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Relics and purposed aged guitars have killed the (I own and play on stage) vintage pride?


Odd thread..

so basically when we someone who has an old guitar, we think they must be a great player ?

we see someone with a relic, and as we can’t be sure it’s really old, we can’t be sure if we think of the player in a proper manner ?

sorry, but when did we stop using our ears for music ?

honestly when I see a dude with a true vintage instrument I don’t change my opinion of the person, I listen to their music. Heck, if they are a horrible player and have a really expensive guitar it’s more than likely they are just a dude who had the means to drop $30k on a guitar because of their day job....

Is a lawyer playing a terrible lead on a 62 Strat better than someone playing a terrible lead on a $1000 relic Strat that looks like a 62?

I guess to some people yes ? Probably why the lawyer bought such an expensive guitar in the first place, to impress other older dudes in the crowd who care about such things....

If you’ve owned it your whole life then I used that is pretty cool, but I imagine a lot of us would of sold it when the values when sky high, simply because we could probably do a lot more to support our families etc than have the bragging rights of an old guitar, which really impresses no one but other TGP’rs

Even Gilmour, who doesn’t need the money, sold most of his guitar because his CS relic plays just as well for like 1/1000th of the price, still looks the part etc.

is anyone going to hear him play and no longer connect with him as a musician because he isn’t using a vintage instrument ???
Great post. I have a couple relics, a couple shiny guitars and a few beat up workhorses I've pounded on for decades. Does the quality of my playing vary in the audiences eyes depending on what guitar I'm playing that night?
TGP can be a weird place sometimes.


I have the same "reverence" (perhaps overstated) for vintage guitars, but relics don't really take that away from me. I do get your point but it doesn't bother me to extent it does you. I've probably been fooled by relics but it's not something I dwell on.


Silver Supporting Member
Or someone might get a relic’ed guitar simply because they think it looks cool or feels good to play. Should someone -not- get a guitar that they like because guys on an Internet forum will judge them harshly based on an amateur psychological analysis derived solely from a guitar’s appearance?

[No, I don’t have a relic’ed guitar, and I’m not being defensive. I do have a couple of degrees in psychology, though...]
Only catch flak when yr over the target. "Cool" doing a lot of work in that sentence


Most relics look fake as hell. People who gig a lot know what a gigged guitar looks like. And it doesn’t look like a Tom Murphy razor bladed Les Paul that MLP spanks it to


Most relics look fake as hell. People who gig a lot know what a gigged guitar looks like. And it doesn’t look like a Tom Murphy razor bladed Les Paul that MLP spanks it to
is gigging a lot considered cool as well ?

I kind of consider myself lucky I’m comfortable enough I don’t need to play a bunch of gigs doing music I don’t enjoy, at places I don’t want to be, just to make ends meet.

respect to anyone working to make ends meet, regardless of how they do it, but I don’t get the TGP badge of honor thing where doing covers at bar gigs makes someone a better player than guys who just record, play at home etc....

Creating music ? Fun and cool. Playing music for a living ? Kind of a crap job in most cases..... guess maybe that is why so many guys need to have a superiority complex about it, because they sure can’t brag about the health care benefits and job security.

guess if you work 5 nights a week for $100 a night doing covers, but have a vintage guitar, and a KOT your kind of TGP royalty lol


Silver Supporting Member
I've got two "relics"; a CS Nocaster and a heavy aged R9. Had nothing to do with the aesthetic of having a guitar that looks old. I couldn't care less about that. A properly "aged" guitar has a certain feel to it. Not all of them have that, but a bunch I've played do. I wasn't even looking for a new guitar when I got my Nocaster. It was pure happenstance that I grabbed it from the wall at a music store and fell in love in less than a minute. My R9 was chose for the the same reason, it felt incredible. That said, I love they way both of those guitars look. I used to get embarrassed by it, like I was some kind of phony, but I got over it pretty fast. Now I don't care. Both of these guitars make me very happy. First and last time posting about the relic debate LOL! I do totally get why some people hate it, though.


Gold Supporting Member
Was there ever really "vintage pride" before relics or did some people just prefer older guitars because the individual instrument or set of specs on a certain year/make/model spoke to them?

The more personal stories you mentioned like a guitar passed down through family or found for sale as a bargain, the attachment is more personal story than the fact that it's vintage.

I've owned a small handful of vintage guitars. I don't anymore. I have some new guitars built to old specs and some built not to be vintage spec. Some are battle scarred and worn, others are in pretty nice shape. No rhyme or reason as to which is worn and which is clean by the spec sheet. My most worn in guitar is a 2010 Gibson LP Jr that was not pre-worn in any way but I love it just as much as my MJTele strat, built to 1961 specs and worn in by MJTele. Maybe they're both just good guitars?


Silver Supporting Member
What really pisses me off is I have 30-40 year old guitars that look new! (other than fret wear). Which leads to a question, do relic guitars come brand new with worn out frets?


It's funny how almost every relic'd fan now says the same thing...that they buy them for the "feel" and not for the vintage look and image.
Yeah, right. :p :rolleyes:
I've never owned any intentionally relic'd guitars. But when I think back to when I first started going to music shops(80s) The used guitars were way more appealing(to me anyway) because the new ones all had a very stiff kinda feel and seemed like they would take forever(10yrs seems like forever when you're ~15 :)) to break in. I've tended to stay with looking for used guitars that had that broken in feel but were still in good/great overall shape :dunno sort of a sweet spot I guess. But there's no denying that ones further along that aging path can look cool too and would be appealing to other people. Trying to skip that process and get guitars feeling(and I guess looking comes along with it) like they've already been thru that right from the start seems like a logical step imo.

As the vintage market's gotten so crazy price-wise etc--and let's be real there are also Tons of ways to get ripped off. The list of truly trustworthy vintage dealers is super short(imo). Toss in a couple other factors and the relic thing starts to at least make sense :dunno.


Staff member
Hey y'all...

I am not a big fan of these relic'd, aged light, heavy, NOS guitars.... I don't want to take anything from anybody, but that's how I feel.

Back in the 90's, I was doing Café Concert hoping in Paris (France), and saw a lot of vintage instruments played on gigs;

In those days, it was simple to identify the real thing from the newer instruments. That went for the amplifiers and pedals too.

I had the good fortune to actually put my hands on 50's and 60's instruments, that were played and casually set about the stage, leaning on tweed, silver or brown faced, during breaks.

Well, today, identifying a true vintage is simply impossible by simply looking at it.

I no longer get that shiver, you know what I mean:
-Wow, that guy is actually gigging his 1952 Telecaster!!!

So many cool stories too. Instruments inherited from parents, or found here and there for a few dollars more..

My music school had electric guitars one could borrow, that was in the 60's...

Well, where is all that fame gone today? I no longer can tell what's what!

I used to feel that special connection, with the guitar player, knowing what he was playing... you know what I mean, right?

That inner satisfaction you get, akin to symbiosis with a total stranger, simply because you identify with him based on a superfluous feeling that only him and you will ever understand, opaque but to a few of us...

Sadly, this syndrome has gone with the advent of artificially created vintage looking guitars...

Good or bad? do you feel the same? or is it something I got to let go?
A longstanding friend of mine used to own a well-known guitar store. He was in the retail side of the biz 40 years. He's been out for quite awhile now, but is still engaged quite heavily with his commercial sound business.

About twenty years ago, I recall a conversation he and I had. He said (to paraphrase), "Somewhere in Hong Kong right now, somebody is in a 400 square foot apartment, making knock-off vintage Fender decals, and nobody will be able to tell whether or not they are the real thing." It was an eye opener.

Yep, I recall the thrill of seeing crazy-cool stuff like a dead mint '58 V still with original hang tags and plastic shipping bag, the 41st fender Bass ever made, scads of 50s Gibson and Fender guitars, old Fender and Marshall amps -- back when there was never a question as to whether or not they were real.

Now there is some pretty great relic work. On the other hand, there is also some pretty poorly done relic work too.

But as long as the owner/player is happy with his (or her) instrument, who really cares?

Miroslav L

The used guitars were way more appealing(to me anyway) because the new ones all had a very stiff kinda feel and seemed like they would take forever(10yrs seems like forever when you're ~15 :)) to break in.
Not to go off in another direction with this thread...but TBH, I never found that a worn down old guitar felt better to me. Yeah, some people like the back of the neck to be worn, they have a problem with new finishes on the neck...but I'm quite the opposite, I like the feel of a new finish on the back of the neck, and never bought into the sanding of the neck or the use of powder...etc.
AFA the rest of the guitar...worn frets, worn fretboards, worn switches...etc...etc...I just never thought those things felt "better" on any level...not sure why anyone would think so...?

So the only thing left would be the wear on the body...which most of the time is about belt buckle rash, dings, chips and dents...none of which "feel" better, and it's mostly the aged, vintage look, which is apparently what drives the whole relic'd craze.
Maybe the wear spot where your forearm rests on the body...maybe that might feel better on you bare skin when the finish wears off...but it was never something I considered a problem playing-wise with a new finish.

And...if it's going to wear down...I would want it to wear down due to my playing, at least then the "feel" would be that of my wear spots...
...and not someone else's...or done mechanically with a sander, hammer and chisel.


Old dude with guitars
Platinum Supporting Member
I find it kind of funny that people think all aging is done with hammers and sanders.

That's how a kid with a Squier would do it in his back yard, and that's why so many home relic jobs look like crap. Guys like Dan Strain, Nash and Nacho don't work like that. Their aging process is a little more sophisticated than banging on a Tele body with a hammer - that's why the wait time for their guitars is so long.

And another apparent assumption is that someone in a shop somewhere is taking a brand new shiny guitar and trying to relic it from there. I seriously doubt that's the way it works.
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