how to naturally relic a guitar quickly


View Full Version : how to naturally relic a guitar quickly

06-26-2008, 11:48 AM
lets just say i wanted to relic a tele (not my usa one :P)

if i stripped the paint off then repainted it (white) what could i do to allow it to naturally relic very quickly so it looked like

or jeff becks esquire

im thinking maybe just paint i thinly and not varnish it or protect it, then just play the **** out of it untill it looks like that

maybe sand it down slightly , or spill coffee on it to stain it?


06-26-2008, 11:54 AM
This topic title is misleading :(

06-26-2008, 11:55 AM
how is it misleading?

06-26-2008, 11:57 AM
Leave your guitar in a ditch in the rain overnight.

It happened to Rory Gallagher. :p:

06-26-2008, 11:57 AM
yea how is it misleading?

06-26-2008, 11:58 AM
Leave your guitar in a ditch in the rain overnight.

It happened to Rory Gallagher. :p:

hmm intruiging...

just the body, i dont want to trash my axe

06-26-2008, 12:01 PM
I remember watching a How it's made show or something and they went to the fender guitar factory, and to make the guitars look worn they lightly hit them with these small pointed balls on chains to put dents and cuts in the paint.

06-26-2008, 12:09 PM
It is misleading because the title uses no grammar or punctuation, therefore one can read it as signifying a a "how to" rather than a "how do I?"

Punctuation is your friend.

sorry im dyspraxic, i r no grammer gud i shall change it :)


small pointed balls on chains

unfortunatly i dont have access to instruments of torture :P

06-26-2008, 12:09 PM
hmm intruiging...

just the body, i dont want to trash my axe

Clearly you do want to trash your axe if that's what you want it to look like

06-26-2008, 12:10 PM
well io dont want to render it broken or useless and i dont want to muck up the neck or hardware or electronics

06-26-2008, 01:58 PM
well you can paint it lightly, put a very light coat of clear (or nitro if you can get it) when it dries sand it like you normally would, then spend a little more time on the sections that will wear naturally. Then buff it with steel wool whenever you're sitting around bored for a few days, the finish will be very thin and will wear naturally as you play it :D That way you dont feel like you cheated. Also, wear studded belts or a belt with a big buckle. And randomly throw things at it when you're bored (keys, pencils, cinderblocks...the usual)

06-26-2008, 02:22 PM
cool awsome advice dude :)

yea ive been told also to use steel wool to wear the paint off and finer wool to buff it all out so it looks natural

and yea il "drop" it and "bump" it around alot maybe it could have some accidents with some stairs :P

im also really inquisitive about the rory gallagher idea haha

maybe it would sure discolour it loads


cheers everyone


06-26-2008, 02:24 PM
don't be a poser - just play yer guitar ;)

06-26-2008, 02:29 PM
An accident with stairs is just going to break it.

Why not some uneven sandblasting after light paint and clear coat?

06-26-2008, 02:36 PM
just the body

im gonna remove the neck obvs lol

06-26-2008, 02:39 PM
just the body

im gonna remove the neck obvs lol

A strat still has a good chance of breaking. Plus, you really have nothing to gain from it falling down the stairs other than hard blunt force. That won't give you what you're looking for, just huge dents.

06-26-2008, 02:42 PM
mkay noted.

tele btw :P

06-26-2008, 03:12 PM
if youre going to refinish it, do it thin and in nitro, then sand the whole thing with fine grit sandpaper (evenly, 1200 grit or so). Once thats been accomplished, id attempt putting your guitar in the fridge for a few hours then put it in an environment thats around 100-150 degrees Farenheight. repeat the heating and cooling a couple of times to simulate the natural sinking and checking of the finish.

Some people like to soak the bare wood, unfinished body in tea before refinishing so the wood looks older. To age the other pieces, soak in coffee overnight. Metal parts rust in white vinegar BUT be VERY careful about that. personally I wouldnt rust my metal parts. Finally, sort of chip off paint where youd like, maybe sand off where the typical arm rub would go.

06-26-2008, 03:14 PM
yea cool good advice, dunno about putting it in the fridge, dont wanna warp or crack it

i like the tea and coffee idea, would really age and discolour the wood

id lightly rust the metal if anything, i dont wanna damage them too much

and im gonna do a beck and put strat contours on it and steel wool areas to make them look worn

thanks for all the input, im getting some pretty great ideas :D

06-26-2008, 03:19 PM
lefthandman.. you wont get that beautiful checkered, vintage look without doing something of that sort to the body. I definately wouldnt put the neck in there. And your guitar will probably go through periods in its life where it will be as cold as your fridge and over 100 degrees.. nothing spectacular. Fender relic's by alternating upsidedown airspray fluid and hair dryer-ing.. but apparently it doesnt look "real"

06-26-2008, 03:22 PM
I can just imagine it now:
LHM9876: Mom, we're out of coffee!
Mom: Already, but I just bought some, and what's your guitar doing in the fridge?


Free Time
06-26-2008, 03:23 PM
I hate relic guitars

LP Addict
06-26-2008, 03:26 PM
my friend tied his guitar body to the back of his 4 wheeler on a rope and took it for a spin down the street and through the woods. he did it on smooth concrete, not rough asphalt, it looks pretty sweet. just dont bang it around or you could screw up the neck pocket.

06-27-2008, 01:12 PM

anymore advice please?

06-27-2008, 01:16 PM
sand'er down good, paint in light coats, and play hard? that's the quickest way, but may not pay off in the long run.

06-27-2008, 01:21 PM
cigarette burns?
stick one between the strings on the headstock and just let it burn down. you're gonna have to keep it lit though

06-27-2008, 01:24 PM
Why would you want to do this? Just let nature take its course

06-27-2008, 01:39 PM
tape sandpaper from your wrist to your elbow and play for abou half an hour, that way you will see exactly where you rub on your guitar and then it will give it a properly natural look then you sand that bit down properly

06-27-2008, 05:07 PM
Here is a great site on how to relic a guitar:

It will ahve everything you need to know on how to do it correctly. To do the finish checking an easy way is to heat the guitar with a hair dryer and then shoot it with compressed air and it will check right up for you. The site has this trick and many more.

06-27-2008, 05:46 PM
you are jeebus.

06-27-2008, 05:59 PM
tie it to the bumper of a car and drive away O_o

06-27-2008, 08:12 PM
i'd never want to destroy my guitar like that... flashy paint job or not! i get a scratch and i go OMG OMG OMG OH NO!!!!!!!!!

06-27-2008, 10:37 PM
i was told if its finished in nitro it reacts to hot/cold changes and stuff, also smoke, alcohol, sanding etc.

06-27-2008, 10:44 PM
stick your guitar in the fire. I did that to mine..I think I might have to do it again.. Looks pretty cool though.

06-28-2008, 12:02 AM
how is it misleading?

Because if he was to naturally relic it he would play it for a long period of time. But here he is thinking of sanding it and maybe spilling tea on it.

But if you want a quick easy way just sand it and get some keys and bang them on there.

06-28-2008, 03:29 AM
you don't want to damage the neck or frets, so remove the strings and cover the neck with cardboard to protect it. Then you can sandpaper the body and lightly hit it with a chain or keys.

06-28-2008, 05:27 AM
see the sweat on his arm? nitro-cellulose corrodes on contact with lots of sweat which is why you can usually see the guitar being worn away where the arm is.
don't use sand paper, it'll look really really bad and obvious you've been deliberately breaking it.

06-28-2008, 05:33 AM
Like I said before, let nature take its course. Natural damage is the sign of a well loved guitar.

06-28-2008, 05:54 AM
you will need:

1 length of rope
1 car or bike
1 empty road

simply attach the rope to the guitar and then to your car or bike then ride along lol

or you could check this website out

:( someone s already posted it

06-28-2008, 01:00 PM
now, that would honestly work pretty well. Just detach the neck from the body

06-28-2008, 01:59 PM
:( someone s already posted it

Me but no one listens to us :(

06-28-2008, 02:45 PM
Soak the wood in black coffe then leave it to dry in the sun.
Then put it in the freezer.
Take it out, boil up some tea, turn off the heat, stick it in that.

Now, dry it again in the sun, finish it thinly with a single coat of white nitro.
Then leave it in the sun, pouring some gatorade on it every few hours(the salt simulates the effect of sweaty playinG).
Freeze it once more, stick it in the oven at about 160 degrees for 20 minutes.
Then another thin ntro coat, followed by VERY fine sanding(almost like buffing).
Soak your tuner pegs(not the machines, the part you turn) in a a mixture of baking soda and water, then mixture fo sugar, then mixture of vinegar. Then leave them in the open air. They'll tarnish nicely.
Now, play in an enviroment where you'll get REALLY sweaty, palm mute ALOT(i'd suggest playing through green day's dookie about 3 times through), sweat will tarnish the bridge beautifully but it won't make it preform poorly.
Your guitar will relic. Also, no case, take it to and from wherever you go every day, put it through the window of your car. Random dings and scratches that'll look and be real.

I think you'll be happy with the results.

06-28-2008, 02:59 PM
Hmm... where have I seen this thread before. **cough**TGF**cough**

06-28-2008, 05:21 PM

06-29-2008, 04:14 AM
Hmm... where have I seen this thread before. **cough**TGF**cough**

true acg, but this place gets more responses, i just stay away from the pit

06-29-2008, 05:54 AM
Sorry people, old, beat-up guitars are cool - new beat-up guitars are lame.
Nothing you can do will make a guitar 'relic naturally'.

06-29-2008, 12:52 PM
Sorry people, old, beat-up guitars are cool - new beat-up guitars are lame.
Nothing you can do will make a guitar 'relic naturally'.
Very true.

06-29-2008, 02:44 PM
Sorry people, old, beat-up guitars are cool - new beat-up guitars are lame.
Nothing you can do will make a guitar 'relic naturally'.

thats a lie, you could keep it for a long time and play it, and it will become relic'd

06-29-2008, 04:18 PM
Paint the body and then drag the body around the garage floor and your yard and stuff. maybe drop it.

however there is only one way to "Naturally" relic a guitar, and it isnt "quick"

06-30-2008, 03:31 PM
Sorry people, old, beat-up guitars are cool - new beat-up guitars are lame.
Nothing you can do will make a guitar 'relic naturally'.

I agree,

07-02-2008, 12:11 AM
true acg, but this place gets more responses, i just stay away from the pit
True That!!!!

07-02-2008, 12:17 AM

07-02-2008, 03:52 AM

I dont want to hit it with a skateboard, lol emphasis on the natural part, i want it to look like ive had it and played it brutally for ten year, and tbh i can wait ten years, and i have an entire summer off, and will have access to some decent money so i have time, commitment and cash to work to making it look naturally reliced

"reliced gutiarz r geyyyyyy noob it will neva l@@k as good as my BRUTALZZ ibanez rg because itz got EMGZZZ like Kirk Hammetzzzz :headbang: !!1!!1!one!11"

your entitled to your opinion, but just shut the hell up if you dont have anything useful to say


07-02-2008, 03:57 AM
don't be a poser - just play yer guitar ;)

best advice i've read so far.

amazing FretMan
07-02-2008, 04:33 AM
just playing it and carrying it with you all the time will give it wear and tear or "relic" it

just yesterday i had my epiphone LP strapped on me and the phone rang so i ran to get it and hit it on the it has a gruesome looking indent scratch still kinda pissed lol

the only thing i can see that is true relic material is just playing ur guitar with a belt on(everyone wears one...they hold your pants up) and not wearing a get belt buckle rash

07-02-2008, 09:16 AM
it looks like there are some burn marks on his guitar as well.

you might want to try that alittle bit?

10-26-2008, 12:34 PM
wear a studded belt everytime you play and that'll sort out the back.

the front? hmmmmm. Not too sure really. Hang it up and throw nails and stuff at it?

What's that company that bury their guitars for a certain amount of time to give it a vintage relic look?

10-26-2008, 03:01 PM
If the body is all worn and messed up, and then the neck is in great condition it's just going to look like crap.

10-26-2008, 03:31 PM
Put some denim on a power sander to get a worn look.

10-26-2008, 05:14 PM
1) Take your guitar body and put it in the bag
2) Find a cat and put it in the bag.
3) Find a dog and put it in the bag
4) Leave the bag for 24 hours
5) Enjoy !

If that doesn't work then drag it across the road or spray some kind of pain stripper.


I am I the only one who felt sad while watching what happened with that bass ?

10-26-2008, 05:19 PM
do whatever you're doing, but don't be carefull about it... on your way to the gig, don't put it into a case or if you're setting it down in front of your house, on concrete, not the soft grass

10-26-2008, 05:31 PM
1) Take your guitar body and put it in the bag

I am I the only one who felt sad while watching what happened with that bass ?

if by sad you mean that guy is a freaking moron? yes, yes I do too.