Who has or attempted to relic poly guitars?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by JackButler, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. JackButler

    JackButler Member

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    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...
     
  2. redbeardrob

    redbeardrob Member

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    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).
     
  3. Dillow4092

    Dillow4092 Member

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    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!
     
  4. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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  5. tbonesullivan

    tbonesullivan Member

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    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.
     
  6. mannish

    mannish Member

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    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.
     
  7. Whiskey N Beans

    Whiskey N Beans Member

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    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.
     
  8. tbonesullivan

    tbonesullivan Member

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    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.
     
  9. mannish

    mannish Member

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    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


     
  10. carbz

    carbz Member

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    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.
     
  11. buddastrat

    buddastrat Supporting Member

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    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.
     
  12. germs

    germs Member

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    '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.
     
  13. buddastrat

    buddastrat Supporting Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Vintage55

    Vintage55 Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]

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  15. JackButler

    JackButler Member

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    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.
     
  16. tapeworm

    tapeworm Supporting Member

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    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. :eek:(
     
  17. Oakley

    Oakley Supporting Member

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    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
     
  18. nrandall85

    nrandall85 Supporting Member

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    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.

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  19. chucke99

    chucke99 Member

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    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):

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  20. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Member

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    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:
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    After:
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    The back:
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