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Relicing your bass - I don't get it

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dbassmon, Aug 7, 2007.

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  1. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    OK, everyone is entitled to their own thing whatever that is.... I just don't get relicing a new bass. I don't get the point of taking a bass and wacking the crap out it to look like you really put in the time and paid the dues to have played it enough for to have that level of wear.
    Isn't mojo from someone loving the bass enough to play for 25 years till it looks like a rusting 65 dodge? Not taking a new bass and taking steel wool and a band sander along with blunt trama to make it look that way. No mojo there!
    Anyway it's clear I'm not getting it but I would love to hear what attracts the guys and gals that think this is a good idea? No disrespect intended, just curious.
  2. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    This topic has been covered many times. Did you do a search?
  3. While I can dig the talent of some of the relic'ers, I'm with you. They look authentic and all. But that's where it ends.
  4. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Perhaps someone has some new insights... hence the post
  5. Probably not since this was discussed to DEATH, just last week :smug:
  6. i agree that if you put in all the hardwork to make your bass a true original that is worth the beauty of the beat up instrument, but sanding it yourself? whats the point it wont help you play better and it will make it look uglier for no reason. theres something about a beat up instrument with your heart played out on it as opposed to a new wannabe jaco bass.
  7. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
    ill step up since ive been the one doing alot of relicing lately.

    I see it as this, here is some key points:

    a.) Your favorite musician(s) had a guitar that may have influenced your decision on a certain make, model, or color. And there time worn bass is what your after. (ie CTBirdsong has numerous basses signed, bought, maybe even played by Stanley Clarke even posters its obvious Stanley is a huge influence on him so if Stanley played a beat up Jazz bass and Fender Custom Shop released it I bet ya he would buy it)

    b.) Knowing that todays instruments NO MATTER HOW MUCH you play them will never, ever wear like that. Period. A average bassist who plays at home in his bedroom, could play a new MIA Jazz bass till hes blue in the face and his fingers are bleeding and it will not wear like the ones of old.

    c.) Its the look of a vintage instrument at a price point the average joe can afford versus 4-10K for a real one (ie, I would love to own a vintage Jazz bass but when you dont have a luxurious career you have to make do with what you have to work with)

    d.)Why do people pay for washed t-shirts, or pre washed jeans? Why do people pay for a blue car versus a red one? Coke vs Pepsi, Its all personal taste. If we all wore the same clothes, droive the same color cars, and played shiny blue basses the world would be boring and people would kill themselves and/or others)

    e.) Say your in a band that the image is trying to conjour up a mojo kinda vibe (ie, blues bands, or punk bands) and your current shiny new jazz bass doesnt fit the bill or your 20 years old and just playing for a few years, should you wait 25 years to see if it wears or do you do what you have to do to get the job done.

    etc etc

    Its all taste, if you dont like it then I respect that. But be respectful to the people that do, for what ever reason they have.

    I get compliments on all my relics and I never once say oh yeah I played that thing on 4 world tours, had it since I was 4, and its been played extensivly. I always tell them I like the look of a well worn bass and I did the work. They respect that. Only bass snobbery shuns people for having a opinion on something.

    Why pay $500 extra for a figured wood top? Same theory does it do anything besides make it pretty? Usually not. But thats ok..

    I respect all who dont like it but if you think its as easy as taking a sander to it, or to randomly hitting it with things then you are truly mistaken, it is an artform, there are techniques, I know I am no where near the best, but I know I love what I do, and it takes a long time to get just one part to look right versus the crap people say.

    Just be respectful like it or not..
  8. rummy


    Apr 17, 2006
    Lombard, IL
    I don't get it, and it's not for me.

    More power to ya if you relic yours.
  9. This is a good point. Considering the futuristic plastic finishes on new basses "breaking them in" with relicing can bring your bass to the point where it feels like a piece of wood and for me that's really important.

    Don't forget 99% of the people seeing you play don't know a Fender from a Fodora so you may as well have an instrument that looks and feels the way you want it to. It's not a moral issue about dues it's an aesthetic issue.
  10. GAS

    that's why. i've never kept a bass long enough to get anywhere near "relic" level damage. it gives people like me the chance to have that worn in look without having to keep a bass for a few decades. kind of like jeans that come sandblasted with worn in spots without having to go outside and fall on the sidewalk a bunch.

    on another note - i think it's funny that so many people assume that those who relic basses are trying to prove that they've paid their dues. c'mon people let's be realistic. a person's playing/writing/grooving ability prooves that, not a bass. it doesn't matter how worn in a bass looks if the player is a hack.
  11. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I love it. A worn out bass feels nice whether the "damage" was done in 35 years or in 2 weeks by experts (Fender Custom Shop or Bill Nash, for example).

    They look nice and those worn out necks feel nice in my palm. That is all there is to it.

    Even if I was playing a real vintage worn-out bass, I wouldn't sit there I think how many hour of blues was played on the bass, or how many happy moments it shared with its former owners. . . that is going to far. . . that would be psychotic mojo.

    Just like going to sleep wearing a nicely worn out, soft, 10-year old t-shirt. I don't care if the shirt is actually 10-years old, or if it was acid-washed and then softened with chemicals. . . it fells nice. That is all I care.
  12. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Right on the money... so play a new shiny bass and groove the day lights out of it. No one will say the bass is too new!
  13. basstones

    basstones Supporting Member

    May 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    It is all in the eye of the beholder. I have to admit that none of my basses would look good reliced but that's not to say I wouldn't like a nice P bass to be reliced out like George Porter Jr's. :)
    It is pretty much the same question to ask why would someone buy a piece of furniture built in Indonesia and reliced to look antique and pay good coin for...Oh wait, I can asked my wife that question :(
  14. the point is not that you should or shouldn't relic a bass, but that it shouldn't matter to anyone but the owner.

    why do some people change the pickguards on a jazz bass. the stock white one works fine? it's the same kind of argument. if i want a bass that looks old why shouldn't i have one?

    i also find it funny that people will not bat an eye when someone spends 3k+ on a custom bass but when someone beats up a squire suddenly there's an uproar of opposition.

    for the record - i don't own a reliced bass and have spent 3k+ on basses before. i find nothing wrong with either if it makes the player happy.
  15. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    Maybe they just like the looks of an old, worn out bass but don't have $4-5,000 to unload on the real deal. Why shouldn't they be able to do it if they want to? I don't like it myself, but there is obviously a market for it.
  16. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Yeah and they want $25,000 grand for one!!


    Mojo makes a bass cool

    I prefer real mojo. but still I think it looks cool.
  17. jbutler1982


    Jul 15, 2007
    Ibanezcollecter somewhat addressed this, but I play in a Motown authentic cover band. Our singers wear temptations-style outfits, and they do the dances. Our guitarist plays a reissue tele from that era that is relic'd and our piano player plays one of them old style pianos.

    A relic'd fender precision sunburst is required for this. I would look stupid with everything else on stage looking authentic and me standing there with a bright, shiny highway 1 or my new, shiny bongo. Since I can't afford a 58-70 P-bass, I use a reliced bass to get the look since its required for the corporate / wedding gigs we play.

    Theres no shame in using a relic'd bass UNLESS you tell people/sell it as legit. Thats bogus. Using it for the use I use it for I think is OK though.
  18. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
    yeah I agree Brian,

    Now you all know deep down in your hearts you didnt pay that extra $500-1000 for that rare figured cocobulo top because of its sonic qualitys.. You seen one before thought the combo of woods looked cool and when you ordered your bass you picked it..

    I like the look of a played bass, I like the feel, the vibe, the character, the smell, its all perfect for me.

    Its beauty is in the eye of the beholder at its finest.
  19. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    It's an image thing, just as rock music in general nowadays. Worn basses look "cool", so why wait (and put in the work) for your particular instrument to achieve that status when you can pay for it and have it done quickly. Just a symptom of the "I want it all, and I want it now" mentality.
  20. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL

    Actually, in your case, using a NOS bass would more appropiate. They didn't have many "relic'd" instruments in the '50s and '60s because they were, well, fairly recent back then!

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