#1
So I've been painting my guitar recently, and all of this is new to me, could someone just re-assure me I'm doing things correctly or decently

I have a strat basswood body
I've sprayed on 3 coats of white primer, I sanded after the second coat with 180 grit but it was literally only 1 swipe across the board. After the third coat I sanded it down with 1200 grit (I don't have anything between 180-1200 grit currently, waiting for more to be delivered )

I sprayed on 1 coat of black gloss and it's been drying for...about 3 hours now.

That's the point I'm at, how many coats do you think I should paint? I'm going for the van halen frankenstrat design (ambitious for my first paint job i know).

Im worried of over painting it, as I've still got white and red layers to go on yet.

Also any tips for making those stripes? I tried a test run on a scrap piece of wood with some masking tape, but the spray paint still managed to seep underneath it and ruined the stripe i was going for (maybe I didn't let it dry long enough?)

Will vinyl tape work better? or painters tape whatever its called (usually is blue?)
How long should I let things dry for? o.0

*also each spray can is 500ml

Should I sand between each coat? or is that just for the primer only?
Once I have finished with one colour paint, do I need to let it 'cure' for like a week, or is that just for the laquer?
Last edited by Wingless18 at Feb 6, 2014,
#2
You should be wet-sanding between coats (including between primer and lacquer coats). I always used 600 or 800 grit, I can't remember. Sprinkle water on the body and dip the paper in water and sand in small circular motions. It is extremely important to keep it wet and use small circular motions to keep from having scratch marks. You'll know you are done when the water stops beading up on the paint. When you are done get a fresh paper towel and wipe down the entire guitar with clean water and you'll be ready for more paint.

Apply as many coats as you can get out of 3-4 cans. They should be several light mist coats followed by wet-sanding. Hold the can several inches away and spray light coats to avoid runs. DO NOT get over-zealous with the paint. You do not want to have to fix a paint run.

When you apply masking tape, use something to "burnish" the edges of the tape to make it stick firmly to the guitar. Also make sure the areas where you apply the tape are clean. You could also try Frog Tape. That supposedly has a gel adhesive to give perfect lines every time. Never used it myself.

When you are ready to start spraying lacquer, wet-sand as usual but progress to higher grits. I seem to remember stopping at 1500. Wet-sand between lacqer coats as well but use the higher grit sandpaper. Once the final coat is dry (wait a day or two), hand-buff it with a cheap paper towel (they make excellent buffing rags). Once it fully cures (this can take weeks or months) you can do final polishing. Note that while the lacquer is curing, you cannot do anything with it. Even applying hardware or taking the body down off the hanger to set it down somewhere will cause the lacquer to dent and imprint with the texture of the surface it was sitting on.

I've always used krylon paint and rustoleum primer and polyurethane lacquer. Good paint makes a huge difference. Getting pro results with spraycans is possible but very labor-intensive.
Last edited by Invader Jim at Feb 7, 2014,
#3
when i did my frankenstrat inspired guitar, i used the blue painters tape. i have tried using frog tape before, but it didn't come off as easy as painters tape did, but the lines were more defined. maybe its a pick your battle type thing.
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#5
Quote by Invader Jim
You should be wet-sanding between coats (including between primer and lacquer coats). I always used 600 or 800 grit, I can't remember. Sprinkle water on the body and dip the paper in water and sand in small circular motions. It is extremely important to keep it wet and use small circular motions to keep from having scratch marks. You'll know you are done when the water stops beading up on the paint. When you are done get a fresh paper towel and wipe down the entire guitar with clean water and you'll be ready for more paint.



When you say between coats, do you mean between literally every coat of paint I put on? It'll be hard for me to do that once I begin spray painting the stripes on. At the moment I just applied my 3rd layer of black paint, about to wet sand that down soon to put on my final coat of black. Should I wet sand the final black coat as well? I picture it looking very...dull at the end if I do? o.0

Also I imagine when I do paint on the stripes, wouldn't that leave a clear...uhhh gap between that coats...I'm not sure how to word this...like I'd be able to feel and see the actual layers in the paint job, will the clear coat mask over this to give a smooth finish, or is there no way around that?

And thanks for the tip! i'm going to experiment with a scrap piece of wood, with different tapes and techniques, see which ones perform the best!
#6
Wet-sand between every coat. You're using a fine grit so it won't take much paint off. All you are doing is making a nice smooth surface for the next coat. Its a lot of work but you'll end up with a very nice high gloss in tie end. You are dulling the paint, but when you start getting the clear on it will be nice and glossy.

It will also help to knock the edges off the stripes so that when you clear it you'll have a smooth finish and not have bumps where the stripes are.

One of my first painting jobs was an old First Act that I painted half-black and half-white. Then I masked off some stripes and painted white over the black half and black over the white half. The end result was white stripes on black and black stripes on white with the stripes being one continuous piece of tape around the body. I can post a pic later if you want to see what I'm on about.
#8
Yeah I wet sand at the end of my color coats

I also put the cans of paint in hot water for a little before I spray with them. The paint doesn't spit very bad this way.
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#9
Been following all of your advice and it's coming along much better than I imagined so far. Haven't had any runs to deal with, hardly any paint spits either thanks to robs tip

Just finished my first striped pattern, the painters tape also worked a treat and held up the lines pretty solid, there are a few smidges here at there as the stripes go over the edges, but I think i can sand them out carefully. Almost finished it, thanks for all your help!