NGD ... “Shep”


Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.
Staff member
I did a thing.
Many thanks to @bad alice for easing the deal.

No waffle (website text copied below).
I done got me a beat up Tele.
I like it a lot.
Doc out.

“2012 Fender Custom Shop ’52 Telecaster Relic
This wondrous creation came to my attention thanks to an Internet-buddy, who kindly gave me a heads-up that the previous owner (who I have traded with before, and is a genuinely good egg) might be selling. Of course, I wanted it instantly … I mean … LOOK at it!

My tardiness got the better of me however, and by the time I got around to contacting him, I learned that he was agreeing a deal with some other son of an absolute bitch. Shit, shit, SHIT.

I moved on, and eventually got over it … I’m fickle like that. Fast forward a month or two however, and what do you know, he still had it. Did I want it? I really rather did. We worked a deal which saw my Hufschmid Albinodriod (‘Threepio’) leave the building; although the Hufschmid was nice to own, it didn’t get much attention ... that was also the case with my previous Hufschmid (‘Chisels’). And I was SURE that this would get its share of play time. A few hundred quid changed hands too, just to balance up our agreed reasonable trade values. Good times.

Prior to this arriving, my Fender CS rack comprised a pristine Strat, a relic Strat, a pristine Tele ... but no relic Tele ... and I’d thought for a while that a relic Tele would have to come in at some point. So, this squared the circle, if you get my drift. My dream Fender CS jigsaw was complete.

So. This is a CS ‘52 Telecaster Relic. And it certainly IS reliced. Whereas my relic Strat is done pretty subtly (with the odd dent and ding, along with a butt-load of lacquer checking), this one looks like it lived at the bottom of a Tennessee swamp for a few years, after having been run over by a tractor, then gnawed at by a couple of beavers. And the bed of the swamp that it lived in must have been covered in broken glass, sandpaper and chunks of jagged steel. When the Fender CS say “Heavy Relic”, they bloody mean it. The body (a two-piece ash affair) is ... well ... “beat to shit” describes it pretty well, as is the NoCaster U-profile club of a neck. The maple board has also been driven hard and put away wet, and has the requisite pattern of worn lacquer, as well as the unidentifiable nicotine-muck around the frets. The back of the neck is worn down to the grubby but oh-so-silky (oiled) bare wood, which feels absolutely lovely. Like ... genuinely scrumptious. That said, I am admittedly tempted to wash my hands after I play it. My vaccinations are up to date though, so what’s the worst that could happen?

For the record, the bits of paint that have survived are ‘White/Blond’ nitro, which is checked and cracked to buggery. Although the paint isn’t as yellowey-rich as normal blond, this is still kinda black-on-blonde, which is (in my head) the colour combo that beaten Teles should be. The body under the pickguard is stamped with the usual Fender CS ‘RELIC’ stamp, as is the neck pup cavity, the neck heel and the heel socket ... I guess that Fender want us to know that it’s a relic (... like, you wouldn’t guess by looking at it?).

Spec? Like I said, the body is ash (so brighter than alder … if you believe that timbers affect tone). The neck is a U-shaped early 50’s handful, the board is pretty flat (9.5” radius) and the 21 chubby 6105 frets are installed and finished perfectly. Seriously, those fret ends are absolute perfection, which is pretty rare these days.

The neck pup is a Seymour Duncan Antiquity ‘bucker, and is warm, fat and round, but not too hot. It is also signed on the base plate (and apparently also on the magnets, although I’ve not seen them) by some geezer called Seymour ... which is nice. Before I snagged this, I had no idea that the Antiquities are so painfully expensive, but that matters less than the fact that it sounds delicious. They are aged by hand (I’ve heard that the ageing takes three hours per pickup ...) and Ed Roman has a theory about each and every one of them being dunked in a bucket of Billy Gibbons’ piss. Thankfully, MY theory is Ed Roman IS (was) routinely wrong about pretty much everything. Interestingly, these are made in their own little side-room at the Seymour factory, called the ‘Antiquity Room’, which is all kinds of precious. Like I said, none of that would matter a shit if it didn’t sound great in the neck slot of a Tele, but thankfully it sounds peachy.

The bridge pup is a Fender CS ‘Relic Tele’, and is crisp, brittle and (dare I say it) ever so slightly ice-picky, so is a great contrast to the neck pup. It’s not signed, it’s not stupidly expensive, and presumably it’s not been dunked in anyone’s piss, but it makes the sound I hear in my head when I think ‘Tele bridge pickup’. The output of the two isn’t massively different, although the tonal variation is pretty severe, which I guess is part of the joy of a Tele with a neck ‘bucker, right? The signal passes through the usual volume, tone and three-way, so no frills there. Likewise for the bridge, which is a vintage-style ’51 NoCaster ashtray, with brass ‘Gatton’ compensated saddles.

The ashtray cover was in the case, but does ANYONE actually use them? It now lives in my guitar/amp certificate box, along with the CoA and the other case candy. I doubt it’ll ever see daylight. Whatever.

In use, this wears, hangs and plays like old jeans. Unlike my other Tele (“Twister”, which is shiny and pristine), I’m completely relaxed around this. I don’t feel obliged to be careful with it, and don’t give a crap about dinging, denting, or cleaning it because … it’s not going to matter if it gets any more dinged or dirty. Whether you love or hate the heavy relic stuff, I think that this suits the guitar … this is the beaten-up old Tele that I’ve wanted for years. It’s got an aura of indestructibility about it … we all know that when Armageddon comes, only cockroaches, scorpions and Telecasters will survive.

So there you have it. The serial, CS certificate and date of construction all check out, and I’m very happy that its here. And “Shep”? Well my logic was that it looks like a wet, beaten old dog.”


Well-Known Member
Ooh you sexy fucker. And the Tele. You're also very right, a relic Tele does indeed work well. You know I have a soft spot for Teles, right? As for the sonic differences between the pickups, that's a good thing. When I go from neck to bridge and find a subtle change, I always think 'Fuck it, I'm saving my energy and sticking with the bridge from now on'.

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
FANTASTIC score @doctorpaul!
And having had the chance to play this guitar a couple of times I can confirm that the good doc’s description of every aspect of this glorious Tele is 100% on the nail.:cold:
Really happy to have played a small part in facilitating a deal that has left two friends grinning their respective heads off at their newest guitars.
And Shep, eh?