Relic Guitar, The DIY Art of Aging

Relic Guitar is an itch for guitar lovers. Guitar relicing idea is always contagious. Sometimes we just love to see an old guitar with fully working parts, decent actions and playability which are difficult to find. Or the vintage image on guitar is so sexy, so we feel good when we play it. The senses and vibrations from old wood are just irresistible and I fell for those reasons.


I bought an old-cheap guitar for this. It’s a strat branded “vantage” on its headstock.From what i’ve learned when i got it on my hands, this guitar actually has a decent neck profile, while its body is plywood. Yes, it’s a plywood body guitar. It came so dirty with motor oil smell on it.

I read some articles on the internet, saying this guitar is korean made  while it was on matsumoku (japan?) era. the headstock is similar to other matsumoku guitars product.

well, I’m not good at conclusions, here’s the pics when i first got it:

Vantage Stratocaster vie 10

My best guess for this guitar series is Vantage stratocaster vie 10. the body and neck were good, but not for the other parts. so i change them with new ones and did relicing the guitar. basically i just messed up with it 😀 so here the results:

relic guitar Vantage Stratocaster vie 10 before after
relic guitar Vantage Stratocaster vie 10, before and after


does it look good? well, for me it’s just an amateur job done by me for the sake of curiosity. The pickups were default and I’m so happy with the way this DIY relic guitar sounds.

I’m not interested explaining about how i done this project, but I DO have something to say after doing this.

here’s some thoughts on relic guitar :


  • The Art of Aging Guitars is NOT that easy. To make guitar looks old and worn is one thing which is different from destroying things. We need to research on how it’s made; the materials, the finishing types, then we do research on how make them look aged, not destroyed.
  • Guitar parts are NOT CHEAP. surely we can find cheap parts anywhere on the net, but the durability and low quality cheap parts are just making thing worse. Arrange your budget for DIY relic guitar project.
  • Do this project with proper amount of time. rushing it will make us loosing the learning moments. take some espresso and begin reading relic’d guitar stuff. it will help us to get exact image for the guitar.
  • Know our limits. if we just don’t get it about things, ask to a luthier and get educated. This is the real purpose of this project. knowing deeper and understand the closest real value of a guitar and compare it to the way it sounds and played. If we don’t get it, let other people educate us.

well, this relic guitar project is the most intensively fun, entertaining project I’ve done so far. I remembered when i wanted this project result would look like Steve Ray Vaughn relic SRV stratocaster guitar, but I’m glad i didn’t. this relic guitar design looks much lovely with my sweat on it

Made In PRC guitars and gears, really okay?

Some of us found this out and start saying things, some stay quiet. Well, let’s start with the abbreviation first. P.R.C stands for People’s Republic of China, so Made In PRC means those guitars and amps are made in China. Yes, all the famous guitars and amps brands those have this label are making their products in china. we could be surprised by it,but it’s a common industry’s strategy called overseas production.

made in PRC taiwan china (3)

How can this even happens? surely we can imagine the almost same thing happen to fast food brand. they have recipes and patents, so they can sell the fast food to all over the world in fresh condition and precise product quality. but what happened to guitars and amps? they are not FOOD! guitars and amps are supposed to be someone’s lifestyle!… correct.. so is food. food is lifestyle.

made in PRC taiwan china (2)

It is likely emotional rather than rational. Of course we want the real taste of American built guitars such like fender or orange amps made in U.K. we feel that our love and loyalty is completely betrayed by the brands just by seeing “Made In P.R.C.” label behind our gears. Unfortunately it affects us in guitars deals subjectively.  No, it is not wrong thing to feel like that, but let’s make wide searches and get a bigger vision about this Made In P.R.C. stuff.


In the last decade, China becomes a huge source of industry. China has materials, tools, workshop and workers to do things with minimum running costs, while in USA and Europe, those elements are getting expensive. With rapid technology shared worldwide like now, china takes this opportunity into maximum efficiency and high target in quality competitions. there’s nothing wrong about it besides the living wage issues in china. they are just developing rapidly, that’s all. and if we believe that science belongs to the world, this is not anybody’s fault. But exactly that’s the main reason. the world balance is changing its weight. Now, guitars and amps from china are coming to houses and stages all over the world.

made in PRC taiwan china (1)

Enough about industry and world economy. Let’s talk about the product quality. Personally, my gears are almost all Made In PRC. my Gretsch G5236 is made in China, my Orange amps TT15JR is made in P.R.C., I have Boss GT-8 made in Taiwan and more of this kind of stuff.  I don’t really care about the differences between china or Taiwan or somewhere between both (sorry. it feels like they change names into taiwan, china, PRC as marketing strategy to boost sales. 😀 )  but i do have my attentions in Korean’s made such like My Fender SE Telecaster Spalted Maple (great guitar). I don’t have USA guitars, yet, since i have few disappointment on Fender Stratocaster Highway One made in USA. so far, my empress multidrive pedal (hand-made in Canada) and Celestion G12EVH (made in U.K) satisfy me. and so the Made In PRC. I love how they sound.

made in PRC taiwan china (4)

yup. just like that, i picked my own gears and i love them because i know how they sound. I don’t really care about where it’s made, but i really DO despise counterfeits. faking people’s name and get money because of it means take away someone’s salary and discredit the hardwork and quality. The ironic thing is, China has this counterfeit issue, too. big one.

I really do hope people stop making counterfeits and start their own brands. i present my big RESPECT to anybody who do that