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Is this a FAKE Epiphone ??? How to spot fake guitars.

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Epiphone novice, please be kind...


A couple weeks ago, I had a buddy of mine get this off ebay for me.


It was listed as an Epi MDB Custom (I had previous post looking for info on this, several said it was stock Sheraton with aftermarket pups, knobs, tuners, trc). At quick glance, I thought it was cool looking Sheraton with some upgrades.


The serial number came back with Korean manufacture and I believe 2003 date.


The ebay link has some supersize pictures on it FAKE ? Epi Link


I received the guitar a couple days ago. It seemed to be a nice quality piece.


Before the guitar arrived, I emailed Epiphone for info.


Today I received an email from Epiphone/Gibson stating that they have no record of MDB and that the headstock and body shapes are not consistent with anything Epiphone made (YIKES!!!).


I found a closeup of another Sheraton headstock on ebay and YES, they are different. The shape is different and the vine inlay is also different.


However, after searching around, I found another auction for 5 year old Shearton (approx age of mine with per serial number) and the headstock and vine look the same - photo below.


Other 5 year old Sheraton on ebay


Now I am really confused, especially since I found this other one that looks similar - to me at least.


If it was not for that blue Epiphone MDB label (is the label design fake too?) inside the guitar, I would not have given the guitar a second thought about being original.


Now, I am trying to figure out if it is fake, some sort of Korean spin off using Epi parts, or what?


Any thoughts if this might even be an Epiphone?


Also, and this might sound like a stupid question, but what are some of the tell tale signs of a fake Epi?


How would you even go about figuring out the value of a quality, though fake guitar?









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Where did you check the serial number ? I just had a look on the

Guitar Dater Project & this info came back :


Your guitar was made at the

Saein Plant, Korea/China

March 2003

Production Number: 2999


So it would seem that the serial is genuine (& I've checked a few on there

that have come back as unrecognised !) I must admit that I've never heard

of MDB before, but WTF, you got it at a decent price( if my £ to $ math is correct)

& if it looks & sounds good, & you're happy with it, don't worry & just PLAY IT !!

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The question here is 'who the heck is MDB?'. Just speculating here, but I think what you have is a genuine Korean Sheraton from 2003 that has been customized by someone calling himself MDB (initials?). I dunno what Epiphone's problem is but that headstock looks perfectly legit to me. Coincidentally, I found a poster on Yahoo answering questions about Epi guitars with the nick 'MDB'...


So this MDB character bought a Sheraton, swapped the pickups and changed the tuner knobs so that they would look like Imperials, and then went to the trouble of creating a custom label to stick inside the guitar. Note that the label is unlike the standard Epiphone orange oval labels. I believe it's also unusual that the serial would be on the label as well as on the headstock, which supports the idea that the label is not original.

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I guess anything is possible but I wouldn't think that someone would go to the trouble of counterfeiting an Epiphone so well in some areas and do something strange like indicating a nonexistent model number. It looks like someone went crazy over at Guitar Fetish and bought a Dream 90 and Dream 180 pickup for it along with some new tuners. The place I would look for obvious fakes is in the inlays and logo. Epiphone's factories have precision cutters and routers to do the inlays, They should be precise without much filler. They should also be straight, If not, that might be a sign. The body shape and headstock appear to be consiistent with my Sheraton.


Good luck.

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I think it's the same as if I put an "LPD" label in my modified '95 Sheraton (which doesn't have an inner label -- does that mean it's a fake?). Hell, it beats putting decals and stickers all over it.


Aftermarket parts, are, by definition, not OEM, so if it was advertised as an Epiphone guitar with aftermarket parts, well, that's exactly what you've got: replacement Grover Imperial tuners and better pickups. I'd say it's pretty cool.


And I'm with dbirchett: if anyone's going to go to the trouble of making a fake, they'd more likely put a Gibson logo on it.

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Not an expert on these 'Nashville" Epis. The blue label went away with the second wave of Norlin imports. It was resurrected for the the Paul McCartney guitar for nostalgia's sake. But.. this isn't a Norlin. There is something definitely not 'kosher' looking about that label. I can't put my finger on it. I'd have expected to see the right hand side of the Epiphone epsilon, "E", as opposed to the rounded left side... I wish they'd have gotten the entire label.


Strange the seller says he can't ship overseas because he can't remove the neck..???? But then goes on to spell out qualifiers for 'overseas shipments".. ?????????


I'd tread lightly here.

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I would agree here with the guys. It looks like the original? owner did a custom job then sold it off and probably let the person know the custom job he did. Several sales later the stated mods were lost in the transactions. I did an Epiphone Dot years ago with Chandler P90s and ran across a guy that had it playing in a local bar.


I told the store when I traded in what I had done to it, but talking to the guy that had it now had no clue. I told him what I had done and what the PUs I had put in it were. Did not put any kind of custom label or anything in or on it, but seems like the same type of deal here.


Thinking about that I also did a RIC 320 that I bought in natural and black hardware and PUs and put it to a 325V59 with a B5 Bigsby and had it rewired for 4 knobs and the 4 hole gold scratch plate. I let the store know when I sold it on consignment what it was and should have marked in the cavity some how so no one in the future was misled by it.


The signs are the body is not as fat as a real 325V59, the Bigsby has the black on the bottom, the PUs underneith has the black bleed from the foam surrounds that were on there and the bridge sat on the old black mounting plate, never changed that to chrome. I hope that guitar is not being passed off today for something it is not.

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Thanks again for all the replies!!!


What really hit me hard on this, was Epi/Gibson saying it was no consistent with their designs or shapes.


After receiving another picture of this guitar and one off ebay auction, Epi now said that the headstocks look the same, but the shape by the bout still looks different.


I now believe the thing is legit and part of the problem is just the shadows/lighting/angles of the pictures.


I popped a pup and it did say GFS on the bottom.


The tuners are Grover, but not the art deco Imperial, just the roto's with the fancier head. I think that is why they are not at the angle someone mentioned.


The label inside is actually blue, though it shows up parchment color in the picture. I will try to post a better picture of the label as it seems this is still the unresolved item, though I am really starting to go along with the idea that someone modded the guitar and this was their way of stating that (or did it for possible easier id).


The guitar sounds nice through a Valve Jr, though my playing is very lacking but I am working on that daily.


I originally was going to get a Dot, but when I saw this, I figured a good Dot was close to $300 and then the pups and tuners close to another $100. I love sunburst and this one just seemed to have the toys already with it, so I got it.




Just one quick question again...


Were the blue Epi Nashville labels ever used on import guitars or just USA made models? I still want to research the label on this some more..


Thanks again!!

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I think you've got it right... for what you paid, you've snagged a fine guitar with some great pickups pre-installed, so no worries. Also I'm not surprised regarding Gibson's cluelessness... they're not too swift when it comes to Epi products and this is far from the first time that they've provided spurious information. They really need to create a separate CS department for Epiphone.

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