Our Aged Finishes

Let us start by saying there is big difference between ageing a guitar/making it look old than making it a "relic".

Relic is just a marketing term used to sell Custom shop Guitars. Don't get us wrong some of Fender's/Gibson"s tribute guitars are works of art. That's what it is. Art.. and art is subjective. Even if you don't like relics you should understand the story behind them.

Yes, some of the are a bit over the top and using stencils to replicate age like they do or cutting checking lines with razor blades is just wrong in our opinion. That's where it can go over the top.

That's the difference between making a guitar look old and relicing it. Here we believe in making it look old. It involves way more than spray and smash/slash. Ageing the lacquer colour wise and finish wise is delicate and takes time. As well as different wood ageing. You have to understand how they work chemically.

If you want your guitar to look naturally old and not beat up you've come to the right place. Ask us about your build and what type of finish you're after. (You can reference pictures you have)

Our Packages

We've updated our packages to make it easier on our customers looking for specific finishes while not confusing them with others and separating yellowed lacquer top coat ageing.

GL Lush - Very light ageing. Little to no lacquer checking, very little dings dents and wear. Replicating a guitar that was played and well cared for. 

*GL Lush PlusThis finish is the same as the original package but with added lacquer yellowing

GL Lite - Light ageing. Lacquer checking with light chips, dings and wear. Lacquer lightly sunken into the grain. Replicating a guitar that was played but mostly aged in its case for 70 years.

*GL Lite Plus - This finish is the same as the original package but with added lacquer yellowing.

GL Journeymen - Medium ageing. Moderate/medium dings and chips, lacquer sunken into grain patterns, lacquer checking and playwear.

*GL Journeymen Plus - Same as original package but with added lacquer yellowing.

GL Aged - Aged (including arm wear) chips, dings and playwear, lacquer sunken into grain pattern, lacquer checking.

*GL Aged Plus - This finish is the same as the original with a heavier yellowed appearance.

Finished in a flashcoat or true historic finish.

The Flash Coat Finish

Why we use a flash coat finish. Simply put. It makes the guitar instantly feel broken in and aged. It's different from a high gloss factory finish. It's still a gloss finish. Less degree of shine and it melts into the guitar beautifully leaving a broken in feel that's ultra thin. Fender uses this on their high end 50's custom shop telecasters and recently their Vintage Custom 50's Pine Esquire. Gibson used this method heavily for a time period around the 60's before their final buff.

True Historic

Very thin lacquer that is wet sanded between coats and a final cut and light polish to replicate an old factory finish.

Colours include but are not limited to,

 We've tried to compile multiple pictures of checking and chips, dings and wear for you to see. This is to help you see what to expect based on your colour choice. Pastels, blonds, metallic, dark and custom colours and pictured.

Heavy Aged Lacquers

Lacquer Checking


Dings and Wear


How Lacquer Ages and Why

We'd Like to take a minute to talk about how lacquer naturally ages. Something you won't find on a lot of custom shop guitars. Old guitars look old. They aren't beat up around a bunch of high gloss lacquer. Even a guitar that has aged in its case for 50 years will not look like it has just left the factory. Anyone who has held these works of art will know... they look old. Not relic'd. If you don't know what we are talking about take a walk though Gruhn Guitars, Songbirds Museum, or Norman's rare guitars and look at the finishes. Feel the finishes.

Lacquer being solvent based has to "cure" not technically "dry". These terms are used interchangeably all the time but it is technically "cure". So as a Nitrocellulose lacquer cures it shrinks. It also will expand with different temperatures and humidity increases. This is why after years you will see checking and crazing. 

Lacquer Crazing and Checking


A 54-56 Two Tone Sunburst Finish with lacquer checking and crazing one with bleached alder and one with natural alder. (note one is lighter)