Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Actual Relicing?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TheletterJ, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. TheletterJ

    TheletterJ Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 13, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    So I LOVE the look and feel of relics, but I don’t own any relic‘d guitars. Most of my guitars are, unfortunately, finished in poly and pretty much pristine.

    How much will I have to play these guitars to wear ‘em out? I practice for at least an hour a day and play out every weekend. Has anyone ever actually worn a poly finish to a nice relic?

    I am envious of all these beat up looking beauties, I wanna join the club!
  2. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Holic

    Oct 27, 2008
    Upstate NY
  3. ponce

    ponce Tele-Holic

    Dec 21, 2011
    It's possible indeed. My bands bass player has worn his red poly Musicman Stingray pretty heavily. It took him 10 to 15 years though.
    Troubleandahalf likes this.
  4. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2017
    São Paulo - Brazil
    I think that just sanding the poly finish (with a wet 1200 sandpaper) to remove some shine and rubbing some steel wool on back of the neck will be sufficient to get that "used guitar feel" without the risk of that obviously artificial relic job that everyone criticizes.

    The matte finish you'll get after sand will impregnate with some dirt along the time, making a good and natural "relic". Don't use a grit lower than 1200 to avoid scratches.

    Metallic parts will probably look old the sufficient to match the described above in a not too long time, without any effort. Don't try to sand chrome parts, they will look terrible.
    Troubleandahalf and TheletterJ like this.
  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    It takes years to perfect self relicing.
    I'm careful, but not obsessive about my guitars.
    I play em, I scratch them, dent them, (accidentally) drop them.
    All of my 4 workhorses are worn and comfortable.
    If you gig with them, they will "relic" much quicker.
  6. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
    Q: How?
    A: Nitro finish and wearing leather and studs!
    This is all real wear.
    A lot of it mine, wearing belts and leather jackets on stage when I was, in my own world, a luscious, pouting rock god.
    It's a 1974 Les Paul Custom:

    dan1952, BradL, trouserpress and 9 others like this.
  7. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
  8. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Natural Relic'ing is sorta like 20 years of wear & tear applied " year at a time..." (wink,wink)
    dan1952 and TheletterJ like this.
  9. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    Drop it down the stairs.

  10. TheletterJ

    TheletterJ Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 13, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    Good answers guys. The one I work on the most is a ‘94 Strat Plus Deluxe that I got second hand. The neck is relic’d nicely and the body has some serious dings.

    However, I replaced the original body with that of a cream ‘96 Tex Mex Strat and it definitely isn’t as worn. I feel like I’ll need another 10 years of gigging to put a dent in it.
  11. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    Put a coat of nitro over the poly or borrow a friend's truck.
    skantzos likes this.
  12. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele Tele-Meister

    Dec 15, 2017

    In the UK there is a car product called T-cut which is a very slightly abrasive polish meant for taking out very fine scratches on a car body - works well on guitars for taking of that extreme plasticy high gloss that some new guitars come with that makes you afraid to play them.

    There is a coloured version meant to fill the scratches and the black works well after sanding if anyone goes down that route.

    To me guitars are a bit like cars - once they have got the first little scratch they seem to fit through much narrower gaps and you can be more adventurous
  13. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 11, 2017
    São Paulo - Brazil
    I'd like to have access to some product like that mentioned T-cut...
  14. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele Tele-Meister

    Dec 15, 2017

    Years back, I had the definitive lesson in what takes to achieve one of those guitars by seeing one of the most famous in the making. Back in '79, I was working for Frankie Miller (wrote Aint Got No Money for Seeger) - great Band, Tex Colmer and Frannie Burn, the Ace rhythm section (How Long) Stevie Simpson (Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance) on Guitar. We were off in Wiesbaden Germany doing a Rock Palast show with the one and only Rory Gallagher.

    Rory took the stage around 8:30 and played a blinder. Around 10:30 his truck driver showed up side of stage and said has he got to the encores yet? Met with shaking heads he headed back to his cab for another hours worth of sleep. An hour and a bit later and Rory was finally into the Encores, Frankie joined him and they did somethings like 5 or 6 numbers together before they finished. The man had been playing not stop (and brilliantly) at full on performance levels for 4 hours.

    We loaded out to the forty footer (semi) and hightailed it back to the Hotel. With Frankie, you could always be sure that the bar would still be open for the crew, even if he did so single handedly, but what met us was a real eye opener - Rory was there with THAT Strat and still playing like a Maniac - the party broke up around 7am, He was led out the bar that they were trying to set for breakfast by his manager, still playing.

    So at an hour a day, it might be played in a bit in say one or two lifetimes.............
    trouserpress, dustoff, aerhed and 3 others like this.
  15. TheletterJ

    TheletterJ Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 13, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    That’s a great story! I guess this is why there’s a market for pre-relic’d guitars.
  16. macatt

    macatt Tele-Meister

    Jan 10, 2007
    silverdale wa
    This is a 1985 body I bought used in 2001. I've been playing it hard for the last 17 years myself and except for a little darkening near the arm contour, it shows no signs of natural relicing.
    S Mac
    TheletterJ and knockeduptele like this.
  17. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 16, 2005
    Texas Gulf Coast
    This is MY most relic'd instrument I own.

    I found this beauty in a pawnshop back in '08 for $64.64 out the door.

    I'm sure the condition of the bass was the reason they priced it so low, and the fact
    that the serial number was on the neck plate, which they had no idea how to date the bass.

    They had no idea they were selling an original '74 Fender Jazz Bass.

    This bass was obviously well loved and gigged to death, as evidenced by all the heavy bruises and scars on it.


  18. MountainTwang

    MountainTwang TDPRI Member

    Jul 18, 2017
    Fleetwood, NC
    Wow what a beautiful bass! What a find...
    dan1952 and Texsunburst59 like this.
  19. tnutz

    tnutz TDPRI Member

    Nov 6, 2018
    Dallas county Tx
    Killer Bass,has to sound great, could be stolen as the seller must have
    pawned it for $25.
    SonsOfMoog and Texsunburst59 like this.
  20. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 5, 2012
    South Louisiana
    You are correct.
    The poly finish is tough.
    Normal wear and tear may have zero effect.
    The more you use it, the more opportunities for accidentally damaging it.
    If that's the look you're into.
    Nitro is much more fragile. I don't own any.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.