“He took the lighter fluid, squirted it on the guitar and set it on fire. That might be the first relic’d guitar – and you can thank Seymour Duncan for that”: That time Adrian Belew DIY aged his Strat with a screwdriver, spray paint and motor oil

Adrian Belew of King Crimson, portrait, at Tent, Olympisch Stadion, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 6th September 1982
(Image credit: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images)

Adrian Belew is known for playing an array of Fender Stratocasters, but one of his most notable examples is a heavily relic’d brown sunburst model.

The beaten-and-busted Strat – which once featured on the cover of Guitar World magazine – was purchased in the late 1970s by Belew, who was in need of a new axe ahead of an upcoming tour he was set to undertake as part of Frank Zappa’s band.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.

With contributions from