Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Relic'ed Instruments

Hey everyone and Happy Labor Day!

I’m wondering how ya’ll feel about Pre-worn or relic’ed instruments. You see this more with electric guitars than anything and I’ve been looking at some Telecasters lately. Fender and Gibson both have different stages of relic’ing all the way to heavy relics.

Don’t worry, you won’t influence my decision, I’m just simply wondering. I’ll let you know my thoughts after I’ve heard from some of you.

Thanks!!

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I’ve been looking at electric guitars, too, and I noticed that this is some kind of new trend. Seems gimicky!

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IMHO an instrument that is well used, loved and worn is a masterpiece, but a relic’ed instrument is cheap and gimmicky as Shad said above.

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Well, I’ve got a black and white 1985 Tele…

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chrome or gold metal, fancy inlays, custom knobs, custom pickguards, distressed look, color of stain…all superficial decoration…means nothing musically…

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Jeu @jw11
I see little benefit music wise .
I consider relic instrument hunting a hobby, just like those antique car collectors. It can be fun for people who like to look at relics and relish at the craftmanship of the past

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My thoughts have changed over the years… my first reaction was, “Take a good instrument and distress it!!! That’s nuts!” Then it moved to, “I can’t believe they charge more for a relic job than they do for an instrument!!!” Then: “If I lose my job, I think I could see relicing in my future… seems to pay pretty well and it is an artsy kind of thing. Might be fun.” Next up, “You know some of the relicing actually makes it play or sound better or alternately, some playing/tone mods could be taken as a relic. Examples: speed neck (removing finish from neck), easing fret ends, doing a “Tony” sound hole and even finish thinning.” Where I am today, “People can spend money on worse things. To each, their own.”

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This is Fender Custom Shop '52 reissue relic. Love the Lake Placid blue. I would never try and pass it off as the real thing but it has a really cool look to it. The finish is crackled somehow. They must have baked it or something. It has a brushed aluminum pickguard…plays and sounds amazing.

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OH…copies…

guess I didn’t understand “reliced”

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Yep…the copies cost somewhat less than $35,000!

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Nice looking Tele Mr Harrison! Love the 52’s. I used to have similar thoughts as some of you but here’s why I like them now and may even purchase one:. I love the look of an old well worn and well played instrument but let’s face it… most instruments like that are high dollar vintage instruments that are way, way out of reach for my bank account. Secondly, I’m 56 and yes new relic guitars are fake, but I don’t have enough years to give any instrument that kind of honest wear. And, with today’s hard as a rock, glass like urethane, polyester and even the heavy nitrocellulose, it would be near impossible to give an instrument the same kind of wear we see on vintage instruments. The other nice thing is … You don’t have to worry about getting a tiny little scratch or fingerprint on it. Also as Mike stated, it can alter the tone for the better! Thanks for the replies and keep em coming!

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Mike, I love that tele. Gorgeous color.

JW, what instrument are you thinking about? Whatever it is, I support it :slight_smile:

Here’s another factor to consider in relic vs old: will you take a vintage piece out places to play? Not that long ago (maybe 10 years ago) I had a chance to buy an old D18 that Norman Blake had owned for years. For what it was, the price was good. It was expensive, but it was doable. It had gorgeous wear on it. A super nice playing and sounding guitar. I got the wife onboard and was all fired up to get it and then… I didn’t. The truth is, I realized I’d be afraid to play something that nice out. I know lots of people do, but I guess I am kind of a wimp in that regard. Once I had that realization, the question was did I want the guitar to play it or collect it? I don’t think I want to be a collector, so I didn’t get it. I do still think about that one. I am still not sure if it was the biggest non-purchase mistake I have made or if it was a good and sober decision.

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If you wouldn’t play it it was a great decision to not get it.

Old Instruments were created by craftsmen who took pride in their work and made the instrument to be played…those who simply invest to hide these works of art away insult the builders IMO and do not rate rate highly on my “respected” list.

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Thanks for making me feel a little better about “the one that got away.” I would have played it, but I doubt I would have taken it out of the house to play much if at all.

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Thank you for that!

I’m looking for a Telecaster and thinking about a Custom Shop '52, (like mharrison’s). I also like '63 or '64 (my birth year) or about anything vintage like. I do prefer the Spaghetti logo and any of the Blonde colors (Butterscotch, Honey, light, dark, sandy or dirty)!

Buying anything older than '66 is pretty much out of reach! I don’t really want a shiny new one, so the relics are looking real good to me.

I just recently discovered Nash Telecasters. All of his are relics and I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’d consider that as well.

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Sweet! Nash are supposed to be nice but I haven’t played one. They look great.

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