I'm making my 4th guitar and I've decided to go out of the box and paint something onto the guitar. What I was thinking of doing was a really extreme elaborate design, so I got one of my old high school buddies that is a graphic designer near where I work to make me a design. I gave him a trace out of the guitar and what I wanted done and this is what he came back with!


I was absolutely amazed that he hand did that in about 2 hours with some weed and a pencil :p but my main question is, what type of paint should I use so I can add a clear gloss coat (Should I also use Poly or Nitro??) for protection without smudging it? I'm thinking of making the guitar out of Alder or Maple so that you can see the design. I'm going to use carbon paper to trace the design onto the guitar body and then use a super, super fine paint brush and paint it myself. Any ideas? The outline of the design is going to be in black and i'm thinking of adding a little colour to everything.

I like the idea of painting the design on it. I'm doing something similar on a strat build. If you spray the finish on, you don't have to worry about smudging. A rattle can of Poly or Nitro would work. The poly would give you better protection in the long run, but the nitro sets up way faster so you're less likely to get drips. Nitro and oil based poly will tend to yellow slightly over time, but water based poly goes on very clear and stays that way. Depending on the situation I usually like what the yellowing does to the look of wood. It seems to give it more depth and tie different colors together well. I have a blue stained strat built in 96' that has a nitro finish on it and its starting to turn green in parts. I think it's the best it's looked since I got it. Sometimes when I want the clarity of water based poly but the look of oil based, I start with two coats of garnet shellac then several coats of WB poly. The only kind of paint I wouldn't recommend is that heavy artists oil paint and that's only if your finishing with a WB product. Hope this helps and look forward to seeing what you come up with.