The main reason for buying a Chibson guitar is trying to get Gibson quality for less. But, obviously there are always risks involved when buying cheaper/Chinese made guitars.
Can You Get Gibson Quality For Less? When buying a Chibson guitar it will never meet Gibson quality standards. However, if you’re willing to make some modifications then you just might be able to get that quality tone you’re after at less expense.
In this article, we will discuss the cheaper alternatives to Gibson, whether or not it is right for you, and then some workarounds for getting your Chibson to sound really nice.
1. What are Chibson Guitars?
Chibson is a brand of guitars that are designed to closely mimic the appearance and sound of Gibson guitars. These are not necessarily counterfeit as they generally do not have the Gibson logo attached. I would better say they are better described as replicas. They are generally lower in price than Gibson and are made in China.
Some people believe that Chibson guitars are of lower quality than Gibson guitars, but this is not necessarily true. Some Chibson guitars are made with high-quality materials and quality craftsmanship. They can be a good option for players who want the look and feel of a Gibson guitar without paying the high price.
Alternatively, in China there is a limited quality check procedure and so you may be unlucky and pay for a guitar that would be a throwaway. This is unlikely, and there are ways of previewing the guitar before you purchase.
2. Buying Your First Chibson?
When I bought my first Chibson, I noticed the components were low quality, especially the machine heads. The woodwork was amazing, however you may find that Chinese manufacturers will use defected wood grain. If this is the case then there is nothing you can do. The good news is that it will not affect the playability or the tone – just the appearance. An alternative way I used was to spend an additional 500$ for changing out the components and you would have a gem afterwards. There are several ways you could potentially improve the components of a Chibson guitar:
- Replace the pickups: Pickups are responsible for converting the vibrations of the strings into an electrical signal, which is then amplified by the amp. Replacing the pickups with higher quality ones could potentially improve the sound of the guitar.
- Replace the hardware: Hardware refers to the various metal parts of the guitar, such as the bridge, the tuners, and the nut. Replacing these parts with higher quality ones could improve the guitar’s playability and stability.
- Replace the electronics: The electronics of a guitar refer to the wiring, pots, and switch. Replacing these components with higher quality ones could potentially improve the sound and overall performance of the guitar.
- Get a professional setup: A professional setup of a Chibson guitar can potentially improve its playability and overall performance. A setup typically involves adjusting the guitar’s action, which is the distance between the strings and the fretboard, as well as adjusting the intonation, which is the guitar’s ability to play in tune up and down the neck. A professional setup can also include cleaning and lubricating the hardware and replacing any worn or damaged parts.
It is important to keep in mind that these improvements can get expensive. I went for the best Chibson which cost me 500$ (including shipping) then i spent an additional 500$ on replacing all the parts (as the guitar was made with low quality hardware). Overall, it cost me 1000$.
3. Are They Legal?
It’s true that intellectual property (IP) laws are used to protect the designs and patents of companies in many countries, including the United States. These laws are intended to prevent the unauthorized use or theft of a company’s designs and patents, and they can be used to take legal action against companies that violate these laws.
However, it’s important to note that IP laws and the enforcement of these laws can vary between countries. In some countries, IP laws may not be as strict or may not be enforced as rigorously as in other countries, which can make it easier for companies to use patented technology or designs without permission.
As a result, some Chinese companies that use patented technology in their products may choose not to sell those products in countries where IP laws are strictly enforced, in order to avoid the risk of legal action. This can be the case with some Chinese phone brands, as well as other products such as tablets, trainers, glasses, and electric guitars.
Gibson Copies Vs. Similar Designs
The use of the name “Chibson” to refer to guitars that are similar in appearance to Gibson guitars may be considered trademark infringement by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, which owns the “Gibson” trademark. However, it’s important to note that the legal status of Chibson guitars can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the country in which they are being sold.
In some cases, the use of the name “Chibson” may be considered legal as long as it is being used to describe the style or appearance of the guitar, rather than to suggest that the guitar is a genuine Gibson product. In other cases, the use of the name “Chibson”, or purchasing a direct copy (where you can’t tell the difference from the original) may be considered illegal and subject to legal action.
Overall, if you’re trying to find an exact copy of a Gibson design then there is a high chance it would be in violation. However, if you decide to choose a design that is similar (but not the same) then this would usually be okay.
Check The Laws In Your Country
If you’re considering purchasing a Chibson guitar, it’s a good idea to do your research and make sure that you are buying from a reputable retailer. It’s also a good idea to be aware of any legal issues or risks that may be associated with purchasing and owning a Chibson guitar.
4. How Do They Compare To Gibson?
Some Chibsons are better than others as the quality control process in China is not as strict.
For example in the US if a guitar had a slight defect – and did not meet the quality standard then it would not be sold on the market. In China, a guitar would be sold with the defect.
However, it’s important to note that not all Chinese-made products are of lower quality, and it’s possible to find high-quality guitars that are made in China. If you’re concerned about the quality of a Chibson guitar, it’s a good idea to do your research and read reviews before making a purchase. Look for guitars that have been well-reviewed by other musicians, and consider purchasing from a reputable retailer to reduce the risk of purchasing a lower-quality guitar.
It’s also a good idea to carefully inspect the guitar before making a purchase, to look for any defects or issues that may affect the quality of the instrument. If you’re unsure about the quality of a particular guitar, it may be best to keep looking until you find a guitar that meets your standards. From my experience, the machine heads and electrics can be less quality, but the wood quality and craftsmanship is good.
- Cost: Chibson guitars are generally more affordable than Gibson guitars, which can be a major advantage for musicians who are working with a tight budget.
- Wide range of options: Chibson guitars come in a variety of styles and models, so it’s easy to find a guitar that meets your specific needs and preferences. Good for beginners: With them being more affordable, makes them perfect for beginners.
- Customize & Upgrades: you can customize and upgrade if required. After changing out the electrics and tuners. After customisation, you can get a professional tone for a fraction of the cost.
- Good craftsmanship: Generally, Chinese craftmanship and wood type is very good. You can buy authentic mahogany whith the finish having attention to detail.
- Replicas: Some popular models include the Chibson Les Paul and the Chibson SG. They are known for replicating the look, feel, and sound of vintage
- Quality Control: Some Chibson guitars are solid with defects that would otherwise not be sold with more renowned manufacturers. This can make it difficult to know what you are getting before hand.
- Hardware: This is the big one for me. They’re usually sold with cheap electrics that reduce the overall feel and playability of the guitar.
- Poor fit and finish: Some Chibson guitars may have poor fit and finish, with gaps between parts, uneven paint or finish, or other cosmetic issues. So, make sure you find a manufacturer that has good reviews online.
- Poor sound quality: Some Chibson guitars may not have the same level of sound quality as Gibson guitars because the standard of pickups they use are of lower quality.
- Playability: Some users may find that the action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard) is not to their liking. If so this will require a proper setup.
Overall, Chibson guitars are generally considered to be good instruments for the price, but like any brand of guitar, they may have some disadvantages that are worth considering before making a purchase. It’s worth noting that these issues are not unique to Chibson guitars, and can occur with any brand of guitar. It’s always a good idea to do your research and read reviews before purchasing a guitar, whether it’s a Chibson or another brand.
5. Cost Considerations
The cost of a Chibson guitar can vary widely depending on factors such as the materials used, the type of guitar, and the retailer. In general, Chibson guitars tend to be more affordable than Gibson guitars, but the price can still have a wide range among different product segments. The lowest price for a Chibson guitar may be in the range of a few hundred dollars, depending on the specific model and the retailer. On the other hand, the highest price for a Chibson guitar could potentially be several thousand dollars. If you’re interested in purchasing a Chibson guitar, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare prices from different retailers to find the best deal. Keep in mind that while lower-priced guitars may be more budget-friendly, they may also be lower in quality. It’s important to find a balance between price and quality that works for you.
In addition, it is usually best to consider the total cost of the purchase, including both sunk costs and any additional costs that may be incurred, in order to determine whether the purchase is a good value.In the context of purchasing a Chibson guitar, sunk costs might include the cost of any research or resources you have invested in order to learn about Chibson guitars and make an informed purchasing decision.There are a few additional costs that you may need to consider when purchasing a Chibson guitar. These could include:
- Accessories: Depending on your needs, you may need to purchase additional accessories for your guitar, such as a guitar case, a strap, picks, strings, or a stand.
- Maintenance: You will need to maintain your guitar in order to keep it in good condition. This might include cleaning and polishing the guitar, replacing strings and other components as needed, and having the guitar professionally set up or repaired if necessary.
- Lessons: If you’re new to playing the guitar, you may want to invest in some lessons to help you learn how to play.
- Amplifiers and other equipment: If you plan to play your guitar through an amplifier or other equipment, you will need to purchase these items as well.
Keep in mind that these additional costs can vary widely, depending on your specific needs and preferences. It’s a good idea to consider all of these costs when determining your budget for a Chibson guitar.
6. Famous Guitarists That Have Been Known To Use Chibson?
It is not uncommon for professional guitarists to use Chibson guitars as a reliable and affordable alternative to more expensive brands. Some famous guitarists who have been known to use Chibson guitars include:
- Joe Bonamassa – Blues rock guitarist who has used Chibson guitars on stage and in the studio.
- Dave Mustaine – Lead guitarist and founder of the heavy metal band Megadeth, who has used Chibson guitars throughout his career.
- Angus Young – Lead guitarist of the rock band AC/DC, known for his high-energy stage performances and signature Gibson SG guitar. Young has been seen using Chibson SG guitars in live performances.
- Tony Iommi – Legendary Black Sabbath guitarist, known for his powerful riffs and heavy metal sound. Iommi has used Chibson guitars in the past, particularly when touring and recording with Black Sabbath.
- Dimebag Darrell – Iconic heavy metal guitarist and member of the bands Pantera and Damageplan. Darrell was known for his aggressive playing style and was often seen using Chibson guitars on stage.
While these are just a few examples, there are many other professional guitarists who have used Chibson guitars in their music.
7. How To Spot A Chibson & Some Tips
Chibson guitars may also have some problems with counterfeit ones. There are a few ways you can spot a Chibson guitar and determine whether it is a genuine Chibson product or a counterfeit. Here are some tips for buying a Chibson guitar:
- Check the logo: Chibson guitars typically have a logo on the headstock that reads “Chibson” in block letters. If the logo is spelled differently or if it looks fuzzy or unclear, it may be a counterfeit guitar.
- Look for the serial number: Chibson guitars usually have a serial number stamped on the back of the headstock or on the neck plate. You can check the serial number against a list of known Chibson serial numbers to see if it is a genuine guitar.
- Examine the craftsmanship: Gibson guitars are known for their high quality and attention to detail. Look for signs of poor craftsmanship, such as uneven frets, misaligned parts, or sloppy paint jobs.
- Cost: Chibson guitars are generally lower in price than Gibson guitars, but they can still vary in price depending on the model and features. Determine how much you are willing to spend before you start shopping.
- Research different models: Chibson makes a variety of models that are designed to mimic different Gibson models. Do some research to find out which model is right for you based on your playing style and preferences.
- Read reviews: Check out online reviews of the specific Chibson model you are considering. This can give you an idea of the quality and performance of the guitar.
- Consider the seller: Make sure you are buying from a reputable seller. If you are purchasing from a physical store, ask to see the guitar and inspect it for any issues before making a purchase. If you are purchasing online, check the seller’s ratings and reviews.
- Try before you buy: There was a shop near me that sold Chibson guitars and the shop owner modified the for you. This leads onto my next point. If possible, try out the Chibson guitar before you buy it. This will allow you to get a feel for the guitar and make sure it meets your needs and expectations.
- Get a warranty: Consider purchasing a warranty or protection plan when you buy your Chibson guitar. This can give you peace of mind and protect you in case of any issues with the guitar.
When you buy your first Chibson guitar, it will require a bit of labor to get it to the standard of an authentic Gibson. It’s not uncommon for some Chibson guitars to have lower quality components, such as machine heads or pickups, compared to Gibson guitars. However, it’s important to note that not all Chibson guitars are of low quality, and some are made with amazing craftsmanship – especially, higher-end models from the Chibson range. These maybe more expensive but also have higher quality components.
Overall, it can save you money if you’re willing to put in the extra work. Especially, for electric guitars, the majority of the tone comes from the pickups. This means you can buy a Chibson for the basic infrastructure and then change out the pickups, change out the machine heads and get it professionally set up. The result will be almost like an authentic Gibson.