A few months back I came across a relicked Squier Telecaster on Craiglist and was fascinated at the craftsmanship that had been curiously poured into this instrument. I use the word curiously because the kind of work that went into this instrument is usually reserved for guitars at a much higher price point. I reached out to the seller and he told me he bought it on eBay and gave me the name of the seller – Nate’s Relic Guitars. I reached out to Nate, and his story is as touching as that of the guitars he brings back to life.
[WM] Like the guitars you work on, this business has been a new lease on life for you. Tell us about the life changing event that led up to this?
[Nate] I suffered a massive heart attack while at home with my wife. I ended up on the kitchen floor and my wife performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. I was flown to Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta for emergency heart surgery. 100% blockage in one artery and 70% in the other. Surgery (stints) was a success and I was induced into a coma for 3 days so my heart could heal. Doctors said it was a miracle that I survived this ‘widow maker’ type heart attack especially when I was revived several times in the ambulance and was without oxygen for a good while. I completed cardio rehab and made a full recovery.
[WM] So when did you actually start relicking guitars?
[Nate] While I was recovering I started relicking guitars in my basement woodworking shop. I was working construction before my heart attack, was a woodworker since I was a kid, and as a musician was well versed in guitar repair and setup. It was a good fit. I slowly started selling the relic guitars on eBay, and as I got stronger started doing them fulltime. When the doctors cleared me to go back to my construction job I decided to continue my newfound love of working on relicking guitars and never went back to construction. I have been given a clean bill of health from my doctors and came through the rehab great, thank God! A lot of folks were praying for me, and their prayers surely were heard and answered.
[WM] I’ve used the Squier Tele you sent on a number of demos and have enjoyed playing it a great deal. You clearly did a ton of work on this instrument…
[Nate] The Tele was stripped down, repainted and relicked. The pickguard was hand painted, and the hardware was aged and has some real rust. The neck was hand painted, clear-coated and waxed for a slick feel. Frets were leveled and polished, and the guitar was set up to have low action. The guitar body was painted, buffed and waxed as well for a slick feel. I added the B50 Bigsby tremolo and vintage style bridge with barrel saddles. The bridge was modified to accommodate the Bigsby. The pickups were upgraded to Fender Vintage 50’s Road Worn Tex Mex pickups. Everything else is stock from a 2014 Squier Affinity Telecaster made in China. 21 frets, 1&9/16” wide neck with a 9.5” radius, and 1&9/16” thick body.
[WM] One of the things that impressed me when I saw one of your guitars on Craigslist was the level of detail that went into your work. How long did it take you to put together the blue Tele?
[Nate] It takes about 10 days to complete a guitar that a customer sends for a relic job, and I usually have 3 or 4 going at once. I do all the work myself. Each guitar takes around 30 actual labor hours to complete. I also offer my own custom-made models as well. I worked as an improvement contractor most of my life, but took a break from that and had a music store for 7 years where I started doing some relic guitars. I learned guitar repair and setup during this time. Since I had my heart attack and started doing the relics (Nov 2015), I have sold over 200 relicked guitars.
Prices range from
$439.00 – $749.00