On the surface, the Scumbag is a simple rock beast. With a 25.5″-scale neck, maple fingerboard, and bolt-neck construction, it has the design and spunky nature of a Strat or Tele. Another nod to the past is the guitar’s “snake head” headstock, a throwback to Leo Fender’s 1949 Broadcaster/Telecaster prototype. With its squared-off three-and-three design, it’s a clever way to evoke Gibson and Fender.
The Scumbag has Kluson double-line tuners, a TonePros wraparound bridge, vintage cloth wire, Switchcraft jack and switch, CTS pots (there’s a push/pull option for coil tapping), and Sprague “orange drop” capacitors. The True PAF humbuckers are made by Bob Gabriel of Netherlands-based 4 Seasons Pickups. Additionally, the Scumbag comes with a choice of two neck profiles – Fat C or Modern C. Its 9.5″ fingerboard radius is presented cleanly, with just two dots at the 12th fret.
Part of the Scumbag’s appeal is its construction. Its two-piece, double-cut alder body has a thin nitrocellulose finish (the builders stress that there are no poly layers), which helps a solidbody make a chunkier tone like classic ’50s axes. To finish the look, the Scumbag is offered in black and white finishes with just the slightest bit of relic work – a few signs of distress in the finish along with aged pickup covers and bridge.
While solidbodies sometimes can sound flat and uninspiring, occasionally one shows up with a big, fat tone. This plank is a case in point. Plugged into a tube combo, the Scumbag is loud and resonant, displaying a big personality and plenty of tone. It all speaks to a combination of materials, notably that alder body and bolt-on maple neck that provide plenty of chime and sparkle, but given a twist with the Bob Gabriel humbuckers.
Ultimately, Relic the Hague’s Scumbag is the kind of rock and roll machine its Dutch builders intended, able to roar through anything from a small combo to a half-stack. Most pickers will find killer sounds here, and paired with the fine neck setup, there’s a lot to like about this solidbody. No question, the Scumbag is a rocker.
This article originally appeared in VG January 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.