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  1. #1

    Japanese Les Paul?

    Hi everybody, a new to the Les Paul world man here. I've been offered a mid 80s Les Paul Standard made in Japan (?..). I'm a little confused, considering as far as I know there're no Gibsons factories in Japan. I have played with all kind of japanese Les Paul copies from cheap poor quality to excellent ones like Ibanez, Tokai, Greco, Edwards, Burny, but in all the years I have never heard of an original Japanese Les Paul Standard. Is this guitar a fake or genuine? Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    I also have pictures of the guitar but the server doesn't let me post pictures from my PC.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    it could be a Epiphone made in Japan or an Orville made in Japan (both Gibson subbrands and legally allowed to have the les Paul logo on the headstock) or a Tokai Les Paul reborn, all other options most likely will be fake

  4. #4

    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by fred dons View Post
    it could be a Epiphone made in Japan or an Orville made in Japan (both Gibson subbrands and legally allowed to have the les Paul logo on the headstock) or a Tokai Les Paul reborn, all other options most likely will be fake
    Thanks for answering - I know Japan made Les Paul copies are common (and some of them of quite good quality by the way) but this guitar wasn't Tokai, Orville, Epiphone, Hondo, Ibanez, Aria or whatever of the numerous Japanese brands making them - it stated ''Gibson'' on the head and ''Japan model'' on the thrust rod cover. Nevertheless I had to send it back because it was such a poor copy (I'm sure it's some chinese ''replica'') and in such a bad shape that it was almost unusable. Regards.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by bimmerfan View Post
    Hi everybody, a new to the Les Paul world man here. I've been offered a mid 80s Les Paul Standard made in Japan (?..). I'm a little confused, considering as far as I know there're no Gibsons factories in Japan. I have played with all kind of japanese Les Paul copies from cheap poor quality to excellent ones like Ibanez, Tokai, Greco, Edwards, Burny, but in all the years I have never heard of an original Japanese Les Paul Standard. Is this guitar a fake or genuine? Thanks!
    What leads you to believe it was made in Japan? There were no Gibson's made in Japan... only Orville by Gibson and Epiphone, which were both clearly indicated on the headstock. Without 'clear' pix of what you're talking about its difficult to speculate.
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  7. #7

    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    What leads you to believe it was made in Japan? There were no Gibson's made in Japan... only Orville by Gibson and Epiphone, which were both clearly indicated on the headstock. Without 'clear' pix of what you're talking about its difficult to speculate.
    Did you read the first post? It has ''Japan Model'' on the thrust rod cover and seller was trying to sell it for ''a japanese Les Paul'' which I know never existed and that's why I wanted to search some info. Nevertheless I didn't buy this guitar. Thanks for all the answers.

  8. #8
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by bimmerfan View Post
    Did you read the first post? It has ''Japan Model'' on the thrust rod cover and seller was trying to sell it for ''a japanese Les Paul'' which I know never existed and that's why I wanted to search some info. Nevertheless I didn't buy this guitar. Thanks for all the answers.
    There are several places where the do individual design truss rod covers with anything you want written on them , so if I had to guess about the truss rod cover that would be it .

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    ...
    The older I get, the better I was.

  10. #10

    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    There are several places where the do individual design truss rod covers with anything you want written on them , so if I had to guess about the truss rod cover that would be it .

    Since then I saw other chinese copy with ''Made In Japan'' thrust rod cover - I think some chinese (not very good) copies come from the factory this ''Japan made'' way...

  11. #11
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by bimmerfan View Post
    Since then I saw other chinese copy with ''Made In Japan'' thrust rod cover - I think some chinese (not very good) copies come from the factory this ''Japan made'' way...
    Maybe so , but you can get any plastic truss rod cover engraved or imprinted with anything you want from multiple places .

  12. #12
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    If it's not made by Gibson in the USA then it's not a real Gibson Les Paul. This guitar is a genuine fake (Epi or similar) or a fake fake (Chinese) but it's not a Gibson. If you like the guitar and it plays well and sounds good then buy the thing. If you really are concerned about having a "real" Les Paul then buy a USA Gibson.

  13. #13

    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by rick c View Post
    If it's not made by Gibson in the USA then it's not a real Gibson Les Paul. This guitar is a genuine fake (Epi or similar) or a fake fake (Chinese) but it's not a Gibson. If you like the guitar and it plays well and sounds good then buy the thing. If you really are concerned about having a "real" Les Paul then buy a USA Gibson.
    The truth is it was quite bad and the price asked was about the same as of a nice Epi, so I passed. I think I'll search for a 70s Tokai, Burny or Orville - some of those vintage Japanese LP copies were really awesome.

  14. #14
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Bimmerfan: I learned to play in the 70s! My first LP was a Tokai and was pretty good but then I found an Ibanez Artist and it was my main squeeze until I got my first Gibson LP. It's not so easy to find these guitars; they are good so people keep them. Good luck with your hunt.

  15. #15

    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Quote Originally Posted by rick c View Post
    Bimmerfan: I learned to play in the 70s! My first LP was a Tokai and was pretty good but then I found an Ibanez Artist and it was my main squeeze until I got my first Gibson LP. It's not so easy to find these guitars; they are good so people keep them. Good luck with your hunt.

    Thanks man! A local guy is selling a 70s Ibanez Les Paul copy (I think it's made by Fujigen) - it has nothing on the headstock and it's absolutely gorgeous guitar with some great Gibson LP tone and great neck, but he is asking the same amount of $ as a real Les Paul would cost. He's selling a japanese Stratocaster from the 80s and it's superb also, but the price is quite steep. The truth is japanese Les Pauls and Strats from the 70s and 80s were extremely well made guitars and people are becoming aware of this fact and prices are getting higher.

  16. #16
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    I spent some time down this rabbit hole, specifically focusing on Orvilles, since they are licensed by Gibson. I habe no interest in Burny, Tokai, and all the other copyists, though of course encounter tons of information and descriptions and reviews of those guitars by their avid owners. Despite the claims, most I have encountered are very ordinary -- good or better -- though some, as with high-end copies and fakes made in the US -- are exceptional. Mostly, I find the descriptions and values to be exaggerated. For Orvilles, specifically, the nature and quality of the instruments varies greatly by date, model, and maker. The "Orville by Gibson" branded ones tend to be better, with USA pickups. But they are not necessarily wonderful, either. As with the unlicensed fakes, most are ordinary: nicely made, mediocre electronics, overfinished. There are fotoflamed ones (often, the owners don't even recognize this), plaintops, mutipiece tops... That being said, IMO the Fujigen-made ones (and generally not those made in other factories, including some Korean builds) often have excellent bodies. I got one with a long tenon and what seems to be about '57 dimensions everywhere. It was overfinished and the electronics were lame, but it was a fun refinish project, and I turned it into a goldtop with decent PUs, etc., and it is honestly phenomenal now. So that's a long answer, but that's my experience. There are a precious few high end Japanese "Les Pauls" and then some others, like mine, that can be made good by stripping away the low-end stuff and doing those aspects better. Most are good but ordinary, like current Epis (though seen as phenomenal by their owners). If I didn't enjoy doing high-end finish work, I would not have purchased mine.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member Truss Rob's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    Good luck dude. BTW , there’s a whole section on Reverb called “lawsuit Era guitars”. You’ll find some cool vintage Greco, Burny, Tokai...but I don’t know your budget...if you’re going to drop $800 or more I would say you’re “almost there “ to a US made Gibson.

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member TM1's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    All guitars that are made by Terada are great! Terada is the same factory that makes all the Pro Line Gretsch! I've had a few of them! I only have now a 2002 Epiphone Elite Casino that I bought new from Gibson Artist Relations when Matt Ferguson was running the West Coast Artist Rel.'s It's a superb guitar!

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member m bernardi's Avatar
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    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    did YOU read YOUR first post?????? nowhere in the the first post does it say it was on the truss rod

  20. #20

    Re: Japanese Les Paul?

    It's a matter of luck also - even with the genuine Gibsons and Fenders. My general impression is Japanese built guitars from 70s and 80swere gorgeous, especially Tokai and Greco ones, although I have played with Burny and Edwards copies which were superb also.
    Lately I played with two 70/80s Japanese non copy guitars - Yamaha SG1200 and Aria ProII TS400 both with set through necks, made of quality woods and to be honest they were great instruments.

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