Looking for some street cred at your next club gig? This month, Associate Editor
Rebecca Dirks reviews two sites dedicated to roughing up your guitar.
A close look at the aged pickguard
from EGR’s Tele Relic Experiment
Beating the crap out of your guitar is an art that requires practice
and guidance to do it convincingly. If only there was someone who
had been around that bend a few times. Someone whose knowledge
we could leach off of and whose mistakes we could learn from. And
to make it fun, they should probably share our obsession with 1950s
pinup girls. If such a haven on the web were to exist, we would probably call it Relic Deluxe.
Relic Deluxe will likely be responsible for men across the country
spending the next ten weekends in their garages, painstakingly making new look old. The site conveniently breaks down the relic’ing process step-by-step; bodies, necks, metal hardware and plastic parts are
all covered. This not only helps tame the inevitable project ADD, but it
also sections the process into digestible parts so as not to overwhelm.
Each section is detailed, outlining reasons for each step along with
incredibly specific directions and cautionary statements (“Obviously
acid is a dangerous substance. I avoid getting any on my skin and I
certainly don’t drink it or pour it my eye!”). After reading through the
directions, we had a confident feeling that we could safely relic an
instrument without screwing it up – although after reading Electric
Guitar Review’s take (see next column), that confidence was shot.
Even if you like your wear and tear to happen naturally, there’s plenty
to like about Relic Deluxe. There’s a page of pinup girl decals and
another with cool, vintage Fender ads. Plus, the site features a gallery
of the site creator’s own relic jobs, so you can evaluate his methods
before you replicate them.
The information on the site is so well organized, you could print each
page, staple it together and be good to go. However, the curvy ladies
and retro vibe will keep you coming back for more, long after your
masterpiece has been completed.
Electric Guitar Review’s Great Tele Relic Experiment
One of our favorite things to read online over the past few months
has been the seat-of-our-pants relic job by the folks at Electric Guitar
Review. Whereas Relic Deluxe draws on years of experience in their
techniques, EGR draws on what they think might work – and a good
deal of Relic Deluxe’s advice. The result is a surprisingly good-looking
relic job and a great deal of entertaining reading.
The experiment started in late April with a used Classic Player Baja
Telecaster and a heavy dose of Cary’s sarcasm:
“And yes, that’s a poly finish, so I’ve got some heavy wet-sanding
ahead of me… I can hardly wait.”
Perhaps most entertaining in EGR’s two-month saga were the instances when something would flop completely and they would have to
head back to the drawing board. It’s not that we’re rooting for failure
– it’s just that we’ve all been there before and it takes a brave person
to document the process. Cary talks about sanding and refinishing
sections of the body, “too many times to count,” and your sanding
arm aches just thinking about it.
When keeping up with a process like this in real-time, it can be frustrating heading to the blog each day only to see the same post you’ve
seen for the last week. Luckily for PG readers, the bulk of this series (if
not the entirety, by the time the magazine is in your hands) is already
posted, allowing for the type of instant gratification that eluded the
EGR gang during the process. And since EGR relies heavily on Relic
Deluxe’s guidance, this series of blog posts is like a sneak peek into
what you’ll be getting yourself into should you attempt a similar project. While the months of elbow grease and trial-and-error experimentation are daunting, the finished product looks stunning. It’s up to you
whether or not it’s worth it.