I decided recently to try customising my old and cheap guitar. I was thinking about buying a fender road-worn series guitar which are aged by the custom shop to look like they’ve been gig’d for 20 years. The paint is worn and battered and the components are aged to match. The old 50’s-60’s guitars did this naturally as they had a nitro paint finish which was not as hard wearing as today’s lacquered paint finishes but to get a vintage road-worn guitar you are talking thousands of pounds.

I did it on a bit of a whim and was fully expecting to just ruin my guitar in the process but I am actually very pleased with the result and I’m no longer feeling the need for a new guitar as it’s given this old dog a new lease of life. It was extremely worrying making the first few marks and breaking the perfect surface but I sanded down the whole body so it has a duller finish which after polishing back up to hide the scratches made it much nicer. Then I sanded strategic parts of the body down to the wood looking at reference pictures of naturally worn guitars and thinking about where I put the most wear and tear on the guitar. Sanding down the neck actually made it much nicer to play as your hand doesn’t stick as much on the surface – in general I think it’s now nicer to play so I’d recommend it to anyone with a cheap guitar they’re not worried about ruining.

Relic Guitar


The Japanese writing says “The Squid”. This represents my OTHER great love of cartooning – squids are the cartoonists of the sea using ink as a defense mechanism (definitely my spirit animal). At some point I’d like to attack the components and age them up a bit but that is more of a severe job. I’m not keen on taking the guitar to pieces as it is a job to set it up correctly afterwards. When I’ve got a bit of time free I might give it a go and I’ll update any progress.