This information relates only to instruments built by Tony Zemaitis and so is not applicable to the new Zemaitis guitars
First of all I will not go into too much detail on how to detect fake Zemaitis instruments. If I do the counterfeiters will use the information as a guide.
There are a number of secret things that Tony did to identify a genuine instrument. Also Danny O’Brien uses a special technique in his engraving. Once you have seen Danny’s engraving, it becomes familiar to you (the same way as you would recognise handwriting).
Fakes fall into various categories.
1. A copy of a Zemaitis instrument. fake body, neck, electronics or engraving.
2. A genuine wood-front Zemaitis that has received a metal front after it was made (or pearl applied after it was made), thus appearing to be a more expensive instrument. The same applies to bridges; they will replace a standard bridge with a fake hand tooled bridge. Remember Tony made a number of ‘Student’ models which were less elaborate (and so less expensive) guitars.
3. Some genuine Zemaitis parts. A counterfeiter will buy one genuine metal front and make two guitars out of it ie a guitar with genuine metal front but fake body + a fake metal front on a correct body.
4. Virtual fake!!!! This could apply to anything on the internet. The instrument pictured may not be the item that you receive. Let me give you an amazing example, someone went onto one of our members web sites and copied the photographs of some of his Zemaitis guitars. They then advertised on the internet using stolen identity, claming they owned the guitars!
5. A Zemaitis where the owner claims that it was owned by someone famous and comes with all sorts of letters. I have seen guitars that were sold by members without paperwork suddenly reappear being sold with all sorts of letters. I have had occasion to contact dealers asking them to remove a photograph that I took of Tony with a guitar that was being used to sell another guitar. I have also seen a guitar that claimed to come with a letter from me, though it was not my signature on the letter or the address that I use! So many guitars appear saying ex-Ronnie Wood or ex-Tony Zemaitis Jnr (ie people who have owned a few genuine Zemaitis guitars).
6. Always make sure that you obtain a receipt with ZEMAITIS on it. Some fakes have slightly different spelling for example Zematis.
The Zemaitis Guitar Owners Club tries to offer a safe environment to trade original Zemaitis Guitars so please look in the club magazine first.