Guitar Relicing

 I was hoping to get a Telecaster kit and do a similar relic job like the Fender telecaster relic project featured on the site. I was wondering how do age the scratch plate to look old and how to make all the metal parts to look aged like the dial plate from the Fender Tele Relic project. thanks

Re: Guitar ageing

Sticking the pick guard, knobs , and the pickup covers in coffee for a few hours adds about 30 years of age. Also you can make a halo affect by putting the pickguard on the body and leaving it out in the sun for a few hours.

Headstock decals

Hi. I was wondering about the legal issues behind using Fender logos on custom made guitars. I have a guitar which has been built with lots of different parts, it has a Fender neck (but not body), would I be allowed to apply a Fender decal as long as I don't sell it on? Would I be allowed to do this with other custom made guitars? Would I also be allowed to then use them onstage without getting in trouble with Fender (or another guitar company)? thanks

Re: headstock decals

While there are no lawyers on the staff at, this is what we believe...most of our law in the
US seems to focus on intent of the perpetrator. Now if it is your intent to pass your guitar off as a Fender to some unsuspecting gear hound, that is illegal. If it is your intent to make yourself happy by placing that decal on the guitar and making other people think it is a Fender...we believe that is semi-wrong, but nobody would prosecute it. This is much like someone buying an old Mustang and putting Shelby emblems on it. But playing it on stage with a Fender'll probably get away with it. Nobody from FMIC will lurch at you and snatch it out of your hands, nor are they likely to demand to inspect the instrument.

In our current litigation-happy society, it is anyone's bet what a judge will do during the trial or on appeal. The PRS/Gibson suit is pretty outrageous, and will have implications for all guitar builders. However, for little guys like us, we are still a few years away from the Man shutting us down because we use a fingerboard like a Les Paul and it may confuse the moronic public (in their opinion). I personally believe that people are not that dumb, but, luckily, we have this big apparatus to protect ourselves...from ourselves!

The general rule I use is that if I feel funny about doing something, it is probably illegal, immoral, or unsafe!

Again, this is just our collective opinion....

Good Luck,

Re: headstock decals

I have your answer from a good source.  If you are using the guitars as your own personal collection, no problems at all.  If you are selling the guitars, big problem.

If you are using something on stage labeled Fender that is not (which means the neck that is actually a Fender is ok), and someone takes a picture or video or films you in some way, and Fender sees it somehow, they must prosecute according to trademark law or they can lose their trademark.

My question is, why don't you come up with your own logo for your custom work?

Re: headstock decals

Scott -- Excellent point...I have a new logo, but I haven't made up any decals yet.

Bottom lines: 1. Be careful what you buy on eBay -- it is awfully easy to fake some of the old guitar. 2. To be successful, you have to do your own thing, and counterfeiting will get you in trouble.

Good luck,

 Removing Ink Stains From Relic Strat

Hey Guys, I just got a used closet classic custom shop 56 strat. It has lots of finish checking on the body. Someone for whatever reason put what I believe to be ink all over the body. the ink came of the surface of the body, but stayed in all the cracks. I was told it was a dark stain, but it looks a lot more like ink. I tried a medium rubbing compound, and it helps but doesn't really work good enough. Also tried a magic eraser. Any ideas? It is such a sweet guitar there has to be some way to get the ink out without refinishing.

Re: Removing Ink Stains From Relic Strat

This is going to be time consuming....

This is what I would do...try it at your own risk -- no smoking or flames around.

I recommend using naphtha -- lighter fluid -- and a Q-tip. Wet the Q-tip and wring it until it is just damp. Run the Q-tip along the crack in the lacquer -- not too hard -- and see if the naphtha gets the ink. Naphtha is about my favorite for everything, from sticker removal to wax removal (and multiple uses on the car). Naphtha is pretty gentle, but you may want to try it under the pickguard to ensure it doesn't react with the finish or the dye.

The rubbing compound will not affect the checks (cracks); rather, it will just buff the overlying surface. It won't work.

Good luck,

Re: Removing Ink Stains From Relic Strat

I tried the lighter fluid and a lot of elbow grease, but no luck. It helped a little in some spots, but the ink was all the way down into the wood. After a lot of attempts to remove it, I decided to refinish it. I really didn't want to, but I removed the original finish really easy with antique furniture refinisher. It seemed to remove all the lacquer without any stripper or sanding. Then used ReRanch fender blonde and nitro clear. It looks great now, and sounds amazing. I went as light as possible on the finish while still getting enough coverage as to keep with the vintage vibe. I knew it might be impossible to remove the stains when I got it, but it all turned out better than I had imagined. Thanks for all the help.

Another paint question

I am interested in getting a tele Saga kit to put together in the future. I was wondering how most people paint the body. Would regular spray paint work or would it get blotchy? Are there any "affordable" alternatives? I am also interested in making the headstock the same color as the that possible?


Re: another paint question

The ReRanch paints are excellent, and they are nitro lacquer. They are pretty forgiving, but they are also more expensive than regular spray paint. If you are looking for a project just "to see if I can do it", I'd go cheap first then work up.

Gibson still uses nitro, and Fender used it back in the day. The old cars used it to. The reason I like it is that it is easy to repair.

Good Luck,

SRV tribute strat

Does anyone have any info on the wiring of the SRV tribute strat of the DVD of the dissecting of Number one?

Re: SRV tribute strat

I believe they have the schematics on the website.


Re: SRV tribute strat

Sorry about the the Tribute guitar wired differently?

You can find about any schematic you need here:

Good luck,

How many cans of paint?

Hey I'm going to try painting a guitar using ReRanch products. Will one can of paint cover the entire guitar or should I get two just in case.

Re: How many cans of...???

I normally use one can of color and 2-3 cans of clear for a spray can project.

Good luck,

Maple neck relic

I'm looking for any tips on relic'ing a maple neck. My goal is to recreate Waylon's original 1953 leather bound tele. I've got a 2004 Highway "1" Texas Tele, I'm planning to use. Thanks for the help.

Re: Maple neck relic

JD -- I start with a nice amber paint job using ReRanch neck amber, and buff the parts of the neck that will remain shiny, but not a buffing to the extent I want when I do a "new guitar". I then use fine grade sandpaper to put the wear spots in the appropriate place. On maple necks I will use a Dremel tool with a rubber wheel to put the "pock marks" in the lacquer. I beat up the edges of the headstock, and might put a "cigarette burn" on the headstock for good measure. I've even used cigar ash to "age" bare wood on the neck. It is kind of smelly, though!

Good luck,

aged and relic


I've been reading through the Guitar Attack site and there are a lot of great information.  I recently bought a LP clone reissue and decided to make it look like it was bought back in the 50's, but played with lots of love and care.

I have already taken care of the chrome parts. Now I would like to know what to do with the plastic parts (pickguard and pickup rings). It's a glossy PVC in cream, and I want to put some wears and stains, something like the one in the link:

So, how do I add some color and stains?


Re: aged and relic

An easy way to age that bright white pickguard is to spray it with amber tinted nitro lacquer. Remember that Fender sprayed his first pickguards with lacquer. I've found the ReRanch tinted nitro will make a white or cream part look incredible. Very easy to work with...just don't over-do it.

Your mileage may vary....try at your own risk.

 Saga Tele Wiring Question

I just received my tele kit and it looks much better than I expected. When my son and I put it together, though, we didn't get the appropriate sounds out of the amp.

The sound stopped if I touched the bridge or the control panel. I think it's something with the grounding, but based on the diagrams in the instructions they sent I did everything correctly. The sound also changes depending on where the volume and tone knobs are set.

any ideas?



Re: Saga Tele Wiring Question

Are you sure you have a good cord from the guitar to the amp?

I recommend hitting  and getting a Tele wiring diagram. Check your guitar against the wiring diagram. Reason? Sometimes the folks wiring the Sagas make a mistake and the wiring gets jacked up. I normally resolder all of the joints on the Sagas I build, and it pays big dividends.



Re: Saga Tele Wiring Question

Hey John - Thanks for the reply.

I did actually check the cord, and then checked both cords with my electronic drum set, too. they both worked.

That was my next step to find a wiring diagram. I checked the ground cables today and it all seems like it's wired correctly, but I think I'm just going to start from scratch. The soldering job that saga did is terrible. But, this is a "play" guitar for me so I'm just into having a good time with it.

 Citristrip on Saga Necks?

Anyone know how long Citristrip should remain on the neck to remove the sealer? Instructions say "1 hour (up to 24 hours)" What tools were used for a successful job? Scraper? Pad? Brush? Other?


Re: Citristrip on Saga Necks?

I normally only leave it on until the finish starts to lift. On the Saga necks, it will lift in 15-30 minutes. I will apply several applications. I don't like to leave it on too long, and I make sure I wash the neck completely when I've finished stripping it.

Bottom line: I like to supervise the process.

Good luck,


Re: Citristrip on Saga Necks?

Out of curiosity, how do you wash the neck? just water, right?

Re: Citristrip on Saga Necks?

I don't use water. I have used the CitriStrip wash or mineral spirits. Use plenty of paper towels.


 Intonation problems

After seeing what you did with the Saga Telecaster kits, I decided to bite the bullet, and fulfill a lifelong dream of putting together my own guitar.

However I have come across a problem with the intonation on the guitar. Having set the intonation on my Tele at the open strings and 12th fret I thought all would be bliss but No!

Open D Chords sound lousy.  I have also noticed on the G string that even though the open note and the note at the 12th fret are perfectly tuned to G every other note between them is sharp. The closer to the nut the sharper the note. i.e.. the A on the G string is very sharp, B a little less, C a little less ... F barely sharp, G(12) perfectly in tune.

I am beginning to think that the problem might be the nut, but any assistance you could give would be greatly appreciated.


Re: Intonation problems

Ralph -- Thanks for the post. I believe your problem is the nut. I've found distance between the nut and the first fret is very high in most cases. Check the "Repair Techniques" page and see the proper distances and how to measure them.

I literally worked with a guy about two weeks ago with the same problem, and the string height at the nut was the problem. Once we got the distance set he was on track.

Good luck,

Re: Intonation problems

I had exactly the same intonation problem with a Saga Telecaster kit. The problem was the nut slot at the G string. It wasn't deep enough. In fact, when I tuned it open, and then checked the twelfth fret harmonic, both were perfect, but when I fretted a chord the G string had to bend so much that it would actually pull the string out of tune. When released, everything was back where it belonged ??? BIZARRE, but real. Get a nut file of the right size and deepen the slot, but NOT too much. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, take it to a qualified Luthier. I hope this helps.

Re: Intonation problems

Thanks guys,

Yeah the string was resting on the back edge of the nut, thereby making the first few fretted notes extremely sharp. A little persuasion with a nut file remedied the situation ;)

Gold Top Tele (opinion)

I've always loved the LP Gold Top finish, but don't really care for LP's themselves. I'm planning on doing a gold top tele and setting up the finish the mimic a 56 LP with simulated binding and mahogany back, but I can't decide what to do with the neck. Should I do the Fender amber or keep the LP mahogany on the neck? If it matters, I'll probably end up relic'ing the guitar a la the Dakota red tele on the GA site. TIA.

Re: Gold Top Tele (opinion)

If it has a rosewood fingerboard, I would paint the neck with the goldtop finish. I think it would be really cool to have a 100% goldtop finish. If it has a maple fingerboard, I would go with the amber.

Just my opinion,

 Stripped neck screw hole

I recently tried to put strap locks on my Epiphone SG 310. Everything was fine for about a month and then the neck screw that the strap is attached to came out. I think the whole is stripped. What I can I do about this?


Re: Stripped neck screw hole

Dave -- You have two options. The first option is to superglue a couple of flat toothpicks into the stripped cavity. Once they are dry, they will provide something for that screw to bite in to. This is a temp repair.

The second option is to glue a dowel into the stripped hole and redrill once the glue is dry.

My opinion -- if you are unsure, take it to a guitar tech.

Good luck,

Gorilla Glue?

I am building a bass guitar, and I am going to bookmatch the neck. I have heard that PU glue (polyurethane)is the best choice. I was wondering if Gorilla Glue would be as good. It is made from propolymized MDI and Diphenylmethane.

Re: Gorilla Glue?

Alex -- I have used Gorilla Glue a great deal in the past, and it is pretty incredible. I can pretty well guarantee that any wood you glue together with that stuff will stay together indefinitely.

Be careful. It will make a mess and can stain some types of wood. Try the glue on scrap first. It is my favorite glue outside of Titebond.

Remember -- If you glue a joint with Gorilla Glue, you cannot get it apart. Don't use it for the neck joint. However, for laminating pieces together, it does work very well.

My opinion, and good luck

Cutting Inlays

Does anyone know if there is a device to cut inlay dots, or any tricks?


Re: Cutting Inlays

I've used a "plug cutter" from  to cut dots. They come in a variety of sizes and do pretty well, depending on the material. I've also roughed some MOP to size, then glued it on the end of a dowel and turned it to size in a drillpress. I used sandpaper to turn it down.

Good luck,

Nitro finish....hard!

First off, this is a very nice forum for us novices at refinishing and teching. Now I'm sure there are a lot of (Relic)hatters out there but it truly is a form of flattery, at least I'm a fan of only well done work....the question is, when I hear the reference to a hardshell thin nitro finish, also hand rubbed, what are we referring to in terms of coats of nitro finish before we wet sand or rub out? This process would be done on a 53 blackguard butterscotch Tele.

Re: Nitro finish....hard!

Teleman -- When you hear terms like this, it is kind of like hearing that an amp has 100 watts. In other words, it all depends. Generally, a nitro finish is thinner than a comparable poly finish. The nitro will also continue to shrink and dry over its entire lifetime, where poly generally will not. Nitro has to be leveled and buffed out for a shine, but so does poly, so "hand-rubbed" is probably just a gimmick!

I believe nitro is more labor-intensive, but I also think it is prettier and more tone-friendly. Just my opinion.

Good luck,

tuners on a saga kit

I've been having some problems with my tuners on my saga guitar..theres a lot of slack in them, the knobs tend to come loose and rattle, and they just feel sloppy. I was wondering if there was a brand name of tuners that yall recommend..Preferably ones that wouldn't require me to redrill any holes. Is there any that'll fit the stock tuner holes? Thanks for the help.

Also, does any one know where I can find a Texas flag pick guard for duo-sonics? I know where I can get one for strats and teles..

Thanks yall


Re: tuners on a saga kit

Hey Russ - Thanks for the question. Your problem is pretty common. I've used mini Grovers and Schallers on Saga kits I've built. The tuner hole for the Saga is very small, and you will likely have to enlarge it for any quality tuner.

I recommend buying a reamer from . The reamer will allow you to slowly enlarge the hole. Do not drill because the chipout will be unbelievable!

Check eBay for some good deals on tuners. I scored some used mini Grovers a couple of weeks ago, and they are great!

Good luck,

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