New Guitars

More on building relic guitars

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481I found a great article today about the guys (John Page and Vince Cunetto) who built the first Fender Custom Shop relics back in the ’90’s and some of the techniques they use. Here are some interesting points;

Cunetto has spent countless hours doing R&D to find the right techniques.

To make the finger-wear marks on the fret board, he uses a architect’s powered drafting eraser. A few select screwdrivers and metal tools put chips in the guitar’s paint and dings in the wood.

“Every guy has his own little toolbox,” Cunetto says. “It’s like two painters using different brushes for the same thing.”

The colorful finishes on the guitars are done with old-school lacquers. Page says he always uses nitrocellulose instead of modern polyurethane. He says nitro is “more spiritual” to him.

To accelerate the aging of the finish, you speed up the cycles of hot and cold the instrument would naturally go through. Cunetto keeps freezers in the shop, and after a few rounds of cooling and warming, the nitrocellulose lacquer begins to disintegrate. The effect is a beautiful spider web of tiny checkered cracks in the finish that make a new guitar look like it’s 50 years old.

But there’s more to making a relic than screwdrivers, ovens, erasers and sandpaper. It has as much to do with art as it does with science.

“It’s not just about making it look beat-up,” says Page. “The thing I always admired about Vince is that he aged it in the right way, in the right wear patterns. If this was a country player or a blues player, what specific parts of the neck would be more worn? Where would the chips be?”

Cunetto says he tells his aging apprentices to dream up a back story for every guitar they work on, and to apply that story to the instrument. Every guitar ends up with its own personality, its own emotional resonance.

“Was this guy a country player? He’s going to have a lot of wear in the first position on the neck,” Cunetto says. “There’s probably a burn mark between the pegs from where he always sticks his cigarette. And he’s going to have a lot of buckle wear, because he’s wearing a big rodeo buckle.”

The full article can be read here


Star Wars Fan Builds Millennium Falcon Guitar!

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481I can’t say this appeals to me, as I am not a Star Wars fan but you have to hand it to the guy for his originality. Using an electric guitar and a vintage Millennium Falcon toy, Travis S. managed to build a unique instrument shaped like Han Solo’s starship.

Having built guitars with his father, in high-school, this was a relatively easy task for Travis S., but the idea of building something that has never been done before appealed to him.

An avid Star Wars fan, with a sizable collection of memorabilia, he decided to combine his love for the sci-fi franchise with his passion for guitars. It only took him a month, working on weekends, to complete the guitar, but he says he could have completed in under a week.

Since this is an electric guitar, using a plastic toy as the body doesn’t affect the way it sounds, but the artist had to add a maple block from the start to the end of the ship, to keep it from breaking under the tension of the strings.

The back of the Millennium Falcon guitar has been fitted with blue LED lights, powered by their own batteries.

Despite its futuristic look, the guitar was designed to play, and I can only imagine the reaction from the audience when Travis brings this one out to play!


Collecting Vintage Acoustic Guitars

Paul Brett on collecting vintage acoustic guitars;

Acoustic Magazines Vintage Guitar expert, Paul Brett’s DVD sample on collecting vintage acoustic guitars.

Paul is rated as one of the leading 12 string guitarists in the World and his ull DVD features 23 rare guitars, plus tips on collecting and sourcing these instruments.


Prince: ‘Playing guitar stops baldness’

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Suggestions that Prince may be a bit eccentric have been bolstered today by his assertion that playing guitar prevents baldness!

The 52-year-old musician, who is best known for songs such as ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Raspberry Beret’, said that the electricity flowing through the musical instrument must affect the body in some way.

Prince told The UK Daily Mirror: “Playing electric guitar your whole life does something to you. I’m convinced all that electricity racing through your body made me keep my hair.”

He also said: “Music is my life. It’s my trade. If I can’t get it out of my head I can’t function. I think I’m improving all the time. When I listen to my old records I’m ashamed of how I played them.”

Then again, I’ve played guitar for 30 years and I still have all my hair, so there may be something to his theory…let’s ask Joe Satriani…oh..


More on guitar pick collecting

icontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-09facebook481Following on from my last article about guitar pick collecting, I came across this website dedicated to this great little facet of our hobby. is the run by Alan Ralph, who seems to be the world expert in all things pick related.

Alan amassed his collection in 20 years. Another remarkable thing about Alan’s collection is that it was not grown via eBay purchases nor through buying collections from other collectors. Neither does he buy bags and bags of picks from those on the inside. Alan has done it the good old fashioned way … by being at the shows and through trading his duplicates with other collectors.

In the early 80’s I grabbed a few picks myself as I used to work at London’s biggest concert venue. Most were unbranded, although I can just about remember where most came from; George Benson, Angus Young, Tom Petty but I thought I’d photograph my meagre spoils from that period.

These were acquired from gigs and several of them were well used by the artist before being discarded; The JY  Styx ones are very thin, and seem to have taken a fair bit of abuse from his playing style! The Rick Nielsen one is from 1979 I think, the others from probably 81-84.

I think I’ll start scouting Ebay for a few more!


Vintage Guitar investing on CNN!

Rudy Pensa’s interesting comments on investing in vintage guitars..