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Frequently Asked Questions: "Relic Series" Guitars


What is a "relic" guitar?


These are guitars that have been manufactured intentionally to look "old" and beaten up like you would see on a well-used, 40 or 50 year old guitar. They are of course brand new, just artificially made to look that way. It takes many, many hours of work to make a relic guitar and much of the process is done by hand. They have to be painted properly and then artificially aged cleverly to look real. Even though the guitar is artificially aged, they play and sound like a brand new guitar. You can do hardware and pickup upgrades too, if you want. 

What is "hybrid manufacturing?"

​I use this term to describe a guitar that is manufactured in two locations, in this case China and Australia. The bodies of the RELIC Series guitars are made, painted, and assembled in China. Then we do more work on them here in Australia. Direct from the factory they are somewhat unplayable. Factories churn out products as fast as they can. They do not have time for more than a basic QC process. That doesn't mean they make bad products. The understanding is that new guitar setups are done by the shops or resellers at their point of destination. No guitar from China is playable "out of the box."  There is a further three and a half hours of work that has to be done on every guitar after we get them. They all need full fret work and of course intonated and set up properly. Some need wiring. We don't do a "store setup." As with every Gaskell in history, each new guitar is set up to a standard of playability that you would expect from a professional-level instrument. A proper fret dress alone in Australia costs $350 or more. That is built into the price of every RELIC Series guitar. As with every Gaskell in history, each new guitar is set up to a standard of playability that you would expect from a professional-level instrument. There is no way around this. The additional Custom Shop work has to be done.

What is the turnaround time for a RELIC Series guitar?


90 days (after full payment.)  

Is the "relic" finish always the same on each guitar of the same model? 


They are consistent but not identical. The factory has templates to work from which create the basic look but 90% of the work is done by hand. The people at the factory are experts. It takes many, many hours to artificially age a guitar. If the same work was done in Australia it would cost thousands of dollars in man hours alone.

How do I buy a RELIC Series guitar? 

You can buy any of these models directly from this website from the FULL SPECIFICATIONS pages of each guitar or use the CONTACT US option on this website to order. All payments must be made by simple bank transfer. This is the safest method, for you and for us. International customers can easily pay in this same way. Full payment must be received before your guitar is produced. You will receive an invoice for your purchase and a receipt once payment has cleared. We do not accept Paypal.

What if I don't want my guitar set up?


A full new guitar setup is included in the stated price for these guitars. Each newly built guitar needs a proper setup, including fret work, for correct playability. However, if you are keen on doing your own setup and fret work we would happily let you have the guitar for just the price of the guitar only. We would ask you to purchase it by direct contact and not through the on line store as the on line store is not set up to deduct the $350 setup cost from your purchase. In that instance you will be required to sign a disclaimer. This is for our protection. The last thing we want is to have someone do a bad job setting up one of our guitars and then "complain" on line about how "bad" the guitar is. Of course you would not expect someone to do that but for every 20 people there is always one natural-born asshole. I have been around a long time. 

What is the warranty on a RELIC Series guitar?


12 months. Please CLICK HERE for that information. NOTE: Full warranty, terms and conditions, and returns policy are displayed on your sale invoice. If you select to not have your guitar set up by us some points of the warranty will be voided. Please keep this in mind if you are considering doing your own setup. Feel free to discuss. Use the CONTACT US form on this website. 

Can I get a different colour?

At this stage, no. Only what you see. 

Do these guitars really need to be "upgraded?"


Not necessarily. The facts are that the HYBRID Series guitars are made with high quality, but unbranded mass-produced hardware and pickups, made in China for the most part. (Some parts are made in Korea.) They are the best quality I could arrange for these models, but to keep the guitar at the intended price point there had to be some cost cutting and that is where it was done. If you want to upgrade, you are free to do so. You might find that you don't need to. In the past I heard many times from lefties who thought they would have to upgrade the Wilkinson pickups that were standard in their Gaskell guitar with something else, and then tell me that after playing and gigging with their guitar they were so impressed that they did not bother to change them. A popular upgrade for a lot of guitarists, no matter the guitar or brand, is to upgrade to locking tuners. That is usually a matter of choice, not necessity or need. We sell locking tuners and you can have those put in your guitar if you want. You can choose hardware and pickups from our ONLINE STORE page or supply your own. 

If I had a set of pickups or other hardware that I would like installed in my guitar can I just send them to you to put in or do I have to buy the parts from you?


You can supply your own parts for upgrade. The ON LINE STORE is for your convenience but if you already have hardware or pickups then by all means send them to us to install.

What is the $100 Upgrades cost for? Does it include the pickups and/or hardware? 

The $100 is the cost to install new pickups and hardware. This is an hourly rate. The price is for installation only. You need to buy the upgrades on top. You can choose some common upgrades from our ONLINE STORE page.

My guitar has a very low action and has a sort of "rattle." Is something wrong? 


If you opted to have your guitar set up for lead playing it is normal to have what is called “acoustic rattle” on a guitar set up with very low action  This is NOT "string buzz." String buzz happens when a guitar is not set up properly. It may be because the nut is cut wrong and/or the frets are bad. That's a setup issue. On a guitar with a very low but properly set up action you might hear some acoustic rattle with the guitar unplugged. This is normal and is the trade-off for low action. Acoustic rattle is not audible through the amp. To check, listen to what’s coming out of the amp. That’s what your audience hears. An electric guitar is not an acoustic guitar. Acoustic rattle doesn't mean there  is something wrong with the setup. 


People usually compensate for badly or wrongly set up guitars by playing hard. Sometimes that habit is one of the things you have to “un learn.” If your guitar is set up properly you don’t have to fight or wrestle with it to play it. A properly set up guitar makes you play better with less effort, and less force. If a player treats a perfectly set up guitar like a badly set up guitar he will get plenty of string rattle because he hasn’t made the transition yet. So, if you are getting rattle, stop playing it like a badly setup guitar! Ease off. That’s all.

For some lefty guitarists, playing a Gaskell will be the first time they've ever played a perfectly set up guitar. When you buy a guitar from a music store the guitar has been set up for all round playability. And who does the setup normally? A right handed player. Do I need to say more? I am a left handed guitarist. There isn't any other brand in the world that makes left handed guitars exclusively. I know about left handed guitars. I've been doing this for a long time now. 

How easy is it to import a Gaskell from Australia to my country and what costs am I up for?

If you live in the UK here is the link to an excellent article on LEFTYFRETZ outlining costs and procedures to import musical instruments into the UK. CLICK HERE to go straight to the article. We have been sending guitars and basses to UK and Europe for many years successfully and we are able to minimize some of those costs. At the time of sending your guitar we will discuss options with you. Here is a generic DUTY COST CALCULATOR you can use to get an idea of figures. Remember, we can minimize these costs considerably in some cases.


For the rest of the world the process is much the same, however every country has different customs and tax charges. We have been sending guitars to the USA, Canada, and many European countries for many years. There are hundreds more Gaskell owners in America and Europe than here in Australia. Australia "discovered" Gaskell Guitars years after the rest of the world did. We know how this works and we can minimize costs. We will need to talk about this up front. 

How do you send guitars internationally?

We regularly send guitars internationally from Australia and have been doing this successfully for over 10 years. There are a few ways to send things internationally and how we do it in the present is the best and safest way possible. Before any goods of any kind depart Australia they may be inspected by people at the departure depot for the usual (drugs, bombs, contraband, etc) and this is all done out of sight of the sender. During this process there are possibilities of repacking blunders or mishandling of products resulting in damage happening before the goods have even made it on the plane! The same thing of course can happen upon arrival at the destination country by Customs staff at the other end. I have learned that you cannot trust people to pay proper attention to packaging labels such as “Fragile”, “Handle With Care” or “Top Load Only”, even though it's their JOB to pay attention to these notices. For this and other reasons all Custom shop guitars are sent with insurance to the actual value of the guitar, unless otherwise previously agreed. 

I now and always send guitars internationally through Pack & Send Australia, an official agent who also does the final inspection and with whom I am always physically present when that it is done. I even handle the guitars myself during the inspection rather than have someone else touch or handle them. A further check process is thereafter not necessary, thereby circumventing the possibility of some idiot mishandling the guitar before it leaves Australia. Every guitar that has been sent to another country has been packed by me and seen by me and the agent when it has been taped up ready for shipping. Every single guitar goes through this personalized process. I do not charge for this. Only the cost to send. Every single instrument we send from Australia is sent in this way. We are completely transparent with the shipping and the insurance costs for your guitar's journey. 

Can't I just buy a left handed "relic" guitar directly from one of these Chinese on-line sellers like ALEXPRESS?

Yes, you could if you wanted to. But would you want to? You don't get a warranty. And you are taking a gamble with your money. You are buying sight unseen. And you will still have to pay the same $350-$450 for a proper set up and any fix ups. (Often they are wired wrong, or terribly.) Buying direct from a factory is called buying a guitar "out of the box." Guitars bought like that are unplayable. They are not meant to be playable. They are cost price instruments. Do you really want the hassle? Pay a bit more to have a proper guitar that you can use. Then again, if you are just buying a guitar as a wall ornament or a prop, then you wouldn't need a setup

Who is Kevin Gaskell?

Born in New Zealand in 1968, Kevin grew up in Auckland where he learned music and played in bands from the age of 15. He moved to Australia in 1992. A para-military career saw him spend 10 years overseas, mostly in South Africa ending with a stint in the United States and finally a return to Australia. Revisiting his love of music Kevin got involved in music again. However, when it came to buying a guitar he discovered that what he wanted was not available in left hand. A quick search showed there were many guitars that left hand guitarists never could have as they were not made in left hand option by their original manufacturers. This came to a head in 2007. A new motto came out of this: "If they aren't going to make them, then I will!" Thus Gaskell Guitars was born. Thereafter Gaskell Guitars became the only guitar brand in the world that made left handed guitars and basses only. As the brand became known internationally a lot guitars ended up in the hands of lefty players all around the world. Unfortunately we had the global economic disaster in 2008 and this eventually made it  impossible to continue to make production guitars. There were only two choices: shut up shop or change. The only change possible was to become 100% custom shop. From 2013 Gaskell Guitars shifted to individual builds. Between 2017 and 2023 Kevin retired from the business and moved from Sydney. Post-COVID Kevin had a fresh look and after seeing there were still holes in the market decided to take up factory guitars again, i.e. the RELIC Series and a couple of unique models exclusive to Gaskell Guitars will be launched in the latter part of 2023 including a lefty headless. Stay tuned!

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