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xavier

Unknown Guitar

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ok, my best guess is the second generation Melody Maker. or, it could be a LP jr. but modified with a humbucker, stripped finish, and Bigsby tailpiece. From the 60's.

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Hey Xavier--

 

Sorry for the delay in responding. I don't visit here much anymore these days.

 

I'm going to guess that this guitar is either a fake or heavily modified. I don't think Gibson ever used a headstock logo plate like that. And the trussrod cover has three screws; unless I am mistaken, Gibson trussrod covers only use two screws. Also (if I am seeing the picture correctly), there are no bushings around the tuning pegs. LPs and SGs have always had bushings around the tuning pegs as far as I know.

 

The more I look at it, the more I think it's a fake.

 

Ignatius

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I just looked at the full-length picture of the guitar again. Is it just me, or does that guitar not have a bridge?!? It looks like the strings are running over a stop-bar tailpiece directly to the Bigsby. Weird.

 

Ignatius

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I,m with marvar on this one....some type of Melody Maker judging by the headstock shape. The P/up and logo are modifications....RRod

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I' date='m with marvar on this one....some type of Melody Maker judging by the headstock shape. The P/up and logo are modifications....RRod[/quote']

But what about the truss rod cover? A three-screw truss rod cover won't even fit on a Gibson unless the person has been drilling holes in the guitar. I agree the headstock looks like the Melody Maker shape, but headstock shape alone is not enough--especially with that bland, non-standard Melody Maker headstock.

 

If we could trace the Gibson logo to another item, I might be willing to go with heavily-modified original. A few months back, we had someone claiming to have a "one of a kind" ES-125 with an odd headstock logo. It turned out the logo was a plate taken off an old Gibson guitar case. But that sort of ingenuity says to me that someone really ruined a refinish job and wants to preserve the Gibson name in some way on a genuine Gibson. If the logo on this guitar is just an outright fake, though, then I see deception at work rather than the attempt to preserve the memory of "pre-refinish" days.

 

Xavier: do you have any shots of the back of the guitar available? That might help a bit. Also, have you found a serial number on the instrument? That can be run in a serial number database to see if it even comes up as a possible Gibson although serial numbers also are easy to fake. On the other hand, wrong serial numbers are also dead giveaways that a guitar is not a Gibson.

 

I'm still going with a fake--although with heavy modification and a refinish of an old original, the point may be moot. If you alter a guitar enough, it may as well be a fake in terms of vintage value--or what you should pay for it, which is "not a lot" in this case. And if it plays well for you, then it doesn't matter a whit if it's real or fake at this point in the game.

 

Ignatius

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Sorry' date=' Is it me? How can you see a picture so small?[/quote']

 

Hey StrungInstruments--

 

Welcome to the forum! It's always good to see new members. Try reloading the page if the pictures look small. On some Windows computers, the pictures show up small at first for some yet unknown reason. The actual pictures on this page are about 2" x 3" or so.

 

We've told Gibson about this several times, and it never seems to get fixed.

 

Ignatius

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the three screw truss rod cover is common on epiphone, but not so much on gibson. but it is an sg of some sort. but i agree with Ignatius, this guitar is either a fake or heavily modified.

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Looks like a Melody Maker to me... They made them in the SG shape for a whil... Thats a Melody Maker pick Guard. The only thing that throws me off is the Humbucker... Maybe a modification...

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I'll just keep repeating this for clarity's sake: modern-era Gibson only uses two screws on its trussrod covers, and as far as I know, the headstock logo plate in the photos has never appeared on a Gibson. Those two point alone say this cannot be a genuine Gibson. Even if it was at one time, the guitar has been so reworked that it no longer is whatever it was.

 

Fake or bad restoration, it's not a Melody Maker anymore (if it ever was one). It could be a refinished and modded Epiphone, but that still doesn't make it a Gibson.

 

I'm surprised, by the way, that we've never heard from the original poster. I'm not sure if he was owner or prospective buyer. I would like to see more pictures.

 

Ignatius

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I once had a customer who came into my shop with a guitar quite similar to this one. It was an electric guitar from India where trademarks, logos and registered names are not protected and that would be my guess for this guitar - an Indian fake Gibson.

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It's a heavily modified post-1966 Melody Maker. Potentially a screaming kickass guitar with high utility value and zero collector value.

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It's a heavily modified post-1966 Melody Maker. Potentially a screaming kickass guitar with high utility value and zero collector value.

I'm still not sure how one knows it is a Melody Maker: the trussrod cover is wrong; the logo is wrong; and the pickups are wrong. We also just heard ballcorner say he saw one of these years ago that was an India-make fake. What evidence is there that this ever was a Gibson? I've seen lots of rip-off SG-style bodies; they were quite common in the '70s.

 

Or am I missing something here? I was up in the air whether it was a fake or heavily-modified, but ballcorner's comment did it for me--along with the fact that we have no evidence here at all that it ever was a Gibson.

 

Ignatius

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but ballcorner's comment did it for me--along with the fact that we have no evidence here at all that it ever was a Gibson.

 

Ignatius

 

ksdaddy is perhaps the most knowledgeable person here. If he has the confidence to say it is a post-1966 Melody maker I would be prone to bow to his experience. He works every day doing repairs and restorations on a variety of Gibson guitars and as I understand it he has been doing so for many years.

 

I still believe it looks very similar to the Indian fake I saw in my shop, but it is possible that the Indian fake was a copy of a post-1966 heavily modified Melody Maker - yes?

 

Keep searching. The truth is out there.

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I hear what you're saying ballcorner, but no one has yet explained either the irregular Gibson logo or the three-screw trussrod cover. Based only on the pictures we've seen, I don't know how one can verify that the body alone proves it is a Gibson--and that appears to be all that is left of the original guitar if it is a Melody Maker.

 

I'm not claiming to know it all here; I am trying to learn, and I have learned much from ksdaddy in the past so I'm not questioning his knowledge. I do know, though, that until one knows how to spot the guitar as authentic, such an odd beast should be assumed to be fake. In another thread several months back, we saw what all of us took to be a heavily-modified ES-125, but there was no way to verify it as such because so much of it had been altered. When the original poster contacted Gibson, customer service was not even willing to say the guitar was a Gibson for sure--and that guitar looked more like an ES-125 than this one looks like any Melody Maker that I've seen.

 

So I'm hoping that I can hear from people how they are able to verify this is a real Gibson, rather than, say, a modified Epiphone or an outright fake.

 

Ignatius

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The truss rod cover and logo are wrong of course. So is the pickguard and pickup. I'm basing my claim only on the SG shape and narrow headstock. The rest of the stuff makes no difference because it is easily replaced.

 

I don't know if there is such a thing as ever being able to verify that any guitar is a Gibson or not. What would you base that on? Someone's initials inside? Easily faked. Neck shape? Changes from year to year. Finish? If it's been stripped, that throws that out the window.

 

All I can ever do in a situation like this is to be familiar with the models as best I can, and acknowledge that people have done some dumb things in the past as to modifying guitars.

 

I had my 2 acre lot surveyed a couple years ago and in the discussion with the professional surveyor who had been doing the job for many decades, he made it clear that the survey report I would receive (or anyone would receive for that matter) is a report that states it is his opinion where the stakes are driven represents where my land boundaries are. There is no way to prove any of that. All that would come out in a court of law is his professional opinion based on the material given him (deed and/or abstract), the science available to him (total station survey equipment) and other physical evidence (line fences, existing pins, benchmarks).

 

Nowhere on God's green Earth is there proof that this two acre lot is mine other than some pieces of paper describing what was sold to me in 1983 and a professional's written opinion. If you handed the mystery Gibson to George Gruhn himself I'm betting a steak dinner he would confirm what I said, but if you asked him to PROVE it..... he could point out physical attributes that LED him to that claim but there's no way anyone could prove it.... they don't have guitar DNA yet.

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The truss rod cover and logo are wrong of course. So is the pickguard and pickup. I'm basing my claim only on the SG shape and narrow headstock. The rest of the stuff makes no difference because it is easily replaced.

 

[snip]

 

If you handed the mystery Gibson to George Gruhn himself I'm betting a steak dinner he would confirm what I said' date=' but if you asked him to PROVE it..... he could point out physical attributes that LED him to that claim but there's no way anyone could prove it.... they don't have guitar DNA yet.[/quote']

Hmmm. . . .

 

It seems with this, though, that you are assuming there is nothing else to look at. But aren't there other things?

 

For intance, couldn't one remove the pickguard, and if there is only a single humbucker channel in the guitar, wouldn't that prove the guitar is not a genuine Gibson Melody Maker? Or what if a person turned the guitar over and found that the neck is bolted on? (I realize the latter is unlikely in this situation, but it isn't impossible, is it?) Or what if one could see that the headstock had not been refinished, thus suggesting that the wrong logo is in fact original? (I would suspect this would not be hard to verify given the seemingly rough nature of the work done to the body.) Or what if he were to see to the best of his knowledge that it looks like the given electronics ARE original to this instrument--or that it had not been refinished? Or what if one removed the trussrod cover and discovered that the guitar never had a two-screw cover? What if there is a large area of wood exposed under the pickguard or on the back of the guitar, and the body proved to made of pine--or plywood?

 

I perhaps stated my case the wrong way earlier: a guitar can be verified to NOT be a Gibson, right? And if so, doesn't it make more sense to presume that the instrument pictured above is what it appears on its surface--a non-Gibson--rather than to assume the best without additional information? I mean, for all we know, the OP put this up to see if he can try to sell this to some innocent kid by telling him that the "official Gibson forums" verified that it is a Melody Maker.

 

Again, I'm just asking to learn. I've been fascinated in this forum with how much can be learned about an instrument through careful evaluation. You were the person, ksdaddy, who told me how to date an ES-125 based on the number of frets. I guess I'm asking whether there is some other oustanding feature like that on this body that says this guitar is x and not y. I've seen dozens of fake SG bodies in my life, and some of them looked quite good. I can't tell from these pictures how one tells this body apart from those.

 

Ignatius

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Going on my gut alone and nothing else, I'm gonna say NOT.

 

Both KSDaddy, and Ignatius have my utmost respect, and I would hope they know that.

 

(Good to see you back Ignatius)

 

...and Welcome to the forum Xavier

 

B)

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Hey KSDaddy--

 

You are the man! I am impressed.

 

On a lark, I actually took you up on your offer, and I emailed the pictures from this thread to Gruhn Guitars and explained the ongoing discussion. I just got a response this morning from George Gruhn himself. I didn't ask permission to post his reply so I won't, but the summary is this: I owe you a steak dinner. Mr. Gruhn agrees with you one hundred percent and only added to the general discussion that not only are the logo redone and the trussrod cover and pickup replaced, but so too are the tuning machines. He estimates the collector's value somewhere near zero, but yes indeed, he is confident this guitar is a post-1966 Melody Maker.

 

I am very impressed. I knew you know your stuff, KSDaddy, but this counts as an out-of-the-park home run in my eyes. If you're ever in Chicago, and we can work it out, I would be honored to treat for that dinner because it would be great to get to know you in person as well!

 

(Oh, and TLSG, thanks for the welcome back. This is part of why I came back. I missed the learning so much! Somehow, graduate school alone just isn't enough.)

 

Ignatius

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total afterthought here but...i noticed a curious triangle of filled screw holes between the truss cover and the headstock plate suggesting that some type of mod had been done. what type of headstock had screws that high up the stock?

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I once owned a guitar similar to this one,except without ANY logo on the headstock. I bought it in the late 60's in a pawn shop in Hudson,New York for $20. Same color,pickguard,headstock,pickup,but no vibrato unit. (I don't remember exactly what kind of tailpiece it had) My guess as to what it is is this: I don't believe it's a forgery for one obvious reason--Why would someone who has the ability to create such a perfectly forged body,complete with all the correct beveling and contours,and a perfect Melody Maker pickguard,then install such an obviously bogus looking neck/headstock & logo? It doesn't make sense. Also, since forgeries are made to make money,why forge a low end guitar like a melody maker? Why not go a little extra and create a bogus SG/Les Paul< which would sell for alot more! What I think this is, possibly, is a guitar that was made by Gibson,possibly for experimental purposes;maybe to test pickups or something like that,and somebody found an old logo off some really old Gibson product, and just stuck it on. I guess we'll never really know, but it's fun to speculate!

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I don't believe it's a forgery for one obvious reason--Why would someone who has the ability to create such a perfectly forged body' date='complete with all the correct beveling and contours,and a perfect Melody Maker pickguard,then install such an obviously bogus looking neck/headstock & logo? It doesn't make sense. Also, since forgeries are made to make money,why forge a low end guitar like a melody maker? Why not go a little extra and create a bogus SG/Les Paul< which would sell for alot more! [/quote']

As we've already seen, dickey, it isn't a fake, but I think your argument against it being a fake rests on a couple mistaken assumptions. First off, the OP did not know it was a Melody Maker: the people here provided that answer. This actually could have been an attempt to make an SG copy, especially since the Melody Maker never had humbuckers and the SG did and does. I actually wonder in hindsight now whether this was an attempt to make a Melody Maker look (and sound) more like an SG. Under those conditions, your first argument against forgery doesn't really work here.

 

Second, the old pre-lawsuit market had a lot of Gibson knockoffs that looked very much like the originals, especially on cheap foreign imports, but they never were meant back then to compete with the SGs themselves--they were competing on the LOW END of the market. I think there was a LOT of money to be made in the '60s and '70s by doing foreign knock-offs of second-tier guitars--low profit yes, but very fast turnaround. Look at Epiphone: for years it was not making cheap ES-335s but was doing knock-offs of the other Asian copies of ES-335s (in fact, the cheap copies and the Epiphones were often made in the very same plants at times in the early days of the move overseas). I have seen fake SG bodies that look very good once they've been painted: the contours are right, etc, but the body is cheap plywood with a heavy think paint job over it. To the experts like KSdaddy and George Gruhn, the differences are obvious, but man, they've been close enough in the past to make me look twice to make sure they weren't the real thing.

 

Lastly, I'm fairly certain that Gibson logo is a complete fabrication. I don't think Gibson has ever had a logo like that on anything (although I am now willing to learn that is wrong as well), and it can't be a perfect Melody Maker pickguard because they didn't come with humbuckers.

 

I also should add, by the way, dickey, that both KSDaddy and George Gruhn have argued that this is a modified guitar and not original--even as an experimental model.

 

By the way, regarding the three holes in the headstock that cunkhead noted, my guess is that someone mounted something on the headstock at some point. My ES-125 also has an odd hole in the same general area (only one though); I've seen similar holes on a few other guitars that wandered through the '60s and early '70s during their lifetimes. I wonder if there was a time when objects on the headstock were "hip and happening" among the youth.

 

Ignatius

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