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What's the skinny on the Cunetto Relics

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by KennyM, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. KennyM

    KennyM Supporting Member

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    I keep hearing references to these Cunetto relics and wondered how they compare and what they're all about. Are these actual Fenders or Custom Shop? Fender has so many models of Strats and Teles now that I just can't keep up.

    I'm looking for a great 60's era like strat just like the 64' I had and sold years ago. Unfortunately, I don't want to spend the amount needed to get that one back.

    I see some Cunetto's for sale so any info on how these feel and sound would be appreciatted.

    Thanks,
    Kenny M.
     
  2. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    They can be real nice and I owned on serial #135 but traded it for a 52' reissue tele and some other stuff. It played great but just so you know all relics have a different neck radius then original strats, I believe it's a 12 degree but I'm not totally sure. The guitar hummed in all settings since they were not hum cancelling in positions 2 and 4. The only thing I regret is I traded mine 2 years too early because I could now get close to double what I traded it for. Only downside about that particular guitar is it no original case or the certificate and this could hurt the collector value.
     
  3. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    Thumbnail sketch: Vince Cunetto is a guy that Fender subcontracted out to "relic" Custom Shop guitars. He did this from 1995 to 1998 (or 9?). For the most part, he did '51 Nocasters and either '50s or '60 Strats. Fender shipped him bodies, necks, and parts. The people in Cunetto's shop aged all the parts and decided which parts would go together to build each specific guitar. They sent the guitars back IN PARTS and they were assembled at Fender then sold to dealers.

    The "production" (i.e., standard CS reissue) guitars had 9.5" radius necks and larger-than-vintage frets. Also, Cunetto's group didn't really age the backs of the necks, although they "rolled" the edges and did some aging on the fretboards. As of right now, the Cunetto-era relics command a premium over regular Fender relics, in fact they're bumping on $3000. (nice for those of us that own 'em!) This is due at least in part to the fact that *some* of them are really, really fine. But there's also a herd mentality factor -- because Cunetto doesn't do 'em any more, people just have to have them.

    I personally have a fabulous Cunetto-era '60 Strat that I'd put up against pretty much any modern vintage-style Strat, and it would hold its own against a lot of vintage strats as well. But I've played enough to know that mine's a bit of a freak. (I know... we all think that about our guitars... but trust me on this one)

    That's what I know. For more information: http://www.thefenderforum.com/forum/index.php?s= and do a search for "Cunetto" in either the Stratocaster or Telecaster forum. You should find some links there to information direct from Vince C. himself. Also, Tone Quest did a feature on Vince a couple of years ago. You might be able to dig a copy of that up somewhere.
     
  4. 1radicalron

    1radicalron Member

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    Vince Cunetto Started the Whole Fender Relic Back in the Mid 90's. He Started out working for Fender. He Guitars are Real Fender Custom Shop Guitars. I Believe they were made from 95-99. Basically They are of a much higher Caliber than Modern Fender Relic's,
    They are also much More Playable. The 9.5 Radius neck was a Big Reason. A little Flater than most other Fenders. Basically this allows for easier Chording and Bending.
    Cunetto Relic's are Considered very Collectable.
    I Own over 100 Fine Guitars and the 3 Cunetto Relic's that I own - are at the very Top of my list of the Greatest Guitars ever Made!
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. Relicula

    Relicula Supporting Member

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    Kenny, you should post your question on the FDP, there are probably more owners past and present there than most places, or do a search, like I suggested, and you will get more info than you need.

    Cunetto's arent necesarrily better sounding than any other custom shop models, Vince matched the bodies and necks, and did the relic work. 9.25 radius on the Cunetto's at least the ones I have played.

    I have owned 8 Cunetto's three were doggies, and the rest were very good sounding, but that is just me, so your opinion may differ.

    Quite honestly, if you were to have several 64 strats dropped in your lap, probably none would sound exactly the same, so dont expect that from a relic
     
  6. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    What is the first way to tell if it is a "Cunetto" relic or not?
     
  7. Shark Sandwich

    Shark Sandwich Member

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    I disagree with this statement. Yes the Cunetto relics are nice, but I don't think they're any better than modern Fender relics in terms of quality or sound. In fact the post '99 Fender relics are more accurate in some ways than the Cunettos (the Strat headstock shape for example was wrong on all the Cunettos). The vintage radius and frets are now standard but the Custom shop still makes many with modern frets and radius, many dealers like Fatsound and Wildwood order theirs with modern specs. I own a 1999 '56 Strat and an '04 Nocaster, and they are as good or better than any Cunetto I've played. The stuff coming out of the Custom Shop today is spectacular. I think a lot of them are overpriced, but that's another story.
     
  8. exodus

    exodus Member

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    "What is the first way to tell if it is a "Cunetto" relic or not? "

    year it was made, certificate, custom shop is pressed into the back of the headstock instead of a decal, flatter radius, larger frets, mostly figured maple necks.... they have a certain look about the finish and pickguards as well.

    most of these factors mentioned above just tell you the year that the guitar was made. The main thing is probably the certificate, as I believe (but not 100%) that they say Cunetto on it.

    I've played a few. They're cool, although I'm not a fan of the figured maple that most of them have. I think the modern relics are just as good, they just don't have the flatter radius and larger frets that I believe many people look for. Makes you think they should have a modified relic line....
     
  9. JMintzer

    JMintzer Burned Out Mod

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    The certificate doesn't say 'Cunetto' on it (or at least mine doesnt...)

    Here's a link with some information that Vince wrote: http://www.chickenbone.net/51.html

    Pretty informative...


    Jamie
     
  10. landru64

    landru64 Member

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    i had an early 50s relic and played a lot of them. i was shocked at how many had neck and fret problems, esp. for an expensive "boutique" priced guitar. i think the later ones are better in this regard, at least in my experience.
     
  11. KennyM

    KennyM Supporting Member

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    Thanks to all who replied.

    I did a search after posting this question and did find a lot of info, although these responses seem to be more to my point of interest. It seems the jury is out on whether these are any better than current high level custom shop offerings. As expected, some will swear it to be the holy grail and others not. It does seem from an investment stand point that they are a pretty safe bet and as all of us concur, this is the reason we play guitar in the first place :rolleyes:

    After coming across an old picture of me playing my 64 strat and then subsequently going back and listening to all the recordings I played it on, I have been on a quest to get that guitar back without paying the 20K they are today. That guitar sale is what instilled my "never, ever, under any circumstance short of life or death sell a guitar you like or love". Thank God I kept the 55 Tele. At any rate, this has led me to looking at some of the custom shop offerings and relics. Of those I've checked out, I just haven't found "the one" yet. I thought maybe the Cunetto's might be the 10% difference I'm looking for.

    I hate to buy a guitar without trying, but maybe I'll give it a shot with the Cunetto's available on the guitar emporium.

    Thanks again for the helpful info.

    Kenny M.
     

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