Hey, just wondering if anyone here has any tips on how to artificially age a guitar?

If you don't know what i mean, take a look at any guitar thats 20+ years old and been regularly played, or basically any artist reissue or even the fender road worns.

I'm slowly building my own 57 strat and I'm wanting it to look like its been played since 57.

So far my ideas have been:

Leave it in the sun for a couple of days and hope it doesn't rain/birds get to it etc
Sand back parts where my body will rest or wipe against it to wear back the paint.
(Lightly) drop it on its bottom to create some realistic dings where people might stand their guitar on the ground.

I don't REALLY wan't to touch the fret board for obvious reasons but hey.

Any suggestions are more than welcome.
if you leave it in the sun it could probably do something bad to the neck.
don't do that.
just let it age naturally, it'll look proper then.
Natural ageing always looks better. False ageing on guitars always looks dubiously fake, and when they start to age properly it looks worse. Just play it often, treat it well, and if you choose to keep it later it'll pick up an aged and well worn look which adds to its personality, not to mention age usually improves guitars, it is wood after all.
Wow, typical relic-haters posting irrelevant responses that do nothing to answer TS' question.

Here's something I just posted in my own relic thread:

Quote by Schism1985

If you want to relic your strat copy, go with some very, very high grit sand paper (1500+) and lightly wet sand the finish, just so you can get the glossy clear coats off. For authenticity's sake, sand somewhat unevenly, giving certain areas of the guitar more sanding than others in high-wear areas (fore-arm contour, just above the middle of the pickguard, etc.).

Once you get the clear coat nice and roughed up, add some random chips and deeper blemishes to the guitar (I used a screw driver and a chisel), the main thing to remember here is not to add too much wear. If you look at the older posts I made, my initial work was very conservative, and I slowly added more and more wear over the process of several weeks.

Always give yourself time in between relic-ing sessions to make sure your keeping it realistic, one of the things that helped me out the most was looking at real pictures of late '50s and '60s era strats to get a general sense of what a real relic looks like (and subsequently, I adjusted my work accordingly).

Once you've got your preferred level of relic-ing done to the finish itself, move onto the hardware. To age metal parts, get a plastic tray, pour some muriatic acid, a common household cleaning product, into it (be very careful not to inhale the fumes or let the acid touch your skin) and place the small tray into a large bucket. Place the metal parts in the bucket (but not in the tray) and then tightly cover the bucket with saran wrap.

Acid-aging is pretty unpredictable, so check every 30-45 minutes to make sure you're not over-oxidizing the hardware.

Plastic is a pain in the ass to age and I never really found a good way to do it (submerging it in coffee doesn't work, tobacco smoke doesn't work, etc.), so pretty much just lightly spray it with tinted gloss lacquer and then lightly sand it to make it appear blemished.

Let me know if you need me to elaborate on anything
with plastic, ive heard of people using UV lights...
so... has anyone ever been as far as to have decieded to put a guitar in a tanning bed for a few days? (or hours, i dont know..)
it might work...
Quote by Scowmoo

You deserved this, Matt.
Thanks heaps for all the info guys.

I'm actually starting to consider just buying a roadworn body and neck and then putting a loaded pickguard with 57 reissue pickups in it. Cheaper than buying a new one and replacing the pups. It might say MIM but hey, just don't think it will matter THAT much. Then just do some pickguard treatment.
Last edited by doommaker at May 30, 2010,