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

Relic or aged guitar finishes

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Stratandtele, Apr 21, 2017.

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  1. Stratandtele

    Stratandtele Tele-Meister

    Mar 31, 2016
    New Jersey
    I am NOT a fan of "relic" or "aged" guitar finishes. Play the guitar until your fingers bleed,drag it around to gigs for a while. Then you have a guitar with real mojo, and honest wear. It seems like cheating when a new guitar is relic finished. My opinion, you gotta EARN the beat up guitar look, not take a bunch of power tools to a brand new finish. The benefit of playing a guitar until it's worn, you practiced and played a lot, and probably became a good player. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
    jackinjax, motwang, Kojoflo and 2 others like this.

  2. pondcaster

    pondcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 29, 2010
    Tryon, NC
    ... hope this goes well and we can actually have this discussion.

    I like relics. I have one, an '08 roadworn blonde and I love it, hope to never part.

    I've even tried to "relic" some of mine in the past and continue to do so but more for comfort than cosmetics. If it's mine and paid for, I can de-value it, right?

    But some I've seen, even from very respected builders are pretty rough. It wasn't Rory's!

    Let's see some pics! The good, the bad and the fugly.

    My av64 that's been taken to jam night for the last 3 years... no fakery here.


  3. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 21, 2012
    Some people like squeaky clean shiny and new while others like the worn in look
    i like both a good relic can be a challange to get right just like a shiny factory finish
    there is a place for both

  4. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jun 24, 2006
    Fort Worth,Tx.
    Nothing feels better than a neck that has worn through the finish and is smooth as glass. I'm not willing to buy a new guitar and wait for 20 or 30 years before it feels that good.
    Kebmel, Steve Holt and pondcaster like this.

  5. jaycoyoyo

    jaycoyoyo Tele-Meister

    Feb 7, 2012
    Dings and dents don't bother me as long as the neck is smooth. However Fender's poly finishes hardly wear at all, so the relic look isn't much of an option there. My nitro finished guitars have a nice wear on them over time.

  6. beyer160

    beyer160 Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    Nitro finished guitars get "wear," poly finished guitars just get "damage." You can play a poly finished MIM Fender every day for 20 years and it'll never get that "worn" look that '50s Fenders have. You'll probably knock ragged chips in it by dropping it or having it fall off the stand, though.

    I would feel like a complete poseur with an artificially "relic-ed" guitar. If you wanna sand the finish off the back of the neck for a better feel, that's practical. Sanding holes in the finish, soaking plastic parts in coffee and carefully tarnishing the hardware so it looks "old" for aesthetic reasons just seems silly to me.

  7. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Holic

    Dec 6, 2014
    Crook County IL
    I'm not a fan of relic guitars either. I'm fortunate to own a guitar with honest player wear. Unfortunately I wasn't the one to do it.

  8. Misty Mountain

    Misty Mountain Tele-Meister

    Sep 4, 2015
    Disagree.... but support your opinion for whatever you like.

  9. rebelwoclue

    rebelwoclue Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Jan 15, 2012
    I disagree as well. I really don't care if they're shiny or if they look like they've been dragged down the street- its how they play and feel mainly.

    I have both types. The two teles I use the most is a '12 '52RI I bought brand spankin' new that I've sanded the neck down because it was too sticky- no matter what I did- and I tried it all. Other than that, it still looks new.
    The other is a relic'd '67 RI FCS with the best neck I've ever played. There is a reason they started doing the relicing- and from what I understand it sprang from a special FCS tele that was made for Keef and he told them it was OK but he wanted the neck to feel old like his old tele. Boom- there was a market for that.

    I have been interested in the Roadworn teles as well and from some of the comments of the owners, they rank quite high in quality and playability due to the extra "work" done on them. I'd like to try one of those.

  10. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 15, 2010
    Not this again. :confused:
    1hoofer and skeeterbuck like this.

  11. Jimmy Owen

    Jimmy Owen Tele-Meister

    Apr 2, 2017
    Moravian Falls, NC

    Natural playwear. But I can understand the relic folk--this is the guitar I've played for more than 30 years. That's a lot of time and not everyone has it.
    Stringbanger and pondcaster like this.

  12. Stratandtele

    Stratandtele Tele-Meister

    Mar 31, 2016
    New Jersey
    I can't disagree with sanding a neck for personal taste, but the altering of parts to make them LOOK old and worn is what I can't wrap my head around.

  13. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck TDPRI Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Discussing Relic vs New Look

    I think when done authentically, There the best thing since sliced bread. :rolleyes:

  14. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Meister

    Oct 27, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I wouldn't relic myself, my wife, my house, my car, my appliances, my clothes or my tech gear. Why would I relic my guitar?
    jackinjax and Minimalist518 like this.

  15. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Oct 28, 2015
    One thing I noticed visiting a store with hundreds of old guitars was two guitars that were factory relics made thirty years ago. Some of the areas that probably looked cool thirty years ago now looked weirdly filthy and ugly after a life of hard gigs. In no way did they look like a regular guitar that had had a hard life. Some of the treatments to make metal look old develop unnaturally ugly colors and textures with time. When paint is worn through somewhere where the player continually rubs it in use, it gets a certain patina that is good, but bare wood that doesn't get rubbed just looks filthy and stupid after a while.
    I would define a good relic job as one where thirty years after you make it, no one could tell that it had originally been a relic.
    Wow! So far a nice civilized conversation! I love this forum!
    Stratandtele and jimash like this.

  16. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck TDPRI Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Think of it as a finish more that artificial wear.

    Some folks like black guitars, some blonde, some sunburst etc.

    You don't have to understand why other people like what you don't like.

  17. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 14, 2004
    Stratford, Ontario
    I thinly refinished my nocaster project so that it WOULD age and take on some wear. Which it has,and it's all mine. It's worn in according to how I hold and play it,which is what I wanted.

    On the other hand, I've got three poly coated instruments,the oldest of is 17 years old. Not a sign of wear on them. If you wait for one of those to wear, you'll be waiting a long,long time.

  18. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2013
    I've been playing the TeleSonic for 19 years now and except for pick scratches and my fingerboard gouges it looks new.

  19. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    We could discuss tonewoods..............
    rich815 likes this.

  20. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    If those things were sticky when you touched them, wouldn't you polish, sand, or oil them to make them easier and more pleasurable to play with?

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