Respect Your Elders. Get Vintage.
I'm not going to lie.
I don't like relics. There I said it.
I know, I know... some people like them. But, some people like tripe. Or Coldplay. Or Fascist Dictatorships. Does that make those things okay? Of course not! Especially not Coldplay, god damn it have some standards.
I think for me the biggest issue that gnaws at my sensibilities with relics is the offensive fakeness. There is a definitive difference between machined and tooled "wear", and the natural wear that the ravages of time and playing meet upon a riff stick.
There is no part of a human body that comes into contact with a guitar that removes finish like sandpaper. Most guitars will never come into contact with chains, or gravel, or a claw hammer!... Thats right I've seen a relic that was claw hammered. This kind of wear is about as "authentic" as Tim Armstrong's British accent.
So, does this mean I prefer new guitars?
I prefer vintage guitars. I like character, and pretty obviously I like fixing things. If you appreciate an aged aesthetic there's a really only one way to go.... buy an old instrument.
It's absolute madness to me that so many would insist upon the creation of a brand new riff stick, just to have it shitted up by some guy thats probably never toured or played enough to put real wear on an instrument. These misguided efforts that waste resources in vain to create a fake narrative of serious play are not my idea of a great look. Particularly when there are so many instruments left unconsidered with real history, crying out for a little TLC to grace stages and inspire players once more.
Take this fine example of what I'm pontificating about.
This is a battle worn 1976 Fender Telecaster made in the Fullerton plant USA.
This Olympic white (thats right this is not a typo, white!) Riffer has turned an almost butterscotch colour due to nearly 50 years of UV damage, sweat and tobacco staining. People can be a bit disparaging about the CBS (1965 to early 80's) era of Fender production due to the ruthless cost cutting set loose upon the brand. However, the cheaper materials used during this maligned period resulted in the unplanned effect of ageing in an aesthetically pleasing way, without resulting (for the most part) in major structural issues.
This Is a guitar with history.
Its neck stripped of poly from decades of use. The patina of tarnish on the chrome hardware the result of hundreds of sweaty shows. the gouges on the top apparently the result of Paul Dempsey's riffing on tour with legendary 90s Australian rock band Ammonia. What a beast, and a tangible part of Aussie rock history.
I had the absolute pleasure of being bestowed the honour of restoring this warhorse to active duty for its owner David from the aforementioned band Ammonia. Now cleaned and polished, frets rejuvenated, bone nut cut, faulty electronics replaced, Seymour Duncan Broadcaster neck and bridge pickups installed and the action set up to maximum shred. Once again this killer riff stick is prepared for another decade of glory.
No relic'd instrument can (at least for me) compare with the satisfaction and true player feel experienced when thrashing a restored true rock survivor. Brought from obscurity to vintage worn magnificence.
Do not buy new imitation fad instruments. Respect your elders.Fix old classics and know the satisfaction of breathing new life into authentic old school riffers, and bring them into a new era of play. You know it makes sense.
'Till next rant stay safe and riff hard.