Relic "job" vs. real aging... How do you tell??

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by JingleJungle, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    My quest for more Bacchus guitars has put me in contact w/ a swiss guy who says he has a SFG 60s strat clone that is a factory relic.
    AFAIK Bacchus only did one true relic (the SRV)... so how can I tell if he's telling the truth or if he's just trying to claim more $$ for a custom factory job that never existed in first place?
    He might be sincere, as the guitar has Fralins, which Bacchus did use on their higher-end models, but one never knows. I don't mind owning a relic, I just don't like to be taken for a ride.

    What are the telltale signs of a purpose-made-relic vs. a truly aged guitar?
    Some are pretty obvious (and ridiculous), others manage to fake it quite well, from what I've seen.
    And no - I don't own any "fake" relics I can use as a benchmark...
    Lastly - are 8 - 9 years of real playing enough to cause the kind of wear I'm being whown in the pics??

    JJ

    edited to add the pics I've received:
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  2. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Member

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    Other than experience dealing with the real thing, I'm not sure you can tell the difference if the "relic" job is done well.
     
  3. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    Get the serial number from the guy and call the builder and confirm that this is the ONE.
     
  4. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    Guess that it's a fairly good point. I was probably thinking alog the lines that a badly done relic could have some telltale marks.
    Of course, and ugly relic is an ugly relic - and I'm not willing to pay up for that, as much as I'm not willing to pay up for "just" a beat up guitar (even though it was truly played). And - of course, I'm trying to avoid having to drive 2 hours each way just to verify these facts....

    JJ
     
  5. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    These are the older Bacchus guitars, made in Japan, lawsuit copies as far as the headstock shape is concerned. I can try to write to the factory, but from past experience I know they don't answer :(

    JJ
     
  6. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    If you cannot confirm the facts, do not pay a premium for it over the non-relic market price. It is the seller's responsibility to provide documentation to prove any unique aspects of the guitar.
     
  7. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    Absolutely true...unfortunately we're not dealing with the Fender CS (but even their records are quite sketchy, at times - but it's another story) but with an outfit that dabbled in replicas and who is loath to admit to the fact, as it is.

    In these cases, the seller's responsability has a lot to do with integrity and morals.

    I'm waiting for some better pics. Let's see what he says...

    JJ
     
  8. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    Then it sounds like he'd need the original sales receipt with the aforementioned facts as part of the package. Since it is highly unlikely he has the documentation, do not pay more than you are willing to lose if the claim is bogus. I would limit my exposure to 10% over fair market if he has nothing to back up his claims. Remember, every conman seems like a nice guy and trust worthy, that is how they seperate people from their money.
     
  9. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    Pics added.
    The seller admits to having upgraded some of the hardware, like the steelbloc tremolo (fender), but he will forward me the aged parts as well.
    The neck plate looks very nice & shiny... which may mean it is a relic "job" after all?
    My remaining doubt is caused by a small detail - namely the piece on the top of the pickguard, close to the upper cutaway, were the finish is stripped to the wood, like the impact from the pic before it hits the bass strings.
    (who the hell plays like *that*?)
    I've been looking @ other relics on Gbase, etc but I've yet to see relics that have that kind of wear.

    Moreover- Bacchus introduced the first lawsuits in '97 appx.
    Could a guitar age *that* much only in 8 yrs?...

    Thx again,

    JJ
     
  10. xroads

    xroads Member

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    If it is a factory relic job, it is poorly executed: a good relic job should include some micro-cracking of the nitro laquer. Also, the hardware should be aged.
    To me, neither the laquer nor the saddles/input jack plate look aged.

    I could be totally wrong though, and think the seller should provide some oringinal documentation that it is a factory relic.
     
  11. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    Gotcha - thank you!
    Re. the hardware, see above.
    Checking, etc - I will ask him for more detailed pics.

    Thank you for the pointers!

    JJ
     
  12. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    Ive found that relics look like art. hey are aged with balance and an overall concept. A real vintage instrument aged to the point of being a "relic" usually has very uneven wear and looks like the parts may not go together in some cases. Not as pretty to look at in my experiance. It all depends on resources and what youre looking for as well.
     
  13. DEMENTED

    DEMENTED Supporting Member

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    To me it looks "reliced" whether it is a factory job or a homebrew I have no idea. I have seen Fender relics that look like that and I've seen relics done by RS Guitarworks that look more realistic. Some people wouldn't pay a premium for a reliced guitar others would, depends on which camp you are coming from.
     
  14. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    I've seen Fender stuff that looks like they applied stencils to the naked body and then sprayed the finish over that... or maybe they were peel-off stickers. In any case it looked fake / overdone.

    In the case of the Bacchus it's simply that it could be one of those elusive few - besides the SRV clone - that was a factory relic (vs. real use aging).

    As I posted above.. would 7 yrs be enough to age a guitar like that??

    JJ
     
  15. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    XROADS - are we sure that a solid colour Fender would have cracked paint? Doesn't this happen only to the 'bursts / transparent finishes?
    Reason is that the solid colours had that white base filler coat, which I don't think would allow for that much cracking.

    That's also what appears on the Revelator Guitars site, BTW...

    JJ
     
  16. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    Pics from the fretboard. Looks like brazilian.... things start to fall in place IMHO - even though I'm still not sure if it's a factory relic. The neck p.up cover sure looks worn-in...
    Bacchus actually had (still has?) an importer here in Switzerland - I'll check with them and see if they remember anything of this one.
    Fret wear is a bit of a bummer.. will try to get the price down.

    JJ

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    http://static.flickr.com/84/234741921_708acd41f2_o.jpg
    http://static.flickr.com/97/234742030_a0742f890f_o.jpg
     
  17. hendrix2430

    hendrix2430 Member

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    That definitely looks "fake", IMO. Small chunks off a finish hardly are efficient in making a new guitar look old. Like xroads mentioned, usually a good relic job shows very light "web like" cracks in the nitro. Also, if bare wood is showing, the edge of the finish will look like it's been "wiped off", as opposed to chipped off, if that makes sense.

    IMO, if the aging on all parts is done to a similar degree of stress, then it's a good start. But what you'll often see is a ridiculously chipped body and shiny saddles, or a lightly reliced body and a super aged neck.
     
  18. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    That looks like a generic indian rosewood board to me. Most brazilian boards have different coloring and grain pattern.
     
  19. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    Sorry - I need to dissent somewhat, knowing that there are always exceptions to any given rule.

    I've had the chance to have a look at various IRW and BRW fretboard blanks in Nik Huber's shop. He did teach me how to distinguish one from the other.
    The most distinguishing feature is the depth and the intensity of the pores, which is much more striking in brazilian that in indian RW.
    as far as the colouring is concerned, BRW can go from a dark uniform chocolate brown to wilder striped patterns, to a colour as light as mocha.
    All the IRW 'boards I see in my little collection exhibit none of the porosity and "density" as I observe in those pics.
    I have had at various stages something like 4-5 guitars w/ brazilian 'boards. The grain the I see on that pic is definitely reminishent of those other guitars.

    But I'm definitely open to other suggestions and qualified lessons in this matter...

    JJ
     

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