You may have heard whispers about how Fender Custom Shop relics are being produced. If not, it's a disturbing rumor that seems to be gaining credence. Reports have surfaced in some chat rooms where members have compared their "Custom Shop" relics that cost upwards of $4000 only to find they have identical wear marks, meaning in essence, these buyers paid premium prices for relic guitars that were supposedly custom made, but may have actually been made on a production line with a cookie cutter appearance. If true, this would most likely mean they were made with the aid of stencils that allow any line worker to make identical marks on multiple guitar bodies.
If you're interested you can read this story from Gearnews.com, which goes into more detail about this issue. Below you'll see a couple photos that show two supposed Custom Shop guitars with eerily similar wear patterns.
It's not my place to call out other people doing relic work, and Fender obviously has a reputation that is well-known in the guitar industry. These types of photos can't be authenticated over the web, so there's no way to know if this is proof. One has to hope that Fender is taking the time to make authentic "custom" guitars if they cost several thousand dollars. But at the very least you should read the Gearnews story and check out the chat rooms where people are discussing this issue.
The relics I do at Still Kickin Music are definitely "one offs." There will be nobody on the planet that has a similar relic because I do each guitar by hand myself and each one is a new project with completely unique aging marks. Such as this latest Fender Strat relic we have up for sale: