Well hello there, people of the UG community!

Today, we have a fine young man by the name of David, who seeks advice on rescuing a junk-bound Johnson strat copy.

A few questions, for now and for future projects:

1: Do I have to completely sand the finish off down to the bare wood, or can the original finish (in this case, 3 layers of paint from the previous owner and the ORIGINAL original finish, a beautiful orange burst that was ruined by the previous owner while he was in a drunken rage) be painted over? The clear lacquer was sanded off before the 3 coats of paint.

2: Continuing question number one, since the clear coat is sanded off, and there's one layer before the bare wood, and it is about half sanded off, will it affect the guitar at all if I paint over the original finish?

3: I am building a rig to paint the body, and it basically consists of a cube of 24.5 inch square pieces of wood connected together, with a hinged door in the front, and some sort of revolving hook connected to a crank on top to turn the body of the guitar while it is hanging on the hook. Does anyone have any suggestions for a part that would work for the revolving hook/crank, or would i have to custom make such a device? Also, is such a rig necessary, or does anyone have a better, quicker idea?

4: Since this is my first "build" (or restoration job, if I am using the term "build" incorrectly), would spray paints be acceptable for this project and/or future projects, or would I need a different method of finishing?

5: After this project, when i start to build guitars from scratch, would gluing wood blocks together (a la http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=17390) to form one larger blank for a body work, or would i need one solid block?

6: In your opinion, would a rasta colored guitar with a marijuana leaf on the back end be an acceptably good looking design, or is it too cliché'd?

Thank you for your time and answers


There's a picture of the guitar on my profile.

Edit: Another question
The original owner graciously painted the gold hardware, including a gold Floyd Rose licensed tremolo system, flat gray. Any recommendations on removing the paint?
Last edited by NorthAfrican38 at May 11, 2011,
1. Paint and finish absorb the natural vibrations of the wood. Technically speaking, adding paint on top of paint is going to deaden the sound. Now, will it be noticeable / defeating? I don't know. Your call.

2. I don't see how that question is different from number one. Refer to answer number one.

3. When I spray - lacquered my home - assembled guitar I just sprayed on one side, let it dry for an hour or so, flipped it, sprayed, let dry, then sanded the entire thing down. Then repeated. Over, and over, and over...

4. Plenty of guitars have seen spray paint and not disintegrated. I can't answer this question with much authority as I only use natural transparent stains. I know the make opaque stains though. That would probably only work if you sanded down to bare wood.

5. Do a youtube search for a pinecaster. There's a 8-10 minute video of a guy assembling a tele in a shop. He uses two pieces of wood to make the whole body. Two holes get drilled in each board and he inserts some sort of metal dowel as a brace. It's been a while since I've seen the video, you should be able to figure out what he's up to.

6. Coming from an alleged pot smoker, I would find it abrasive, childish and distasteful. That being said, I don't give a shit what you do. Keep in mind that in most states wearing any sort of pot leaf, 420, or paraphrenalia as a shirt design, necklace or tattoo is considered probable cause for search and arrest. I wouldn't be surprised if a cop shook you down for that on a guitar either.

7. Dude he painted a floyd rose? WTF? If you don't know what kind of paint it is just remove it from the body and try a couple different solvents like rubbing alcohol etc. Otherwise chip it off.
Quote by Powerhouse
I was in a nu-metal band when I was 15. I hated the top 3 strings (G,B, and E). I wondered why guitars even had them.
Thank you for your response!

About the pot leaf, I believe it's childish and immature also, but this particular guitar, once it is finished, is going to be sold. I am not actually going to draw the image, my friend who owes me money wants to draw it because he "specializes" in the field or weed drawing.

I guess I'm going to be sanding down to bare wood, the shop i could work in closed too early last weekend for me to finish the job.

The original owner apparently went into a drunken rage and sanded off the clear coat to respray it silver, then black, then red. He did NOT, however, have the sense to tape off the neck slot or take out the pickups/electronics. That may be a problem because I do not know if the pickups will still function properly.

And yes, he painted a Floyd Rose.