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Dead Giveaway for Zakk Wylde Ebay Fakes?


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I've been checking out the Zakk Wylde Signature LP on eBay, because I'm on a low budget and can't really afford to drop 800 on a new one. After reading a few articles, I read that many (if not most) of the ZW LP's are fakes coming in from China. While looking over the Epiphone site, I noticed that the Epiphone version has a Rhythm/Treble selector switch cover, while the Gibson version does not. Going back to the 'Bay, I noticed that most of the Epi Zakk Wyldes listed did NOT have the Rhythm/Treble cover, which is suspicious. Are these guitars fakes that are modeled after the Gibson version, and just have the Epiphone name slapped on the headstock? Or is it just bad luck that 90% of the ZW's on eBay don't have this cover? Check the pictures if you aren't sure what I'm talking about.


Epiphone Site:



Sample of eBay Picture:



What's going on here? Any help is appreciated.

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Problem is, those covers are so easy to remove and I can see how someone might decide to remove them because they interfere with the look of the bullseye. Also, if you check the 2004, 2006, and 2007 Epi catalogs, the ZW in there does not have the pickup selector ring either.


No, you need to look at other things to determine the authenticity. Sometimes it's dead easy; there was one on eBay a couple of weeks back that was so obviously a fake it was ludicrous:


incorrect bullseye pattern (inner ring was filled in)

incorrect ZW logo

back of headstock unpainted

bogus EMG pickups (incorrect logos)



Unfortunately, it's not always this easy, but there are plenty of people here that will be glad to toss in their opinions if you ever come across one that you think is suspect.

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I'm not an expert on counterfeit guitars but it seems that, in general, the people producing the China fakes are not terribly concerned with "exact" copies. THey just want it to look close enought to convinvce some people to release their hard earned cash money. Some people think they are getting a great deal on a Gibson or Epiphone. This is becuasse they don't do their homework. The others know or suspect they are buying a fake and just don't care cause they either can't or won't justify the cost of the real thing.


I do have some general knowledge regarding the industry of fakes coming from China.

I work for a company that has multiple global manufacturing operations, including some in China. Because of this I have to be aware of Chinese laws regarding patents and forgeries.

The system is rigged in China against foreign companies like Gibson and others.

Even if you have a US patenet it does not apply in China. You have to file China patents separately. Often you will have to wait years to get a patent approved in China. Even if you get a patent, the Chinese government has to be willing to enforce it for you. They are not very likely to do that unless it is in their best interest since most of the counterfeiter are sharing their profits with government officials.

In order to get the Chinese government to do anything about the manufacture of fakes, your company has to have a representative in China that is able to attend the "raid" of the counterfeit manufacturing operation. That person is usually required to inspect every product identified claimed to be a forgery and be able to differentiate between the two.

If they find even one genuine product mixed in with the fakes then the Chinese will usually not charge the counterfeiter with any crime. We all know that a good counterfeiter will keep an original or two around for reference.

Another tactic the forgers use is to leave the branding until the last step of the process so that if they do get raided all that is found are "no name" products. And even if the decide to seize the conterfeit products the Chinese government will usually sell the counterfeit product at auction. Unless the offended company wants to take the forgeries off the market by buying the whole seized inventory it is usally bought by the counterfeiter and finished and them sold anyway. Just a bit of overhead adjustment and they keep moving.

Nifty set up don't you think?

I doubt there will be anything but an increse in the volume of forgeries coming from China. Therefore we have to be cautious and aware if we are buying from anyone but official distributors.

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All very interesting points, especially the point about the older versions not having a ring. This is going to make it a LOT harder to find a legitimate one on eBay, I guess. Amino that was very interesting, I did not know that. I always thought sites like PaylessGuitars could be sued by Gibson or Epiphone, but I guess not. Maybe I should just save up the extra cash for one from Guitar Center. If anyone else has any ideas to identify legitimate/fake ZW's on eBay, it would be appreciated. Thanks, all.

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Ring or no ring, if it was that easy to spot the fake they'd probably fixed that minor detail on most of the fakes already.

Some of the scams have stock photos on the auction page and what they will send you is something totally different.


I guess it's really hard to sue anyone if you don't get the person (or legal entity) to appear physically in your own country, because the laws are not the same on the entire planet... fortunately.

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