IMHO, some major guitar maufacturers have zero respect for their customer base

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Dickey, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Dickey

    Dickey Member

    Jul 8, 2015
    Yes; I know...the "relic vs non-relic" thing has been done to death. But I wonder if anyone has thought about what major guitar manufacturers think about producing relics.
    I remember the first time I ever saw a relic; it was sometimes in the later 80s. I was at a well known high-end guitar shop in Manhattan, & they had 2 exact same Mary Kaye guitars hanging together. One was brand new, the other beat to crap & worn out looking. I was surprised when the salesman at the counter said both were brand new, and told me of the new concept called a "relic". But what really flummoxed me was that even though they were the EXACT SAME guitar, the beat up one was $500 more than the mint one. I thought he was joking, but nope. Then,over the years, I got to thinking...what does a guitar manufacturer think of their customers when they take a brand new guitar, beat the hell out of it, and charge more for it? My feeling is they think like this: "We have so little respect for our customer base, that we feel they will not only buy the concept of fake mojo & pretentiousness, but they will be willing to pay more money for this fakery". Personally, if I were a guitar maker, I would have enough respect for my customers that I would sell them a brand new guitar in MINT CONDITION, because when you buy "brand new", you should get brand new! I would think my customers were enlightened & smart enough to eschew fakery & pretentiousness.
    Look at it this way...would you buy a brand new pickup truck that had been pre-dented & rusted out at the factory, to make the owner look like he was a hard working man? Why not? Would you buy dentures that were "pre-greened & rotted" so they would look more like your natural teeth?
    When I think back on that day over 30 years ago when I first saw that relic in the store, I thought to myself "What a stupid concept; it'll never catch on".

    I was sadly mistaken. It has become a sign of the times. Pitiful.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  2. St Petersburg

    St Petersburg Member

    Mar 16, 2018
    Is it possible that you are perhaps, out of touch?
  3. Jimmy_Rage

    Jimmy_Rage Member

    Oct 8, 2009

    It's a completely different target group. There are guys who like shiny new guitars, but there also guys who like beat up looking pieces.

    Relicing isn't really as simple as beating up the guitar either. Usually, it's done very tastefully. More to it than just removing paint.
  4. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2015
    I don't get relic'ing either. I mean I do, but I then again I don't understand why people want it. And that's the crux of the issue, a lot of people do want it. The manufacturers aren't out to stiff you or disrespect you though. I don't really grasp how you have managed to see relic'd guitars for sale and got all the way to your conclusion from that. There's a lot in-between you aren't considering.
    webs, epauley, renato-rt and 10 others like this.
  5. LaXu

    LaXu Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    There's all kinds of relicing going on in other industries. Rat rod cars or bikes, furniture that is made to look like it's 100 years old etc. Relicing a guitar requires more work from the factory so it's no wonder it is classed as more expensive. It's very much handcraft work. If you don't like it then just don't buy it.

    I'm sure someone will chime in how they'd rather age their guitars themselves, but if you look at the thread we had here about people's old and worn guitars, the majority of them looked like new guitars with a few dings on them. Modern finishes are pretty durable and dings you get from bumping your guitar accidentally are not necessarily going to look aesthetically appealing. Poly finishes aren't even going to chip nicely.
  6. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2007
    My first exposure was in 2000, at Bizarre Guitars in Reno. I was shopping for a new Strat and had not found anything that moved me. The sales kid then lit up and said he'd be right back. A few minutes later I was seated with a dozen or so Fender Custom Shop relics around me. I thought I was having a weird dream. I played them, but no way was I going to shell out the kind of money they were asking for them. I drove across town and bought a new G&L Legacy.

    I won a new Nash Tele, and must say I really liked it. Wed I have a new Road Worn coming. Who would have thought? I'm still not a relic fan, but neither am I a hater. I don't know if I even really "get it" or not. I just wanted something casual and comfortable to play.
    Nuclear Plexi likes this.
  7. Valtyr

    Valtyr Member

    Jul 8, 2007
    I don't think they'd bother if they didn't have demand for it.
  8. MmcGrouty

    MmcGrouty Member

    Jan 4, 2014
    You realize a lot of extra labor goes in to making a realistic relic. That’s why it costs more. Simple concept, really.
  9. Mad-kiwi

    Mad-kiwi Member

    Apr 1, 2017
    How out of touch of reality can someone be?....

    A relic guitar is a sign of disrespect by the manufacturer?

    A guitar with more labour in it should be cheaper?

    I agree with above...someone is showing no respect for anyone who does like relics and very little understanding of supply and demand from a manufacturing and sales perspective.
    Boonda, fretless, WornFrets and 8 others like this.
  10. Ron Kirn

    Ron Kirn Gold Supporting Member Vendor

    Oct 21, 2006
    the single most costly factor in manufacturing a guitar is the cost of labor.... and the infrastructure necessary to support the workforce.... Now.. since the relicing process can't be CNC'd... that means an artisan is necessary to accomplish the process... since you guys want your reliced guitars to look like they developed that look "honestly". . . that requires an even higher degree of an artist.... and quality art doesn't come cheep...

    Yep, 'fraid so... a quality relicing is high art... and as such demands a high price... of course,, there is a way to avoid the additional cost.. You could just buy a new guitar, and gig with it for 40 years... believe me, the time passes by fast...

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    FlyingVBlues, Jimmy R, kunos and 43 others like this.
  11. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2017
    Utica, NY
  12. toomanyamps

    toomanyamps Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    This is not a "guitar " thing.
    There are thousands of stores called Antique Stores. People buy distressed furniture all the time.
    DADF#AD, fretless, Gasp100 and 5 others like this.
  13. c_mac

    c_mac Member

    Oct 19, 2004
    I’m happy to see that we’re finally getting to the bottom of this. Relicing has been overlooked for way too long on TGP.
  14. gjohnson441496lpjr

    gjohnson441496lpjr Member

    Nov 3, 2018
    I'm seeing relic with a whole new perspective after reading these post. I still wouldn't buy a relic'd guitar. If I can't afford an original one I wouldn't want a fake original, although I can see the appeal because some of them look good.
  15. Nuclear Plexi

    Nuclear Plexi Member

    Jul 4, 2017
    I get what you are saying, but I think you're off-base.
    Without relicing, every strat of the same color looks the same. With a relic job, your guitar has that "unique factor". I don't own a reliced guitar, but I get it.
  16. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    East of the Rockies...
    Not only has the OP ignored the amount of extra labor required to relic a brand new guitar after it's been built all shiney and new, but he also seems to not understand how great a slightly used guitar feels to play...
    kunos, texrun38, ethomas1013 and 7 others like this.
  17. musekatcher

    musekatcher Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    meridianam altum centralis
    I dislike when a maker exploits superstition and mysticism, just because consumers will gullibly consume alchemy. But relicing isn't that. Relicing of fine furniture and fine violins is centuries old. I've got reliced furniture right here. I've got actual old worn instruments that look great. I don't begrudge folks that want that look. Its just a look.
    JK1965 likes this.
  18. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    I know, right?

    Leave it to Dickey to get to the heart of the matter.

    I predict this thread will become a sticky for all to reference when trying to wrap their heads around the concept of the relic.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  19. Lung plunger

    Lung plunger Member

    Oct 15, 2017
    Too much thinking clouds the mind with unreasonable thought.
    Jamie_Mitchell likes this.
  20. jm9239

    jm9239 Member

    Sep 7, 2012
    Petition to change subject to OP is ignorant about the economics of relic guitars.

    Guitar manufacturers make relics and charge what they do for a number of reasons, including:

    1) supply and demand

    2) it can cost significantly more money due to the artisan labor required to produce a relic vs a NOS version of the otherwise same guitar

    From a players perspective, many guitarists want an instrument that looks, sounds and FEELS like a vintage one but can't afford the real deal. That's where relics come in. A proper one like those produced by Danocaster or a Fender Masterbuilder will check all of those boxes and fit like a glove for a FRACTION of the price of a vintage one. Maybe if you tried one you'd understand that it isn't "fakery and pretentiousness." Maybe not. Either way, don't assume that manufacturers have zero respect for their customer base because they're meeting the demands of the base in question, and you don't even understand the economics or benefit of it.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice