We love relic’d instruments at Dunlop. They look awesome, of course, with all the visual charm of an instrument that’s been through a lifetime or two on the road. But there’s more to a relic’d instrument than its appearance.

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They feel just as broken in as they look.

If you’ve ever put your hands on a vintage instrument that’s been played a lot, then you know that playing an instrument like that is as comfortable as putting on your favorite old pair of shoes. Builders go through a number of steps to create that worn-in feel in their relic’d instruments, and they tend to do it very successfully, whether it’s a Mexican-made Fender Roadworn Jazz Bass or a Tele-inspired guitar from San Francisco-based Rock N Roll Relics.

They sound great.

In order to be true to vintage instruments,  relic’d instruments are often finished with nitrocellulose paint, which is thinner than the polyurethane used by most modern instruments and really allows the sound of your instrument to blossom.

No need to obsess over their condition.

So you have a ’64 Jazz Bass, black body with matching headstock. You love the way it sounds, the way it feels. You love the vibe its nicks and chips give off. But let’s be honest–you’re not going to bring that prize out to a dive bar in your nearest metropolis.

With relic’d instruments, you just don’t have to worry as much. If you’re playing out, you can leave your valuable vintage instrument at home and take out the relic’d one instead so you keep the same vibe. Any dings you make on it won’t matter, because they’re no different from what the instrument already has. And you can mod the instrument with little fear of damaging it.

Like the guitars photographed above? Check out Rock N Roll Relics. We think their relic work is some of the best in the business.