Poll: Is “Relic” Gear a Fad?


We just noticed that you can get “relic” effects pedals now.  Fender, at the recent winter NAMM show, announced a new line up of “Road Worn” Strats, Teles and bass guitars for the masses. For years the Fender Custom Shop has offered pricey relic’d models.  A man named Tom Murphy, who works with Gibson, has perfected a technique to make your brand new guitar look 20 years old and it only costs an extra grand.  If you’re the DIY-type, just search the web and you’ll find tons of tips, suggestions and techniques to age your guitar.  Full Story.

With the price of original 1950′s and 1960′s Fender and Gibson guitars now reaching stratospheric proportions, most of us are left to either wait the 20 or so years it takes for that worn, faded and “yellowed” look to happen on it’s own, or to jump start that process by “aging” or relic’ing our gear.

Read on to vote!

The process of creating a relic guitar on your own isn’t really all that new.  People have been working on techniques using lacquer thinner, sand paper and acid stains for years now.  There are even services, like RelicGuitars.com, that you can send a guitar to and get the relic job done by a professional.  But it’s not cheap given the labor involved and the results can be a bit of a crap shoot – just read the many disclaimers by anyone who does relic jobs.

But the cost of getting that “worn-in” look from the manufacturer can feel a little incongruous with product you’re getting at the end of the transaction.  The Fender Road Worn is a Made-In-Mexico (MIM) guitar going for about $950.00.  Historically the Fender MIM Standard Strats and Teles have cost about $400.00.  Some of the price difference comes from the Road Worn having better slightly better pups and better necks but what portion of that $500 difference is the “relic” work?

So what do you think about the “relic” look for a guitar?  Let’s put it to a vote:

What do you think of the "relic" look on gear?

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Photo Credit: Dirty Old Man’s Studio

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  1. Tim

    I can’t imagine anything more poser-iffic than paying someone to damage your gear.

  2. Brian

    Well vote then!

  3. Boreye

    Have you seen those SRV relic’s at Guitar Center for 18K? That’s insane.

    And the Joe Strummer Tele they came out with last year looks pretty cool, but up close is just seems so fake.

  4. Dave

    I think Fender is trying to pull one over on us. Pay extra for a guitar with a vintage look – and one that is made in Mexico no less? They are going to have to find another sucker.

  5. Pappy

    I have no problem with relics. I like the feel of the necks and the fact that most of them have a lacquer finish (the Joe Strummer has a poly finish which helps guarantee its current state to be long-living and is probably also why it looks so fake) so they can continue to age and show the actual player’s wear.

    However, I think that paying 500.00 for a relic job is nuts. I understand that there is more work going into them, getting them to look beat up, so a price difference has to exist, but 500.00 is extreme. At most I would say it should cost 250.00 (AT MOST) above the price of a non relic.

  6. scarab1

    relic’n a piece of gear is stupid. Hey lets go get a late model Benz and smack it around and call it collectible. The whole idea is so childish and never in my life will I pay for that kind of poser wannabe type of crap.

  7. sr1129

    for me its not really the fact that it looks beat up and has “mojo” but u worry less about a guitar that is beat up as opposed to a a really nice shiny expensive lp supreme or strat deluxe. On top of that the custom shop relics are the best fenders i have played (esp that 51 nocaster)