An unfortunate store bought this Counterfeit Ibanez Jem in the other day. This is about a $2,600 guitar, and so the store just lost a lot of money buying an unsellable copy. We present these photos for you to study, hoping you can avoid the same fate. These could walk into your store or be sold on eBay or Craigslist as genuine, so beware.
Side by side, they look pretty good, right? Want to try to guess which is which?
(its on the right)
We’ll start with the most obvious detail, the serial number. Compare a real Jem on the right to the fake, on the left. Click for larger images.
First thing you notice is, there is no serial number on the fake, much less any actual standard graphics, just a shoddy printed model number. This should have been a HUGE warning sign to this store. Any name brand guitar that is $2,600 should have a serial number. It is that simple. Even the name brand guitars that are $100 have a serial.
Significantly, you’ll also notice the fake’s tuning machines read “Ibanez” while the real ones are Gotohs. I’m not sure if they always used Gotohs or not, but the example is a current issue. You’ll also see the fake lacks the bolts that hold down the lock nut, and if you’re really observant, you’ll notice that the points on the far left of the real one are actually separate pieces of wood, while the fake is made from one piece.
Do you notice how the monkey grip is routed differently? On the real one, it is square and only as thick as the top edge of the guitar. The fake ignores this and follows the contours of the body.
The next significant details is the pickups. First, very hard to show in a picture, the real one has “DiMarzio” inset into the top of them, but not colored in any way.
Other than that, check out these two pictures focusing on the pickups.
Notice the middle pickup? The real one has normal slug style pole pieces, while the fake has gold poles. This is a common tell on fakes, something I’ve seen on at least two different fakes.Also notice the knobs. The fake has the more fancy gold knurled knobs, the real one has simple plastic white knobs. If you refer bak to the top pictures, you’ll see that the spacing of the knobs is also off.
Just a couple more things to look at on this one. The Bridge is important.
The fake has a standard Floyd Rose, while the Ibanez has an Ibanez specific lo-pro edge trem. Accept no imitations.
Last one, the Headstock.
Notice the “Jem” script? On the real one, it’s slim and elegant. On the fake, it’s the same font, but somebody hit the “bold” button.
These are some examples of how to tell the difference on a fake Jem, but it is only one of many fakes from many different factories out there. These are just some of the things you should look for.