Rock and Roll has been reverberating through our ears for as early as the 1950s. And perhaps it’s safe to say that we are all thankful for its existence. That explains why some musicians and artists – amateurs and professionals alike – want to do some sort of homage to the forefathers of rock music by means of making their instruments, particularly their guitars, to make it appear vintage or for some, “RELIC”. Maybe for some, this sounds a bit odd useless and dumb, but hey, it’s a *seasoned* rockstar thing.

electric guitar

Rockin’ hard in relic guitars

For your guitar to look as if Eric Clapton, Thurston Moore and Jimi Hendrix all pitched in, put battle scars in it, using a power tool while performing a syrup-sounding solo, here are some quick DIY tips:

Soundcheck Equates to Prepping Up

Before you do anything regretful to your guitar to make it all beat-up good, you must need to take time in preparing for your equipment. The first thing is to remove the strings, pickups, pick guards, the whole package. Depending on your preference, it is fine to leave the neck intact from the body. You may search for further references of vintage guitar online, from your trusty guitar shop or base it from your own stance (resting spot of your arm when playing) to see what parts of the guitar are most battered to enforce consistency.

Give Me Some Scratch

Start by using a medium grit sandpaper to the top left of the body, the rear and the bottom part of the guitar. The use of electric sander is also advisable, but be sure not to over-do it. Make sure to cover the corners of the body. Same goes for the neck and fret, although you might want to take the scratching a few notches down as it needs a much gentler sanding using fine grit sandpaper. Meanwhile, you may use a coin, fork or steel wool to scratch for recreating the buckle scrapes on the back side of the body.

electric guitar partsFor the pick guards, you may want to use a screwdriver, paper-clip or dull knife to recreate pick scratches and convincing dings. Easy on the scratching though to ensure more consistent and realistic outcome. Meanwhile, you may use household items such as coffee or lemon extract to degrade and de-chrome the shiny look of the hardware (machine head, pick guard and knobs).

Some Like It Hot

The sun’s heat can also help to speed up the degradation of the paint job. Some even use blow dryers deliberately chip the paint off the wood. But be wary, as this may cause the neck to expand or bend. So, it’s recommended to detach the neck from the body when doing this.


Once you have achieved your desired relic look, wipe the body, the neck and the hardware with a damp rug. As an option, the use of solutions, lacquer and dye adds a rustic appearance to the body even more.

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