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"Relic'ing" a guitar? thoughts?

#1 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 07:39 PM

Okay, I got a crappy Squire Strat for free from this dude, so I figure why not try to learn how to "relic" it since I probably wont be playing it much anyway (if at all) and it would be interesting to do. Some of the "relic" Fender Strats look cool, but I'd never pay for one. I heard that it's hard to do on guitars with poly finishes. So, has anyone done this? Have any tips, instructions, links, ect.? And please don't say "play it for 30 years" or "tie it to your bumper and drive down the highway" or something similar. I'm just looking for input because it seems like it would be an interesting project and I have nothing to loose since I have nothing whatsoever invested in this guit.

Thanks guys
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#2 User is offline   boss gt8 

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 07:50 PM

What I did to my POS Yamaha that my neighbor gave was---sand it down to bare wood, fine grit it baby butt smooth, go back over it with courser grit sand paper in certain areas, stain it, and some of the 'rough' spots came out looking older than the rest of the body, giving it that worn down look. Comes out looking rather nice and I had ppl tell me that it looks really good......
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#3 User is offline   stein 

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 08:15 PM

Have your dog pee on it.

Bet you weren't ready for that, were you?

#4 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 08:22 PM

View Poststein, on 12 March 2011 - 08:15 PM, said:

Have your dog pee on it.

Bet you weren't ready for that, were you?



Actually I was ready for comments like that. That's why I kindly asked that they not be included. [biggrin] Plus, my dog's so old and senile, she can't follow commands anymore. Poor thing.
My Epiphone Guitars
Les Paul Standard
G400 Deluxe w/ Maestro Tremolo
P93 Riviera
Early 1970's 6830 acoustic

Other Stuff
Dean Playmate Acoustic/Electric Bass
Ovation Celebrity Acoustic/Electric
Madiera A-2 Acoustic
Trinity River squareneck Dobro
A-Style Mandolin
Various pedals, devices, and other sonic implements of destruction

Amps
Vintage 1974 Fender Deluxe Reverb "Silverface"
Vintage 1965 Silvertone 1482 15 watt combo
Roland Cube 30
Vox AC4-C1-BRG

#5 User is offline   stein 

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 08:30 PM

lol..I know your are serious, but couldn't help it. If I had something real to add, I would but I have no experience at it.

Except the dog part..I've had that done.

#6 User is offline   strat-o-steve 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 03:01 AM

Poly is a hard finish to age or relic. It doesn't "check" like a nitro finish would. If you freeze the body and then blow on it with a hairdryer, you wont get the cool finish checking, you will instead be greeted to large, ugly cracks. Poly is also pretty thick, so if you do manage to sand down through it, it will be obvious that it is not a nitro guitar, and it would take decades to wear through a poly finish the same way as nitro. With your Squier, the only things you can "relic" that will have any hope of looking legit will be the hardware and the plastic parts. :D Relic-ing the hardware and plastic alone, with whatever bumps and bruises it picks up naturally, will look 100x better than if you try to mess with the poly finish.

#7 User is offline   Bender 4 Life 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:29 AM

if you have access to, or will spend a few dollars on, a drill mounted "wire wheel" will take it to bare wood quickly and make it look truly relic'd.
a little discoloration from a propane torch here and there just adds to the "artificial aging".
soak the plastic hardware in tea stained or brown vinegar.
metal hardware gets the wire wheel (LIGHTLY)

final product.... a Squire made 30 yrs before they started making them
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#8 User is offline   Gordy01 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 10:35 AM

I own guitars that are 25 years old, and still look like new, so this is not really my thing.

The main objective is to make this guitar look like it's been played for many years. When a guitar that has been handled roughly, or played until it is worn out, the wear will be in certain places.

1. Where the forearm comes over the top/back of the guitar.
2. Under the strings on the PG.
3. On the back where the belt buckles beat it to death.
4. Most times they will also be worn on the top body horn, from straps, and body bottom from guitar stands, and straps. Also along the edges, from sitting on the floor.
5. The body will be checked, nicked, and scratched almost everywhere, but worn smooth at the same time.
6. Don't forget the neck. A maple neck will be worn and dark, especially in the first 5 frets.
7. Usually the center pup will be worn from years of strumming/picking. Take the cover off and wear it down slightly on one edge. Not in a uniform fashion.

I would start with sanding the forearm rest down to the wood. This has to be down in a fashion that will mimic years of forearm use.
Same with the body horns. But you've got to be aware that with a poly finish, this will be difficult, and you may not like the finished product.
You could also sand the other body places where you want to show wear. Again, the bottom of the body, where someone could have dropped it, or other such things.
The PG will likely have to be scratched. You could do this with a dremel with a fine wire wheel. This will look as though the wear has taken place over years.
After you got the guitar worn to the point you like, just use oil on whatever wood is exposed.
Make sure the edges are all very smooth as if the arms and hands over time, wore it out.

This may not work for you either. It's just the way I think I would proceed, and might change with whatever happens along the way.
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#9 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 11:41 AM

Okay, thanks for the responses so far. Basically all I have to work with besides sand paper and random household products is this

Posted Image

So if I'm understanding correctly, the best thing to do would be just sand down on the normal places where wear and tear would occur and not the whole body? Keep the advice coming please!! [biggrin]
The thing about soaking the plastic parts in coffee or tea is a great idea btw.
My Epiphone Guitars
Les Paul Standard
G400 Deluxe w/ Maestro Tremolo
P93 Riviera
Early 1970's 6830 acoustic

Other Stuff
Dean Playmate Acoustic/Electric Bass
Ovation Celebrity Acoustic/Electric
Madiera A-2 Acoustic
Trinity River squareneck Dobro
A-Style Mandolin
Various pedals, devices, and other sonic implements of destruction

Amps
Vintage 1974 Fender Deluxe Reverb "Silverface"
Vintage 1965 Silvertone 1482 15 watt combo
Roland Cube 30
Vox AC4-C1-BRG

#10 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 12:09 PM

Here's some pics of guitar as it is now. For some reason, the guy rewired it to where there is only one tone control and a volume control and put a bolt where the other knob used to be. The string around the neck up by the nut is just from where it was hanging on a nail on the wall.
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
My Epiphone Guitars
Les Paul Standard
G400 Deluxe w/ Maestro Tremolo
P93 Riviera
Early 1970's 6830 acoustic

Other Stuff
Dean Playmate Acoustic/Electric Bass
Ovation Celebrity Acoustic/Electric
Madiera A-2 Acoustic
Trinity River squareneck Dobro
A-Style Mandolin
Various pedals, devices, and other sonic implements of destruction

Amps
Vintage 1974 Fender Deluxe Reverb "Silverface"
Vintage 1965 Silvertone 1482 15 watt combo
Roland Cube 30
Vox AC4-C1-BRG

#11 User is offline   Dennis G 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 03:41 PM

Looks like a great project guitar Supersonic. Not to hijack, but a related question - what's the easiest and/or best way to totally remove a poly finish? [confused] I've got a couple $100 specials (Squier strat & Epi SG) that I picked up to learn how to do setups etc. without screwing up my good guitars. I've been thinking of turning them into projects, but wasn't sure what. Now I'm thinking one a total refinish/repaint the other a relic project

Now back to Super's original question...
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#12 User is offline   Gaolee 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 04:11 PM

Removing poly from wood is a challenge. Assume you are going to spend a whole lot of time and frustration. It's a matter of patiently sanding/grinding it all off. Being careful not to gouge up the substrate wood is one of the hardest parts, and it's why I haven't tried to remove the poly from my T-bird.

I'm not sure why Gibson guitars are generally not reliced but Fenders are. Maybe Gibson used better finish materials or put more coats of finish on their guitars than Fender did back when. A vintage Gibson is usually advertised highlighting how good the original finish is, while it's not unusual to see a vintage Fender ad boasting about how well worn the finish is. It makes no sense to me, although I own a "Road Worn" P-Bass. I bought it because I liked the neck and its feel, not because I think fake wear is a good idea.
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#13 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 08:33 PM

I seriously would like some more help here if anyone can. I pretty much know all of the places on the body that I want to "distress". I just don't know what to do about the poly finish because if I "relic" up the body and it still has the heavily glossed poly coat on there it will not look good at all. HELP!!! [scared]
My Epiphone Guitars
Les Paul Standard
G400 Deluxe w/ Maestro Tremolo
P93 Riviera
Early 1970's 6830 acoustic

Other Stuff
Dean Playmate Acoustic/Electric Bass
Ovation Celebrity Acoustic/Electric
Madiera A-2 Acoustic
Trinity River squareneck Dobro
A-Style Mandolin
Various pedals, devices, and other sonic implements of destruction

Amps
Vintage 1974 Fender Deluxe Reverb "Silverface"
Vintage 1965 Silvertone 1482 15 watt combo
Roland Cube 30
Vox AC4-C1-BRG

#14 User is offline   Gaolee 

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 10:44 PM

View PostSupersonic101, on 13 March 2011 - 08:33 PM, said:

I seriously would like some more help here if anyone can. I pretty much know all of the places on the body that I want to "distress". I just don't know what to do about the poly finish because if I "relic" up the body and it still has the heavily glossed poly coat on there it will not look good at all. HELP!!! [scared]

I agree with you completely about sanding through parts of it and leaving the rest shiny. My P-Bass is silly looking for exactly that reason, even though I understand its got a nitro top coat. What you can do is use fine sandpaper or steel wool to take the shine off. Poly is good and hard, so it will take time and you will have to step back and observe your work regularly so you don't get it looking blotchy or make it worn in a goofy, unconvincing pattern.
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#15 User is offline   karine_plays 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:35 AM

what a waste of a perfectly good guitar #-o I've never seen any relic'd guitar that looks anything like real playing/gigging wear. Would love to see pics if anyone has an example.

#16 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:46 AM

View Postkarine_plays, on 14 March 2011 - 10:35 AM, said:

what a waste of a perfectly good guitar #-o


I'm not wasting anything and the purpose of this thread is not for people to debate on whether or not they like the idea or look of relic'ed guitars.

Quote

I've never seen any relic'd guitar that looks anything like real playing/gigging wear. Would love to see pics if anyone has an example.


Go have a look at Fender's Custom Shop guitars.
My Epiphone Guitars
Les Paul Standard
G400 Deluxe w/ Maestro Tremolo
P93 Riviera
Early 1970's 6830 acoustic

Other Stuff
Dean Playmate Acoustic/Electric Bass
Ovation Celebrity Acoustic/Electric
Madiera A-2 Acoustic
Trinity River squareneck Dobro
A-Style Mandolin
Various pedals, devices, and other sonic implements of destruction

Amps
Vintage 1974 Fender Deluxe Reverb "Silverface"
Vintage 1965 Silvertone 1482 15 watt combo
Roland Cube 30
Vox AC4-C1-BRG

#17 User is offline   karine_plays 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:15 AM

View PostSupersonic101, on 14 March 2011 - 10:46 AM, said:

I'm not wasting anything and the purpose of this thread is not for people to debate on whether or not they like the idea or look of relic'ed guitars.


You're on an OPEN forum in a section called "LOUNGE", kind of a hard sell there ... but ok whatever

View PostSupersonic101, on 14 March 2011 - 10:46 AM, said:

Go have a look at Fender's Custom Shop guitars.


Posted Image

Fake fake fake, looks like Freddy Kruger's been playing it and Edward Scissorhands is his tech. :)

#18 User is offline   Gaolee 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 03:50 PM

I don't think my P-Bass looks that bad. I have my opinion about fake age, but that's not what we are talking about here anyway. The P-Bass a little odd now, since it is new, but in a few months of getting played all the time, it will look more or less consistently aged. That Tele looks way too beat up, but I saw a couple of Strats today which looked the part. It turned out they were built three or four years ago. As long as it is consistent and you don't get carried away, it won't look as goofy as the Tele. Keeping it fairly consistent is the main thing, in my opinion, and making sure you don't leave odd shiny patches and excessively worn places where wear wouldn't happen.
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#19 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 04:13 PM

View PostDennis G, on 13 March 2011 - 03:41 PM, said:

Looks like a great project guitar Supersonic. Not to hijack, but a related question - what's the easiest and/or best way to totally remove a poly finish? [confused] I've got a couple $100 specials (Squier strat & Epi SG) that I picked up to learn how to do setups etc. without screwing up my good guitars. I've been thinking of turning them into projects, but wasn't sure what. Now I'm thinking one a total refinish/repaint the other a relic project

Now back to Super's original question...



Okay, after some research it seems that the best way to get the poly off (if doing it by hand, which I will be) is Scotch Brite pads. Apparently it they are less abrasive than steel wool or sand paper so it doesn't scratch up as much. It seems like it will take a long time to do it by hand, but that's ok I think I'm gonna try this method. I completely disassembled my Strat today and I made a crazy brew of REALLY strong coffee, tea bags, and cigarette ashes and I'm going to soak all of the plastic parts in it tonight. Hopefully it will look okay. Then it's on to aging the metal hardware. [scared] I'll post pics of all this stuff if anyone is interested.
My Epiphone Guitars
Les Paul Standard
G400 Deluxe w/ Maestro Tremolo
P93 Riviera
Early 1970's 6830 acoustic

Other Stuff
Dean Playmate Acoustic/Electric Bass
Ovation Celebrity Acoustic/Electric
Madiera A-2 Acoustic
Trinity River squareneck Dobro
A-Style Mandolin
Various pedals, devices, and other sonic implements of destruction

Amps
Vintage 1974 Fender Deluxe Reverb "Silverface"
Vintage 1965 Silvertone 1482 15 watt combo
Roland Cube 30
Vox AC4-C1-BRG

#20 User is offline   brianh 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:09 PM

View PostSupersonic101, on 14 March 2011 - 04:13 PM, said:

Okay, after some research it seems that the best way to get the poly off (if doing it by hand, which I will be) is Scotch Brite pads. Apparently it they are less abrasive than steel wool or sand paper so it doesn't scratch up as much. It seems like it will take a long time to do it by hand, but that's ok I think I'm gonna try this method. I completely disassembled my Strat today and I made a crazy brew of REALLY strong coffee, tea bags, and cigarette ashes and I'm going to soak all of the plastic parts in it tonight. Hopefully it will look okay. Then it's on to aging the metal hardware. [scared] I'll post pics of all this stuff if anyone is interested.

No, no NO!!!

The best way to get poly off is a heat gun set on low and a metal scraper. I've posted this a ton of times, but here it is again:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

However, if you want that guit to look like a jail cell urinal, then go for it!
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