As a 62 year old guitar Luthier, collector and guitar fanatic, who studied guitar building and repair under Walter Stanul in Cambridge, Massachusetts back in the mid 1970's, and having had a small but successful "Guitar Repair & Sales Shop" here in town, I have had extensive "hands on" experience with most every type of guitar out there.
Given my decades of experience, I feel confident in my general and specific knowledge of guitars and especially those made by all the high end companies like Gibson, Martin, Taylor, Fender and more.
I purchased a used Gibson from a friend, who bought it used as well. The entire body is painted in all gold, not just the top, and it has cream binding. It also has the open faced black pickups. It has "Classic" on the 2 screw truss rod cover. Inside the truss rod cavity it looks exactly like all the USA Gibsons I have seen, repaired, bought and/or sold.
The truss rod nut has the traditional Gibson nut with US threads. This, obviously, is not my first Gibson and inside the control cavity it has all the right components, has the correct spacing between the pickups and the control cavity all looks original with clean solder joints. The serial number is 0 825 and it is black ink stamped under the finish.
I can send detailed pictures if that is needed.
I brought it to Sam Ash whose local "experts" said the serial number was unlike any one they had ever seen. This was my clue that I was not dealing with informed sales people as to Gibson's different types of serialization, especially the reissue Classics. They looked it over and I could tell they did not know what they were looking at and at that point said the guitar was "suspect" and may not be a true Gibson but probably a fake. They went as far as to take pictures, with a phone camera, of it and sent them to their "expert expert" in New york.
I held my growing disappointment in the lack of knowledge I was dealing with, knowing the New York "expert" would return the correct conclusion as to the guitar's pedigree.
After waiting an hour for the New York "expert" to reply with his findings, the manager of the Sam Ash accused me of trying to sell them a fake guitar. I had to hold back my total disgust and anger at this total professional ignorance and arrogance from the entire staff of the guitar dept.
I know, as should every buyer of quality and vintage instruments, what to look for in the Chinese crap replicas out there because I have seen so many around town in Pawn Shops and yes, even in one used in a local guitar store. All the fakes I've seen have the Epiphone spacing between the pickups and an Allen wrench truss rod adjustment like all Epiphones, a thin veneer top instead of the thick carved Maple etc, etc and this Classic, obviously, has none of those earmarks.
Anyone with whose profession includes buying and selling of vintage and used instruments should have easily recognized this guitar as genuine. With all the eyes put on this guitar at Sam Ash, not one had a clue as to it's heritage, which frankly is shocking and a bit scarey.
Please email me back with any help you can give me with verifying this beautiful piece. My reputation as a collector and trader is of utmost importance to me and I need to confirm that I know a real Gibson from a fake and I would NEVER try to sell or even buy the latter!
I've attached highly detailed pictures and can send more if needed. Any help (info) from any and all members with verification as to the pedigree of this instrument is welcome.
Thank you in advance for your help,