I Played The Guitar Of My Dreams But Im Torn...

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dlsnyd2003

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TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
Buy it. You play to hear not to see right?
 

bgmacaw

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fretWalkr

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I would feel the exact same thing if it happened to me. I don't care for relics and actively dislike fake looking relics. In fact, I sold a really nice tele because I realized the neck wear was fake. It was sanded so evenly up the neck that the highest fret on the bass side had as much wear as the 1st fret.

The logical me says the combination of the relic-ing and the high price tag would be enough to change my mind. But then again when a guitar is so right in every other way I might change my mind. If I went back and it was still there I'd probably stop fighting the impulse and buy it. After all, how many birthday's do you get?
 

kilroy6262

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If it sounds the way you want and plays the way you want and can afford it, buy the damned thing before someone else does..

"remember that time I found the perfect guitar but I let it get away because I didn't want to look like a poser playing a reliced guitar?"

You can always refinish it later if it bothers you that much.
 

dasherf17

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TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
To me, the heart knows what the fingers like...the old adage, "if it feels good, do it..."
 

Terrytown

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Just buy it, play it, like it until it no longer sounds good to you then sell it an get another new one that calls out to you. The cycle always continues.
 

fabricator

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From your description, it sounds like this is a truly special guitar. How often do you come across an instrument that sounds or plays as good as this one?
Who cares what someone else thinks about the amount of wear, legitimate or not, on your guitar? That’s just a matter of personal taste.

Besides, you can always sell it if you come across something better.

Sounds to me like the real question is how you can justify getting the guitar AND the amp!
 

michaelocean

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If Fender (and other builders) would make more reasonably priced models with Nitro finishes, I think much of the relicing debate would be moot. Most of us would prefer to organically ‘wear in’ our own instruments. Unfortunately, heavy Poly finishes just don’t ’wear in’ with thousands of hours of playing.

I’m not crazy about many heavy reliced guitars .. nothing against them though. What I recognize is that a finish SHOULD NOT be so heavy as to make it impervious to the elements. The lightest finishes feel and sound the best. That ‘breathability’ of a finish is what most of us respond to in an authentic 50, 60 year old guitar. Style concerns or philosophical scruples aside… the Custom Shop relicing effectively opens up the sonic potential of the guitar so you don’t have to wait decades for a fully responsive instrument. That said, we all know some instruments just have an intangible quality that sets them apart.

After I graduated from high school I had a pile of dough from gifts and work. I had it in my head to order a custom S style from Rudy Schecter. As I waited for him to open I went across the street. (I can’t remember the name of the shop in NY? Maybe Manny’s). Just for fun I picked up a flashy 80’s single pickup whammy bar Strat which was close to the door. I didn’t even get her name. She was completely not to my taste, wasn’t even spendy. It was everything I didn’t aesthetically like in a guitar.. more limited as well.. but I was immediately more comfortable than I had ever been on 6 strings. She felt incredible and sounded incredible. It was magic. When Rudy’s opened up, I had that conversation about a custom order with him. With everything to my taste it was going to be around $1500.. which was a ton of cash for a kid in the late 80’s. So I got cold feet and I went back across the street. It had been less than an hour, but that affordable single pickup S style was gone. I eventually had Rudy put together my ‘perfect’ dream guitar. And you know what … it sucked. It just never felt right. Eventually it was stolen from my brother’s pad when he was doing some recording .. no doubt because it was such a pretty thing. When I look back, I don’t care at all what happened to my aesthetically ‘perfect’ guitar. But I never forgot the feel of that magic guitar which got away.

I agree, close your eyes and use the force. If that guitar feels and sounds like a truly special instrument… that’s something that is unique… music is ultimately about how sound feels. Likely no instrument will ever sound and feel like that particular one. If she feels and sounds intangibly good and elicits something magical from your playing, I say that trumps your preexisting aesthetic preferences. Chances are there must be something in her that is attractive as well, why else would you ever have picked her up in the first place?

I don’t dwell on regrets if I can help it but this is coming from someone who only has regretted the instruments I didn’t buy or the ones I foolishly sold.

Can’t wait to see how this story ends!
 

Charles C

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If you were lucky enough to find a real vintage '52 that played and sounded like you described this one, and you could afford it, would you balk if it was extremely worn? Or would you pass on it thinking you might hold out until you found one not so worn?
 

BlueTele

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TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
Decision? There is only one decision: buy THAT CS '52 Black guard. You struck gold. Most of us "hope" to have that experience in life. While most of us are lucky and experience that, a LOT of people never find "the one." If you won't pull the trigger on that "Heavy Relic", I can recommend the guitars that I use: Whitfill. They are the very best '52 Butterscotch Black guard Tele I've ever played. Check out the usual guitar sale websites. You can find new ones for $3,195 at any of the four main dealers, and pre-owned in the $2,495 $2,695 range. The degree of "aging/relic" work is usually limited to finish checking and minimal signs of wear along the edges. Will be the best Tele you ever own. Good luck.
 

Jjmatashi

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TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
Heavy Relic = Stolen Valor!!! A guitar should earn its battle scars on the battlefield!
 

Timbresmith1

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TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
You grab the one that grabs you. Unless it’s flourescent pink or antigua boogerburst.
Custom shop means you’re paying for select woods and a very experienced assembler. How many partscasters do you build before you get THAT level of guitar? If you can afford it, grab it.
 

Maguchi

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TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
Buy that one and live with the relicing. Or...gasp...get it refinished after you buy it. It's not that often that we find a guitar that pushes all of our buttons
 

Tele-Strat

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Just buy it, play it, like it until it no longer sounds good to you then sell it an get another new one that calls out to you. The cycle always continues.
So true, but if you put it on Reverb, would you put it at Mint or Excellent condition? .🤡🤭
 

adamstrings

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TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
I'm like you probably are re. relics. Not a fan; I want a new guitar and not one that "looks' beat up while being new. THAT SAID, I have picked up some relic CS Teles -I remember specifically a '58 relic some years back. I would have bought it that day if I had the money because in the end, it's not about the color, what country it was made in, what year, or whether it's relic'ed or not-it comes down to which one makes you feel just like you did. I have no interest in owning a relic and yet, if I jelled with one I would not hesitate to buy it(if money being of no object). If you have the money, go get it!!
 

smoggyama

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Buy the Mesa, dress your frets, try a variety of strings. Pick ups are another black hole where $$ doesn't = tone. Relic schmellic. Classic vibe, MIM, USA, Teles all work for me. I use two USA Teles, couple of Strats, an Epi versions of 345 and SG. Correct me if I'm wrong.
 

oregomike

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Hood River, OR
TLDR: played the guitar of my dreams but it's a relic and relic ain't my thing.

Went into a local shop today to pick up a Tele. The wife and I had some time to kill before our dinner date so I decided to check out some guitars. It's my 40th on Monday and so I've been thinking about maybe splurging on something of an heirloom guitar. Something that I can pass down or be buried with, which ive never really had, though Ive owned some really nice guitars. This is the nicest shop in town, they have tons of awesome stuff so I decided to Try some strats, and naturally, some Teles.

I first picked up a CS 64 Strat, it was really nice, sounded good, very tasteful journeyman finish. I liked it. Then, I decided to try a CS 52 Blackguard. As soon as I picked it up I knew. This thing was different. It was light as a feather, like shockingly light, and the neck felt like it was literally carved specifically for my hand. I plugged in to a Mesa Fillmore 25 and I got goosebumps. The guitar sounded incredible. The neck pup was bell-like and full, very stratty, warm, but open. The bridge was ballsy and punchy but sweet. Quintessential Tele tones. I raised the gain on the Fillmore and it just got better and better. This damn guitar felt like a living breathing thing. It was crazy, my palms were literally sweating as I put it back in its place.

Here's the caveat. It's a Heavy Relic. I've always thought the notion of a $3k+ bolt on slab body guitar a bit of a mental hill to climb, and the thought of a simulated beat up guitar doubly so. They look cool, don't get me wrong, but as far as owning and playing one? I can get NOS, Closet Classic, even Journeyman but beyond that it gets a little iffy for me. But this guitar, it was so good! I asked the guys at the shop about ordering one without the heavy relic, and they said they can do that for me but it's going to be "considerably more expensive". Plus, with all the variables that go into a guitar there's no guarantee that it will play or sound as nice as this one. Not sure what to do.
That's a hard one. I've seen heavy relics that I like, and others I've hated. Personally, if the relicing looks like it's just been played a ton, I'd probably go for it. If it looks like it's just been abused to Eff-all or if there is anything that looks unnatural (like more wood showing than paint), I'd pass. That's just me though.
 

Greggorios

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My suggestion: Please, whatever you do don't refinish it unless you're absolutely sure you'll never want to sell it. Refinishing will drop the resale value significantly.
 

Timbresmith1

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That's a hard one. I've seen heavy relics that I like, and others I've hated. Personally, if the relicing looks like it's just been played a ton, I'd probably go for it. If it looks like it's just been abused to Eff-all or if there is anything that looks unnatural (like more wood showing than paint), I'd pass. That's just me though.
Yep. Having seen scads of vintage “Whupped in real life” guitars, many relicing attempts are hot garbage. It’s become a fashion thing like storebought ripped jeans or stonewashed t-shirts.
Vaughan and Rory’s guitars were survivors under extreme conditions. I’ve seen maybe 3 real old strats with that kind of wear, and one of those was found underwater in a basement (that’s right; it had been there long enough that it SANK). The utility worker that found it stubbed his toe on it.
 
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