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View Full Version : Who has or attempted to relic poly guitars?


JackButler
04-18-2011, 10:19 AM
Figured this would get more hits over here this time.
I know all the "do it naturally, time, hate it, etc"...I also know, "can't do it on poly, total strip, etc"...but I've seen some done that didn't look too bad at all. I've did several through the years, some came out good and others not so!

So just looking for others on here who have tried and looking for tricks and success stories for just some decent relic'ing on poly....I have one now that it pretty thin (seemingly) and would be a great candidate for it, but not sure I'll go for it as I always do with nitro;>)
I'm thinking some razor blade minimal checking, wet sanded back down. Some actual dings, and dirt. I could use some tips on the razorblade method, that is pretty hard for me.

Good comments guys...

redbeardrob
04-18-2011, 10:54 AM
excessive armwear is tough. i messed mine up pretty bad trying, it's butt ugly now! so be careful!!

it depends. if you want that rory gallagher or SRV look, with dirty darkened brown wood, it's pretty much impossible.

other wise, i just dinged mine up and keep it out of the case. every once in a while i'll throw some keys at it or drop a wallet chain on it. and kind of like a scab, i pick at the dings to make them bigger. expect for my stupid over-done arm wear, it looks pretty good. (the armwear looks good at a distance, say-as a listener in the crowd, but up close it looks reeeeally fake).

Dillow4092
04-18-2011, 11:24 AM
Been there, done that. It takes a large amount of effort. At best you will have something that looks like a Fender road worn body. My advice, just buy the body!

Robert1950
04-18-2011, 11:28 AM
http://wb5.itrademarket.com/pdimage/69/671469_blasting1.jpg

tbonesullivan
04-18-2011, 11:30 AM
eh. forget the razor. just play the dang thing. it's not nitro and no amount of relic'ing can make it look like it. over time it will develop swirlies and chips, dents, etc.

I don't see why people are so into making things look worn.

mannish
04-18-2011, 11:32 AM
excessive forearm wear looks fake regardless. I have a poly that is naturally reliced which means you can't really adjust the saddles cause they are so worn, corroded. It feels great like an old pair of Levis or converse but I am going to have to replace that bridge.

Whiskey N Beans
04-18-2011, 11:35 AM
Why don't you dull the forearm area with a scotchbright or 0000 steel wool or something. If the poly is think enough you'll always be able to bring it back to shine. It will also probably look more like actual wear and tear than what you'd get with a razor blade or other implement that a guitar is unlikely to ever contact with. That poly is thick, hard, and chips quite easily. Good luck.

tbonesullivan
04-18-2011, 11:38 AM
excessive forearm wear looks fake regardless. I have a poly that is naturally reliced which means you can't really adjust the saddles cause they are so worn, corroded. It feels great like an old pair of Levis or converse but I am going to have to replace that bridge. drop it in a jewelry/ultrasonic cleaner in naptha or diesel fuel. that will help get a lot of the gunk/rust off. do NOT use any kind of acid or corrosive material. if there is zinc in the bridge it'll eat it right up.

mannish
04-18-2011, 12:06 PM
If you have you ever worn any paint off with your forearm then you need to see a dermatologist cause you apparently have a 320 grit forearm rash

Hundreds & hundreds of players on TGP and I bet very, very, very few have actually worn off paint with their forearm and still has skin on their forearm


Why don't you dull the forearm area with a scotchbright or 0000 steel wool or something. If the poly is think enough you'll always be able to bring it back to shine. It will also probably look more like actual wear and tear than what you'd get with a razor blade or other implement that a guitar is unlikely to ever contact with. That poly is thick, hard, and chips quite easily. Good luck.

carbz
04-18-2011, 12:15 PM
I found the best solution to do this is to sand some of the existing clearcoat off and then spray a few coats of lacquer over the remaining poly. As long as the poly finish isn't overly thick this works quite well. Poly though can be gauged up the sheen never seems to dull.

buddastrat
04-18-2011, 12:19 PM
Most of the real well played poly relics I've seen, chip. They do wear through to the primer/white undercoat some spots. Mostly they chip off like an Easter egg. Find some pics of 70's strats and try and copy that.

germs
04-18-2011, 12:35 PM
'90-ish MIM strat. i hit the major points of contact (forearm, etc) with 000 wool late last year, just to see. it's got a fair amount of swirls and scratches/dents/dings from heavy #1 use.

not too hard, just enough to take the clear coat off. it's a bit "duller" in those areas not, but still very subtle.

i paid to do a fret level and crown at a luthier, and when he put it to the buffing wheel afterwards, some of the more brittle clearcoat finish came off the neck area...took a few weeks for my hands to dirty it up, but looking more natural now.

pics later, maybe. i'm at work.

buddastrat
04-18-2011, 12:44 PM
Here's a most awesome '72. Who's says poly doesn't relic?!!!!

To be fair, even tho' it's poly, it was known to be thinly applied, unlike todays which is thicker and the primer is what's really bad and that's supposedly on Fenders nitro models too.

This is an exquisite '72. It was listed as Lake Placid Blue, but it looks different.

http://www.12fret.com/wordpress/wp-content/gallery/fender_strat_blue72c/Fender_Strat_Blue72(C).jpg

Vintage55
04-18-2011, 01:27 PM
I use MicroMesh to take off poly/paint. With this guitar, I used a slightly coarse grade to add overall swirl marks to the entire guitar, as well as dull up the shine a bit. Then I went to very fine grade MM to "wear" the paint off in appropriate places. I say "wear" because there is no evidence of sanding when done, and in essence the paint has been worn off by rubbing it for an extended time. A few dings here and there with a flathead screwdriver and it looks aged.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_9M6UVc_cNEQ/S5pycydS26I/AAAAAAAAA0k/Pk60s5O9jA8/s640/PICT0072.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/_9M6UVc_cNEQ/S5pyizThFbI/AAAAAAAAA0o/M-zot6P4IbM/s640/PICT0071.jpg

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/_9M6UVc_cNEQ/S5pymzez_UI/AAAAAAAAA0s/W74lyrZS4DM/s640/PICT0070.jpg

JackButler
04-18-2011, 03:15 PM
Yes, I had thought about giving the micromesh a try this time to dull the finish some and go for more of the nitro sheen.

tapeworm
04-18-2011, 03:30 PM
i'd love to figure this out so i could relic my poly finished Guild Bluesbird and make it look like some of the LP's that RS Guitarworks reliced. But I am guessing it can't be done, i contacted them and they wont do it either. :o(

Oakley
04-18-2011, 08:37 PM
Never done it. But I've worked enough wood to know you don't do it with a sander.

1. Zip Strip

2. Steel wool

3. Used motor oil

nrandall85
04-18-2011, 10:43 PM
I second the micromesh. I've used it on the backs of all of my guitars necks. Also, I recently picked up a CV 50's Strat on Craigslist which the seller had reliced. He said he used a dremel, micromesh, sandpaper, and a lighter (????). While it doesn't look like a custom shop, I think it actually looks pretty decent.

http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/5233/img0037ko.jpg (http://img8.imageshack.us/i/img0037ko.jpg/)

chucke99
04-19-2011, 12:12 AM
The poly on vintage Ibanez guitars is so tough, you don't relic one when you find it, you just shine it up (as for this 1978 Artist):

http://www.chucke.com/pics/2622/yum.jpg

Sweetfinger
04-19-2011, 01:45 AM
If you have you ever worn any paint off with your forearm then you need to see a dermatologist cause you apparently have a 320 grit forearm rash

Hundreds & hundreds of players on TGP and I bet very, very, very few have actually worn off paint with their forearm and still has skin on their forearm
Actually, I have seen some completely naturally worn poly Strats. Rub enough and you'll eventually get through!
A local shop got in a MIM Strat that had been worked like a rented mule and beat like a red-headed step-child. I was given the task of making it sellable. It was already chipped, cracked, scuffed, and full of dings, so the only route was to just finish what the previous owners had started. I sanded the traditional arm wear area so that the chips and wood splinters wouldn't destroy your arm. Then I added finish checking with a razor blade. Finally, it got a fret leveling, rolled fingerboard, new electronics with a dummy coil, and a killer setup. It is one of the most comfy, played in feeling Strats I've done. Here's some photos:
Before:
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5225/5634004672_b4b4b1f027_b.jpg
After:
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5150/5633421359_5232b4f79d_b.jpg
The back:
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5190/5634004618_840b64f749_b.jpg
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5181/5633421083_88f0a309ce.jpg

JackButler
04-19-2011, 04:47 PM
Looks good, did you micromesh after the razorblade method?

BrentB6
04-19-2011, 07:12 PM
The poly on vintage Ibanez guitars is so tough, you don't relic one when you find it, you just shine it up (as for this 1978 Artist):

http://www.chucke.com/pics/2622/yum.jpg


Beautiful guitar. I could never dream of wrecking that finish.

Sweetfinger
04-19-2011, 09:21 PM
Beautiful guitar. I could never dream of wrecking that finish.
Worst...Preamp.....ever!
You wouldn't 'relic' that Ibanez because that type of finish would never wear like a nitro finish, thus there isn't a bunch of "cool, old, worn" Ibanez guitars out there that players already have warm thoughts about. The guitar just wouldn't look right. If you found one wrecked enough you might do it, but given the mentality of Ibanez fans and players, you would more than likely just refinish it to look new.
and an answer- After scoring the check lines I either used some fine sandpaper like 2000 grit or maybe grabbed some micromesh pads to take the burr off the line.

Joe Naylor
04-19-2011, 10:11 PM
Nice work on that white strat!

I use 0000 steel wool with naptha to dull down poly. Put naptha on a rag, wet an area on the body about 4" square and rub away. The naptha helps it cut faster and you get a nice even finish. I imagine you could do the same thing with micromesh.

If you really want to get it done fast, use acetone with the steel wool. Or you can use a milder mixture of half acetone/half naptha. But be very careful, acetone will melt plastic parts like inlay and binding real fast. And DO NOT TRY THIS ON LACQUER, you'll burn a hole through to wood in about 5 seconds.

teleking36
04-19-2011, 10:45 PM
Here's Classic 50s tele I used to own that I hotrodded with a Musikraft neck and aftermarket pickups and electronics. I reliced the body and the neck myself, as well as the bridge and tuners.

Takes patience, and always do a small amount at a time or it'll look super fake.

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o99/teleking36/DSCN2990.jpg

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o99/teleking36/DSCN3028.jpg

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o99/teleking36/DSCN3020.jpg

JackButler
04-20-2011, 05:39 AM
That ele looks REALLY good!
Good tips Mr. Naylor:>)
Thank guys, keep them coming!

Mike9
04-20-2011, 06:25 AM
I use files - they leave finer tool marks than sandpaper. Then I polish that out. For thicker finished dings and gouges are harder to level out. One thing is to just sand the finish down some then buff back. Getting through to raw wood is harder, but I've done it. Then stain it darker for more authenticity. Good luck - maybe get a Squier and practice your technique on that.

buddastrat
04-20-2011, 09:40 AM
Just remember, the nitro wear looks worn and faded. Think of the Cunetto guitars. Classy and faded. They have a sexy look to 'em. Poly guitar wear looks abused and not cared for. That's how they relic differently in real life anyhow.

I know I already said it, but timing it perfect. Just practice peeling some Easter eggs this weekend, and then do your body the same, that's how poly relics, like those big chunks on the white strat above. Sometimes it looks cheezy when someone tries to imitate a nitro worn body with a thick poly job.

Sweetfinger
04-21-2011, 03:33 AM
Just remember, the nitro wear looks worn and faded. ... Poly guitar wear looks abused and not cared for. That's how ... poly relics, like those big chunks on the white strat above.

Really thick, hard poly does, but if you use a softer poly and spray it thin, you can get a finish that looks, wears, and feels remarkably like Nitro. It still won't check the same though.

Eagle1
04-21-2011, 03:45 AM
Look at the Malmsteen tribute strat on line to see how it can look . This is the only poly relic I've seen that looks convincing . Poly is thick and has a thick base coat so don't try to get it to look like a 50's Fender because it won't.

edward
04-21-2011, 03:47 PM
My 1980 MIA Strat (which I bought new and have played extensively), has chipped in the normal-wear areas. No smooth wear (the kind that one sees on all those relics) can be found anywhere on my well-played Strat. The areas affected were typical: forearm and middle-bout on front; typical areas on back, but all chips ...I think because the finish got thin and simply fell off (cheezy 80s QC, maybe??). So I just took scotchbrite pads to smooth the edges where the chipped part meets finish so the tactile transition feels good.

Edward

wsaraceni
04-21-2011, 03:52 PM
i got real close to Carlos Santana's first PRS. the yellow one. that thing looked amazing. relic'd just perfectly (naturally) over time. and nicely faded. A lot of the original PRS guitars faded nicely over the years. the new ones not so much. Although my PRS does have a few chips and nicks. especially where the tummy carve hits the computer desk when i play sitting down.

skip
04-21-2011, 04:00 PM
i have one strat relic just for fun, it's pretty cool, a builder did it
but i don't really desire on my gibsons

chucke99
04-21-2011, 04:48 PM
Worst...Preamp.....ever!

Ahem. Best preamp ever. OK, back to the thread.

CA_Dan
04-21-2011, 05:04 PM
I reliced an SX bass using the methods at www.relicdeluxe.com (http://www.relicdeluxe.com). Came out OK for my first and only attempt. I tried to copy the pattern on Nash reliced basses.

http://gushue.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Guitars/Guitars25/816318823_FjNTF-L.jpg

http://gushue.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Guitars/Guitars01/816303033_dmpbS-L.jpg

http://gushue.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Guitars/Guitars23/815792206_ph9Pq-L.jpg

http://gushue.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Guitars/Guitars21/815783244_e5unv-L.jpg

JackButler
04-22-2011, 07:22 AM
I reliced an SX bass using the re-ranch methods. Came out OK for my first and only attempt. I tried to copy the pattern on Nash reliced basses.




What's the ReRanch method>?

tapeworm
04-22-2011, 07:45 AM
is it possible to get the finish cracking in a poly finished LP style guitar like a nitro finish would have? like this?

http://www.bluetoneguitars.com/goldtop%20r7%20relic%20front.jpg

Sweetfinger
04-22-2011, 08:06 AM
Ahem. Best preamp ever. OK, back to the thread.
...um, if you like hiss, I guess. Talk about a noise floor- those have, like a ..noise chair, or a noise desk!
We'll just have to agree to disagree!
Moving on-
The "Reranch method"? Dunno if it is a "method", but Reranch is a site and company that offers guitar refinishing supplies and advice.
http://www.reranch.com/
Mainly people strip and refinish their guitar with nitrocellulose lacquer. I'm sure there are some posts on their forum about artificial aging.

Tapeworm, Your poly guitar can have checking that looks like the Les Paul(or reasonably so) but it has to be scored with a razor blade or Xacto knife just like I did with the Mex Strat further up in the postings.

buddastrat
04-22-2011, 09:24 AM
I have a '78 Strat that was my sole electric guitar until 2008. I played nothing else. It has a few dings from stand-dives and such, but nowhere is the finish worn off, or even close to worn off. I played the crap out of that guitar for 30 years but I took care of it. After a clean 'n' polish it looks brand-new unless you look close and know where the dings are. I speak of the body; the headstock has mellowed to a nice butterscotch colour which is a tipoff to its age if nothing else.

My point is only that I don't think poly-finished guitars relic naturally very easily or quickly at all which means anything but the mildest relic job will look fake. Maybe thin-coat poly guitars are different; mine is on there pretty thick I guess.

I'm not a relic hater, please don't get me wrong. I know it's a sensitive topic and the last thing I want to do is stir up things in the wrong way.


Poly does relic look at Yngwie's duck strat. But it still had a thinner finish than those later 70's strats. Check out this ad, that came out in the early 70's. It says guitars now come with new "thick skin" finish. Folks didn't want that relic look no more! ha. http://www.vintageguitars.org.uk/fender72p7.php

For folks relic'ing the poly, give your guitar to a two year old for a week. That will look more authentic than to try and copy a nitro finish which will end up looking cheezy. Most of the 70's strats I see, still have deep gloss and shine and still look new with just some chips here or there. But man, some of them are heavy!!!!

chatsworth
04-22-2011, 11:07 AM
budda-+1 for the chipping. I've got a tele that finish chunks have started to fall off of over time. Looks like crap, but it's honest wear.

CA_Dan
04-22-2011, 12:57 PM
What's the ReRanch method>?

Shoot - I meant the Relic Deluxe method. www.relicdeluxe.com (http://www.relicdeluxe.com). Great information on how to relic a guitar.

ReRanch sells refinishing stuff to un-relic guitars. :)

scmavl
04-22-2011, 02:31 PM
budda-+1 for the chipping. I've got a tele that finish chunks have started to fall off of over time. Looks like crap, but it's honest wear.

Same here. My '96 strat is missing a chunk of paint here and there (that poly is THICK!) but it's real play wear.

huffyboy
06-17-2012, 05:19 PM
Nice work on that white strat!

I use 0000 steel wool with naptha to dull down poly. Put naptha on a rag, wet an area on the body about 4" square and rub away. The naptha helps it cut faster and you get a nice even finish. I imagine you could do the same thing with micromesh.

If you really want to get it done fast, use acetone with the steel wool. Or you can use a milder mixture of half acetone/half naptha. But be very careful, acetone will melt plastic parts like inlay and binding real fast. And DO NOT TRY THIS ON LACQUER, you'll burn a hole through to wood in about 5 seconds.


I like this reply! Cheers!
.
.

footiee
06-17-2012, 06:44 PM
i will do a genuine relic of you guys for FREE. the first guy who pm me.

it will be totally genuine, you can send it to my place and i will return its done

-=Scorch=-
06-17-2012, 09:58 PM
You could always PLAY it for 30 years...... :sarcasm

brianr0131
06-17-2012, 10:00 PM
is it possible to get the finish cracking in a poly finished LP style guitar like a nitro finish would have? like this?

http://www.bluetoneguitars.com/goldtop%20r7%20relic%20front.jpg

Not that I have ever seen

Sweetfinger
06-18-2012, 09:07 AM
Not that I have ever seen
Did you look further back in the thread? I can do it.

JPF
06-18-2012, 10:26 AM
Most of the attempts I've seen look like someone took a bite out of a candied apple.

I'd leave it as is and simply play the snot out of it, but that's just, like, my opinion, man....

sollophonic
08-30-2012, 05:26 PM
People tend to over-do relicing.

Here is a 1966 Tele that has been gigged for most of its life

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k7/andys_01/SixtySixTeleFront.jpg

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k7/andys_01/SixtySixTeleBack-1.jpg

I guess theres some players like Wilko Johnson who never cased his Tele when he gigged/transported it, and Rory who's sweat did the relic'ing of his, but most guitars don't wear as much as you'd think, poly coat or otherwise.

Less is more, IMO