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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

Oh No!!! Van crashes into guitar repair shop

Doc Pittillo described the Saturday morning crash that has left him physically unharmed but financially devastated as something akin to a psychedelic experience.

van crashes into guitar repair shop“I turned around and actually saw the van come through the window of the store,” Pittillo said. “It was slow motion.”

Pittillo, owner of The Guitar Doctor, 18171 Euclid St., said he was plucking a guitar in front of his shop about a minute before a minivan slammed into its front window.

“If I were standing there, my guess is I would have been killed or really badly mangled,” Pittillo said. “There are usually a lot of people in the front of the shop. Man, if that would have happened with the customers there? Somebody would have been killed…there’s no doubt in my mind. It would have been really ugly”.

Only Pittillo and one of his workers, both who were near the back, were at the store at the time.Fire officials said they received a call about 11 a.m. about a vehicle that had crashed into the store at Euclid and Newhope streets. Other details about the crash, such as the driver’s name, remain unknown because Fountain Valley Police Department officials did not return multiple calls for comment.

Witnesses said that a gold-colored minivan crashed into the shop. The driver, his wife and teen-age daughter were also in the vehicle, they added. All seemed uninjured.While Pittillo said he is grateful to be unhurt, he said he lost at about $80,000 worth of valuables inside the store, including many vintage guitars.

One in particular was a candy apple-red 1965 Fender Stratocaster, worth at least $40,000, he said. “And I have no recourse,” Pittillo said.While he had insurance on the actual building, Pittillo said the contents inside were not insured because he couldn’t afford it.

“It’s not the value so much but that this instrument I played on the road for years,”

Pittillo said about the ‘65 Fender.

By Cindy Carcamo, Orange County Register

Vintage Fender Colours

Fender 1960's Guitar Coloursicontexto-webdev-social-bookmark-091Just a quickie..I found Curtis Novak’s  great site with a wonderful pictorial view of vintage Fender colours.

Even if you aren’t interested in the colours, it’s worth having a look for the lovely photography.

In Curtis’ own words…

These are pictures of my sample blocks of Fender 60’s colors. I attempted to create as accurate as possible a representation of the colors Fender used in the 60’s. I used Dupont paint and the colors are mixed from the NOS Dupont paint mix numbers. They are cleared with Nitrocellulose Lacquer.

I have photographed my sample blocks in a way that attempts to show the dynamics of a given color rather than just a flat thumbnail image. I feel this better represents the color. I am still working at making the colors more accurate. Keep in mind that I am doing this and testing it on a few dozen different computers and they are rather consistent, but the color may very depending on your display and video card.

Fender 1960’s Custom Colours

A book worth investigating…

Just been reading about the updated version of Phil Taylor’s book about David Gilmour’s iconic black Stratocaster…

“The Black Strat” is the first and only accurate and knowledgeable account of David Gilmour’s favourite Stratocaster guitar. Written by Phil Taylor – David’s personal guitar technician since 1974 – to coincide with the release of the long awaited and much requested Fender ‘David Gilmour Signature Strat’: an instrument replicating the look, set-up, sound and feel of David’s famous guitar as it is today. The chronological story begins with David Gilmour joining Pink Floyd early in 1968, his guitar at that time, his subsequent instruments leading to the purchase of the Black Strat in 1970, and the other guitars that have come and gone. This book details all of the changes and modifications made to the Black Strat, its use on Pink Floyd tours and iconic albums, David’s solo projects, and various guest appearances throughout the years. 

About the Author

Phil Taylor (London) has been working for Pink Floyd continuously since he was 22 years of age. In 1974 he was employed by Pink Floyd to take care of the band’s personal equipment used on stage and in the studio. He has worked on every Pink Floyd and David Gilmour project for over three decades.

This book is a great gift or alternative for those of us who can’t afford the two and a half grand for the new Fender  signature replica!

Take a closer look at the book in the link..

Pink Floyd: the Black Strat: A History of David Gilmour’s Black Fender Stratocaster