Relic Guitars The Hague is a Dutch builder that produces, obviously, relic’d guitars. Mostly using the archetypal Strat and Tele shapes, the company sells their axes online and often for prices well below those of U.S.-made relics.
The T-Style we received came in a delightfully battered old Fiesta Red finish with a maple neck and 22-fret fingerboard, aged white three-ply pickguard, and nickel hardware. Its pickups were handmade in the UK and the body top-grade alder.
The eye-grabber, though, was the finish, which the company deems a “medium relic.” (The company offers everything from mint condition to heavily road-worn.) The Relic cats are serious in their quest for bruised-and-battered authenticity. The finish was appropriately dull, with a big worn area on the lower bout’s top where a player’s arm might have rubbed for a few decades. The edges were chipped, and still other worn areas spoke to years of use, like a small patch of belt-buckle scratches on the back.
But the Relic craftsmen weren’t done yet. The neck was carefully darkened to a dark amber/honey simulating years of gigging in smoky bars. Relic even created finger grime on the sides of each fret and a long stretch of worn-away neck finish.
The hardware was suitably antiqued as well, its dull, dirty nickel showing signs of light corrosion and pitting. The open-post tuners and bridge saddles were particularly gnarly, and a look at the sides of the bobbin revealed that the artisans made the cotton string-coil protection layer all dusty and dingy. These guys don’t miss a trick!
The T-Style showed it was more than just looks, though, quickly passing one of a solidbody’s most important acid tests: the unplugged exam. This guitar sounded big and resonant without a cable, always a good sign. And while it had a vintage appearance, its neck had more of a modern shallow-D shape (customers can request a vintage C profile – 7.25″ radius – at no extra charge). Plugged in, the tone was pure Fender. The neck pickup had good jazz tones, and the bridge provided plenty of Nashville snap for your best faux pedal-steel licks.
We couldn’t find much to complain about on the RgTH. It looked great, played as well as most mid-price guitars of the type, and had great tone. This plank is a fine deal for players who want a nicely relic’d “vintage” solidbody without breaking the bank. File it under “Dutch treat.”
This article originally appeared in VG January 2016 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.