Rock n Roll Relics Review Added Photos

drmatty

Member
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311
This is a quick introduction to Rock N Roll Relics, a small guitar building company started by a San Francisco musician Billy Rowe. Hopefully this is review 1 of 3. :aok

First, I have been lucky to call music my living for about 10 years, but have decided to move onto other joys for my living as of 8 years ago. However, I am still a musician, play in two local bands, write my own music and perform a few times per month. I have no current sponsorships to report. Previously I have been sponsored to play Gibson guitars and Fender amps at specific shows.

Like many of the TGP readers/posters, I am interested in small size guitar building outfits (Nash, Danocaster, etc). When I learned that Rock N Roll Relics was in SF, I had to send them an email and learn more.

Billy (owner, builder, etc) was quick to answer my email and offered to let me stop by his shop to say hi and check out some of his work. My first impression was his shop is immaculate. Clean and profession. He and his one employee, Dave, were open and honest. They were happy to answer my lame questions (for example: do you relic each piece by hand one at a time? The answer was yes.).

Their work is beautiful. They had an assortment of guitars for me to look at from the beautiful burst LP type guitars (each patterned from the book Beauty of the Burst), LP Jr's in cool TV yellow and a few custom colors, SG's, Tele and Strat type guitars, as well as bass guitars! I hadn't really seen a relic bass guitar. Let me tell you the burgundy mist relic J-bass with matching headstock was sweet. Each guitar is offered with as much or as little of the relic finishing as requested by the future owner. I found it interesting that they bring each instrument to a full finish shine (with Nitro of course) prior to starting the relic process. This seemed to allow for a more natural looking aging process.

Each guitar is finished, assembled, set up and relic'd by hand. Each guitar it's own work of art.

Stay tuned for part 2: photos and detailed in-hand analysis… and part 3: clips!

Please let me know if you have any questions, or recommendations for the future reviews. :dude Or if you have a particular guitar type you'd like to see in a photo.
 
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theanalogdream

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,461
I have a 61 built by Billy- it's a nice guitar. I asked for a chunky 59 neck, cause the SG necks usually aren't my fave. It rings out nicely, cleans up great, and has that twang that comes when you roll the volume down to 7 and snap on the strings with your fingers!

Here's mine.

 

sinasl1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,913
I have a 61 built by Billy- it's a nice guitar. I asked for a chunky 59 neck, cause the SG necks usually aren't my fave. It rings out nicely, cleans up great, and has that twang that comes when you roll the volume down to 7 and snap on the strings with your fingers!

Here's mine.

Great looking guitar!
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,423
Cool looking stuff. Digging the BK limited edition.

He's assembling from kit parts though correct? (I know it's much more work than just assembling allparts stuff, not casting stones, just want to be clear).
 

Arc Angel

Member
Messages
1,544
Yup, I believe they're just kits that he assembles, relics etc
True. I believe the Gibson style bodies, necks, come from Precision Guitar in Canada.

Nice finishing work, assembly and playability. All the way back to his first Telecaster and Jazz-caster builds to the present day.
 

drmatty

Member
Messages
311
The "finish cracks" are checking in the nitro. It's what usually happens to older guitars that haven't been maintained at ideal humidity their entire life. Pretty standard for relic guitars when they are done well.
 

drmatty

Member
Messages
311
I don't know about kit assembly, but I do know he typically uses David Allen pickups. Another Bay Area small builder that I'd like to meet!
 

S1Player

Member
Messages
3,448
The "finish cracks" are checking in the nitro. It's what usually happens to older guitars that haven't been maintained at ideal humidity their entire life. Pretty standard for relic guitars when they are done well.
Huh.

How about the intonation?
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,423
It's a remake of a early 60's SG. That's the correct hardware.

you can usually get the intonation pretty damn close if you know how to set them up.
Finish checking is what happens to nitro under heat/cold expansion contraction.
 

theanalogdream

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,461
Intonation is alright- it's not perfect (what guitar is?) but your fingers pull and adjust as necessary I found to match what your ear is hearing. The guitar came setup a little low for my tastes in regards to action, but a quick tweak got it so I can play slide if I need to, or play normally.
 

drmatty

Member
Messages
311
Stopped by RnR Relics again the other day. Apparently they aren't finishing kit guitars as much as sourcing some of the woods from the same guys who also make kits (i.e. using their CNC machines and stock).

I'll post some pics as soon as I can figure it out :) Sorry, I'm still a bit new to TGP.
 

drmatty

Member
Messages
311
Here is a cool relic T-type guitar RnR Relics made. Great feeling large neck with nice size frets. It's difficult to photograph all of the details, but I tried. Feels great, sounds great, looks...































Great checking on this one. Super cool and unique. Let me know what you guys think! I took other photos of some of the other guitars Billy had in the shop and I'll upload them during the week when I get a chance.

Next visit… videos!
 

drmatty

Member
Messages
311
Here are some photos of a cool Thunders Model.






































Enjoy! Great fast neck on this one. Has a little beef to it, but not too thick.
 

drmatty

Member
Messages
311
I just ordered a Pelham Blue (basically green) Angus Model SG.
Very excited, it's on its way from Switzerland!

Would love to hear more about what you thought of the guitars, and how they felt/played.
The guitars play fantastic. They are very well setup. The frets are great (to be expected in any new guitar), but the guitar feels very well loved. Like getting a broken in guitar right out of the case. Enjoy your Angus Model! Post some pictures and photos here when you get a chance!
 






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