I just had another person in my guitar repair shop with what they thought was an authentic Gibson Les Paul and sadly they were duped. I've seen over a dozen fakes come through my shop in the last few years and they are easy to spot. I've seen real quality fakes that set up okay and sound great as well as some made of what appears to be poplar and are true crap. So how exactly do you spot a fake Les Paul guitar? Let me help you out.
1) Check the headstock for a glue joint (real Les Pauls will have a 1-piece neck)
2) Check the headstock shape. (Most fakes will have a deeper cut at the top of the headstock)
2) Open the back plate (real Gibsons have the volume and tone pots mounted on a metal plate and the cavity is lacquered and clean)
3) Check the serial numbers (some fakes will have 9 numbers where an authentic Gibson will have only 8)
4) Check the nut (authentic Les Pauls will not have deep cuts in the nut - fakes will have cheap nuts with deep cuts)
5) Check the toggle switch (fakes will have a hexagonal shaped nut, real Pauls will have a circular nut)
6) Check the adjustable bridge (fakes might have a large bore slotted head)
7) Check the body binding (real Les Pauls will have a triple bound body and clean edges, fakes might be wavy)
Any questions in identifying these imposter guitars? Just send me some pics before you buy and I'm happy to help.
There are a few $250 guitars that are real bargains out there as well if you are unconcerned with playing a replica - just know what you're buying first and avoid being disappointed.