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View Full Version : How do people relic a maple fretboard?


cap217
12-20-2011, 09:49 PM
I had a cheap tele and tired to relic the fretboard and guitar just for fun and it didnt go well at all. I then sanded it down and applied nitro and that was easy to check and work with but I still dont understand that ware marks on the frets...

Why do I ask?

I have a NOS CS Nocaster that I would like to speed up the aging process. I assume that the fretboard is sprayed in nirto and that needs to ware off but then how do the frets become black?

vortexxxx
12-20-2011, 11:24 PM
You want black frets?

wire-n-wood
12-21-2011, 02:45 AM
Even old frets are shiny... If used.

unfunnyclown
12-21-2011, 04:06 AM
This is probably the worst idea I've ever heard. Artificial aging won't match the feel or aesthetics of an actual vintage instrument 99% of the time. That's why relicing carries such a hefty surcharge at Fender CS.

Maybe you have the magic touch, but if someone tried to relic my NOS CS Thinline they'd very quickly get a headstock to the face.

mcdes
12-21-2011, 04:09 AM
Hold the guitar by the neck all year, without letting go. Where you go, it goes...... Soon enough the desired effect will happen.

lumco
12-21-2011, 04:27 AM
or just tie it to the bumper of your truck and drive around with it for a year.

moosewayne
12-21-2011, 05:18 AM
ummm........play it a lot?

MSS
12-21-2011, 07:10 AM
ummm........play it a lot?

That would have been my answer! (I do own a Nocaster relic in all fairness!)

musicofanatic5
12-21-2011, 07:39 AM
Alright! Relic-disdainer bait!!

cap217
12-21-2011, 09:11 AM
I want a black fretboard... sorry, not frets.

24frets
12-21-2011, 11:04 AM
There is a firm who makes relic-ed Fender-style guitars that, after looking at the indents placed into the fretboard, I realized matched the size and shape of my Dremel chain saw sharpening stone exactly. Which is an example of what I would not do...

Vintage-tone
12-21-2011, 11:08 AM
it's a delicate and long process if you want it to look real.
There are plenty of methods to achive the same result. Some looking more real than others.
In my experience, I never was really happy with the results unless i would stain the wood / some areas of the wood PRIOR to spraying it . You need to achieve a certain lvl of patina on the wood itself or it will look like brand new maple with no finish on it . Sadly it does look like that on most relics and refins.
Check this 62 Headstock repair (http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.194770337257096.44617.100001723929230&type=1), the pictures are not very good but it should give you an idea.

Gas-man
12-21-2011, 12:47 PM
Some seem like they use dremels to get the finger marks.

I won't, you know, name any names or nothin' but...

Ron Kirn
12-21-2011, 12:48 PM
How do people relic a maple fretboard?

Very poorly .. . even the "good" relic jobs look as fake as a politician's smile to those that have actually played/owned a real true vintage guitar...

Ron Kirn

bbrunskill
12-21-2011, 01:49 PM
Play it. My Maple Strat is looking quite beat after only 3 years. Just how I like them.

vanguard
12-21-2011, 01:53 PM
Very poorly .. . even the "good" relic jobs look as fake as a politician's smile to those that have actually played/owned a real true vintage guitar...

Ron Kirn

+1. replicating the wear on a maple board is the black belt of artificial aging. i've NEVER seen a truly convincing immitation.

Trebor Renkluaf
12-21-2011, 02:40 PM
Hit the fingerboard with some steel wool. With a little practice you can make authentic looking wear marks. If you want them dark, use some graphite powder.

cap217
01-19-2012, 11:04 AM
I have read about the graphite powder method. But are you applying this on a raw neck then nitro over it? Or is all the relic work done after nitro? Or is it in between nitro coats?

cap217
01-19-2012, 11:14 AM
Oh my... I looked at a few youtube relicing videos. HORRIBLE!

musicofanatic5
01-19-2012, 02:32 PM
Let your left hand fingernails grow long. On old teles and strats I have examined, this looks exactly like what has occurred. If one reduces the thickness (steel wool, scotchbrite) of the finish on a f.b., the "natural" wear will logically occur sooner.

iluvfender
01-19-2012, 11:48 PM
the Road Worn Fender fretboards are very sad. Just but a MIM Fender and leave it outside for a couple months

shane88
01-19-2012, 11:52 PM
Very poorly .. . even the "good" relic jobs look as fake as a politician's smile to those that have actually played/owned a real true vintage guitar...

Ron Kirn
:agree

atomicmassunit
01-20-2012, 12:28 AM
Yup, haven't seen any in person that looked real. Maple is hard to do apparently!

tnvol
01-20-2012, 12:50 AM
Just play the crap out it for 30 years.

nrandall85
01-20-2012, 01:11 AM
I never really understood how those "wear marks" occurred in the first place. Do people's wives/ girlfriends let them walk around with fingernails that length? And if a particular guitar perhaps had very small frets, and your fingernails were making constant contact with the fretboard.... wouldn't you just cut them?

The only maple board wear marks I understand are those from a bad refret. So there's an idea. Practice refrets on your maple board. Instant relic.

Corinthian
01-20-2012, 05:43 AM
I never really understood how those "wear marks" occurred in the first place. Do people's wives/ girlfriends let them walk around with fingernails that length? And if a particular guitar perhaps had very small frets, and your fingernails were making constant contact with the fretboard.... wouldn't you just cut them?

The only maple board wear marks I understand are those from a bad refret. So there's an idea. Practice refrets on your maple board. Instant relic.

I have a 20 year old Ibanez RG with a maple fretboard with hardly any finish left - and that's with a poly finish and big frets. Your finger does make contact with the wood, hence scalloped boards feel different.

nrandall85
01-20-2012, 08:26 AM
I have a 20 year old Ibanez RG with a maple fretboard with hardly any finish left - and that's with a poly finish and big frets. Your finger does make contact with the wood, hence scalloped boards feel different.

My finger doesn't make contact with the wood. Long fingernails?

snakestretcher
01-20-2012, 08:30 AM
It's hard to do it right, and very, very easy to do it wrong: http://www.fenderstrat.net/stratocaster-for-sale/58256/vintage-50s-ri-fender-road-worn-strat-neck-tuners/

As another poster said; 'sad'.

tapeworm
01-20-2012, 08:32 AM
obligatory "send it to me, i'll play the hell out of it and relic it for you, it'll only take 20 years then I'll send it back to you" response. :p

cap217
01-20-2012, 08:40 AM
I saw one "How to Relic a Guitar" tutorial and the guy actually put dents in the frets....???? Because thats what happens on used guitars!

fumbler
01-20-2012, 08:42 AM
It's hard to do it right, and very, very easy to do it wrong: http://www.fenderstrat.net/stratocaster-for-sale/58256/vintage-50s-ri-fender-road-worn-strat-neck-tuners/

As another poster said; 'sad'.

Apparently they were going for the "never-played-at-the-9th-through-12th-fret" look.

Corinthian
01-20-2012, 11:14 AM
My finger doesn't make contact with the wood. Long fingernails?

No. Flesh. Seriously, your finger doesn't touch the wood?

Sidmore
01-20-2012, 11:32 AM
I have a 20 year old Ibanez RG with a maple fretboard with hardly any finish left - and that's with a poly finish and big frets. Your finger does make contact with the wood, hence scalloped boards feel different.

same here, I'm just a couch player but I bought my RG in 1991 and until recently it was my sole electric

Kmaz
01-20-2012, 01:51 PM
I suppose fret size plays a part in how fast and how much your maple board is going to wear?

Polynitro
01-20-2012, 01:58 PM
one of those shirts that reads, "Im with Stupid" and points to yourself is cheaper.

only way to get that fake wear the Fender Custom shop gets is with a dremel.

warning: it will look really fake.

street
01-20-2012, 01:59 PM
there's a reason why some of the best relic builders steer away from messing with the fretboard.

Gas-man
01-20-2012, 06:34 PM
only way to get that fake wear the Fender Custom shop gets is with a dremel.

.


I was thinking of a much smaller builder but they look really Dremelly as well.

paddywhack
01-20-2012, 10:38 PM
if you're dead set on faking it just break out some abrasives and have at it.....but...i've had a number of maple boards start to wear through the finish pretty darn quickly from normal playing...maybe three years and a fretboard is looking pretty beat..i play a lot but not that much....i probably have a bit more fingernail than some folks and i play elevens which might help speed up the aging process.....still...to me genuine aging is attractive...fake aging is not...its mainly just dumb...in my not that humble opinion...

pageburst
01-21-2012, 01:13 AM
I wouldn't call my finger nails long but I put substantial wear on my maple fingerboard. I even wore down the edges of the fretboard from the 2nd to 12 th frets thumbing over. All in six months, of course the finish was thin nitro to begin with but never-the-less maple fretboards can become naturally relic'd quite easily especially if you have less than a light touch.

By the way, Having played and owned custom shop and vintage Strats I can tell you the custom shop can do authentic looking wear. Of course, they can also do over the top nonsense.

raymeedc
01-21-2012, 03:08 AM
FOOLPROOF METHOD.....
I know this works, as I've applied this method to all types of guitars, from solid body electrics w/maple necks to 12 string acoustics w/rosewood necks. Play the instrument for at least an hour or so each day..... check on it's progress every decade or so. I think you'll be pleased with the results.

K-Line
01-21-2012, 05:53 AM
Very poorly .. . even the "good" relic jobs look as fake as a politician's smile to those that have actually played/owned a real true vintage guitar...

Ron Kirn
I concur! The fake ones look fake.

woof*
01-21-2012, 06:21 AM
I own a few old tele's and strats that have worn down and are naturally relic'd.
Another guitar, a tokai from the late 70's I helped along a little. I sanded the finish off the board with very fine sandpaper, no dremel or dents. I play pretty hard and after a couple years it wore in just like you see the 50's guitars..all on its own. I would not try and age it in a day. Just softly remove the finish and let nature take its course. I've never seen a relic with a good looking maple board other than my 55 revelator, and even Eric doesn't do much wear.

CS'56
01-21-2012, 10:46 AM
Why else would there be wear marks on the end of the board past the 21st fret?
"

That is usually caused by a pick

JMintzer
01-21-2012, 10:58 AM
I suppose fret size plays a part in how fast and how much your maple board is going to wear?

Ding, Ding, Ding!

Remember, they old Fenders used much lower frets. Not like the Jumbo most folks use today...


Jamie

musicofanatic5
01-21-2012, 11:10 AM
I had an allparts unfinished, 1-pc. maple neck that I applied the lightest possible coat of Behlin rattlecan lacquer. Inside of a year it was well on it's way to looking like some vinnidge cheesecake neck. Felt great too.

pinchegordo
01-21-2012, 11:27 AM
Play with dirty fingers it will build up dirt and look very reliced without actually wearing on the fretboard similar to the grime patterns on an old rw fretboard.... Then just keep playi g until it wears ..... Only way to make it look like you played it without playing it

germs
01-21-2012, 12:09 PM
what i've noticed on my own 22 year old strat:

rough edges. it's not smooth outlines like you see in the glamor shots for ads. every single one of my wear marks starts creeping up from the underside of the neck, where my hand makes the most contact.

from there, the finish starts to slowly flake off in little bits - eventually the whole width of the fret will be chipped up. and since i don't stop playing them, the wood underneath starts taking on different colors.

just IME.

rockonomics
01-21-2012, 03:22 PM
I can see many here feel the same way I do about fake relics. To me, a relic has to earn every nick, ding and wear mark and there should be a story behind all the nicks/dings.


"That one happened when I was bangin' this groupie on stage after the first gig in Dumbsville. We got too close to the guitar."

JMintzer
01-22-2012, 09:38 AM
I can see many here feel the same way I do about fake relics. To me, a relic has to earn every nick, ding and wear mark and there should be a story behind all the nicks/dings.


"That one happened when I was bangin' this groupie on stage after the first gig in Dumbsville. We got too close to the guitar."

And exactly how many "groupies in Dumbsville" have you banged?

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2270/702387/6479282/324515349.jpg

See the little white ding, beneath the middle screw on the bridge? Screwdriver slipped...

See the red ding a bit lower down? Coffee table...

Oh, the stories I could tell! :p


Jamie

paulscape
01-22-2012, 10:09 AM
Hashish.

JustOlder
01-22-2012, 10:32 AM
http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/Rickenbacker53/crook/crook4-1.jpg http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/Rickenbacker53/crook/crook5-1.jpghttp://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt283/Rickenbacker53/crook/crook6-1.jpg

The reason relics don't look real. If you look at most older vintage guitars. Fender put the nitro on so heavy that it wears different. These new modern relics are sprayed really thin and a bit over-done. Especially on the backside. Here's a picture of Brad paisley's telecaster. Look at the back of Neck. It's worn down-but not to the bare wood like the relics are done. The Fretboard looks like most relics I've seen-But not the back. These came right off Paisly's site. I realize he plays more than most of us will every play. Don't use graphite if you do a relic. Play it a couple weeks the oils from your hand and skin off the strings will darken your wear marks. Personally I like relics. I can't find it now, but there was a 52 reissue somewhere on this board-that was very realistically done.

JustOlder
01-22-2012, 10:40 AM
I can see many here feel the same way I do about fake relics. To me, a relic has to earn every nick, ding and wear mark and there should be a story behind all the nicks/dings.


"That one happened when I was bangin' this groupie on stage after the first gig in Dumbsville. We got too close to the guitar."Why didn't you wait until you got to Fox-ville to bang a groupie?

street
01-22-2012, 11:23 AM
I can see many here feel the same way I do about fake relics. To me, a relic has to earn every nick, ding and wear mark and there should be a story behind all the nicks/dings.


"That one happened when I was bangin' this groupie on stage after the first gig in Dumbsville. We got too close to the guitar."


Oh the romanticism of a true relic guitar.

Bangin' her on stage?
Was the audience still there?

I don't see the nostalgic longing for what is largely general daily use that makes a true relic.

I never look at my headstock and fondly remember the time I dented it knocking over the mic stand.
I just now try to avoid the mic stand!

rockonomics
01-22-2012, 11:37 AM
Bangin' her on stage?
Was the audience still there?

No that was at the titty bar in Whacksville two years later. And that's the ding right here..........:omg:rotflmao

street
01-22-2012, 11:49 AM
No that was at the titty bar in Whacksville two years later. And that's the ding right here..........:omg:rotflmao

LOL.
I hope you're pointing at your guitar!

It's all good, whatever way each of us sees it, as long as we're playing.

cap217
02-12-2012, 06:00 PM
question about graphite powder... Do you just sand down ware marks then fill in w graphite for the color, or do you then seal it?

As for paisleys neck. Chad Weaver uses a shellac finish on the back of his necks. It is/was sanded down then the finish was applied.

vortexxxx
02-12-2012, 09:52 PM
I think I have only seen one non-pro relic that looked pretty good.

cap217
05-11-2013, 09:14 PM
I know this is older but it's my thread.... People talk about bad relics and I get that. But nacho's work on his guitars is amazing. What I have noticed about early 50s guitars (I have only played a handful) is that they seem like they glump up or build up. They are also still shinny usually and not dull. The early to mid 50s got grooves like a Dremel could do but in the 60s they just got darker and dirty near the frets.

Anyways, if anyone wants to discuss nachos techniques or ideas of what he is doing, let me know. I asked him in an email and he said Dremel and lots of time and work. Months and not days.

Deed_Poll
05-12-2013, 07:25 AM
I don't understand those wear marks on relic'd fretboards. I mean, the strings aren't even meant to touch it anyway? Thought for years mine did, as nearly all my guitars have vintage size fret wire. But when I looked closely, they weren't anywhere near. If I actually pressed hard enough that the string was actually touching the 'board, the note was a good 25 cents sharp at least - and that's using the smallest commonly available frets.

Lotis
05-12-2013, 07:33 AM
Never have seen a relic neck that really looked like an old Fender. And the newer (since nitro re use) dont seem to wear the same as the old ones did.

cap217
05-12-2013, 08:00 AM
I don't understand those wear marks on relic'd fretboards. I mean, the strings aren't even meant to touch it anyway? Thought for years mine did, as nearly all my guitars have vintage size fret wire. But when I looked closely, they weren't anywhere near. If I actually pressed hard enough that the string was actually touching the 'board, the note was a good 25 cents sharp at least - and that's using the smallest commonly available frets.

The marks are from your fingers and are between the strings.

Deed_Poll
05-12-2013, 08:18 AM
Ah, ok. Yup that'll do it.

What about the grooves on the fretboard you sometimes see beyond the 21st fret? They always seem bizarre. I couldn't get the to happen short of dropping a brick on it over the neck pickup!

DivineTones
05-12-2013, 08:33 AM
Wtf would you even want to do that to perfectly good instrument? Just shaddup 'n play yer guitar - it'll get there eventually.

cap217
05-12-2013, 08:37 AM
Wtf would you even want to do that to perfectly good instrument? Just shaddup 'n play yer guitar - it'll get there eventually.

I like the looks of an aged blackguard. I like the feel of a worn in neck. And I just like the idea of the "art" of it. I like my guitars dinged and scratched.

Timmo
05-12-2013, 09:31 AM
I just recently sold my Fender '57 CS Strat Heavy Relic and I have to say it was the "BEST Heavy Relic" I have ever seen.

Here's why:

The guy I bought it from picked it out from a bunch for playability and for a somewhat realistic relic job from Fender.
However, a close friend of his runs a boutique guitar shop in LA I believe and he added his own personal touch to the relic'ing.

I showed it to guys that really know vintage and from a couple of feet away they ALL thought it real.
Your 'average' relic job from Fender looks pretty fake though........

As nice as it was as a 'guitar' and the great relic work, the phony wear of a relic job got on my nerves after a while.
I wouldn't buy one again but hey, that's me.
:D

bandmaster
05-12-2013, 09:32 AM
I have yet to see a maple fingerboard aging (fingerwear) that looks good/ authentic. Looks like to fake the fingerwear is really hard to do. Even the mentioned Nacho Tele's look fake.

cap217
05-12-2013, 09:46 AM
Are you saying you havent found anything that looks real bc the fake work is usually uniform and too perfect? The ware marks on a real one arent usually through the laqure and usually seem dirty rather than worn in.

I have an idea that I want to try and work on. Its going to take a few months and I have have to order a neck... This might take a while.

russ
05-12-2013, 10:06 AM
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d31/rstw2005/142x/nocas1_zpsb2427f8b.jpg

rastus
05-12-2013, 02:02 PM
I only play blues solos that are full of big bends all over the board. I also blow copious amounts of cigar smoke all over the place. I never wash my hands before i play-and I never wipe it down after. I only eat fried chicken or BBQ ribs when I know I will be playing some blues solos. I try to keep my nails just long enough to scratch the board a hair whenever I touch it. These days I only play 70's fenders because that nice thick finish keeps my maple boards from looking grimy. Those old 50's ones really suck that way. Yep.

3 Mile Stone
05-12-2013, 03:52 PM
Buy one of hundreds of Custom Shop Fender reliced necks off eBay and put it on your guitar. Done.

Smakutus
05-12-2013, 04:31 PM
Badly... It's almost always the worse part of a relic job.

Just take some steel wool to it to knock the shine off it, and play it.

Are you saying you havent found anything that looks real bc the fake work is usually uniform and too perfect? The ware marks on a real one arent usually through the laqure and usually seem dirty rather than worn in.

I have an idea that I want to try and work on. Its going to take a few months and I have have to order a neck... This might take a while.

It's the exact opposite.. The wear marks on a relic don't look uniform or perfect.

Jeff

cap217
05-15-2013, 12:04 PM
This guitar always comes to mind.

http://imageshack.us/a/img854/7692/8c5hk.jpg


http://imageshack.us/a/img832/5297/75vtbcopycopy.jpg

cap217
05-15-2013, 12:06 PM
Then there is this one (a member here):

http://imageshack.us/a/img708/8302/dsc0097cws.jpg

http://imageshack.us/a/img546/9691/dsc0054ti.jpg

DANOCASTER
05-15-2013, 12:29 PM
I think what you are after is the secrets of Clive Brown.

He's the one that did the necks on the Nachocasters

you can tell it's Clive's work by looking at them - and Nacho has said it online

Clive Brown really does have the blackguard thing down and I've seen his stuff in person and the better ones can be pretty convincing

but GOOD LUCK getting any information out of him.. He's very hard to even get in contact with and is very tight lipped about how he does what he does

les strat
05-15-2013, 12:34 PM
I don't understand those wear marks on relic'd fretboards. I mean, the strings aren't even meant to touch it anyway? Thought for years mine did, as nearly all my guitars have vintage size fret wire. But when I looked closely, they weren't anywhere near. If I actually pressed hard enough that the string was actually touching the 'board, the note was a good 25 cents sharp at least - and that's using the smallest commonly available frets.

When I play in the first couple hand positions, my string do indeed touch the fretboard. Strat, vintage frets. I am very heavy handed and can hell on frets.

cap217
05-15-2013, 01:04 PM
I think what you are after is the secrets of Clive Brown.

He's the one that did the necks on the Nachocasters

you can tell it's Clive's work by looking at them - and Nacho has said it online

Clive Brown really does have the blackguard thing down and I've seen his stuff in person and the better ones can be pretty convincing

but GOOD LUCK getting any information out of him.. He's very hard to even get in contact with and is very tight lipped about how he does what he does

I spoke with Nacho and he never mentioned Clive Brown. I will look into him and his work. Nacho said that he used a dremel and took a lot of time and care with his builds. He even redid the paint and finish many times.

Since I have owned a few of your guitars and I respect your work, what is the difference we see on some older guitars/necks? Does it make sense when I say the finish builds up and glumps up? It stays shinny and most of the relic work I see is a dull satin finish. The older guitars I have and have played still shine and have a gloss to them.

daveanto21
05-27-2013, 09:45 AM
I spoke with Nacho and he never mentioned Clive Brown. I will look into him and his work. Nacho said that he used a dremel and took a lot of time and care with his builds. He even redid the paint and finish many times.

Since I have owned a few of your guitars and I respect your work, what is the difference we see on some older guitars/necks? Does it make sense when I say the finish builds up and glumps up? It stays shinny and most of the relic work I see is a dull satin finish. The older guitars I have and have played still shine and have a gloss to them.

it does make sense. I imagine the paint is glumping up and building up from friction and heat. Just like an automotive laquer, when you buff (build up heat) it moves the finish. Thats why when buffing you can clean up scratches and restore shine. On a neck the range of movement isn't even and ends in the same place, hence the buildup. The dirt and grime gets trapped in the laquer and stays shiny.

Exiled_On_Main_St
03-01-2014, 07:39 PM
I have a 2013 AVRI 56 Strat, it has a lot of gloss on the fretboard, if I were to remove some of that, would it speed up this process a bit? Plus it doesn't feel as nice as one with less.