Relic Guides?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by WavyGravy, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. WavyGravy


    Jun 11, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Can anyone link me to a couple of good, in depth guides on how to relic a bass? Body, neck, hardware, and all.
    I've got an old J-bass knockoff with absolutely no resale value so I'm thinking why not. Did a search, couldn't track down any official guides.

    Also, not really looking for any arguments on instrument relicing here, just sayin' :ninja:
  2. jbiscuti


    Dec 22, 2007
    NYC / LA
    Endorsing Artist: Grolsch Strap Locks
    Start with a nitro refin.
  3. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Take it apart and toss the body in the back of a truck and drive it around for a day or so. Don't even think about using a power sander if you want it to look authentic at any distance. If you have nickel plated hardware, you can age it chemically. If it is chrome, maybe sandblast it?

    Once you have it dinged up like it has been around a while, rub on a light coat of diluted stain and paste wax and wipe it off. It will create a patina in the dings and chips.

    Take the sheen off the pick guard with 0000 steel wool.
  4. Or tie it to the back of your car & drag it for 2 blocks. lol :)
  5. 1SHOT1HIT


    Feb 17, 2012
    Just look at pictures of the real thing and be creative.

    How hard could it be?

    I'd imagine the hard part is going to be getting it to look authentic, w/o overdoing it.
    And then time for certain things.

    As stated previously, they make chemicals that will corrode the metals, but again, it seems it would be easy to just go too far.

    Keep in mind, not every old instrument was horribly abused either. Some look almost new with little to no wear at all.

    Other than that, there's plenty of videos on YouTube that go over this stuff, try searching for guitar relicing as well, since its going to be all the same stuff pretty much.
    You'll get more vids.
  6. I once googled the aging of hardware process and it seems pretty easy, a few methods. I still had a guy named Ben in Michigan do all mine - cheap enough so I figured he do it. Do a search, you'll find all the answers
  7. Gtripdub


    Jan 14, 2012
    give the bass a history..did it get banged up from rocking it everynight in every juke joints we can ever imagine did you wear a huge rodeo belt buckle..did you throw it once because the knicks lost again..etc etc...and oh yeah coca cola is great on metal parts
  8. I've been researching how to relic a guitar lately, planning for an upcoming project, when I can find the time/money. I'm planning on starting with a Squier VM Jazz V. Good bass, not a lot of $$. If it goes wrong, I can sticker the h3ll out of it. :bassist:

    Hit up Google, there's quite a bit of information if you're willing to dig a little for legitimate relicing info, in addition to stuff like "rub a handful of screws back and forth across the finish." (hey, if that's the look you want... :p) Also google for relic images and download pictures of the relics you like.

    Some of the best links I've found so far have some good tips, but how far you take it is up to you. Gtripdub touches on an important point (to me anyway): I'll want my relic to look natural, from years of playing. Dragging it behind a car will definitely beat the crap out of it, but not in the same way that playing a guitar for 40 years in smokey bars without any cleaning would, you know? Playing a guitar for that long will leave wear spots through the finish wear your arm/thumb rests, funky mojo on the fretboard, etc etc.

    This one links to a Russian guitar blog, I used Google Chrome to translate. I personally think that guy took it WAY too far... there's no venue I'd play in that I'd come away with chop marks on the side like he added in the second link. Some good ideas though.
    How to relic your guitar step by step

    Appears to be incomplete, but a good start
    Relicing your Guitar Pt. 1

    A little more broad, touches on relicing hardware. I'd try the Coke idea first, this guy uses PCB Etchant.
    Why and How to Relic Your Guitar

    Even the Sandberg guitars site talks about relicing a bit:
    Sandberg Aged Finish
    Sandberg aged masterpiece gallery

    Check out the Rebel Relics gallery for some nice ideas

    relicing in motion:
    Relicing a PRS Guitar....sorry for that!
    (I don't think he's happy about relicing a PRS. lol)


    You could just take the "I drug it behind a bike, threw it in a pile of gravel and torched it with hairspray" route (vid here)... whatever works for you I guess! lol

    Not quite the look I'd go for though. :p

    One of my favorites from the Rebel Relic gallery. Simple and understated, looks natural.



  9. Here's one of my all-time favorite mojo basses, which showed up on my Facebook feed quite a while ago. Normally I like "shiny and new" on my basses, but for some unexplainable reason, I saw this one and fell in love instantly... which started me on the idea of relicing my own bass. :bassist:

    I'll let the image speak for itself, but I wish I could track down the owner to ask him/her about it. :)


  10. Once I get done with relicing a bass, I want to try my hand at torching a bass too. Larry Hartke did these, and even replied to a Facebook message when I asked him how he did them.




  11. I did some light aging to a parts P that I put together. I scuffed every piece of metal with some red scuffing pad and then submerged it in vinegar and sea salt for about a month while I did my paint work.

    In retrospect, I should have taken it out earlier because as time passes, the hardware seems to get uglier and uglier. The insides of the tuning pegs are growing some salt crystals too lol

    I also have a lot of keys that I wear on my right hip and from dancing around on stage, they slap the back of my bass and leave some dents and dings.

    I also have a roadworn P with a nitro finish and when I get bored at band practice, I pick at the chips and wear spots with a fingernail, gradually enlarging them.

    Finish checking can be achieved with quik applications of hot and then cold. I've seen those keyboard cleaner air cans held upside down and sprayed as super cold air.
  12. Info I've read says that finish checking happens on old nitro finishes, not the poly finishes of modern axes. If you're going for that look, it might be tricky if you're working on a newer bass. I did see mention of a guy trying for that look with some light razorblade work, but it didn't look too authentic in my opinion.

    If you're working on a bass with a poly finish and do the finish checking, I'd be interested to see how it turns out... Keep us posted!