Rittenhouse Guitars-Another Relic COmpany

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by todd richman, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

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    I found this company while surfing. I believe that the builder Abe Rivera is fairly well known. They seem to be doing nice work and are a newcomer in the relic S and T type builds.

    http://www.rittenhouseguitars.com/index.html
     
  2. MarkF786

    MarkF786 Supporting Member

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    Not directly related to this luthier, but I never understood the whole "relic" concept. When I buy something, I prefer it looking new, and if I wanted to buy a copy of a classic guitar, a "closet classic" makes more sense to me.

    Imagine if a car builder made "relic" models; maybe a classic Mustang, with rusted-out body panels, bondo in places, the interior worn out with holes in the upholstery - essentially a car that's been beat-up over the years! It's ridiculous! When you buy a classic car, you want it in as good condition as possible, just like any other antique I can think of.

    What am I missing?

    Mark
     
  3. Structo

    Structo Member

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    I guess what you are missing is that a genuine vintage Fender fetches in the neighborhood of $25-50K.
    So for the people that like the look of an old guitar the relic industry has sprung up.
    Also if the person that buys a guitar that is nowadays finished in poly, that guitar will look brand new for a long, long time. The reason the vintage guitars look the way they do is because they were finished in nitrocellulose lacquers which tend to be on the delicate side as far as taking abuse goes.

    Also, say the owner is 45 years or older, they don't have the time left in their lives to see the guitar age as it would naturally would if it was made in the 50's.

    I have been making guitars for a number of years (Fender style) and resisted the relic bug for the longest time.
    Then I decided to make a replica of a 61 Strat in Sonic Blue. It is not a heavy relic but it got a little more distress than I started out wanting.
    I did it the old fashioned way using nitrocellulose lacquers.

    The key in making a good relic or replica is knowing when to stop on the aging process.
    It was horrifying to put the first ding in a perfect paint job but after that, they came easier.

    I don't think the analogy of the car works, because with cars the opposite is true.
    A good restoration is usually the objective of the vehicle.

    With vintage guitars, you lower the value with a refinish and those guitars wear the effects of their age as a badge of honor.

    While I don't think relics are for everybody, you hate'em or love'em, they are a valid niche in the guitar market like it or not.

    Now there are terrible looking relic jobs all over the internet, especially when they try to relic a newer guitar that is finished in polyester. Those are what we call belt sander relics.

    Just my 2 cents, YMMV, IMHO, etc.
     
  4. ford

    ford Member

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    Lots to a lot of people....

    many vintage guitars out there are beaten up... and people want something that looks and feels broken in like those instruments..

    My Fano's are both relic'd and are two of the best guitars in the world.. the broken in nito finish is part of the reason...along with great sound and playability and looks

    rock

    bford
     
  5. big mike

    big mike Marshall Voiced Moderator Staff Member

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    I normally don't buy the 'relic' thing, but I fell in love with an a guitar that was relic'd, and it's just kinda cool to look at. It 'feels' like it's old, even though it's not. Plus I don't sweat any more nicks or dings. That's kinda nice. I never worry too much but knowing I didn't do the first...comforting.

    Anyrate, back to topic....
     
  6. amc

    amc Member

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    I'm not sure but I believe that this "builder" Abe Rivera is not the "luthier" Abe Rivera
    known for ornate archtops and solid bodies (i.e. Kevin Eubanks guitar)
     
  7. GuitarDiscountCenter

    GuitarDiscountCenter Member

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    I know Abe Rivera the Luthier. He lives in NY not Florida. This is another Abe.
     
  8. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    It didn't help that the best guitars to come out of Fender in the past 40 years were the "Relics."

    They had something that none of the other production or Custom Shop models had. Then all the other builders jumped on.

    I still don't know if the relicing had anything to do with it...

    I also think that the unavailability of authentic vintage guitars had something to do with it.
     
  9. fenderball

    fenderball Supporting Member

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    not only that, but the desire to keep the authentic vintage guitars in as good a condition as possible
     
  10. Southern ILL

    Southern ILL Member

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    Nice site.......I gotta say. Danocaster has set the mark as far as relics go.
    K-line and Kingbee is great too.....Some goodstuff coming outa RSrelics too.

    But no disrespect.....each his own and I'll never bash anyones guitar choices.
    But when they start looking like a dirty gas station sink.....I tend to move on.

    Whatever it takes to have fun and enjoy "yo'self" is the main thing guys....

    Enjoy your guitar.....and let me enjoy mine.
    Its really not that big a deal.
     
  11. npeoni

    npeoni Member

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    Hey everyone just got my Rittenhouse Guitars Fiesta red tele..
    I also own a RS Guitarworks old friend.
    After looking this guitar over in great detail, I am finding very inferior craftmanship, in comparrison to my RS, or Fenders..
    Paint:
    Has some "orange peel look to finish"
    Can actually see where paint was sanded buffed etc..
    Actually got a few "runs" or "drips" around the neck pocket..

    Hardware:
    Alright. nothing special, didn't take time on detail very poor on the hardware,, looks like it was hit with a brillo then wet sanded... I dont know..

    Pickup:
    Very good, The are Lollars and how do you mess that up

    Pickguard:
    1Ply Suits the era, but looks brand freakin new like i mean i thought i had to peal the plastic off.

    Tuners:
    Gotoh cant go wrong.. again aging was very poor and one of the tuners slips a little..

    Neck: Horrible,, You can actually see where it was masked at the 12th through 20.. At the nut you can see the ridges in the masking tape where the finish was sprayed.. Very Very poor job... The headstock is the only part on the whole guitar that looks "PROPER" for a custom relic guitar.. "checking" on headstock nice,, but there is ZERO "Checking anywhere else..

    Final Note.... I would say the 7-8 period wait time is Bullshit and hes pumpin out in 1-2... I would inspect parts for more detail but I am in no mood...
    My RS Old Friend is AMAZING all 38.5 inches of her... No make the same mistake,, or take A CLOSER LOOK AT YOUR RITTENHOUSE!


    I can post pics of both guitars to kinda take you through the differences in quality or craftmanship..

    I AM NOT A REP OF RS GUITARWORKS,, This is a Honest workin man just tele stories about his Teles..
     
  12. dr.morton

    dr.morton Supporting Member

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    Do this. I am not a big fan of reliced guitars but the pics on the Rittehhouse site look good.
    Therefore I would like to see some proof supporting your claims.
     
  13. npeoni

    npeoni Member

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    I will post picks within a few days.. My girlfriend has a far superior camera than mine(a professional camera). I was very mislead by the pics at the website and the pics of my guitar. I purchased it on ebay, my username is indiefarmboy, you can look at the auction photos and the feedback left to portofmiami (Abe Rivera)on EBAY.. The photos of the tele look amazing but I assure you I will show you a real Rittenhouse guitar, alongside my RS.. Like I said this guitar still plays great and sounds great..
    1. I broke three guitar strings the first day I got,, They were extremely cheap strings..
    2. I had to completly adjust the action, and intonation.
    3. I just notice the imperfections at my last rehearsal under good lights,
    4. Oh, I also had to adjust the pickup height totally wrong on the neck pickup..

    I know my equipment, teles mainly, and this guitar should have been priced at 500.00 I payed 900.00. I considered relisting the item but I felt I needed to tell some people, and the guitar will wear in properly over the years.. So instead of making my 900.00 back I am telling you not to spend your cash.. Abe is pumping out 1 to 2 guitars on ebay every week... He spent alot of time on the guitars in his gallery photos I will say that,, but not the one I bought and I assume not the one your gonna buy..

    I would like to request any other Rittenhouse owners, to post detailed, up close picks at your fretmarkers near the 12th throught the 18th and the same at the nut... THese necks are not finished and then reliced, they are reliced and then finished in select spots,,, LOOK AT YOUR FRET BOARD.. My markers are finshed with a tape mark where the finish stops 1/16 of inch above the marker, how weird does that look..
    I am a crafstman and I pay attention to fine details, I dont miss a thing.. I own and have owned 20 to 30 teles.. Your pics will be posted soon..

    P.S. Keep up the good work RS, Historic Res, KingB, etc..
    Pack it up Rittenhouse, KLH etc..
     
  14. fenderball

    fenderball Supporting Member

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    wow...i almost pulled the trigger on one of theirs not too long ago..that certainly ends that! would like to see the pics..thx!
     
  15. npeoni

    npeoni Member

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  16. big mike

    big mike Marshall Voiced Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting. While I'm clearly an RS Fan, I love my E type, the Rittenhouse is 1/2 the $ correct?

    Just a point...I'd expect the RS to be better. (IMO no one does it better than RS for relic stuff).
     
  17. npeoni

    npeoni Member

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  18. npeoni

    npeoni Member

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    Well, I just awoke to my phone ringing.. Abe Rivera called to tell me he personally would like to apologize for the Tele he sent me... He says that it is not a proper reflection of his work. Abe instructed me to mail the guitar back to him and he will build me another, to my specs... I think that is pretty good customer service, so far. We will have to see the outcome of the next Rittenhouse tele. Until then I have no new pics to post... Talk to everyone soon..
    Nick
     
  19. mojocaster.com

    mojocaster.com Member

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    Interesting, please keep us updated.

    To me, and I stress *to me*, the best relic job I have ever seen *with my own eyes* was done by E at Revelator Guitars. A close second - tied - are Danocaster and K-Line.

    I had a Mark Jenny body that was incredible, but never had a full guitar of his, so I can't compare.
     
  20. big mike

    big mike Marshall Voiced Moderator Staff Member

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    You must see RS's work up close. Nothnig against the other guys, I can only compare fender and nash as those are the relics i've played, but my RS is much more realistic, and use their own headstock.

    Killer F style guitars. I'd take my esquire over any/all of my fender or parts teles. Def. my favorite traditional builder.
     

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