How Agile keeps the Gibson Lawyers at bay…
If our humble opinion Rondo Music makes the finest Les Paul knockoffs available in the states. In the mid 70’s Japanese manufacturers such as Matsumoku and Nippon Gen Gakki started producing really nice Gibson and Fender copies. At first the quality was not nearly that of their American counterparts but soon they caught up. The Gibson copies under names such as Ibanez, Aria, Electra, Tokai and others began appear with set necks and nice appointments that were nearly carbon copies of the real deal. Fender nipped the problem in the bud by starting their own budget line in the early 1980’s under the Squier banner. It took a few years for Gibson to come around, but they eventually revived their budget line name Epiphone and started importing their own copies from the orient. Gibson successfully sued and won copyright agreements that barred future imports of direct copies of their famous guitars.
Basically the law stated that a copy has to differ in at least three different ways from the original. It cannot have the same model name such as a Les Paul or SG. It must also have two significant structural differences not to be subject to the lawsuit. The Agile AL series (their Les-Paul-alike) has a vastly different peghead design (see graphic) and the cutaway is of a slightly different depth as if it is rounded off more on the edge of the bout.
To the casual observer, these are but minor and subtle differences. Gibsons of course are made in America by real craftsmen and their custom shop guitars are totally amazing but it is getting hard even for a working professional to afford a mid-line Les Paul, nevermind a custom shop hand made instrument. The Agile AL series has guitars at astounding values ranging from the entry level AL-2000 at around $200 to the top of the line AL-3200 for around $550. Materials and workmanship are generally consistent and Rondo Music has a liberal exchange policy.