Thanks to our modern lifestyles, nobody has time to chip a guitar organically over the course of six world tours anymore. Enter Spear Guitars with the new NSG-Relic: a battle-scarred, designer-scuffed warhorse that they’ve kicked about so you don’t have to.
The spec’s been around the block too (twin ’buckers, mahogany body, set neck), making this a guitar that rock nostalgists should love. To paraphrase Howlin’ Wolf, the NSG-Relic is built for comfort, baby, it ain’t built for speed.
Lug this hefty brute from its stand and the weight is reassuring; seize the neck and the profile is the anti- Jackson; tickle the fretboard and you’ll find yourself pulling out expressive (rather than flashy) techniques like lazy bends and vibrato.
OK, the weight distribution means it has a slight tendency to pull south, but you’ll get used to the vibe. Besides, that bulk is a big factor in this axe’s characterful tone, with the mahogany fusing with quality ’buckers to deliver a dark, soulful roar that sustains for yonks.
Spear impressed with its higher-end Tomcat models; the Relic proves it can get down and dirty too. Soulful tone, beefy handling and road-worn looks - and when the only criticism is a subjective quibble over how it hangs on a strap, you know you’re doing well for £329.
There’s no shortage of rivals, but the Relic has its own vibe and deserves a test-drive.
Pros: Beefy beast with tone to match.
Cons: Pulls down a little.