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.
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.
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.
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.