The Telecaster Relic guitar; born from the Esquire and the Broadcaster in 1949. So sought after were those guitars that Leo Fender built by hand that modern day Fender is always trying to duplicate it. So much so that they are now artificially recreating a vintage guitar right down to the nicks and scratches. How do we naturally wear one down though? This article covers a few natural points you can use to wear down a new guitar, especially if it is finished in nitro.
The modern Telecasters as well as other models of guitars are now finished with poly and not nitro like good old Leo Fender did it back in the day. Poly, being poly, doesn’t wear down easily and has been described as ‘bulletproof’. Unless you are a really lucky person to have inherited a vintage guitar, you’ll probably be looking at a new nitro finished Fender Relic guitar that you can play for years and wear it down naturally.
Working musicians have the best chance of slowly wearing down a new guitar. Apart from the body wear, the frets wear down too from constant use. Re-fretting is common for vintage guitars but sometimes the owners change the whole neck instead. Is that still considered a true vintage guitar? That would be a good point for debate.
Here are some of the fun ways to naturally wear down a guitar:
Belt buckles wear down the back of your guitar like no tomorrow. If you want an enhanced effect, tuck in your shirt, use a large cowboy type buckle and jump around on stage.
Cigarettes. If you smoke, leave the butt on hanging between the strings and the tuners on the head and then forget about it till it makes a burn mark on your Telecaster. If you don’t, do it anyway, it looks cool.
Beer is actually harmful on the finish of the guitar. It helps it wear down….drink as much on stage and accidentally spill some on the guitar….and then forget to wipe it away. It will also smell like rock and roll the next day.
Don’t use a guitar stand. Go old school; leave it leaning on the amp and then don’t come to its rescue if it accidentally tips over and falls.
Strum like a maniac. Get those scratches above the scratch plate by playing some aggressive rhythm guitar. Think Billy Joe Armstrong.
Get drunk and leave the guitar outside in the backyard during winter. Do the same in the summer. After a couple of times, you’ll get the cool checking and cracking on the body.
After a late gig night, get some coffee and then accidentally spill it on the plastics and you will get a nice yellowing after a while.
Play more beach and seaside gigs. Take your Telecaster guitar to the seaside and let nature do its relic work on the screws and other metals and after a while you will see some lovely rust.
Sweat like a pig on the guitar. Your arm; or body, if you are not wearing a shirt on stage; are the two parts that come in contact with the guitar body. Soon the finish near the arm rest area of the guitar will wear down.
Some of us, who are just too old to wear a guitar down, will buy a relic. If you are 60, there is really no point in buying a brand new guitar to wear down. It’s either you spend a good amount of your retirement fund on a real vintage or you just go and find yourself a nice sounding, great feeling Telecaster Relic guitar. No wearing down there, all the knocks, scratches, burns, cracks, checking, fading and chipping are done for you at the custom shop. And how good they sound too.