|Their names are as iconic and legendary as the musicians who played them. Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, Epiphone.
From the solid body, single-cutaway styling of a Gibson Les Paul to the sleek contours of the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars, the instruments and many of their top-level rivals are allegedly being cloned in massive Chinese guitar factories and sold through Web sites and on eBay for as low as 10 cents on the dollar compared to the genuine guitars. The instruments are all stamped with trademarked U.S. company names and styled after their American counterparts, complete with logos, stickers, and cases. Only guitar experts and savvy guitar buyers can identify the knock-off guitars as fakes, with younger or more inexperienced buyers in danger of committing a felony while buying what they think is their dream guitar.
Even though they are stamped "Made in USA," that once revered product label doesn't necessarily mean something was indeed made in America; not in the age of the 21st century global marketplace where clandestine factories are as plentiful as American convenience stores, and where copyrights, patents, and trademarks are as respected as Paris Hilton's privacy.
Motley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx was completely unaware that counterfeit Chinese guitars were such a huge problem. Sixx recently unveiled a signature bass with Epiphone Guitars. "These are being made in China, with Gibson and Fender's names, and sold as real guitars? Wow! That's brand infringement and false advertising," said Sixx. "If somebody saves to buy their dream guitar, and later finds out it's not what they thought it was-it's a total fraud. When people buy a brand name, it's something they trust and believe in."
( continued, next page >> )
[ pages: 1 - 2 - 3 ]