What’s the deal with relic guitars

mudface

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I wouldn't buy a new, but pre-aged, damaged car. Likewise, I wouldn't buy a new, but pre-aged, damaged guitar.

Also, a used guitar is not "used up."

Well it depends your majesty............ 60 year old (or older) Les Pauls suffer worn frets,... often suffer abused electronics,....stripped or busted truss rods.... collapsed bridges and bent or cross threaded studs......busted or mangled tuners...... or worse have it all that replaced with after market crap..... Since we are talking about the real deal vintage '58-'60 Standards (or older gold tops) thats a lot of dough being asked for even these in fucked up condition....... I would rather buy a NEW re-issue that "looks" the part.

If you don't like that your majesty,.... don't pay me no mind.:cheers:
 
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waxout

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I’m new to the LP guitar scene so excuse my ignorance, but why would you want to artificially relic a new guitar? I think a broken in, aged guitar looks awesome, but why not put in the years where it ages with you? Just my thought. Flame away!! Lol

For me, it's really simple. I cannot bear that first (2nd or 3rd) bump or scratch on an absolutely pristine finish of a new guitar, it is torture to me. (and the guitar just lost 25% in value) So then I'm babying them and not playing with my normal abandon. They end up living in the case or sold.

Now I'm not in favor of the ridiculously overpriced "lab" relics. But a reasonably priced relic or used guitar... gimme gimme! That's all it is for me.
 

jap545

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If done right they feel so good to play. Especially the custom shop fender stuff. It's a thing. Get over it.
 

Guitarhack

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I consider relic treatments just another finish option for guitars. I know some like to say relics are a cheat and for posers but honestly, who cares what another musician plays? If they like it , who cares what anyone else thinks - live and let live.

I own non relic'd guitars and relic'd guitars. I bought my first one when I was shopping for the right tele and found one that checked all the boxes and was a relic as well. I took the relic plunge and its honestly a fantastic guitar, plays great and looks good too (IMHO).

My 2015 relic'd Fender Tele - the nitro on the back of the neck has worn through since I've had her.



My 1962 Guild Capri - No wear and tear inflicted by me....yet.



Honestly, I just see them both as being guitars I love to play. Neither instrument is more or less valid a piece of gear than the other.
 

Oakman29

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People have their choices in life, and my choice would be know the story of every ding and dent my guitars have. That's what makes it comfortable to you, bonding with it . Know every little thing that you have been through together.
 

wully

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Just think of it as a finish option that you don’t particularly like...
 

PNW10

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Hey everybody - longtime reader and finally jumping into the conversation. I was always mystified by relic'ing until a guy in a local shop handed me a Fender CS Strat a year ago and said "feel this neck". I was shopping for an amp and had no interest at all in buying another guitar (on that particular day). The neck on this guitar felt better than any guitar I've picked up in 30 years. It has their "journeyman relic" level - so not completely thrashed. I went home and thought about it all night like a lovesick teenager. I went back the next day and took her home. Until that moment, I never would have considered buying a relic'ed guitar, but it felt so good. I realized, at least for me, the value in relic'ing has absolutely nothing to do with how the guitar looks. That's where my preconceptions were off base. It's about how the guitar feels in my hands. I never would have picked that guitar up of my own volition because of my prejudice against relic'ing - and I would have missed out on a guitar that, today, feels like a soulmate.
 

GermHerm

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Years ago I was completely against relicing, VOSing, Murphying, etc. Then in 2013 I bought (because of the sound) a Gibson CC LP 'Redeye' and it felt ... better! Futhermore, if I 'generate' some dings and dongs unintentionally I really don't care so much. Do such things on a super clean new 5k+ EUR ($) guitar, and show this mess to your wife .... good night and good luck.
Meanwhile I have six aged LPs produced by the Gibson Custom Shop. ;) Beside the other, partly old, guitars. But this is another story...
 

martin H

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I'm surprised this hasn't turned more rancorous than it has. I think everyone is pretty much burned out on the question of whether this is a good or a bad thing, and have decided its just a matter of individual taste, rather like the question of whether the Gecko burst looks good or not. ( Well, maybe not that far. the Gecko burst is an affront to decency, but.....)

I personally don't much like it for a couple of reasons. First, I'm in my 60's and formed my values when a beat up instrument with missing paint and tarnished chrome cost less than a clean one ( and rightfully so IMO) . I find it very hard to get used to the idea of paying extra for something that I would have used as a basis for price reduction.

Second, I really don't like the inherent implication that an Instrument that looks like its been played for years is a sign of either a good instrument, or a player that has years of useful experience and is going to play well! I know a lot of folks will say they do it purely for aesthetics, but I do feel there is a bit of the "vintage heavily used instrument = good player" fakery going on as well.

Give me a guy who shows up with a purple sparkle LP and kicks everyone's ass over yet another extremely average blues player with a sunburst Strat with 50% paint loss and corroded bridge screws any day.

But it is all a matter of individual taste in the end . I'm currently working on a red metalflake sparkle finish for a Vox-teardrop shaped guitar that I'm sure many of you would find much more offensive than "relicing."

Of course, I've never much liked antique furniture either, so maybe that's it?
 

Deftone

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This my '81 Stratocaster. I bought a Warmoth Basswood body, and sent it off for a paint & relic job. I love it.

20210105_154008a.jpg

Here's it is with the original body.....

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I have two Les Paul Customs that have some genuine heavy road wear and one Standard that is perfect. All my other guitars are in excellent condition.

I like relics but I wouldn't pay what the custom shops are asking.

I do think it's funny when people advertise relics for sale in "mint" condition.
 

oldflame

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Look at it this way...

Way back in the 70s, I couldn't afford a new Strat or Les Paul (per se). So it was something used or Japanese. Don't get me wrong, I like Japanese. So, to get in the US guitar market, this usually meant buying something that was a little beat up (road worn and sweaty lookin').

My first decent guitar was a '69 SG Special (batwing). It was only 9 years old, but it had play wear and had faded a bit too. Loads of lacquer cracks etc, which was cool looking to me, although even back then, not everyone liked that 'crazed' look. But as we all know, that's how most of them went.

This is probably why I like relic guitars. I kinda grew up only being able to afford that look. I don't like these really 'Heavy Relic' looking Strat's and Tele's. That to me is a bit bogus. I like the NOS/CC look.

I can understand why players don't like it. Trouble is, generally this new paint doesn't get all faded and crazed up. Although in saying that, I had a 2001 R9 that went all crazed up on it's own. Must have been the wrong mix in the lacquer that day.

It's super cool if you are going to get someone like Clive Brown to restore your vintage guitar too. Average Joe won't be able to tell the difference.

P.S. I hate being the first guy to put a ding in a brand new gold top.
 

CoolRene

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I wasn't into relic'ed guitars until recently. I considered that an instrument had to age naturally and show the wear of its fair use through the years. Until I saw Davy Knowles' Tele. This guit has a particular vibe to it that I immediately felt.
So, I decided to assemble a Tele, not quite the same, but inspired by his guitar. Here is the result:

IMG_0002.JPG

Davy's

IMG_0035.JPG

Mine

The neck is different, as I was looking for a maple '50s profile and the pickups are handwound CS Fat '50 and Nocaster. Sounds and feels awesome...
 

LPBucky

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I used to wonder that until I started working at the Custom Shop. The rolled binding is a big one for me, but I think the biggest reason is that when you buy an aged guitar, you’re free to play it! You can play it with jeans, with a buttoned shirt, with a belt buckle, you can let your friend play it without telling him to be careful, etc. You can play your guitar any way you want to, and it’s still in mint condition (well, so to speak)! When we buy these used LP’s we hop on this board and say “what do y’all thing about... this issue, that issue, what years had these serial numbers, are these factory pots/pickups, tuners were replaced and new ones are crooked, the binding is coming up, no warranty, all of that.
The relic means it’s just like an aged guitar, but within safe and comfortable parameters, a warranty, predictable parts, documentation, that you’re free to play. It’s so easy to destroy the finish on a Black Beauty in a single sitting from pick rash, cuff buttons, etc. What a shame to love your $6k LP and not feel like you have the right to play it because you know you might have to sell it someday.
That’s how I feel about it, anyway.
 

Deftone

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I like real relics too, because they are CHEAP! Sell me yer wore out broken head stock beaters. Dents, dings, ripped tolex and finish checking even mods don't bother me. It's the tone that counts and I love the character. People always laugh at the beat up gear I buy...keep laughing! You're keeping the prices low!

I buy nice gear too....
20200924_175111a.jpg
 

efstop

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I don't mind a light relic, and a Road Worn Telemexter is way cheaper than anything from the Murphy Lab. I nearly traded my 2 week old Vintera '50s Tele for the Road Worn version, but it would have required $300. And I bought mine for the Sonic Blue. Other than the finish, they are identical, so I kept it.

I like rat rods, too.
 

CoolRene

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I like real relics too, because they are CHEAP! Sell me yer wore out broken head stock beaters. Dents, dings, ripped tolex and finish checking even mods don't bother me. It's the tone that counts and I love the character. People always laugh at the beat up gear I buy...keep laughing! You're keeping the prices low!

I buy nice gear too....
View attachment 530653
You like risk too: imagine that beautiful LP dragging the 3heads in a fall... (shivers...) !
 

Steven

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I would never buy, or want a reliced guitar. I try to keep my current guitars in pristine condition when possible, even when I played dive bars. I don't understand the logic to scraping up a beautifully finished guitar purposely
 
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mjross

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Pretty simple, if you don’t like them don’t play them! End of discussion.
 

efstop

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I don't like blue or silver bursts. Or super flamey tops. Or Strats. So I don't buy any of those.
 

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