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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I feel like people simply don't know the difference. Or indeed, care.

The amount of times I've seen guitars marketed and branded as Ibanez when they have no authentic parts (majority - neck and body) only to be put up for sale as "customs" is disturbing me.

If I bought a Rolex branded and marketed watch and found out it had absolutely nothing to do with Rolex because it was a "custom" (a fake) I think I'd be down the police station with my counterfeit goods looking for justice.

The bit I don't get is why this is almost accepted and commonplace in the guitar community.

Someone said to me today their entirely parts built Ibanez Jem wasn't counterfeit at all, it was simply a custom. "That's what a custom is".

No, that is the literal definition of counterfeit - goods made to look like the real deal in order to deceive or command higher value.

I mean sure call it out as a fake, parts build or whatever - but then why go through the trouble of intentionally branding it with an Ibanez logo/decal if it's not trying to impersonate a specific product.

On the whole most people entirely let them off and don't seem to care.

What do you think? Am I the strange one for wanting to call this out?
 

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Awesome thread :D

My view on this is that most "Custom" JEMs are not "Counterfeit". To me "Counterfeit" implies that they are as close a replica to the real thing as possible, so for example those "Chibanez" trying to exactly match the JEM7VWH to steal their sales, they're going for vine inlays, white finish gold hardware and so on.

Most of what people claim are the "Custom" JEMs I've seen have been "parts built" ones where folks are trying to get the options they want instead of the options Steve Vai wants, and this is where I reckon that they are no more "real" than the "counterfeits" coming in from China. Even if I have the best luthier in the world, Ron Thorn or John Suhr, whoever, hand make me a guitar, it's still not an Ibanez JEM... For a guitar to actually be a "Custom" JEM, then to me it has to be a one-off from its very inception and it has to come from Ibanez, and most of these end up at Hoshino or with Steve Vai himself.

Then there are the "Customized" JEMs, where we saw, especially in the mid to late 90s to the early 2000s people taking a JEM (often an old FP or DY) and having it swirled. These are customized JEMs to me, ie they're a standard, production line guitar that has been changed after it left the factory. We also saw a lot of "Customized" RG570s that wanted to be JEMs with routed handles and such.

The really weird thing to me is the fake branding. If you have Nate Pearl, or whoever is the current best parts guy make you the neck and body, even if you have the headstock copied, that guitar is a "Custom" until the very moment you try to make it something it's not. Which is to say an Ibanez. So, to me, a Nate Pearl guitar is indeed a Custom until someone slaps the "Ibanez JEM" logos on it at which point it drops from being a "Custom" to being a "Fake".

And, even though it might be custom-made, it never has and never will be an "Ibanez JEM".
 

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Good answer Jono.
A couple of other observations:
If you have a genuine ibanez that you've adjusted/altered it's "modded". And if the seller isn't 100% transparent about how it was changed don't buy as it can get into dodgy territory quick.
E.g. I rescued an old PGM100 soneone has removed all the finish from. When I restored it I did put the ibanez logo back. That guitar is 100% Ibanez (stock neck, body, pickups, replacement official ibanez edge for the corroded original one). So that's not fake. Sounds a bit silly to call it custom though. It never went near a custom shop. It's regular Fujigen.

You also get Bitsas or partscaster.
E.g. my fender usa jazz bass. It's a fenders USA neck from one guitar on a fender usa body from another. With tesla aftermarket pickups and a babicz aftermarket bridge. That's a fender usa guitar. Legit to carry the brand and the decal. But if i sell it and don't disclose the story/history then I'd be misrepresenting it. As it's not an original production line model. It's not a custom either.
 

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OK, thinking on - how much of a guitar has to be original for it to be the same guitar?

Is it the body and neck? Just the body? Just the neck? What about hardware.

Or is it a simple weight majority, so if you've got the body and the hardware and that together weighs more than a new neck, then it's, the same guitar, or if you just change the body, and everythign else stays the same, then it's the same guitar.

Then the next question would be "repaired" versus "customized"...

Say I've got a JEM PMC and one of the humbuckers stops working. I can replace that with a purple PAF Pro. Is that customised? Or repaired? I'd say repaired.

Now what say if the purple single coil cover cracked, DiMarzio doesn't make those anymore so I use a legitimate DiMarzio green cover, or a pink cover, Is that customised? Or repaired? I'd say customized because it differs from the original spec...

What about if I use a purple Bareknuckle cover? Still repaired in my book, because the aim is to make it as similar as possible. Now what if I use a Bareknuckle single coil, still with a purple cover? Customized? Or just a bad repair job?

So many possibilities!!! Aaaargh!!!
 

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It's tough to say about what is consisdered what... Anything that is reversible I would called a mod. Anything that isn't I would call a customization. Like... Paint isn't normally reversible, it depends on how you do it. Pickup replacement is reversible as long as you keep the originals... Same with Installing a new neck, it's also somewhere in between... As long as you don't sell the neck it's reversible. I never understood the replica headstock when it isn't replacing an original neck. I personally don't mind buying a heavily customized or modded Ibanez because I am going to tear it apart anyway lol. But the market dictates the value of a customized ibanez. Typically they are worth less if it's a signature instrument. I would say a customized RG wouldn't lose much value as long as the neck and body are original. I can't just buy a guitar and play it. Maybe a MIJ JS, JEM or AZ Iwould leave alone. But nothing else.
 

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Look at the guys on other forums. The consensus on one of the forums for strats is that if the original body and neck that came together from the factory is still together, but many other parts have been changed, it’s a custom.

If a neck has been changed due to a defect with a factory neck, it’s repaired.

If the neck and body didn’t come from the factory together, It’s a “parts”caster.

then you get ads on rn marketplace like my friend forwarded to me yesterday. It was for a Gibson LP Custom. Well it had a Gibson headstock|, standard inlays, and Epiphone hardware a\md really cheap pickups. That guitar I c
alled out as a fake. There is no Gibson LP custom equipped like that. And the price was 700 dollars. Fake, Fake, Fake.
 

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It's tough to say about what is consisdered what... Anything that is reversible I would called a mod. Anything that isn't I would call a customization. Like... Paint isn't normally reversible, it depends on how you do it. Pickup replacement is reversible as long as you keep the originals... Same with Installing a new neck, it's also somewhere in between... As long as you don't sell the neck it's reversible. I never understood the replica headstock when it isn't replacing an original neck. I personally don't mind buying a heavily customized or modded Ibanez because I am going to tear it apart anyway lol. But the market dictates the value of a customized ibanez. Typically they are worth less if it's a signature instrument. I would say a customized RG wouldn't lose much value as long as the neck and body are original. I can't just buy a guitar and play it. Maybe a MIJ JS, JEM or AZ Iwould leave alone. But nothing else.
Is this one customised or modded?
I like to think of it as rescued. :)
It's my favorite player and I can't sell it at collectors rates for obvious reasons.
17449
 

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I would call that customized lol.


As for fenders that is a bit of a difference. They are the Glock of guitars. They have the most mod support of any other instrument maker out there. It's super easy to get a fender neck replacement that looks and feels the same, pick guards... knobs, trem bars, you name it. Not so much for an Ibanez neck/ bridges ect... That's why I like the late 80's early 90's Ibanez guitars 😉. They have that standard fender neck pocket.
 

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Look at the guys on other forums. The consensus on one of the forums for strats is that if the original body and neck that came together from the factory is still together, but many other parts have been changed, it’s a custom.

If a neck has been changed due to a defect with a factory neck, it’s repaired.

If the neck and body didn’t come from the factory together, It’s a “parts”caster.

then you get ads on rn marketplace like my friend forwarded to me yesterday. It was for a Gibson LP Custom. Well it had a Gibson headstock|, standard inlays, and Epiphone hardware a\md really cheap pickups. That guitar I c
alled out as a fake. There is no Gibson LP custom equipped like that. And the price was 700 dollars. Fake, Fake, Fake.
I'd personally always kinda thought that you had to have the neck and the body and that's what made the "guitar" almost like chassis and engine numbers having to match ;)

BUT...

Steve Vai's main guitar, Evo has had several necks over the years and he's still thought of it as "Evo" but made his team scavenge through a dumpster to find a faulty pickup after an electronics swap!

And I also personally draw a big distinction between "custom" and "customized". To me, "Custom" means envisaged in a certain way, as a one off, from the ground up whereas "Customised" means things like swapping chrome hardware for gold, or adding an extra coil tap swtich.
 

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Mm, as others have said, it's counterfeit if you're trying to pass it off as something it actually isn't, thus factoring in dishonesty on your part. Of course, when your typical Chibson on Aliexpress or wherever costs $300, that's also a bit of a giveaway.

The modular nature of a Fender is something envisaged by Leo himself from the beginning. He was a pretty practical bloke, and if he were around today, he'd be a bit bemused by the vintage fetish probably. I mean, the idea of a bolt on neck was so that it could be replaced if it went bad. Back in the old days, some people would send guitars back when the maple fingerboards would start to show wear, and Fender would just slap on a new neck because it was way cheaper. Technically, that guitar wouldn't be original, but, does the fact that it was modded at the factory change things?
 

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FWIW, generally speaking, I know of two different counterfeits

Frankenstein RG’s made into Jems, sometimes well and seamlessly and sometimes its clear that the guy didn’t have much skill with a circular saw but he was damn determined to make that monkey grip (more like a deformed gorilla grip lol) but those again, are Ibanez parts, with usually ibanez trems and DiMarzio pups…what you might be getting is a rg7321 neck and body or whatever….again, that’s a very simplified and overly understated “counterfeit” trick bait and switch (people used to do that a lot with EVH Kramer’s)

True counterfeit copies I have seen made in china. These things are incredible. For something like $300-500 you can get a Jem7vwh and you would have no idea it wasn’t real if you werent from Jemsite or something like that, if you get me. Unfortunately my cousin is a cheap scumbag who has no morals and will actually BUY Chinese counterfeits PROUDLY, and while he doesn’t resell them as ‘original’ (at least I dont think, but knowing him I wouldn’t doubt it) he definitely is super happy showing them off….

he bought a Gibson and a jem, ripped out all electronics, did them right and proper - I’m not sure what he did as far as anything else, but he was so happy when he was able to TOTALLY trick GC staff into thinking it was a real jem7vwh that been OOP for a while, but he had one in MINT condition (it was a a brand new one with all the plastic on it too)

Anyway, I think its terrible what the Chinese nation/party has become with our relationship, or rather, I’m ashamed Americans have allowed china to do so much and get away with it for years to the point where they are “developing” yet they have a higher population and more millionaires and over 50 multimillion citizen cities (most in the world), and their capitalist communist hybrid system works so well because there are no real regulations, (and not to get political) but they take advantage, like with that damn bronco

so….I think we should honestly only buy from Japan, South Korea, and generic alternatives but if possible, I wish Europe/Germany would be able to Work more with american companies - like imagine Kemper technology with Fractal coding/hardware/peripherals/support/updates…..

Who knows what’ll happen eventually, but AT LEAST for now, I’m good with my gear (Axe FX 3)

ps, GOOD username OP RIP Dime
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The question about "how much of a guitar has to remain for it to be the same guitar (or indeed still authentic)" is a good one and did occur to me when I wrote the opening post.

It's only my opinion, but I think if the body and neck are made by the company the guitar has been branded as, it's still essentially that guitar at the core and if parts have been changed out it has been "customised".

I would consider a "custom" pertaining to a specific brand something that company has custom made for a customer. A custom shop. Ibanez USA, Fender CS, built to spec. Not just something taken (like the rg example) and bastardised into something else. That again to me, is customised.

I have a GMC but it's a little beaten up. Not too bad but so much that I wouldn't get it out often or consider playing it live etc. To that end I built another one. CNC body, swirled, custom made parts neck and all the hardware as legit as I could make it. Because the body and the neck were nothing to do with Ibanez this guitar, at it's core for me, was not an Ibanez. It's a "parts caster" as mentioned in another post above and for that reason I left out the branding completely.

17450


17451


I personally think this thing is obvious enough at what it's trying to imitate.

Normally this is the point where someone slaps an Ibanez Jem decal on the headstock calls it an "Ibanez Jem custom" and asks for £3000 on Reverb/eBay.
 
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