the 2 lines on the back may have been painted over. 

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