Check out the new tele I built


Silver Supporting Member
I built this puppy for my best man as a present. Here are the stats. Tell me what you think!

Warmoth ash body 4lbs 6oz
Hefner neck - "SRV" carve. Modded by me to be a slightly asymetrical oversized "C" style.
Duncan Antiqities
Fender hardware aged by little old me
Blond nitro finish and relicing by










Dang that looks nice. If you can't afford a real one have a replica. Man I want all your secrets. How did you do the checking? Very nicely done.


Silver Supporting Member
Hey! thanks for the positivity. I'm feeling like a proud papa. Sad to see it go-But it's going to my homey, and he's a great friend...and he's over all the time so I'll get to play it a bunch.

I was really stoked about the checking/relic on this guitar. It came out really well.

***Sorry for the long post in advance***

I shot the raw body with a few coats of clean nitro just to seal it. Then I shot some tinted nitro where I figured there should be some fading...along the edges. Then the color from reranch "Fender Blonde" I think it's called.
Some more tinted clear in basically a very light mist in the same areas as before. Then a little more fender blonde. Finally I shot a can of Bullseye Shellac to fill in some but not all of the grain that was there and to add a darker amber color rather than the very yellow of the tinted clear from reranch. Some finish shrinkage was always desired, but I hadn't counted on how open the ash was going to be! That's some thirsty wood. Mainly I shot it in the middle of the front and back and the sides to fill in some pitting with the higher solids content. Leaving a perimeter where the finish was a little thinner so as to check sooner. Then I moved to the clear coats of nitro. I waited a few days and then started to buff it up.

At this point the guitar was really looking great so we decided not to murder it too badly in the relicing process. I brought the finish as glossy as I could and then started to chip some of the paint with various things around the house. The trick is to only use a thing once or twice and then find a new "tool" I've seen relic jobs where it's all done with one srewdriver and the guitar looks like it was attacked once rather than slowly aged. I left it in the sun for a few days and dropped it a bunch on various surfaces. I lose track of the abuse...

At this point it looks kind of bizzarre, because it's all banged up and still buffed to a hight gloss. So I started with some steel wool, some compound, micromesh and oil sanding to dull back the finish. More in some places than others.This sftens the chips and make the wear seem more gradual.

Another round of chipping and banging it and dropping it and I figured we're ready to check the finish. I save this for last because if you do it first- when the finish is all shiny- when you dull back the finish you can lose some of the checking. Anyway, the finish should be a few weeks old and pretty hard before trying to check it.

I just use the cans of computer keyboard cleaner that they sell at Radio Shack. DO NOT use the little red straw. Take the can (I buy two because the freeze up pretty quick) shake and spray at the same time. Use a winter glove. Some of the coolant or whatever is in there will come out and hit the body of the guitar. The liquid is so cold that it shrinks the finish to the point of cracking. I rub the frost off the guitar and grab the other can a go again. Try to artfully control where the stuff is going and how much you're using. I suggest practicing on a plank or something to get the hang. Anyway. The nirto seemed to crack before the Nitro/Shellac blend in the center. This created the0 "wear, but not wear everywhere" thing I like in a relic job. At this point you've basically got it done.

The problem is that the cracks only refract light and are visible only at an angle. So I grabbed a little brown shoe polish and smeared it into the hairline fractures in the finish in a few areas. This really does the trick, but you can over do it and have the color bleed into the finish/topcoats. So be quick about it and be prepared to sort of polish/clean off the surface to get rid of the shoepolish hue.

Lots of work, but really super fun and rewarding. Educational too!

I love doing it, but damn it's a lot of work to make it look good. Still I don't think I could make a perfect "new" guitar. That just seems crazy hard. The bonus with the relic thing is...if something goes wrong- like a sandthrough, or a paint run- you can just relic right through it and hide the little screwups that would jump at you on an otherwise perfect finish.

All my best and thanks for looking!!!




Silver Supporting Member
Thanks for taking the time to explain the mysterious process of relicing. Nice work indeed.


Silver Supporting Member
I did build a strat a few months back. I was bummed when two times I comissioned builds from a reputible luthier and both times the guitar wasn't to spec. So I did it myself and it came out great. I was shooting for a 65 strat. Transition logo white parchment etc...In fact, that guitar is what gave me the confidence to order the parts and do a second round of guitars. I did the tele above and another strat '60 style in inca silver. It came out ok but I wasn't too pleased with the body warmoth sent me. I tried to save some time by having them send me a finished body. They said it was nitro, but it wasn't. This makes the relicing process near impossible. I also did a strat neck for my buddy and fellow gear pager Ben Shin (burningyen) it came out great. Really good. Last up, I've got two tele deluxes that I'm working on right now. Both with maple boards one black, one natural. I hope they come out nice. One is a wedding gift to a former bandmate, and the other is a present for....ME!

As for that tele. I thought it was the best looking of the bunch from the get go. However the neck I did for Ben is perhaps one of the sweetest necks I've played yet. But the blonde tele has a really great sound and plays very well. When I pick it up I always think the neck is a little large for me and then a few hours later I'm loving it and other guitars feel a little dinky. Anyway the trend these days is towards a beefier neck. Sort of a fat C. Cool.

Here are some pix of the strat. I bought the neck and body from someone here at TGP and stripped the neck and had it planed to a 9.5 and had some 6105 frets installed. I then went about trying to smooth out a particularly heavy handed relicing job from the former owner. I did age the pickgaurd and do the neck. I also learned about the checking tricks on the red strat that came to be called "champ". I plays very nicely. And the lollar blackface pickups in it sound very good. I have a thing for a really soft shoulder and a broken in feel. The necks have a smooth feel/finish to the back of the neck. Where the wood is sealed by nitro/shellac but very lightly and then I sand back the finish within a hair of the raw wood. The end result is great. A very open resonant tone. Powdery and smooth, with some protection and a great vintage look. Check it out!





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