Relicing is Art
What is Guitar Relicing?
"It's not about the guitar, it's about the player"
Every guitar tells a story. My guitars tell my story whether they have aged naturally as I have played them over the years, or whether I purposefully reliced them to make them appear to have been played by me for years. As a guitar relicer, my primary prerogative is to tell the story of the player of the guitar I'm working on.
When I see an old guitar I see 3 main components which ultimately tell the player's story:
1. The guitar player's style of music.
2. Where the guitar player normally played his or her guitar (live gigs, bedrooms, in or outdoors, a combination of these).
3. The guitar player's attitude towards playing this guitar.
As you can ascertain, it's really not about the guitar itself. It's about the player. And it's this unique, intrinsic interconnection between the instrument and its player which ultimately tells us a story (or many stories if we're lucky). There's a special magic sauce, a certain 'mojo' if you will, that an old heavily played guitar has which profoundly moves us. A properly relic'd guitar can truly achieve this as well, and for me, crafting and unleashing that mojo from the guitar is the essence of the esoteric art form we know as guitar relicing.
Yuval Fuchs - Guitar Relicer.
Future Vintage Relicing
"Your guitar today, into your guitar tormorrow"
For those of us who truly "get" the concept of guitar relicing, the most common perspective on it is the notion that you take a newish guitar and apply various distressing techniques to make it look vintage, as in a guitar from the golden era of the 50s and 60s. Or perhaps the goal is to create a replica of a famous player's guitar. In either case, the focus is on recreating the past. While a deep appreciation for vintage guitars is the initial allure for many people to buy relic'd guitars, and for the more adventurous among us, to relic our own (this was certainly the catalyst for me to do so), there is yet another level of relicing that has yet to be explored. Transforming a new guitar into a guitar which has the accurate appearance and feel of a guitar which has been played for the past 40 years, is certainly an accomplishment. However, I think we've pretty much figured out all of the ways to achieve that. What's even more compelling to me is making your current guitar 40 years old from NOW! In other words, what will your guitar look like many years in the future when it has been susceptible to all of the wear and tear inflicted upon it by none other than you?
I call this style of relicing FUTURE VINTAGE RELICING. For me, this is where traditonal guitar relicing reaches a new level of craftsmanship and when a very cool passion of mine morphs into a relentless obsession!
What is Future Vintage Relicing?
Here is the basic premise:
An interview takes place with you and your #1 guitar (or your guitar of choice). The interview consists of watching you play and identifying which register/s on the neck you play the most, which style of music you play the most, your playing attitude, how you hold the guitar, etc. Next, your guitar is closely inspected for any existing relic marks, nicks, scuffs, dings, fret wear marks, or any naturally occurring distress on the instrument. We then discuss how many years older from today you want the guitar to be. Essentially, the goal is to take the given parameters and apply an accelerated aging process to the guitar based on this information, and to ultimately transform "your guitar today into your guitar tomorrow" 30, 40 or even 50 years from now. In other words we are creating YOUR future vintage instrument. Notice the emphasis on 'your' guitar. It's no longer about getting any new guitar to look like a fictitious person's guitar from many years ago or to become a replica of another famous guitar player's axe (not that there's anything wrong with that!). It is however, about personalization and to this end, it's about personalizing YOUR GUITAR TO MATCH YOU. It is an opportunity for you to meet the future you through your instrument, only without having to wait longer than but a few months for it to happen. What's more, the guitar will have that amazing broken-in feeling we love so much in vintage instruments. The exception here is that you were the one to break it in, so to speak.
When taking on a new future vintage relicing project, my thoughts center solely on the player. It takes a great deal of attention, care and sensitivity to take every parameter into consideration. Throughout the process, I find myself frequently envisioning the specific player of who's guitar I'm working on, and all of the parameters I have made note of. I then apply only the right amount of aging and distressing to the right areas based on this information. Again, it's not just about the guitar or the relicing process. It's about the story the guitar tells about its player an the intrinsic connection they have shared. Getting the story right requires a fine balance of skill, patience and imagination, and is the result of a truly exhilarating creative process.