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The why's and how's of relicing a fretboard

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by SixShooter, Jul 4, 2011.

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  1. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    I have done it when I have built a replica guitar.

    I did a thread a while back with step by step on how to do it. I think 99.9999% of the people that do it over do it and make it look fake.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. deaconque

    deaconque Tele-Meister

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    I saw a video a while back of one of the custom shop guys explaining that he used an electric drafting eraser to do fretboard wear. Not to say they don't also use a dremel, I'm sure they have many many tools just to do fretboard wear.
     
  3. plopswagon

    plopswagon TDPRI Member

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    I would rather see a reliced guitar than here something like the Eagles played on it. In other words it is a matter of taste. let the haters hate. Meanwhile here's my tele I reliced:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    do keep in mind that I started with a new tele in 1980 and have been working diligently on it since then. I used punk rock, beer, sweat, some blood, a few vans and two children.
     
  4. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Thanks for your stellar contribution to the thread. I'm sure the OP is enlightened now that you've answered his question.
     
  5. allen st. john

    allen st. john Friend of Leo's

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    I agree totally.
    The "smudgy" wear looks much better than the more defined wear.

    I'd start by finding a specific vintage guitar that had the look I wanted and mimic that as closely as possible. The other thing to think about is "where" to relic. A well worn neck is almost like a chord map. Most players will have more wear on the bass strings near the nut than further down the neck.

    This site has great detail shots of fretwear on a real 54 blackguard, but, strangely, no shot of the whole neck. Notice how "smudgy" the wear areas are.

    http://www.pbase.com/twangcentralguitars/1954_fender_blackguard_telecaster_no_4292
     
  6. jpbturbo

    jpbturbo Tele-Afflicted

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  7. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    I'll continue to pray for God to wash the bitterness from your hearts.
     
  8. pdxjoel

    pdxjoel Tele-Holic

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    Jeeze - you'd have to play Segovia scale studies 8 hours a day to get that kind of fingerboard wear!

    Funny thing is, didn't Leo originally intend the owner to swap out the neck when the frets wore out rather than re-fret? We're now getting to a point where we want our guitars to look like Leo never intended them to, I suppose.

    I agree on the Tru-oil approach. Finished a neck a year ago with 6 or so coats on the finger board and 10 or so on the back. After a year of not even daily playing, I noticed some wear-through in a few spots, and general wear across all the spots you'd expect. I figure another year of playing and it will be properly reliced. Starting to look and feel great.
     
  9. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you for all of the replies and support! This really took off while I was busy having fun cleaning my garage yesterday. And don't worry about the criticizers, they haven't dampened my spirit.

    Ah, so the wear is coming from the fingernail? I never thought of that. I don't usually pick up near the end of the neck so I'm not sure I'll include that wear.

    Sounds like a good technique I'll play around with it. Neck is not mounted yet so no worries about the pickups & steel wool.

    Well, it's already clear coated, but I'll consider that for future projects. I imagine it would save some time.

    Nope. I'm a DYI'er:D

    Nice looking neck. I really like the colors on the headstock too.

    Thank you for sharing your technique I will play around with that one as well. I dig your Nocaster. Nice job!

    Mandatory, eh? May need to reconsider my earlier statement...

    Still here! I just feel sorry for people like that. Honestly. Must be walking around with a lot of crap in their heart.

    I just love the color of your neck and body. I have been working very hard to get a similar look. It isn't easy, but I am pretty happy with what I have. Unfortunately I still have a ways to go before the guitar is done and I can post photos. I need to sand/polish/relic the neck and relic the metal parts. Trying not to rush this one so I can get it exactly how I want it.


    Thanks again everyone! Feel free to add additional thoughts and techniques.
     
  10. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Isn't He busy enough? Need we involve Him in the subject of the relic guitar? :D
     
  11. Fred_Garvin

    Fred_Garvin Tele-Holic

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    I understand why some people don't like the relic thing, (I don't understand why they feel like they have to call people names over it).

    I have a couple guitars reliced the hard way, but it took 30 years. I guess I'm a bit of a relic myself!

    I remember in maybe the late '80's seeing some of the first relic custom shop Fenders, and thinking it was a crazy idea. But it has it's merits, besides the fun of having people call you a poseur.

    New guitars can have a sticky feel to the neck, sharp fret ends, etc. The effects of long term use, however it's done, can make it more comfortable to play. Plus you don't have to worry about scratching your "new" guitar.

    I've never done an artificial relic myself, but it occurred to me that a glove lined with say, 400-600 grit sandpaper would "fake" wear nicely.

    Or you could let Pete Townshend borrow it for a week.
     
  12. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    IIRC the relic guitars from Fender came out in the mid 90s not the late 80s.
     
  13. Muttcaster

    Muttcaster Tele-Holic

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    Well, um... that's exactly what I did, except that I just picked one that was more defined rather than smudgy. I went thru the Blackguard book and picked a couple from there.

    Pictures I saved of SN15x:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    I hear he's quite the multi-tasker;)
     
  15. Fred_Garvin

    Fred_Garvin Tele-Holic

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    Could have been '90s. I remember thinking that they could have been passed off easily as the real thing except for the CS triangle logo impressed into the back of the headstock. I was really impressed with how they played, comfortable and broken-in.
     
  16. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a couple of guitars that are old enough to have genuine wear patterns, they do not look like the Dremel relic jobs, the "smudgy" is close but is a little too regular.
    Apologies for small pic... Cheap hardwood fretboard, the light areas are the wear at 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think when most people are relicing their guitars, they are using relics as their guide or a limited number of guitars with detailed pictures like the black guard book. When you really start examining guitars that are 30,40,50+ years old, you begin to realize that none of them are worn in the same manner. Most relics, including mine, really lack the dirt and grime of real vintage instruments. And the subtle and not so subtle color changes.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    And the imperfections of vintage guitars are usually lacking in relics.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    But in the end, most of us aren't trying to FAKE or make museum pieces. We just want a guitar with the shine worn off.
     
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  18. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I do suggest an up to date Tetanus injection for that one. :D

    For me, the "been played for decades by someone who cared for it, but had natural accidents and wear" is a much better relic than the "been owned by Trip McAccident-Prone, the one legged alcoholic with the world's greasiest fingers and a belt buckle made from a cannonball".

    But I like that mileage varies.

    And BTW - what's going on with the neck pocket area? :eek::D Has a recently-fed Lion been using it as a toothpick? Ew. I feel an overwhelming desire to wash my hands...
     
  19. spook777

    spook777 Tele-Meister

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    You'd think rubbing children on the fingerboard might be a little overkill. lol :p

    Ignore the haters...I'd love to see a thread on the how to, as my attempt was a poor attempt to do it with a mighty might neck. Next time I'll start with an unfinished Allparts neck. :\
     
  20. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I find it unfortunate that the OP titled his thread "The Why's..."

    Was a bit of a hater invite, really. :D I both love (well done) and hate (badly done) relics, and my favourite seat is the top of the fence.
     
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