Fender Custom Shop Finishes Explained and Enter to Win a Fender Custom Shop

One of the biggest decisions when choosing your Fender Custom Shop is the Custom Shop Finish.  You really have four choices: New, NOS, Closet Classic, and Relic.  New is pretty straight forward. It’s a new guitar, a new model or design, with the modern hardware, and latest fixtures. But what are the others? What does it all mean?

1. What does NOS mean?

NOS is short for New Old Stock.  Well what does that mean?  Let’s Imagine that you find a warehouse full of old parts for a 1961 Chevy Corvette bodies, wheels, cams, heads, axles, etc… and then you build a spankin’ new 1961 Chevy Corvette Convertible. You now have a NOS Corvette.  None of the parts have been used, so it is technically new, made from old stock parts.

This is sort of the premise of Fender NOS Custom Shop Electric Guitars.  Fender does not have a warehouse full of old parts, but they still have the actual machines, original stamps and documented techniques to make period correct electronics, bodies, and parts.  This is what they are calling NOS.  If you order a NOS model, you will have a new guitar using new parts fashioned and made to look like the old parts.

Fender Custom Shop NOS New Old Stock Fender Custom Shop NOS New Old Stock Controls Fender Custom Shop NOS New Old Stock Back Plate Fender Custom Shop NOS New Old Stock Headstock Machine Heads

Pictured: ’56 Fender Custom Shop New Old Stock Stratocaster Electric Guitar – Desert Sand

 2. Closet Classic, what’s that?

Let’s imagine our ’61 Corvette you actually bought in 1961 from a Chevy Dealer.  You drove it around, had some good times for a few months, then parked it in a garage and forgot about it.  40 years later, your kids pull it out of the garage and they would see a “Closet Classic” Corvette.  It may be dusty, the finish may be changed, might be a ding or two, oxidation may have occurred changing the leather, metal, a bit of rust, etc…  Any number of things could occur during the forty years in the garage.

A Closet Classic Custom Shop may have a similar story as our Corvette.  Dad might have bought a guitar in 1960 when he was excited to be in a band, played for a few months, lost interest, and shoved the guitar in his parent’s attic.  Years later, the guitar was found.  Your dad’s guitar has oxidation, the hardware might not be pristine, and he might have dinged it a few times. The coolest thing that may have happened called ‘finish checking” or the finish may have cracked.  The old finishes were susceptible to extreme changes in climate.  If the attic was cold during the night and then quickly warmed up the next morning “finish checking” would occur. This cracking makes unpredictable, interesting mosaic-like patterns in the finish.

There are degrees of Closet Classic, from light to a little heavier.  If you’re special ordering a Custom Shop, put what you’re looking for on the order.

Fender Custom Shop Closet Classic Fender Custom Shop Closet Classic Bacl Plate Fender Custom Shop Closet Classic Telecaster Headstock Fender Custom Shop Closet Classic Telecaster Finish Checking

Pictured: 2013 Fender Custom Shop Closet Classic Telecaster Pro – Shoreline Gold
and Custom Shop Closet Classic Stratocaster – Forest Green

3. What’s a Relic or Extra Relic Finish?

So, instead of parking your Corvette, you drive it for 50 years. Now, what the Corvette will look like depends on what kind of driver you are.  Driver #1 “Relic”: If you take good care of the vehicle, you will see minimal wear.  Over time, however, the steering wheel would have conformed to your hands, leather may crack, wear, or change color, the paint on the door near the handle may wear off from the countless times your finger tips touch it.  Some of the metal parts will be oxidized and rusted a bit.  Driver #2 “Extra Relic”: You drive hard; your friends are always with you, donuts in the church parking lot, long road trips, etc.  You will see cracking or missing paint, dings, dents, scratches, rust in the wheel wells,

paint around the gas tank is gone, the interior is a hashed. The car appears to be well used, but it still works. Each driver loves the car, the car itself carries their DNA, most of their memories relate in some way back to the car. The car itself has become like a good friend or brother.

Now, imagine putting your guitar through the same paces; road trips, weekend gigs, tours, drunken parties, hours and hours of practicing. There will be relic guitars and extra relic guitars.  Both will have wear and tear in similar places on the fretboard, neck, where your arm rests when you strum, along the edges. People use and treat guitars differently. The wear might be more apparent in different places, but your personal relic is a fingerprint of your style.

Again, when special ordering a Custom Shop, put on the order to what extent you would like your relic. Let us know what you envision.

Fender Custom Shop Relic Fretboard Fender Custom Shop Relic wear and tear on hardware and parts Fender Custom Shop Relic Relic Fender Custom Shop Headstock

Pictured: ’56 Fender Custom Shop Relic Stratocaster Electric Guitar – Sunset Orange Transparent

4. Why would you want a guitar pre-beat up?

Reason #1: Maybe you need a new guitar but your style, music, or aura does not match the look of a shiny new guitar. You are a grunge basement rock band that abhors the wedding singer look. You have a long hair, roughed up leather jacket, old Harley look; you do not need a shiny white guitar to clash.  You need a Relic Custom Shop.

Reason #2: Many of us like to play guitar, but most of us will not gig every night, go on tour, or be rock stars, however, it’s our dream to be those people and have similar gear.  Even if we did own the guitar for 50 years, it would never look like that. The look of a well worn guitar is nearly priceless; people will see that guitar and ask questions. You may not have lived the dream but you own a representation of that dream, so, in a sense, the dream is still alive.

Enter the Contest

Lastly, I know many of you came here to enter to win the Beautiful 1960 Sonic  Blue Relic Stratocaster Custom Shop Guitar.   Here’s what you gottsa do.  Comment on this blog.  Tell us, for when you create your dream guitar, what type of finish would you go for. AND tell us why.  Comment must be at least 20 words long. You will receive one entry for your comment, you will not receive more by commenting more. Last day to enter will be December 15, 2013 and Drawing will be held December 16, 2013.  There will be only one winner, so if you want to guarantee a Fender Custom Shop Guitar under your Christmas tree you’ve got to go buy one from Small White Mouse.

The guitar: ’60 Fender Custom Shop Relic Stratocaster Electric Guitar – Sonic Blue

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  1. 2nd! Just kidding, it’s a beautiful guitar. The I need to see if Fender posts any tutorials on how they age the guitars. As you pointed out in the video, the details like the patina on the writing on the knobs is amazing.

    Anyway, hope I win it

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  2. I’d go for the extra relic finish, for sure. Love the look and feel! Way more gorgeous than a brand-new, off-the-rack looking Fender.

  3. I guess I would have to say I would go with a NOS so I could add my own dings and blemishes and have the stories to go along with them.

  4. If I was going to chose a custom shop finish, I would have to go with the “Relic” or “Extra Relic” finish. The reasoning is because I love the Old and classic rock and roll and the looks of that Guitar would just set the mood of what I like to play. I saw a Keith Richards Tele hanging on a wall at a shop in Seattle and fell in love with the history in every nick and scratch the neck was worn and the paint was faded and worn. It’s jus a totally bitchen look !!!

  5. My dream guitar would be a Fender custom shop jaguar in burgundy mist un-reliced with a mint green pick guard, block inlays and neck binding. I started playing guitar in the 60s on a Norma 335 style guitar. The strings were way too high. but I played anyway and loved it. I had a Fender catalog that was always open and I would dream about someday owing one. A friend of mine got a beautiful new Fender Mustang and I was so jealous.

  6. I personally would love a Butterscotch finish with a black pick guard but a Telecaster not a strat….but I would love to have this strat too ! You guys have a ton of AWESOME guitars I will say that ! I guess on a strat I’d have to go with flamed maple cuz it looks so frickin’ AWESOME !!!! I LOVE the look of a “RELIC” fender !!!!! <3

  7. I’ve always liked the look of a new guitar with a thin finish, over the years it would get its marks, and have its own story. I wouldn’t knock relic’d guitars, they are all beautiful and i’d imagine it takes a lot work to get the artificial look of old to look not so artificial.

  8. If the guitar has a nice top, then a bright purple or pink stain would look pretty sweet. Otherwise, a hot pink and black swirl on a jackson soloist would be amazing.

  9. My dream custom shop guitar would be a 60’s Stratocaster in either the sonic blue or fiesta red with the mint pickguard and relic treatment. My list of reasons for this choice is long but mostly because I love the feel of a well broken in guitar. I’ve drooled over a sonic blue or fiesta red one since I was a kid, just never have been able to afford one. Thanks for the chance to win one!!

  10. I have been playing for over 30 years and have a couple of original “Relic’s” if you will – NOT re-issues, Originals and I love playing them – I have however never had a re-issue and truly have never picked up one of the Custom Shop Re-issued “Relic’s – I would love to see how this guitar you are giving away really compares to an original from the 60’s (I have a Strat from the 60’s and 50’s as well as some Gibson’s) I recently purchased a Brand new “American Standard Strat” and I love playing it as well as the Old one’s I have – I have a good collection of many Brands both Old and new and just for the record I play them all (of course not all at once!!) Old or New, Guitars need to be played not just hung on a wall and admired like I see many Collectors do with fine Instruments – – Would love to Win this Beauty – Oh and Last, as per the rules of this game, Blue does happen to be my Favorite Color and I would have the finish on my relic dream machine an Ultra-marine Blue lightly reliced, simply due to the fact I am well equipt to put more dings and nicks in the guitar myself –

  11. I’ve always been a huge Jason Becker and Yngwie Malmsteen fan. That being said, if I had to pick a finish for a strat, it would have to be either vintage white or candy purple, and please don’t make me decide between the two!

  12. Picking a finish might not be as easy as it sounds. Of course, I love a shiny new guitar. However, since I’ll never be able to own a well loved old Strat, a NOS or light relic custom shop would be a great alternative. And, I could pretend I had lived a bit of the rock-n-roll life if my guitar had the looks to back it up!

  13. My dream guitar would be a Lake Placid Blue Jaguar. I love that shade of blue, especially with a matching headstock. That shade compliments the chrome really well, in my opinion.

  14. name and history is big, but when it comes down to it, name and function makes me happy. you can put a big named pick up in a ” ???????” but it is still a “???????”

  15. I would like a new old stock because it,s very cool to watch it age as time rolls by the way the nitro gets a little darker and Dec 16 is actually my birthday !! what better to win a fender custom shop guitar on your birthday HMMM .

  16. The best thing about a relic is if you put a ding in it it wont make you sick. I like shiny and new stuff but I think the closet classic and relic are cool.

  17. I was shopping at my local store when relic guitars started to become popular.
    The salesman suggested that I might like these guitars. I had always been so careful with my guitars. I constantly cleaned and polished them. I thought he was crazy to think that I would want a “new” guitar that was scratched and rusted. Now, after many gigs and many years, I get it. Let’s face it, guitars wear. You can’t help but put a scratch or ding in your guitar. I drove myself crazy trying to have a good time, yet protect my investments. I think the heavy relic guitars are beautiful, and it’s going to happen eventually anyway. So please send me a heavy relic. I will probably still clean and polish it. If it gets a scratch ,oh well, it is already scratched and the pressure to not scratch it is gone..Thank you! I will be waiting for it to arrive!

  18. NOS because my personal style is something shiny, new, and custom. Though, I have no problem with a sonic blue relic Stratocaster with a rosewood fret board under my tree until Christmas Eve. We open one present the night before.

  19. I think I’d like to have either a Relic or Closet Classic finish, mainly because I’d be less heartbroken to scratch or ding up such a nice guitar. Small White Mouse rules!

  20. I love the relic finish, even better than the road worn look. As a grandpa, I’d love to have a guitar that looks like I’ve played forever, even though I’m still trying to learn!

  21. I really like the closet classics. My problem with New and NOS is that when I use them I am not in my comfort zone, because I am too worried about damaging them. I love the feeling of an old guitar, can’t beat it. Not a big fan of the relics, your guitar should only be “relic’d (is that even a word?)” by years of playing, recording, and gigging (in my opinion), but I understand the appeal because I love the sight a beat up old guitar, that still sounds amazing. Who doesn’t?

  22. I love the extra relic finish. My first Fender was a Lake Placid Blue Jaguar. Of course I would love to find another one. I own a few Strats, and Telecasters. Nitro laquer is the best!

  23. I prefer the closet classic look…..in decent shape with crazing and oxidation…..my 1966 acoustic dreadnought has that look, with a couple of dings and scratches, but very playable and great mojo! I’d love that in a Strat.

  24. I would go for the closet classic as I prefer to age my guitars myself. I’ve got a 40+ year old Yamaha FG75 that is beat and battered but I wouldn’t part with it.

  25. My dream guitar would be a 3 tone sunburst, light relic. I’ve always been a sucker for a burst and I love the look of a roadworn guitar. I like that just by looking at it you can tell that it’s been well loved and well played.

  26. Wow, that’s a nice guitar.. love the color a teal blue n the vintage to it.. would be honored to have that sitting n ny living room n playing it… imagine the history this quitar can tell.. custom made to me is best way to go..

  27. This thing is beautiful! I’ve always loved playing guitars that are “aged.” It feels like you’re playing a piece of history and they always seem to sound better. The baby blue from the video is perfect. It captures what the era was and the colors that were popular back then. LOVE IT!

  28. Love my MIM Strat and want to get an American Strat, but this would be incredible. I like the color and the aged look! It would be a very merry indeed!!

  29. I love the natural look of wood. Especially old wood with its many concentric age rings which give the guitar its DNA, its character, its history to tell you how it has lived its life in your hands, sang with your music, danced with your groove. A shiny poly or satin finish that enhances its individuality and overall beauty for all time.

  30. I like the NOS finish as I like to break in my own guitars. But at my age I should opt for a relic finish. Also like how the original Fender logo was kept and sprayed around it.

  31. Hmm, this is tough. I do kinda like the reliced look of the guitars, and I REALLY like the fact that they are made using period correct parts and materials. If I was making my dream guitar, I would probably go for one of the NOS finishes, but would only want minimal relicing. I really want the guitar to age along with me, but I really dig the sounds produced by the older instruments. Kinda best of both worlds if you ask me.

  32. My dream Fender guitar would be either a late ’50’s Telecaster in blonde with the black pickguard, or an early ’50’s Precision Bass, the one with the Tele style headstock and the single coil pickup. Light Relic or better yet, Closet Classic… not a big fan of the guitars with really heavy wear. The “solid color worn through to reveal a sunburst underneath” might be cool on a Strat, too…

  33. I’d order the NOS and slowly relic it myself. I can tell stories about quite a few of the individual scratches and dings on my ’77 P-Bass even after all these years and I always gave it loving care. I wiped it down after every gig, cleaned and polished it with every string change and kept it in the hard shell case as soon as I was done playing. Its just that an honest hard-working life is going to leave behind some scars and wear.

  34. This is my idea of a of a great comment. This axe matches my eyes and I already have a place of honor for it because I’m old and thus I love other old things

  35. I’d go for the old school nitrocelluose finish if it was a relic. The poly coatings are great, but the nitro IMHO looks better and wears in a really cool way, particularly on a strat forearm rest and the belly cutout. Neck would be a maple fretboard… again, old school. Original 50’s pickups… make it sound like Buddy Holly all the way!

  36. I like the NOS, because I like the dings to have a story that I know, and hopefully, VERY few dings for the first decade or so… it is usually someone else dinging my guitars!

  37. I love the relic look! With paying a Custom Shop price I would be afraid to take a PRS to a gig. But there’s something about a Fender that makes the worn finish just right. The mint pick guard with a worn out maple fretboard and thin coat finish? Sign me up sir! And I love the matching headstock and aged hardware look.

  38. This was an interesting article, I do not know enough about finishes and colors and guitar history to make an informed decision about my “dream ” guitar but that blue Stratocaster is sweet looking.

  39. The manufacturing of “pre-reliced” guitars is a relatively new marketing strategy. Guitars naturally age and accumulate wear as a consequence of use and time. It still seems foreign to me to pay premiums for pre-damaged guitars. I still prefer to purchase new, pristine guitars and accept their transformation as they age. I don’t think that I would prefer a pre-wrecked car either. It seems that signs of age, wear and damage have become symbolic of the guitar having “character”. On that basis of displaying age, wear and damage, I guess that I have a lot of character myself.

  40. I agree completely with Curmudgeon’s comment. I really don’t understand the “relic” craze. I much prefer the pristine finish on a new guitar. I take great pride and pleasure in keeping my guitars in as close to new condition as possible. Let the character come with true age, not artificial.

  41. i would like to have the new old stock but with modern updates probably would be a satin white nitro or sea foam green nitro jazzmaster or 72 tele deluxe (with the arm contour like on the jim root model) body style with no finish on the neck and maple fret board and black hardware and pickguard hh configuration probably active pickups or ducans and i would let it age naturally

  42. I certainly have GAS for instruments like this, but I’m pretty noncommittal overall to finish and ornaments. I’d generally rather just have a good piece of wood with an oil finish and then spend the money on high quality hardware (bridge, tail, tuners, custom pickups, etc.). I tend to prefer low resistance/hi def single coils and want a solid aluminum bridge to let the stings and body ring.

  43. Thanks guys for this information. I had no idea that Fender Custom shop was building these NOS “Relic” style guitars. You have me reaching for the wallet, but $4500.. some serious cash. Seeing your demo of this Sonic Blue 60′ Strat – I get it though. This thing is actually the coolest looking Strat I have seen. Especially love the “mint” color pick guard. If ordering, I would definitely go with a minimal “relic” look, as the idea of adding many extra dings and scratches to the finish is downright painful for me to fathom. Heck, if I owned something like this, you better believe I would taking serious care of it. I am curious how Fender is oxidizing the finish on the metal parts to give that slightly rusted look. This obviously fits in with the NOS look, but I would want this to be only minimal.

    Thanks for the giveaways. You guys are very good – love the marketing strategy and hype!

  44. Who doesn’t dream of finding a closet classic? I know i’ve checked the attic and or basement of every house I’ve owned or rented with a secret hope of finding one. I like the relic look, but mostly prefer a vintage guitar to one made to look like it. I love the finish checking on old guitars. Unfortunately I don’t have one specific dream guitar. Guitars are tools, and I really enjoy having a few of them for different applications. I do seem to prefer a nice nitro finish to a poly but there are so many different guitars it’s always hard to commit to just one guitar and one finish. I will say that sonic blue is always a favorite fender finish for me (along with antigua).

  45. I’ll be having that cool beat up jimi hendrix white strat with the maple neck and the large headstock meantime I’ll settle for the 1960 Sonic Blue Relic Stratocaster Custom Shop Guitar.

  46. I’d go for one of the pastel colors….prefer the mint green but the blue looks cool too. I am retired so I can’t afford the price to buy one…..would like to win to add to my collection of three guitars..

  47. I would go for quilted dark green maple top, with a bullet headstock with the same finish, I love my Yngvie Malmsteen strat with the scalloped fretboard, now I need another beautiful time piece to add to my collection.

  48. I would have to go with something like a CS Fender Telecaster in silver metal flake with checkerboard binding and a maple neck. I’d want it to be in honor of Don Rich. Don’s picking on Buck Owens’ records is a major point in the history of Telecasters and country music!

  49. I personally would want a natural woodgrain finish with a light black/charcoal stain finished in a light satin. I have always like all things black and am also a big fan of natural or natural stain finishes. Just really lets the beauty of the wood out. :)

  50. I love the custom shop relics. If you’re like me, the best guitars Fender made were pre-1963. These are great, spot-on remakes of some of the best sounding and playing guitars. Sonic blue and Shell Pink are awesome colors and all of the colors Fender used in the 50’s and 60’s were GM car paint colors too.

  51. I would have to go for a NOS fender strat. I really like the forest green, but sonic blue looks pretty sweet as well. I don’t think I would need to have mine ‘Relic’d” as my guitars get a lot of use anyways. I’ll take care of that part myself! Cool contest!

  52. I can understand why that beautiful Custom Shop has the most views. The matching headstock is great. The aged hardware is made to aged, not old. Fantastic. I’ve had many Fenders and mostly Strats. The sound improves with age, and that’s not true of all guitars.

  53. Fiesta Red. Closet Classic. Perfection. I like a little bit of wear, but if there is heavy wear, I want the memories that go with it.

  54. I would choose a relic sonic blue custom shop fender, as I would REALLY love to win this guitar, and I would cherish it, play it, keep it until I die and pass it on to my children. It would be an honor to win it, and I would tell everyone about Small White Mouse! :)

  55. New Old Stock would be my relic finish choice.. I have a very clear recollection of the Fender Strats of the 60’s, and really wanted to own one then. However, I only owned Fender Picks in the 60’s, the Strats came to me in later decades. My preference for New Old Stock finish is so that the wear and ageing accumulated by the guitar are naturally acquired during my time with the guitar.

  56. My vote goes for an Ocean Turquoise finish in Closet Classic. It seems that Fender’s go-to custom color finishes over the years have been Lake Placid Blue, Candy Apple Red, and Fiesta Red, so it’s good to mix it up every once in a while. Better yet, perhaps Charcoal Mist is the way to go, or even Sherwood Green. I’m getting ahead of myself – Ocean Turquoise it is!

  57. I would go for the NOS because it IS new, even though it might look a little old and it would still be in pristine condition. I really NEED to win this.

  58. I don’t see why people get so upset about “fake” relics. It’s just a
    different type of finish. Worn, old finishes on many things look more
    interesting because of all the extra depth, and detail the aging process
    adds to the finish.

  59. I love this guitar but I would go with transparent because it lets the beauty come through. Ijust really really want a guitar but hey gotta keep saving up. Merry Christmas to all that read this and good luck to all!

  60. Ideally i would go with an NOS. I would rahter tell my own stories with dings and abrasions than have the story already written for me.

  61. Worn finishes (reliced etc) all actually help give the guitar a personality and yes it is something to talk about – If I find something in that condition I can imagine the stories it has to tell and the sound that it makes will be a unique one too!

  62. I really do like the look of reliced guitars so long as it is not completely over
    the top w/ that extra beat up look, but I still cannot bring myself to pull the
    trigger and buy one.
    Call me old fashioned if you must but I want to be the person that puts the first
    ding on my guitar.
    I think it is that whole agonizing experience of the making your own dings & dents that gives the guitar character which then creates the story to go along w/ each one. This it what really makes it unique. A reliced guitar is just that, to me they are missing the story of the journey.

  63. Black finish with trotise pick guard crime pick up coversI am not a fan of relic guitars whether it’s true or manufactured relic. That’s just me

  64. I would get the relic finish because I think that all guitars have their own stories playing a guitar that has already gone through its rock and roll adventure would be amazing. It would be like learning to be a Jedi from Yoda

  65. For me a relic White with a tortoiseshell pickguard ….MUST have a maple one piece neck !!!! But I WILL take this one for Christmas without an argument !!!!!

  66. I like the relic finish with a sense of honest wear and mojo to it. It would look great and sound great with my worn but stlll sounding soulful 1966 Fender Super Reverb Amp.

  67. I’d like something like a closet classic, no finish checking if I could get it, but I love the look of oxidized metal. if there has to be crackling I want it all over and fairly uniform, like on the forest green one above, the localized crackling like on the Gold one is just a touch too distracting for me.

  68. Every guitar and guitarist have stories to tell. An instrument like this is STILL going to have those stories but with a look that may be older than it’s owner! SLICK!

  69. If I could choose a relic, it would be something like Jerry Garcia played in the 1970’s. He’s my favorite guitar player, and while I never saw him play strat, I just saw the Sunshine Daydream and boy could they play!

  70. For me the NOS would be ideal, I tend to keep my gear in “near new” condition as much as possible. The old finishes and mfg processes are great, so I’d love to own one. Having said that, the Relics have a charm to them. HAHA. I always think of Joe Strummer’s old Tele that is just beaten nearly to death, but he still made it sound like a dream.

  71. One thing I do like about the Relic finish is that it makes me more relaxed about just playing the instrument. If I have a brand new guitar with a perfect finish, I am gonna cringe when it receives its first few dings. For me the relic finish bypasses the agonizing stage of acquiring the first few blemishes and psychologically frees me to simply enjoy playing it.

  72. Closet classic. I adore the finish checking. I’m not into best up guitars so much but I love one that’s aged and been cared for. I’ve held a few closet classics and they still get my heart racing. Thanx for the chance at this. It’s appreciated.

  73. I really like the closet classic, because is has the kinda vintage vibe and if i own it for a little while it will be naturally reliced anyway, but every scratch and ding will have a story behind it!

  74. I could play this, I really could….no seriously, I COULD play this. BUT I need to win this soon since I’m 142 years old….PLEASE HURRY. THANK YOU.

  75. First, I have to say this. In the introductory paragraph on Relics: “You have a long hair, roughed up leather jacket, old Harley look”. I know it’s just a typo, but the image that this statement put in my mind was hilarious! “You have A long hair…” I see a biker looking dude with one long strand of hair coming out of the top of his head. haha! Anyway, I know that the whole relic concept gets a lot of hate from the purists, but I love a great looking relic Fender. It’s the closest thing to playing a truly beat up vintage guitar, but this way you don’t have to take a piece of history out into the world and risk it being stolen, or worse. To me, the relic concept is a glorious option and I care not what anyone says! 😉

  76. The concept of relic guitars can be quite controversial, but I think it is a matter of taste, and very reliant on the quality of the faux aging. When well done, I think the result can be quite appealing. One side benefit to a relic guitar is the extra time and attention paid to the comfort of the guitar neck. For myself, I like the relic look on guitars made of ash, alder or solid mahogany, but not so much on figured maple.

  77. When I create my dream Fender custom shop Relic guitar, it would be a Surf Green Stratocaster with maple fret board. To me that would be a classic early 60’s look, and tone, for the surf music I would play with it.

  78. Love the look of the Relic finish. People just assume you have mad chops if you have worn in a guitar that well. I would love to add a few of my own marks to such a beautiful instrument!

  79. I’m not a fan of relic finishes per say, it would really depend on how well the relic was actually done. But I will admit there is a certain sexiness involved when looking at a guitar that’s a little bent and bruised. For my custom guitar, if it were a strat or telecaster body, I’d want something in a sea form green or some sort of baby blue. I’ve always liked those colors on those style of guitars and they give off an airy and “innocent” vibe.

  80. Very strange this is the guitar you guys are giving away. I’ve been looking at this exact model all weekend!! I love the Daphne and Sonic Blue. And I’m such a fan of the relic look that I’ve tried to duplicate a ’52 Telecaster in lake placid blue.

  81. I met a guy around 1970. He eventually became my best friend. He played a gold strat and used to give me lessons. He was an amazing player, even at the age of fourteen. I never panned out! I would love this vintage guitar to revive my latent want of playing the guitar!

  82. Without a doubt, I’d choose the Fiesta Red relic finish. I think it’s one of the most interesting and controversial finishes, along with the most beautiful finish when properly aged.

  83. I would go with a Closet Classic in Sherwood Green. I love the color and it would look great next to my Olympic White P-Bass.

  84. I like the relic look, but I would not try to artificially recreate it. I would want to build my dream guitar using authentically worn parts. I love guitars with character, and my ’67 has plenty of dings which do not take away from it at all. Having back of the neck smooth is important to me though.

  85. First off the blue relic looks like it has a story to tell. I just wonder if vintage parts were used in the assembly( most likely N.O.S).

  86. I would love the extra relic finish.. The reason being is I have been called an “Old soul”. it would fit my personality well. Let me ask though.. of the Relic Stratocaster Electric guitar,, which artist owned and played one of these beauties???

  87. I think I would like mine a little more pristine in a Sunburst color. I want to put the wear on myself. Closet Classic would be the limit for me.

  88. I am a big fan of the Olympic white- I think it ages well. I would probably go with a closet classic because I play with my guitars like they are my pets- I treat them right, feed them regularly, and make sure they get their checkups. Hey, if anyone’s going to do anything to my guitar, it’s me.

  89. I managed to get a beautiful 62 strat before there was a custom shop. Lake placid blue ,rosewood . Look’s and sounds amazing after 26+ years. Probably have used that to gig more than any guitar I own. I love that sonic blue one you have …

  90. Bran spankin new. I like the look and smell of a new guitar. I think they play better, sound better and certainly look better.

  91. personally, i’d go for a vintage sunburst ’59 strat look. NOS would be fine, but a relic piece with just the right amount of finish dings, scrapes and checking with rusty screws would really ROCK!

  92. NOS burst without question. Why? Because it would be on a Jazz bass. With all that surface to cover on the top it needs to be broken up into smaller areas by the three different tones; a solid colour simply looks expansive and hence bland.

  93. Small White Mouse & Fender Custom Shop just superb to give away an NOS sonic blue Fender Strat It would be awesome to win but I prefer a more shiny new strat or tele if I were to purchase with a custom painting on it!

  94. If I was just starting out in my late teens or early 20’s, I would have to go with the new finish, so I could put my own wear and tear on it, but at my age I think NOS is the way to go. But, if I were to find an actual 60 Strat, I want one with chips, dings, scratches, scrapes and bloodstains.

  95. I’ve always liked relic’d guitars because they feel broken in and if they do get a ding it just adds to there character.

  96. My dream guitar would have a relic stain finish with a lot of wood grain showing. I love a guitar with a natural finish. The relic just makes it look broken in. Woo Hoo!

  97. Mine would be a vintage 2 tone sunburst. I absolutely love sunburst finishes because you can still see some of the beautiful woodgrain but you get that awesome color combination as well.

  98. Tough choices, but I think a new old stock option would best suit me. I wish I’d kept my ’72 Telecaster Deluxe, it might be a relic by now. But I want the best possible guitar from the best possible era defined by innovation, rather than what is expedient at the cororate level. Leo was a genius, and the guitars he created are amazing.

  99. Nitro, best all around finish for adding to the sound of the solid body.
    I like new guitars, but I think if I had a relic I would not be afraid to play it live.
    I also really, really like the “2013 Fender Custom Shop Closet Classic Telecaster Pro – Shoreline Gold”

  100. I’d go with a NOS Strat and would do a custom metallic surf green finish. Add a nice V-shape flame maple neck and some nice pickups and that would be my dream guitar.

  101. My dream guitar would actually be a dream bass. 1964 SHELL PINK FENDER JAZZ RELIC BASS. For a guitar it would be a Strat in Lake Placid Blue, Aged Pearl pick guard and maple neck.

  102. Honestly, The RELIC thing is a bunch of horse crap being fed to guitarists in order to sell more guitars. If you want a guitar that’s beat to shit or “RELIC’d” do it yourself by playing it! or buy a used guitar at a pawn shop. OR bring it to my house and I’ll beat the crap out of it for you and charge you an extra couple grand. Although, I’d be happy to win the blue one in the giveaway in order to sell it to some shmuck and buy myself a brand new, untouched, unRELIC’d, MINT-IN-BOX guitar from Small White Mouse!!

  103. I would have a New Old Stock. That way I could get a wig and some false teeth and the guitar and me could pretend we look like we did 50 years ago.

  104. I really like the sonic blue strat. It has that “look” that I like…vintage yet very modern looking. A huge thumbs up to the Fender Custom Shop for a beautiful guitar!

  105. I love the look of Relic and Extra Relic finishes. The guitar that’s being given away is absolutely gorgeous! Nothing beats the feel of an older broke in guitar Fenders Relic and Extra Relic nail the look and feel.

  106. How times have changed! It used to be that the more dings and scratches the less it cost. Now, the more dings and scratches the more it costs. So, my old $200 when new beater guitar should be approaching 5 figures about now. 8o)
    I’d be hard pressed to decide which Custom Shop finish I’d want more…

  107. That blue strat is a beauty. I love the old, rugged, slightly battered look. It gives it character. It means it’s got a story, I’d love to know that story! I’m a big fan of the Sienna finish though, I like being able to see the grain of the wood!

  108. It’s always amazing when people channel a slice of heaven into this cold world. The Fender Stratocaster is a fantastic example of this. Beautiful both in look, and sound, the Strat is out of this world. In my opinion, a relic finish, white Stratocaster is uptmost example of guitar creativity. This would be my dream guitar.
    Personally, I really enjoy the look of the relic series. I have had many people tell me that I am an old soul. Are they right? Who knows. I do know that the “old” vintage/used look really grabs my imagination. I feel at ease with the relic look. It is almost like visiting an old friend…

  109. I’d love an extra relic’ed Strat in 3 tone sunburst. A guitar like that looks like it needs to play the blues! Have you looked at the prices on the vintage ones recently?

  110. I like the closet classic as well as the ones with the slight/subtle relic jobs. The extremely relic’ed (spelling?) guitars are a little much and look unauthentic. The Custom Shop Relic Sunset Orange and the Sonic Blue are very tasteful and I would love to own one.

  111. I like the relic’d finishes, myself. Were I to have any Fender product, though, I’d have to go with the Custom Shop Masterbuilt Dennis Dunaway Billion Dollar Jazz Bass, you know, if I had 7K lying around and could find one.

  112. The best thing about strats is that looks are secondary. The sound & the feel is so distinctive & classic that odd colors and dings and scratches just add to the conversation. I want a guitar that looks like it’s been well used, because that’s what a strat is FOR.

  113. 60s Strats are very, very cool. Have always loved colors from that era, Fiesta Red, Surf Green, or at least today’s version of them. Typically I like guitars that were kept in good shape, but have been played to develop a little mojo. A very lightly relic’ed Strat is my preference, although a NOS instrument is a pretty good thing in my hands too. My fav sought after Strat would be a 60s two-tone sunburst with maple board, only rivaled by a 50s butterscotch Tele!

  114. Hi there, I´m a totally rookie in guitar stuff, so if I had to chose a custom finish, it would probably be the New Old Shop. Sorry for my english, this is spain style. Muñon Poweeeeer

  115. I would go with a relic finish. I look at relic finish as someone played this beauty because it was so awesome and just wore it down. Who wouldn’t want a guitar they know is good because it was played so much that the finish is worn down.

  116. For my dream guitar, I’d want a NOS finish. A vintage-looking rig that looks factory fresh, making the guitar seem like it was pulled out of a Time Capsule. How cool would that be!?! As for the color, well, I like them all. My two favorites would have to be All-White, or Tuxedo Black with White accents. Chrome gear only!

  117. You can’t even call a guitar collection a collection without a Strat. This is not only a Strat but it’s what you think of when you talk about Fender Stratocasters. As a person that doesn’t have a Strat, this is a must have.

  118. Love the NOS. I’m a Clapton fan, so I would get a sunburst finish, like his “Brownie”. I may never play like Eric, but I can dream. But the sonic blue reminds me of model he played at the Crossroads Guitar Festival.

  119. Hard to say which finish. Would need to think about it a bit more but
    off the top of my head, I’d probably initially go with a relic finish
    over an extra relic. If it’s going to be THAT beat-up, I’d like it to be from my own hand. A touch worn is nice though.

  120. Sunburst or Candy Apple Red, I’m not sure yet, but I sure that if I am given the chance a choice will be made. I am Hoping (Closet Classic-medium for either one)!!!

  121. While I can understand its appeal to some, I just can’t imagine dropping this kind of coin on a pre-beat up guitar. Given the choice, I’d go for the NOS version and beat it up myself.

  122. The perfect finish there but if there is one that astounds me is the natural finish. It is majestic view of selected wood grain, with drawings characteristic of their species. On the other hand, an electric blue nitrocellulose lacquer brings a touch of madness that I also love!

    As for your blog, congratulations for the work done, is amazing!

    Just ask a question, why not work with Gibson?

    Greetings friends!

  123. Those are terrible reasons for buying one of these overpriced guitars. There is no good reason. Beat it up yourself. Anyone who sets out to buy one of these has too much money.

  124. In my opinion, people are giving way too much thought to the question of finish. Any finish is okay with me as long as the guitar is a player. I’m a guitarist – what my ears tell me trumps what my eyes tell me.

    The Fender Custom Shop 1960 Relic Super Sonic Blue Stratocaster looks amazing. But if it ain’t a player then it belongs in the burn barrel.

    Kudos on the blog post – interesting read!

  125. I love that light blue or sonic i also the the light yellow ones.i like them reliced ones but i wouldnt want it to be to relicd like all the color gone. id still want some color. i like the old style tuners an the rosewood boards. i would never be able to efford a custom shop like this as high as they are so winning one would be my only way off owning one .an it would sure be nice too..specialy for x-mas time!!

  126. Easy. Lightly relic’d finish. Shiny guitars just cause glare issues that blind all your fans! A nice lightly relic’d Strat immediately resolves that problem, and still allows you to carve, scratch, dent, and burn plenty of your own memories into that timeless Fender design.

  127. I love that light blue or sonic i also the the light yellow ones.i like them reliced ones but i wouldnt want it to be to relicd like all the color gone. id still want some color.but id want just enough relic to give it some character. i like the old style tuners an the rosewood boards aswell.also iwouldnt mind what trem system was on it as long as it had a good size block for some great sustaine.but anyways i would never be able to efford a custom shop like this as high as they are so winning one would be my only way off owning one,an it would sure be nice too..specialy for x-mas time!!

  128. We all know that the finish is not the most important, but something that is also determinate in our choice. Anyway, I like most Fender usual finishes.

  129. I like a light/medium relic. People complain a lot about the road worn look being for “posers”, but more often than not no one is actually trying to pretend they did it themselves.

    I just like the look. I think brand new guitars look great too. It’s just a matter of changing things up. I like the way the custom shop looks because I think it just looks ascetically interesting.

    For example, the usual wear near the top body curve from constant strumming stripping away the paint adds a cool new flow to the paint job. I would never tell someone “It looks like that because I play it so much.” I just honestly think it adds a new dimension to the look you can’t get otherwise.

  130. I’m a big fan of the closet classic look, I like the relics also. They have that broke in feel to them. It’ all about personal preference. Color is not that big of a deal to me when it comes to Fenders. Strats are my favorite guitar by far. What I love the most about them is they can all look the same, but each one feels and sounds different. At least to me. Great Contest, thanks for the chance to win one.

  131. I agree with Kevin L. Gibbs on this one. Closet, Relic, whats the point? Go to the pawnshop or buy a new one and beat the crap out of it yourself, if thats your thing. Me, I’d do the NOS or New. I want it to look like a shinny new penny for as long as it can, and age with me.. Or try and catch up..

  132. Personally I prefer the new guittarras be I who granted the classic finish. The NOS are not bad, guitars and new technology before, in many cases higher than those of today who have a tendency to do things so that it lasts a limited time.

  133. My good friend has an original 1964 Fender Telecaster and one problem with that guitar is that there is a small screw on the whammy bar that will not stay in even with “Lock Tight”. It sounds like a small problem until you’re standing there with the whammy bar in your hand on stage and can no longer find the original screw. There are other issues also. And, even with these issues, the price of buying that guitar or one like it is stratospheric. So, in many respects, the NOS may be a better guitar because after all these years many of the problems that the older guitars had may be corrected. For someone looking for a relic-like guitar, this may be the way to go.

  134. I would totally go for a plain wooden finish similar to SRV,s main guitar. I just think the wood grains really can tell a tale when exposed and beaten after years of playing, I never get upset when I get a new chip or crack in my tele, I think it’s what makes it yours because you can remember where almost all of them came from and happened, a trip down memory lane from just picking it up and strumming

  135. Brand new please… shiney & clean. I love the look and feel of a brand new guitar. I also think modern electronics are an improvement over the older designs.

  136. I’m a big fan of the NOS look. There’s just something about a pristine guitar that looks like it’s brand new, but has actually just been well kept, and taken care of, for 20-30-40 years or more! That said, I really do appreciate all kinds of finishes. I have a matte finish Epiphone Wilshire that I love, and a very shiny Jaguar that I love equally. I’m a lover of all things guitar really!

  137. Hmm, I’m not sure if the finish I have in mind for my dream guitar even exists. At least, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something that looks very close to how I picture it. Anyway, I’d go with like a deep turquoise sort of color…a rich fusion that can appear either green-ish or blue-ish depending on the lighting. Why that color? Well, just seems like it would be original and catch the eye, not to mention that’s probably my favorite color anyway.

  138. So…I think I love the NOS idea/finish best as I love a beautiful, shiny, new guitar the most. The closet classic is my next choice. Having said that I love all the artistic thinking and touches that go into the relic jobs that the custom shop can do. For me a custom shop strat or tele in Olympic White NOS or Fiesta Red NOS or closet classic would be a dream axe. Love classic fenders….and I think I can do my own very minor relicing (bumping into corners accidentally/etc) over time.

  139. My Custom Shop would be a Jazzmaster with 4-wire Wide-Ranges (if those exist) with a heavy Closet Classic. I like the patina and crazing, but no dings. That Forest Green up there is really stunning, but I think I’d want a sparkle deep blue. Basically the Lee Ranaldo Jazzmaster with a birdseye maple neck and preferably a diamond dust or pearl version of the blue that’s on it. Pearloid pickguard, of course. BIG INLAYS as well.

  140. I prefer to have a new finish. I like to let it get natural ware in tear to give it character and make it new, but it needs to start clean.

  141. First off, a guitar to me being new should look new. This beat up look to me should be done by the player, kinda shows a legacy of him and his guitar. Personally, the white finish would trump the others and as far as customizing, I think Fender has pretty much done that already. Getting a new Fender alone would be enough to satisfy myself.

  142. I have a ’63 Jazzmaster, a ’65 Jaguar, and a 2004 Telecaster. The Jazzmaster has been sanded down to the natural wood. The Jaguar I bought used and it is painted with what looks like house paint. I’d like to sand that down and give them both a clear coat. The Tele I wouldn’t touch. She’s a beauty as is.

  143. I like the idea of a brand new guitar with the look and feel of one made before it became a classic. Something that if I had been around when it was first made, I might have bought one then.

  144. I would prob go Extra Relic… Just for the fact it would be well worn by allot of people rather then just persons wear.. everyone has their own feel and ways. I think the extra relic would give me a better chance at wearing my own footprint into it.

  145. Two finishes pop into my mind, depending on the type of guitar. I really want to build both an SG-style and a Jazzmaster-style guitar. For the SG, I would probably chose a transparent red satin. For the Jazzmaster, it would probably have to be sunburst with a nicely matching pick guard. I really like the look of the relics, but I’d want it to occur naturally over time.

  146. I would want an extra relic finish because it’s sometimes cool to have something that is old looking and valuable. It may help with picking up new fans and telling a story. Music is all about the story telling right?

  147. I would have a hardtail Strat with the volume pot where the middle pickup tone pot is and a big 70s headstock and maple on maple neck with red,white and blue hardware and an American flag finish.

  148. New old stock for sure. It’s like having access to a time machine and getting my hands on a timeless classic. There’s also something to having a guitar worn down the finish over many years of playing.

  149. Brand Shiny New! I can’t understand anyone buying an already beat up guitar. But if you want to give me a Strat well…..

  150. Guess a closet classic or NoS…I just care about really trying to improve;and practice andplating; after a an accident and hospital bills and not playing for a few years and hand surgeries; got nothing but a 20yr old Mexican strat with a warped neck and bad frets; so…Saving up for one nice guitar; it’s time and if I won I could live happily ever after and die in peace…Thanks for the contest; good luck to me and only me.

  151. I would want it in Candy Apple Red. I first started playing in 1988 after a dream about playing a Fender Strat on stage… Candy Apple red, maple fretboard… still don’t have one! I do, however, love sonic blue and daphne blue also :)

  152. I’d prefer NOS, but I love all guitars and that Sonic Blue 1960 Relic is beautiful. Most of my guitars are banged up and there’s a crazy story behind every ding and scratch.

  153. I’d want a NOS finish in either surf blue or green. I take care of my guitars and while I appreciate the relic’ed, but I want to be the guy that did it over a period of years.

  154. Dream guitar? I will take a yellow, red, or blue stained quilted maple, with a nice thick clear coat, and a vintage stained birdseye maple neck. Its all about the beauty of the wood showing through to me, after all, it is an instrument, like a “strat”-avarious.

  155. We all know looks dont matter,,,as long as you have
    killer tone and sustain for days,,,,coming from a pair
    of hot seymour duncans ,,,with a overdrive pedal,,all
    pluged into a vintage fender amp,,,its all you need,,,
    But if i had my choice i would go for the all
    natural wooden strat(pine ,ash,alder,mahogany, maple etc etc),,,prefurable with a reverse headstock..there is nothing better than a 70’s style strat,,,
    natural light ash, flat (no gloss) body with a rosewood
    board,,but,,it has to have a reverse headstock…man i
    get wood(get it,,,,all natural ash wood) just thinking
    about it…haaaaa,,,, thanks guys,take care,

  156. I’d prefer the NOS finish on my dream guitar – I never really understood the “relic” attraction, although I certainly wouldn’t mind having one! It’s just that I get upset when I ding my guitar and can’t imagine purposely roughing it up!

  157. I had never considered that how the guitar looked was seen by people to be as important as the music it made or the sounds that it played. I suppose if I had a guitar that had actually seen the use you are striving for in the finishing techniques, it might be interested. But for me, it’s all about the music you make!

  158. When I create my dream guitar I would want a NOS finish. There’s nothing like the feeling of holding a new guitar. For an aficionado, or someone wanting to experience a vintage model guitar, there’s nothing like holding a new guitar with the specs of your favorite model guitar. Personally, I really like traditional colors, finishes, and specs, and to have that in a brand new model really is a dream come true.

  159. New is always fun, but I want to know, did Fender ever make a Ferrari Yellow Strat? Relic Yellow with the smaller headstock would be my pick. Or the same in a Tele would be fun too.

  160. I once had a 60 strat that a previous owner had removed the original finish. It was down to the original wood but, Fabulon had been applied to shine it.. I would choose the closet classic to equal the wear of my 80 Lead II… Miss my strat forever…Think the Sonic Blue would look outrageous with the feathering in it

  161. I love the fact that there is interest in relic’d guitars. It makes my genuinely beat up guitars hold their value a little better and attracts some interest to them. If I were saving up and getting just the perfect strat I wanted, I’d go with the NOS rather than the lovely guitar you’re giving some lucky son of a gun. In a few years, it will have a few dings in it despite my best efforts to keep it pristine. That said, I’d love to have the beauty you’re giving away.

    I have an old Jazz bass that has my better half’s ex husband’s teeth marks in it on the lower bout from a little dispute they had that I moderated with extreme prejudice during a gig when we first got together. I never missed a note when knocking him to his knees. That was over 25 years ago and it’s priceless to us – sort of a symbol of our relationship.

  162. I would like to use a vintage old school finish and somehow make it appear like it had been applied years ago. I would use this as I think a well worn guitar that appears to have many miles on it tells me a story.

  163. I have no preference on finishes, a guitar must speak to me unplugged before I will buy it. I have many different guitars, all with different finishes so I have no preference.

  164. I would need a NOS guitar. I definitely will wear it in myself! Having a classic feeling Fender with a new car smell would be amazing. Something for the elves in the custom shop to be proud of!

  165. I have a couple closet classics, both made by VOX. A Super Lynx Deluxe and Violin Bass. Both have finish checking. When i first obtained them I honestly thought it took away from the guitar, but I really enjoy the look. I find researching the guitars as much fun as owning them.

  166. While I’d absolutely love to have BOTH a Strat AND a Tele (for their unique sounds/playability/versatility – they are right up there on my list of TODOs) NEITHER has yet managed to find it’s way out of my limited bank account and into my home (or under my tree). Here’s to hoping I get there… (someday)

    Relative to finishes I know that I would NEVER pay to have a guitar relic’d; that said I guess if I were given one I couldn’t complain (that 1960 Relic Super Sonic Blue IS a purdy thing), but for “my Money” the main thing for me is playability and tone (if they’re players – regardless of looks, like the type of guitar my guitar heroes would go out of their way to buy/play/hang on to, that’d be the guitar for me). I agree with the vast majority of commenters statements that creating one’s own history with a guitar is far more important/desirable than having that look put on it – I still (buy and) expect to break-in my jeans the same way.

    So “Ideal” for me, as much as I respect the heritage of the old, I tend towards the new – frankly, I think there is WAY too much focus put on heritage – keeps us from truly pushing the boundaries and making real progress. Similarly, as pretty as an old Porsche (Ferrari or whatever) is, with almost no exceptions I’d rather have the latest greatest technology/look/design over the old any day (perhaps if I had a few of the new to fill my stable I’d then be more inclined to also want a classic or two, as well, but that remains to be seen). That said, I do like the Strats and Teles for their original clean, chimey, versatile and not overly gainy nature, that’s why I’d want them (I can get those pushed tones with pedals and amps if/when I want them).

    Bottom line NEW first choice – (with the more modern fits – body cutaway/designs – neck shapes/technologies – pickup flexibility) would be my leaning. Natural wood – perhaps with a burst design, with Nitro finish, noiseless pickups, fast varied neck camber/radius, stainless frets, top quality smooth and high ratio tuners, maple neck (and either Rosewood or Maple fretboard), great fit and finish – these are the things I’d be looking for in a CUSTOM Shop Strat or Tele. NOS, but top quality would be my second choice. Hopefully, I can get one (s Strat and/or Tele) with enough time to actually play the thing long enough to become a master on it (AND wear my own Relic look into them).

    BTW, I appreciate your site. I’ll have to admit I do not think about you guys much between emails/contests as I find just wishing I had some of this gear doesn’t make it happen, but I find what you’re doing worth the read/look-see. Thanks – and here’s to hoping!

  167. I’ve bought lots of used guitars, but I’ve never paid extra because they were beat up. I’ve bought lots of new guitars, and I’ve always wanted to keep them looking new as long as possible. Now of course with use comes the loss of newness, and accidents happen even if you’re being careful, so some I bought new look beat up.

    I like the NOS, and that’s appealing to me if I was laying down my own cash. Having said that, the 1960 Sonic Blue Relic Stratocaster Custom Shop Guitar is a beauty. The hardware really catches your eye, and I love that blue. Beat up or not, I’d still take just as good care of it as I’ve done with all my guitars.

  168. I think the guitar you’re giving away is a beauty. I do have a question about the paint used for the Relic and Closet Classic guitars: How close to the original paint is the paint that is used today? If I were picking my dream guitar, I’d probably go with a NOS finish.

    1. Very. All nitrocellulose lacquer guitars take much longer to finish so most guitars, especially cheaper ones, are usually subject to ‘shortcuts.’ Custom Shop guitars are painstakingly authentic to how fender produced and finished those cherished instruments, and are as close as you are going to get. Fender’s Mexico facilities produce a few nitro models, such as the Road Worn and Lacquered, and represent good value and great tone. I suspect the Road Worn’s popularity has more to do with the nitro finish and less to do with the patina.

  169. If I created my dream guitar it would be a Fender Precision Bass with rosewood fingerboard and an coset classic sunburst finish. It would also have the bridge cover and ashtray just like James Jamerson “Funk Machine.” I would get the extra coset classic finish to match the dirty low-down gut-bucket tone that players like Willie Weeks get. slightly flawed but beautiful in it’s rawness.

  170. I don’t think I’d want anything except a NOS finish. I mean, why would I want a mechanically aged axe? Makes absolutely zero sense to me. But..YMMV! Also, back in the day (late 60’s/70’s) no one talked about getting an old guitar. Let’s face it, Hendrix played all new Strats. And he sounded just fine as I recall.

  171. I really like a pristine finish, but if I was trying to recapture the look of my old ’61 mainly I would want cracking, lots of it. My acoustic that started as matte have a shiny area under my right arm and the neck is shiny and slick but not new polished shiny and slick. I also like the gouges behind the frets.

  172. I have read that the finish can affect the guitars tonal characteristics. I don’t have first hand knowledge of this, but I think I would choose a very thin nitrocellulous lacquer, if I was doing the custom guitar dance.

  173. i had a 1977 natural finish stat and got scared of work getting slow and sold it, cheap. worst mistake i ever made, shoulda sold my truck. needing another one, and this finish can’t be found, maybe a blue or black one.

  174. I like the closet classic finish as it gives the guitar a vintage “New” “AGED” and rarely used look that would look great in my collection of New/Used/Signed guitars!

  175. Only once have I been able to buy a new guitar. I’ve always had to buy used guitars. Holding and playing my new guitar was the most awesome thing ever. It doesn’t look new anymore but it’s still a very special guitar to me. I like the guitars I bought used but it’s just not the same as buying a new guitar.

    I like either a natural wood grain finish or something like sonic blue or seafoam green. It would be awesome to win the reliced Strat, but I certainly wouldn’t pay extra for somebody dinging up a nice new guitar.

  176. I currently have a relic’d Custom Shop telecaster, and would love to have a relic’d custom shop Stratocaster to go with it.

  177. Closet Classic would be my favorite. I think the value would be much greater than a trashed looking instrument. At any rate, playability and sound are my foremost desired characteristics.

  178. I would have to go with the NOS as well. I have a couple of older guitars already that show genuine wear. It’s really satisfying to know that all of the dings, dents, and scratches came from me while I was actually playing the guitar. That being said, when I see the fret board from an old or relic’d maple finger board tele with those beautiful darkened areas, I can’t help but like it!

  179. Hmm.. I’d like to win the guitar but honestly I wouldn’t care for any of these relic finishes. I prefer to put in the wear and tear myself….Color clear, clear coat so the wood grain shows. Thats’s my favorite.

  180. I love a root beer quilt, the depth of color combined with the quilt top makes for an amazing look that makes everyone say…wow, now that’s nice!…

  181. My dream guitar would be a Custom Shop Strat NOS with Fiesta Red paint, Mint green Pickguard, aged white parts, maple neck, alder body, ’56 single coil pickups.

  182. I’m a huge fan of all shades of blue guitars. I especially like the Aged Lake Placid Blue on the ’52 Tele. This Sonic Blue strat is a very close 2nd. I like shiny new guitars, but there is something about that antiqued, well played look.

  183. I think I’d have to go with a ‘relic’ finish, because it more closely approximates a guitar that has seen life and has some stories to share. My dad was in Johnny & The Hurricanes for a brief period in the 60s, and to this day has story upon story upon story of shows, trips, other bands, and what life was like in that time period of the music business. His ’63 Epiphone Sheraton is what I’d call somewhere in between closet classic and relic. It’s definitely seen a lot of life, and could surely tell stories, but he took very good care of it and it survived the occasional outing over the years. I just recently started playing, and he recently got it and his old Ampeg back out and I think is a little recharged too.

  184. New Old Stock is the finish for me. I really wanted a Strat in the 60’s and it would be wild to have the next best thing. I don’t gravitate towards guitars that have been “reliced” (damaged) by the factory. Let the guitars age naturally; don’t support “guitar abuse” (LOL).

  185. oh jeeeez – – for my dream axe I’d go for a relic fender jaguar in sunburst..beat up, worn, and weathered….but perhaps some1 took the great care to replace the frets 15 years ago :-) and I’d wear the frets right back down!! either that, or a sonic blue strat sexed up and free. cheers ya’ll

  186. I come up with guitar ideas all the time. Right now I’d like a Closet Classic Fiesta Red Strat, but with a hand rubbed finish on the neck that feels like there is no finish. I’ve also started liking fat necks, not baseball fat, but sort of like the SRV necks. And a compound radius fretboard, 9.5-14 with slightly larger than vintage stainless steel frets. For pickups maybe some Seymour Duncan Antiquity’s. Not that I’ve thought a lot about it… that sonic blue is pretty sweet though.

  187. I’m very much a sucker for a natural finish on all of my guitars – there’s something pristine and earthy about seeing every detail to the wood grain. That being said, I’d definitely shoot for a NOS finish…I like knowing that the wear and tear my guitars get comes strictly from the love I show it.

  188. My dream guitar is a ’59 Sunburst Fender Strat. For a reproduction, I would probably go with a light relic finish, as I think the sunburst has so much character when it starts to show some wear. I’d love a sonic blue too, of course!

  189. While it may not be for everybody, how many actual 1960 guitars look pristine? Why is that bad? A custom shop guitar is just like the genuine article in so many ways, except for price. It’s a tenth of what the real deal costs. If you owned a ’60 strat chances are you wouldn’t be able to enjoy it like you can one like this. The quality of the standard series is good. American standard is better, and the authenticity of guitars like that one is phenomenal. Fender makes a guitar for every budget and as long as you get what YOU like you can’t go wrong. Plus, with the Custom Shop you can spec YOUR guitar any way you want it. I got an American Vintage strat and a tele deluxe from small white mouse and the setup on both was fantastic. Fender made a lot of guitars like mine on a regular production line. Custom Shop guitars are much more unique. That is good. Custom Shop stuff isn’t overpriced, it’s just that everything else is overproduced. That is why the slogan reads “when you’re ready” My opinion is that guitars are better by the dozen. Guitars like these built by experienced luthiers with choice materials only get better as they age and as they get played.

  190. I’d order a closet classic. Guitar still looks pretty so that it would wear with my playing but isn’t pristine so I don’t have to freak out. I’ve loved sonic blue ever since I saw a color photo of John Lennon during the recording of Rubber Soul

  191. Id take a NOS finish, I’m pretty good at chipping them once they hit a stage LOL. Something about having them beat on & pre worn dosnt make me hot. I like to be the one wearing them in, bought Most of my guitars Ordered special from the factory, just so there would be less people pawing it… they are like girlfriends..

  192. I’d probably pick the NOS finish. I love the classic look. It matches my style. But it would be cool to have that shiny new look. It’s like finding the proverbial classic car that was only driven to the grocery store and church by the old lady who owns it.

  193. Cool article, and I like the information you gave. Since I’m looking for an entry as well, I think its worth mentioning how useful this article will be if I were actually working towards building my dream guitar

    For sure, I think a nitro finish is what I’d prefer, if only because it ages so nicely, but I think I’d do what I could to make sure it didn’t age too much! (its my dream guitar, I want to take care of it!) Probably in a quality sunburst over good wood or maybe a Lake placid blue . . . If only I could actually do this . . .

  194. I bought a used Tele in 1968, not sure what year it was manufactured, but had to sell it in the early 70s. I have regretted it every day since. I would love to have a NOS Tele that replicated that one, it would be a dream come true.

  195. One has to be really careful with the nitrocelluose finishes, as the rubber and plastic on a guitar stand’s forks will react and really ruin the finish where it makes contact over time. The poly finishes on newer Fenders resist this to a large extent.

  196. I like the look of all 3 finishes my preference being in the order they are listed. Nos being my favorite but the others have great things going for them depending on what floats your boat. Love the orange of the relic & even the small dings, I also love the the distressed look of the classic but to my way of thinking I’d like to put my own marks on it so that when I look at it years later I will know what each scratch or dings back story is.

  197. If I were to build my own dream guitar I would go with a Nitro finish. Why? Well, it is of course vintage and cool. More than that though I just love the feel of a nitro finish in my hands. It is silky smooth and just adds to the playing experience. I also really love the color hues in nitro finish over a poly finish. If I were to buy a Custom Shop guitar, I would want a NOS part guitar with a nitro finish for the reasons listed above. I want the vintage instrument but I want to “age” it myself.

  198. gimme a new one. every scratch, ding, gouge, crack should have my name on it and a memory connected to it. i’m not a poser and i don’t need a fantasy to make the music i love.

  199. I’m torn on these. I own 5 used guitars already, and they have some dings and scratches. But that doesn’t make them any less, in my heart. I own 3 new ones too, and I’ve dinged them up myself, through alcohol induced clumsiness.

    But the one I’d prefer to win, is the black Telecaster, with the black headstock.
    I own 2 Strats. and a Tele, should fill in a different sound for me.

  200. I really like light bursts, but I don’t really have any specific formula like nitro in mind. My Carvin has a water-based uv-cured finish, which seems pretty good to me, except that it smelled like Play-doh.

  201. I have a fender coronodo 2 . This thing would be a relic. The white bindings on it have turn cream and the gloss finish on the neck has also darkened. It was my dads dads guitar. They both were professional musicians and now the guitar belongs to me. I have owned many guitars in my life, and gotten rid of so many too, but this one has always stayed around and now is my main guitar. the playablility of this thing is out of this world, and the tones are amazing. absolutely love it.
    Thanks for the descriptions of the guitars guys, now I can tell people I got a relic guitar

  202. My favorite guitar is the 1962 Strat; small pre-CBS headstock, rosewood fingerboard. My ideal would be surf green, heavy relic. I’d prefer to have worn it myself, but hey, I don’t have that kind of time left.

  203. Why not? .. love it! If i buy a new axe with no scratches..im afraid to scratch it…Relics have already been leaned into….Then im playing it harder

  204. I would definitely go for the closet classic with all of the dents, nicks and scratches showing how much the owner of this beautiful classic loved it.

  205. New Old Stock is my favorite. I really wanted, but couldn’t afford a Strat in the 60’s and it would be over the top to have the next best thing. No need to get guitars that have been “reliced” (damaged) by the factory. Let the guitars age naturally; don’t support “guitar abuse” (LOL).

  206. I recently lost all my strats, PBass, and amps to burglars. I’m saving for new gear though I can’t afford Custom Shop. I would love to win that Strat but if I had the money, I’ll go NOS with a fast satin neck. It’ll bring me back to the day I bought my first Strat in the 70s. I stil remember that proud feeling.

  207. Well from most of these comments I read here most of these people or musicians already own guitars of all kinds of finishes. I cant afford any of these kind of guitars but I would loving learn to play either of these Strats if I were to win! So please please please?

  208. I love the look of a closet classic–just enough wear to show some use, but not really beat up. It doesn’t have to look stage-used to look loved! This one would be my everyday guitar for sure.

  209. My dream guitar finish would be a sunburst finish. The reason that is my choice is because my father used to own an original Hofner violin bass in that finish and I’ve always loved it. He passed away and I never found out what happened to that guitar. He bought it in ’63 or ’64. The seafoam green is pretty trippy as well. I haven’t met anyone with a guitar of any brand with that finish. It’s loud. I do agree with everything Eric Cox said though. The finish really doesn’t matter at all. It’s all about the tone. If you have a nice tube amp, not only can you hear beauty, you feel it. I would say the type of wood and the neck matter a lot more than the finish. Of course I would like to win the guitar, we all would. I have never played any relic strats. Have a good one guys.

  210. I love classic and vintage left handed guitars. I get sick when I see used left handed guitars from the ’79 era through the Japan, Mexico, Indonesia….etc. for $700-1,000 or more!! Anyone who knows anything about construction and wood quality would pay extra for old wood and hand made guitars. Light Closet Classic, and Light Relic would be fine for me.

  211. I would go with NOS, because I want the wear and tear to be from me, but the tone from those old classic parts is probably killer.

  212. I prefer a New finish. I take care of my guitar and my basses much like I do my kids. I would like a guitar that looks like I took great pride in keeping it pristine. I understand why someone would want that old look, a Grunge Band with a Relic would look cool. But for the studio musician or guitar Mom as myself, I want the just bought look. Thanks for the explanations of Custom Shop, I get it now. Happy Holidays and thanks for your generosity with the giveaways.

  213. For aesthetic purposes, I really like a natural wood finish on my guitar, with a very thin layer of clear satin acrylic or nitrocellulose as a protectant. If a guitar is to have any wear and tear, I’d want it to be from years of being played. “People will see that guitar and ask questions.” I want to have a story to tell other than “They did that at the factory.”

  214. Hey Guys – here my entry – I already have my dream guitar haha – My Dad just so happens to be a Luthier – Its got a Curly Maple top with a Transparent Blue to Black Burst finish, Mahogany body and neck, Ebony fingerboard, Wilkinson Tremelo, SD Phat-cat Neck pickup, Gibson dirty fingers bridge pickup, Orange Drop Caps and some seriously high quality pots and wire. its the one on the left. the other two are also his builds!

  215. I love the idea of a completely matte black guitar. Granted, it wouldn’t fit into every situation live, it’d look really cool.

  216. A closet classic–not too worn but shows signs of playing from decades ago. That would be both nostalgic and a beautiful looking guitar to play.

  217. Beautiful guitar no doubt. For me nothing beats those classic colors, and I prefer NOS. Any Fender Strat or Tele in my hands is a heart warming thing, even with 47 years of guitars in my hands. My fav is still a Surf Green Strat with a rosewood board, or best, a classic 2-tone sunburst Strat with a beautifully aged maple board. Primo for sure. The custom shop is doing amazing things these days, although their work is priced way out of my reach. Thx for the chance at this amazing Strat.

  218. One of my favorite finishes is Pelham Blue on an old SG. When they get some age, the lacquer yellows a bit making the blue turn a really cool shade of green. That’s the level of detail I’d want on a newer custom shop!

  219. I really like the battered, well used look, that makes me think of the Ramones, the Clash, the Velvet Underground; so I’d go for a classic sunburst finish but really distressed, loads of chips and nicks, faded patches, stickers peeling off.

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