- Nov 25, 2012
- Reaction score
When the relic thing started, Fender farmed out the process to Vince Cunetto. He would receive finished parts from Fender, age them and then send them back to Fender for final assembly. Also at that time, there was only one level of relicing available and Vince was VERY good at it. All of the parts were aged and identified as being intended for a single guitar assembly by Vince but, Fender often mismatched the parts and didn't pay much attention to Vince's eye for attention to detail. Cunetto's are sought out by collectors primarily for their looks but also the 9.5" radius that was used at that time by Fender. Cunetto's didn't have the belt sander thing going on and many were very convincing.This.
That whole thing started with people wanting to look like SRV.
A friend of mine worked for the CS, we toured the original CS with him in the mid 90s.
They had gotten into the swing of things by that point, but the first few months, sales was not happy with the level of relicing the guys were doing. They were simply too gentle with the hammers and screwdrivers.
If I ever buy a Fender CS, it will be an NOS, or at most a "Closet Classic", which is the lowest level of "relic"... the Gibson VOS is probably around the same level. It looks like an old guitar, but well cared for and rarely played.
The NOS level is as it sounds... no relic work at all.
It's such a hot topic and polarizing thing that Strat Talk will pretty quickly shut down any negative posts directed toward relics.
They are what they are and some people like them... same with Gibson.
I don't get it. I appreciate the love and work performed by a true naturally aged guitar that has honest wear.
Relic? It's purchased "Mojo".
I appreciate the effort and skill that goes into creating a good looking relic... but IMHO, it's like taking out a 2nd mortgage on your house to buy a Rolex and driving home in your Corolla.
Sometime around 97 some artists began to request lightly reliced guitars that looked more like they sat under a bed for years rather being road dogs. I have one of the first ones Vince did and it definitely looks the part, but these were special orders and there aren't many around.
Around 99 with management changes at the CS, Fender decided to bring the process in-house, Many people (myself included) thought that Fender's relic process was overdone and not realistic looking. Eventually, Fender offered the Closet Classics and other levels of relicing as a response. These lighter relics look good to my eyes.
It is a contentious topic for many players but I am just glad we have these options available.