New Harmony Central Forum Warns Musicians: Don't Get Taken by Counterfeiters Offering Fake Musical Instruments and Gear

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Read tips on how to avoid counterfeit scams and visit Counterfeit Info Central for more helpful information.

Harmony announces the launch of a new forum Counterfeit Info Central, where musicians and industry representatives can trade tips on identifying counterfeit guitars, electronics, and other instruments. The forum is part of an industry-wide initiative to crack down on increasing instances of counterfeit instrument fraud. Since Harmony Central's forums are among the most active in the world, with 15,000 to 20,000 daily posts on a variety of subjects, it's the perfect place for musicians to share knowledge on this vital topic.

Editor-in-Chief Craig Anderton observes that "The Harmony Central community has always been about musicians helping other musicians; for Counterfeit Info Central, we're also asking manufacturers to pass along tips on unique features that help differentiate 'the real thing' from imitations. In doing so, we hope that consumers and the industry can form a partnership through Harmony Central to make sure musicians aren't getting scammed."

Instances of electric guitar imitations have spiked in recent years due, in part, to the increasing value of vintage guitars. Counterfeits are prevalent in electronic goods too. Bogus electronics may look like the authentic model but can be dangerously substandard since replicas don't have the same protection from fire and shock. Counterfeiters target "average consumers" who can't tell the difference between authentic and fake models. The estimated cost to the industry is in the millions and the real victims are the customers who are sold cheap imitations. Counterfeiting is a felony, no matter if the person has sold or has simply possessed fakes. Major brands in the music industry are deeply concerned. Their investigations into counterfeit U.S.-brand music instruments reveal that manufacturers and sellers come from across the globe including the United States. Many counterfeit items are sold through auction sites like eBay, which has since started the VERO program in response to the situation. VERO is a partnership of "registered trademark and copyright holders to report infringing eBay auctions," writes Carl Cunningham in his article on Counterfeit Guitars. The general public is another significant stakeholder in the game of tracking down culprits. According to Henry Juszkiewicz, chief executive of Nashville-based Gibson Guitars, most leads come from customers. Gibson and other brands encourage customers to voice their concerns when a product or unauthorized dealer looks fishy via their customer service line.

Shoppers can protect themselves from buying fakes by following these tips:

1. Be aware of deals that are too good to be true. Chances are an item is counterfeit if it's priced dramatically below the usual asking price. These cheap goods could be hidden under the clever guise of "going out of business sales" or similar blowout specials. 2. Purchase from reputable dealers. Authorized distributors are the safest bet when buying online or from brick-and-mortar retails stores. Companies like Guitar Center, Musician's Friend , and Music123 respect copyrights, patents, and trademarks and only sell certifiable goods. 3. Do your research. Many manufacturers are taking part in the initiative to stop counterfeiting by educating customers on how to identify fakes. Seek out information on how to distinguish the real from the replica though articles such as this Gibson article warning customers about counterfeit instruments. This short YouTube video offers more insight on How to Spot a Counterfeit Product. The new Counterfeit Info Central forum at Harmony Central is a further indication that the music industry is taking action to ensure customers get authentic products. About Harmony Central: Harmony Central is the leading Internet resource for musicians. The site provides a wealth of information, including industry news and RSS news feeds, articles on a variety of topics, musical gear buying guides, a theater with video clips covering special events, forums, user reviews of musical gear, and services for musicians and working bands. is a community of over 100,000 registered users and 1.8 million unique visitors per month.    


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Stacy Haddorff