**Disclaimer** I am not attempting to start another thread on the ethics of forgeries. There is no way at all that the guitar I've bought can be passed off as a real Gibson (even using their logo), and I have no intention of selling it because a) it was fairly cheap, and b) I'm happy to keep it as a wall-hanger even if I don't play it much. I'll be permanently marking it as a copy in the pickup cavities also.
I thought it might interest some of you to follow my order of a Chibson and general experience;
For a long time I've lusted after a Trini Lopez. I'm a fan of Dave Grohl, and very nearly ordered a DG-335 when they were released (wish I had, look at what they sell for now!). The problem for me is that neither the originals, or the DG-335 (& later Trini re-issue), had a neck that I would get on with, so I doubted that I'd ever keep it even if I had bought one back in 2008.
I've given thought to having a replica built in the future by a UK or US luthier perhaps. I even found a few places that sell DIY ES ply bodies that I could adapt into one and build myself, but they were all frightfully expensive for something that I essentially want for it's cosmetic value.
Along comes Chibson.
posted a photo
of a Chibson copy of a Trini that surprised me by being much closer in details than the few DG-335 copies I'd seen on youtube, MLP etc. I tracked down the website and saw that they did a few variations of the model, and even offered nitro- finishes, and customisation options... perfect. This is the picture that sold me;
I contacted them straight away to try and get some better pictures of the nitro finishes as the ones on the site seemed to have quite a bit of orange peel. They weren't able to help much in that respect unfortunately so I played it safe and went with a polyurethane finish. We went back & forth on options and in the end I gave them my full wish-list spec. I asked for a few changes - custom fat-neck (with dimensions and profile), an ebony fingerboard, kluson tuners, and the rear-control cover from the ES-333/Lucille. They already offered the latter on their Tom Delonge ES copy, and I'm expecting to mod this guitar quite a bit in the long run so it'll make the work easier. I kept the rest of the spec much in line with a Trini (bound f-holes, gold logo, trapeze tailpiece etc), and awaited the estimate.
They were able to make everything I'd asked for, and surprisingly enough would only charge extra for the Ebony fingerboard! I gave it a day or so to mull over, and then confirmed the order and put the payment through (Paypal btw, nice and secure at least). This was 3 weeks ago, I had a few follow-up emails from the company to confirm the order sheet before it was sent to their factory. The communication has generally been very commendable, for which I'm grateful when dealing blind half-way across the world!
This morning, I unexpectedly received the following progress pic from them (that's my name that I've blocked out btw, which was a nice touch by them);
As far as I can tell it seems to be on track to what I'd asked for. I presume the f-holes are bound as requested, and are simply awaiting scraping. I've asked them to confirm though, along with a minor point in that I'd asked for a bronze logo rather than a pearl inlay/overlay so hopefully that can be addressed easily enough by them, otherwise I'll stick with MOP. The fingerboard does appear to be Ebony, but in that state it's a little hard to tell.
Still, so far I'm very impressed with the company's communication, and I can't wait to get my hands on it to find out if it's any good!