Someone I know bought a Les Paul from tradetang.com
Quote from Sicky:
Report on the Chinese Gibson knockoff:
Well, it arrived today and it was very well packed. The styrofoam box it was shipped in was wrapped with about three rolls of yellow tape. The shipping ship declared it as "Guitar gift for friend of Pete." The value was declared at $80.
Upon opening the package, I found Gibson hangtags, Gibson stickers, a Gibson factory QC checklist, and a real Gibson owners manual. I'm thinking these are being pumped out of the Epiphone factory. The pickups in the guitar are out of a low end Epiphone and they're clearly stamped with an Epiphone insignia on the bottom side of them. The tuners say Grover, but they're as real as the Easter Bunny. All of the electronics are cheap. Tiny pots, snap together wiring harnesses, cheap caps.
But beyond that, I have to say, this thing is solid as ****. The neck and the fretwork are very good. The finish on this guitar is second to none. Nitro, not poly! For real. The body is made out of three fairly decently matched pieces of mahogany. The top is an actual flame maple cap, not a **** veneer. There is a veneer on the back to mask the fact that the body is made from three pieces, and it looks very good. The binding is five layer b/w/b/w/b. Very nice. It feels like it weighs around nine pounds. The headstock inlays are perfectly executed, but the size of the diamond logo is a bit on the small side. The nut is made from cheap plastic. The bridge and tailpiece are legit. Not the best stuff out there, but fully functional and solid. The fretboard is good quality rosewood.
Where it differs from an authentic Gibson: the fretboard binding lacks the trademark Gibson "nibs" that cover the fret ends. The neck is made with a scarf joint, which Gibson never uses (though they SHOULD). The diamond headstock inlay is undersized a touch. The headstock to fretboard binding transition isn't true to Gibson's style. The body shape is damned close, but more of an Epi LP shape than a Gibson (they are slightly different. I don't care what you say.). And of course, the electronics are all bottom of the barrel.
Overall, every bit worth $300 shipped. I haven't even plugged it in and I can see that the husk alone is going to make for a killer guitar. This weekend, I'll install some real Grover tuners, some authentic Gibson Pots, PIO capacitors, a camel bone nut, and a set of Seymour Duncan Jazz pickups. With all of that stuff, I'll be in it for about $600. When I'm done setting it up, it'll rival any real Gibson. I have no doubt.
Here are some pictures. Keep in mind, these were taken with an old ass iPad. It looks a million times better in person.