I've been trying to rub a stain into my mahogany guitar and I've been having trouble. The mahogany doesn't seem to be taking the dye very well and most of it isn't being absorbed into the wood. I'm using aniline dyes. I tried them on a piece of pine and they work great there but when I try them on my guitar they stay near the surface of the wood and when I try to rub multiple layers on they just blot on top. I thought maybe there was some sealer left on the surface from the old paint job so I sanded it down with 220 grit and then 400 again before I applied the stain and got the same result. I just removed all the stain and resanded to 120 grit and I'm going to try again with stain but I think I'll have the same problem. Is mahogany just too hard of a wood to take a stain or am I doing something wrong? I might just end up spraying a solid colour if the stains don't work.
Mahogany isn't hard, it's actually a rather soft hardwood. You are doing something wrong.

Keep sanding Holmes. The finishes they put on modern guitars now are pretty tough.

What color is the dust from sanding? It should be close to the color of the mahogany. Keep sanding. If anything, get a really low grit, and carefully sand somewhere where a pick guard or something covers it and go to town. Go until it changes appearance slightly, and apply the stain. If the stain takes, you know how far you must go on the rest of the guitar!

Good luck!
Well here's the thing. I carved a handle (like in the Ibanez EGEN series) into the guitar and that part is taking the stain really well which is why I think there's some kind of sealer or something on the rest of the finish. I'm just worried about sanding too far and destroying the body. The other reason I think it has a coating is water doesn't raise the grain. I guess I'll just keep going and see what happens.
well , like an above poster says , theres something in the way , try degreasing the panel , as something like a guitar what hs been cherished , polished and compounded up means this polish is been pushed into the paint and when you start sanding it's only pushed further and spread causing contamination. maybe when degreasing use a little more than panel wipe , thinners maybe?