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Old 01-08-2013, 06:37 AM   #1
TTP Penguin
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Custom painting Guitars

Hey all,

I'm looking to repaint one of my guitars (as it's the first time i'm gonna try it out on my first axe, a squier strat) but I have no idea where to start really..

I don't want to just change the colour, my mother is really artsy, so I'm going to get her to do some nice work on it (think custom fender factory or Jimi Hendrix's hand painted guitars), I imagine that will make it more awkward as it's not just going to be a case of spraying it all over.

Removing the paint is my first worry, will I be able to just sandpaper it down? I don't fancy the idea using a powered sander as I don't really trust myself to do that great a job first time round, and a powered sander takes a lot more off the body a lot quicker than doing it by hand will.

Then i'm not overly sure what types of paints I can use, I'd have probably gone for enamels?

I imagine it will also need a coating over the top of all the paint too, but again, literally have no clue what would be used.

Does anyone have any advice on this? It would be really helpful!

Cheers
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:01 AM   #2
LeviMan_2001
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Stripping the paint will be the hardest part. You can try sanding, but you will not only be there all day, but the next day as well. The quickest way to get the thick squiery finish off will be with a heat gun. Unfortunately, you'll probably end up burning the wood a bit in the process. Not a problem if you're going for a solid color finish.

As for what paint to use, I'd imagine you're going spray cans. Vintage guitars are finished in lacquer, modern guitars in polyurethane. I'd stay away from enamels, as they never really get hard enough to form a really nice finish. Aka, you'll stick to your guitar, not fun. As far as spray cans go, I'd say look for duplicolor acrylic lacquer, they sell that as most orileys and auto parts stores. If you can't find it in the larger cans (which will probably only be black or white or something) then the 'perfect match' touch up paint should be acrylic lacquer. Duplicolor is also good at putting what the paint actually is on the can. For clear, acrylic lacquer is also fine (from duplicolor or elsewhere) but minwax also makes a clear lacquer that is nitrocellulose lacquer (this is what vintage fenders were clear'd with).

But the most important thing of all of this is sanding. If you're base isn't smooth before you spray, it won't be after you spray. Sand the body to at least 220 grit before beginning to spray. That's all I can think of.

Here's a picture of a relic style finish I did on my squier strat with duplicolor perfect match black and minwax clear


Before the relicing on the finish


Not amazing, as I didn't get the prep right. The paint sunk into the pores (it's made of athagis which is an open pored wood). Next time I'm trying a different process (before the lacquer).

Oh! Also, if you're doing a solid color and you're not going for vintage correct or anything, just changing the color, you can sand it down a bit and then just use the existing finish as a base. You'll get much nicer results this way.
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Last edited by LeviMan_2001 : 01-08-2013 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:33 AM   #3
TTP Penguin
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Cheers for that dude!

As i'm thinking of a sorta crazy psychedelic look for it, when I've done the block colours in spray cans, will I be able to use nail varnish to do fiddly designs, or is it best to create a stencil of the designs and then spray over that?

I'll probably spend a good few days over the sanding of the body, as the preparation seems the most important part of this!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:06 AM   #4
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Nail polish should work, I'm not exactly sure what kind of paint it is, but I've certainly seen it done before. I think it is a form of lacquer, so it should be compatible with a lacquer type finish.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:27 AM   #5
sytharnia1560
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I wouldn't sand the old paint off because it gives you a nice smooth surface right from the get go. I would take all the gloss off with a scotch brite pad (just scrub it til its not shiny any more) then use a metal spray primer over the top of the old finish (it will stick to anything and will make it a lot hard for paint to chip off once its finished) then use what ever colour acrylic lacquer on top of that. Then what ever your mums gonna paint, then clear lacquer over the whole thing
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sytharnia1560
I wouldn't sand the old paint off because it gives you a nice smooth surface right from the get go. I would take all the gloss off with a scotch brite pad (just scrub it til its not shiny any more) then use a metal spray primer over the top of the old finish (it will stick to anything and will make it a lot hard for paint to chip off once its finished) then use what ever colour acrylic lacquer on top of that. Then what ever your mums gonna paint, then clear lacquer over the whole thing

Just to be on the safe side, I'd use Acrylic Lacquer Primer, better to stay within the same family.

For the art/graphics, buy the Acrylic Paint markers, available from fine to thick tips. Then clear with Acrylic Lacquer clearcoat. You can also get away with Nitro for the clearcoat if you want a thinner top that'll relic fast.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:50 AM   #7
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Excellent! That sounds a lot easier. Thanks for all the help guys, i'll post pics when it's in progress and finished!
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