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I Got a Fake Fender! How to Spot Counterfeit Guitars (Video)


This short video describes what led me to conclude I got a fake Fender. It was purchased through the mail sight-unseen, but luckily it had a return policy from a reputable seller. If you buy used in-person you may not be so lucky, so learn to look for some tell-tale signs that it's not the real deal.

Just one additional video comparing the counterfeit headstock to a real Fender:

V. Wade Contreras has been the owner of Still Kickin Music since 2007. He played for years in bands in the LA area. Now that he has a wife and kid and needs to eat more than Ramen once in a while he makes a living buying and selling really cool used guitars.

2 comments

  • Wade

    Hi Walter,
    Yes, that appears to be a valid USA made Fender Telecaster serial number. I’ll tell you how I figured it out. First I went to www.guitardaterproject.org and input the serial. That gave me this result:
    Your guitar was made at the
    Corona Plant (Fender), USA
    in 2016 or 2017
    Production Number: 46856

    So that tells you it is a serial that conforms to a USA Fender. After that, I went to Fender’s website. This page is very helpful and everyone should know about: https://www.fender.com/product-registration/serial-search

    Once I put your serial in there it gave me this result:
    AMERICAN STANDARD TELECASTER
    Serial #:
    US16046856
    Brand:
    Fender
    Product Category:
    Guitars

    That confirms that Fender has that serial number registered as a valid USA Tele serial. (Often a valid serial will not come up on the Fender site, in which case you should email Fender at: consumerrelations@fender.com.) Believe it or not, the last time I contacted them with a similar question, I got a reply within a couple days. They’re pretty on top of it!

    The ONLY other thing to worry about would be if you’re new to guitars and you don’t know how a real Fender should look. I made the video above to highlight some things you can look for. You can also look at pictures of authentic Fenders online to compare. You want to make sure someone hasn’t made a fake guitar and put a valid serial on it. Hope that helps!

  • Walter R Simpson

    I have a fairly new telecaster with see. U S 16046856 is this a u s made telecaster?

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