#1
Factory blue color is fading and chipping. It's not a beater guitar but I don't baby it either. It's my first guitar, Fender Delux Hardtail Strat, bought it in 03. I love it to death. It has more sentimental value to me than monetary, I'd never sell it.

I'm in the process of rebuilding it now. Adding pickups, homemade custom pickguard, new hardware and electronics, re-fret... the lot.
And now for the paint....

I'm getting quotes over 3 bills and turn-around times of 2 months. It's not the money, I just have a nagging suspicion that this is something I could pull off myself. I know it won't be an easy job.

I wan't it in pure white, thats it. Clean and simple.

My main concern is the laquer finish. The sanding, primer, and paint I can deal with. I've refinished old furniture in the past. But this is different. It must be as close to the original as possible for me. So much body contract, it can't be soft or sticky. Also I know I have to keep the thickness down as to not screw the Alder tones.

I know there are some very talented people on this forum. So if you've tried stripping/re-painting your guitar please let me know how it went for you and any unforeseen difficulties you encountered. What kind of primer/paint/finish you used... ect. What do you recommend for a strat?
Thanks.

BTW, I know this has been discussed before quite a bit, but the search still came up dry.

-Tony
#2
What kind of finish is on it now? I'm going to guess with the chipping that it is poly? That is going to be an absolute bitch to sand off. Trust me, I've tried. It takes forever, but if you are intent on doing it, then go at it.

Reranch has made it easy to pull this kind of thing off, they have all the original Fender colors too. You can really get everything from them, the color you want, the clear coat, the sealer and primers. They're all in convenient aerosol cans too, but you will pay a premium. Otherwise, stuff like Behlen's nitro works just fine. Go run a search at Reranch or Strat-Talk, a t on of useful info there. It's going to take a long time, nitro takes a while to cure and you will have to wait a month for wet sanding. To do it yourself, in total should cost maybe... Idk, $70-$80 for all the equipment and materials. Do it carefully and you won't screw up. Worst case scenario, you sand it all off and have to restart and you're no worse off than where you started. Albeit, you're out a few bucks. Some time and maybe pulled out some hair too.

http://reranch.com/101.htm

To get you started. Good luck.
Last edited by al112987 at Jan 17, 2012,
#3
I've repainted many a guitar. It is definitely something that you can do.

I usually use a chemical stripper (outside...be safe) to take off the clear coat and some of the paint, then sand the rest of the paint off. If you try to sand the clear coat off then you'll go through $20+ of sand paper. Just strip it.

As for the painting and lacquer, if you have access to a spray gun, use it. If not then a rattle can works fine on something as small as a guitar. I usually do a coat of primer, 2 coats of paint, then 3-5 coats of lacquer, sanding between coats. You should let the guitar dry for a few weeks to a month before buffing and polishing (it takes that long to fully harden). I'm usually impatient and put the guitar together after a few days and then polish it sometime later. Either way, I recommend waxing it after buffing and polishing. It just adds another layer of protection.

All and all, it shouldn't cost more then $50-$75. There are other ways to go about it, what I've outlined is the way I do it.
#4
ask at a car body shop, often they will cut you a good deal
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#5
as for stripping the paint off, don't sand it. that will take hours and hours. **** that. I use a torch to heat the paint so that it starts to bubble then scrape the paint off with some kind of blunt knife like object(chisel, putty knife) be very careful tho you dont want to gouge or burn the wood. it takes about 1-2 hours to do it correctly (slowly) 30min if you do it quickly and **** the guitar up lol
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#6
I have painted one of my guitars twice now, i used both times chemical paint remover to get rid of both of the paint jobs with no problems at all on both of them hehe.

Then i just used my friends air brush after mixing 50/50 paint with transparent poly clear coat and applied about 20~ish thin coats with it and it was a keeper method hehehe. Turned out quite perfectly the second time and the first time it was just okay~ish.

It's a nice project if you have the patience for it lol, i say go for it or take it to an auto shop and have them do it quite quickly and professionally.
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#7
Like Ibanez said, you can use heat. I stripped a MIM Tele with a torch and refinished it in white nitro. If you are willing to work then it's totally doable. And it will not be nearly $300. The time could be a factor because it does take time to cure fully. Are you located in the US?
#8
I've never painted my own body, just guitars.

Instead of using a torch (can start paints on fire and scorch wood) use a paint stripper heat gun. Much safer and can be used for thawing pipes, warming up engines on lawn mowers etc.
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Last edited by rexherring at Jan 17, 2012,
#9
Quote by GABarrie
ask at a car body shop, often they will cut you a good deal


This is actually a really good way to go. Look around for different places that normally don't paint guitars but still have paint and finish skills. They will just be happy to be doing something different than the norm and will give u great deals usually. A good friend has an auto body shop and he's done three guitars for me so far and all have turned out great.
#10
yeah and several coats of auto clearcoat is really hard and takes wax really good. plus you can get some crazy colors and pearls and stuff with auto paint. White with a pearl coat would look sweet!
#11
This was a cheap Ibanez bass in black poly, thick and hard to sand. Heat gun and scraped then sanded. This particular bass I did with an actual worn out American cloth flag. I used poly in spray cans. about 20 coats over the cloth with light wet sanding between coats. Made my own water slide decals.

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#12
Yea I think it is a poly clear coat.
Okay here is what I've got so far after a bit of research.

Day 1 - Strip and sand off old poly/paint, but not all the way down to bare wood. Fill dents and knicks with wood filler.

Day 2 - Sand down wood filler, apply grain filler to any exposed wood grain if needed.

Day 3 - Finish prep sanding progressively up to 600 grit, apply first coat of white primer, wait 3 hours, a second coat of primer, 3 hours.... possibly a 3rd coat.

Day 4 - Lightly wet sand primer, if weather permits apply 3-5 very light coats of gloss white until throughly covered, waiting a few hours between coats.

Day 5 - Lightly wet sand, apply 3 coats of Deft Gloss wood laquer (nitro) waiting 3 hours between coats.

Day 6 - Lightly wet sand, apply 3 coats of Deft Gloss wood laquer (nitro) waiting 3 hours between coats.

Day 7 - Lightly wet sand, apply 3 coats of Deft Gloss wood laquer (nitro) waiting 3 hours between coats.

Day 8 - Lightly wet sand, apply 3 coats of Deft Gloss wood laquer (nitro) waiting 3 hours between coats.

Day 9 - Lightly wet sand, apply 3 coats of Deft Gloss wood laquer (nitro) waiting 3 hours between coats.

Day 10 - Lightly wet sand, apply 3 coats of Deft Gloss wood laquer (nitro) waiting 3 hours between coats.

Day 11 - Another repeat if needed, if it all looks good wait a month.

Day 41 - Extremely light wet sand, buffing, polishing, waxing.

Day 42 - Put guitar back together and resume pissing off my neighbors.

-Tony
#13
Shooting a grey primer might work better than white if you're aim is white, grey would hide the remaining finish and grain a lot easier than white primer. That's quite a few coats of nitro to spray, but if you've never done finishing work it may be a good idea to have a bunch on so you don't sand through. Also I would skip out on the final sanding after all the coat unless you're doing wet-sanding with micro grits (2000+), just go straight to buffing at that point. Otherwise it looks fine to me.

EDIT: Waxing may not be the best idea if you ever want to touch up the finish in the future.
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Last edited by Flux'D at Jan 17, 2012,
#15
I didn't mean to imply shooting a single coat haha, apologies
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
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#16
Noted. Okay grey primer and less coats of nitro. I'm reading mixed opinions on that some only use 1 can of nitro others seem to like 3 or even 4 cans. I'm not sure how many coat 1 can will do so I'll play it by ear. I also do want a very thin overal thickness as to not affect tone. I'd take a crisp tone over a perfect finish any day.

My last question is what brand of paint and primer to use??? I read the enamel paints don't like nitro laquer, is that true? What type should I use and where can I get it? I'm going for a pure white, but maybe I'll dust on a thin coat of white pearl as well.

Also since I'm going for that pure white look, does anyone know if Deft clear gloss is truly "water clear". If the color is yellowed after 10+ coats of it I'll be really pissed. Maybe Acrylic would be a better option?

EDIT: A bit more research... turns out that nitro will turn yellow as it cures or over the years so thats out.

Acrylic-modified lacquer is made from a mixture of a nonyellowing cellulose resin (called cellulose acetate butyrate, or CAB) and acrylic. This lacquer possesses the same general properties of nitrocellulose lacquer, except it is absolutely water-white, meaning it will not show as an amber color when applied over light-colored woods. Also, the finish won't turn yellow over time.


Is there a disadvantage to using CAB Acrylic Laquer?

-Tony
Last edited by X-plorer88 at Jan 18, 2012,