Hi guys, i need help with some project ideas if possible.

I have a mid 90's Epi LP in full clown colours which I'd like to jazz up a bit, pictures of the current guitar are here:


It's not worth a lot 2nd hand, especially as it needs a little bit of fret work, plus it was given to me by a family member who found it in the loft so i'm inclined not to sell it. under the pretty uninspiring finish is a solid korean made LP so i'd like to do something with it to make it special to me again.

I was thinking that it may be a good base to try a refinishing project, i've been reading online about some DIY refinishes and i'm pretty confident that i could handle it but not sure what would work best. I'm also not sure what the finish on the guitar is right now (i've read that polyurethane is a nightmare to strip) are there any easy ways of telling?

My first thought was to strip the top finish and deck it out as a gold top complete with a new set of black pickups but wasn't sure how that would look with the cherry gloss on the back. There isn't much of a grain to the top but i could imagine a trans red lacquer finish could be nice but i was more confident in my ability to work with solid colours.

So anyone got any cool ideas with what i could do? or general tips with refinishing a set neck guitar? budget would probably be up to about £200 ($300) including any new electrics, anything more than that and i'm questioning if the guitar is worth it.

paint if you're in america I would love to use some of alsa corp paints they are perfect for your project.

for dye if the wood has a nice enough grain LMII.com has some stuff that'll help you out. True tint I believe they call it. Just understand some woods react diffrently than others and see if there is any extra preparation work involved.

colorful parts besides the cheap stuff on ebay I suggest qparts.com
really eye catching pickguards if you want one for your LP axetremecreations.com they also make custom ones

sanding or stripping
60 or 80 grit sand paper you'd be able to do it by hand but it's going to take about a week or two depending on how beat up your hands get during this. I'd honestly just use paint stripper if sound of the guitar isn't a big concern because it probably took me 10-12 hours to strip a strat body with 80 grit. Got a really good work out out of it and watched a lot of downloaded tv shows though haha.

tips on that though
put a few layers of electric tape under your sand paper - makes it last longer
always sand dry
use a mask or work in a well ventilated area. Polyurethane is not great for the lungs
if you can get your hands on a palm sander or sanding block by all means

if you can't get any of the above put super glue on the parts of your hand that you're applying all the pressure with. It peels right off after a shower. But the big pro is it's like a thick extra few layers of skin so you avoid blisters.


if you haven't refinished a guitar it is the most labor intensive part of the job.
with polyurethane it takes about a month for it to harden 100%
your alternative which has some maintenance is varnish. Some builders swear by it.

sand from 400 to 2000 grit
polishing compound on a palm polisher
swirl and scratch remover on a palm polisher with a foam pad (dont mix pads)
and you're set
remember to be patient in the finishing stage. The thinner the finish the better the acoustic tone of the guitar. But too thin and it'll chip too easily.

turtle wax express shine or "super hard shell" after you're done and people are gonna swear the guitar is new.

wiring is a whole different story though, it's much easier then it looks. My biggest suggestion for clarity is to copper shield the inside of the guitar. But any questions let me know.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Jan 21, 2015,
Thanks for the tips tallwood, I'm not in the USA so will have to find some paint suppliers locally (in Sweden) but will look at those you listed for comparison.

The wood grain is pretty meh so I was thinking solid colours would be better. Does that mean i can be a bit more aggressive with the stripping? I'm still not sure of what the current finish is, does anyone know what type of finish you'd expect on this guitar? Poly or lacquer?

I was hoping to just refinish the top if possible, are there any obvious issues with putting a fresh top on an existing body finish?

Obviously if i'm keeping the cherry on the back, it limits what might look good on the top, found these pics for some inspiration, the pelham blue looks pretty good i think
If you go with another solid color all you need to remove is the clearcoat. Then spray with primer then new base color. That will save you lots of time.
Mesa Boogie Single Rectoverb 50 series 2 combo
Randall RM100
Peavey 5150 4x12
Peavey XXX 2x12 combo
ok great, that's kind of what i was hoping for. I have one of those electric 'mouse' sanders, will that be a good tool to start with or will it be too aggressive? I'll obviously be careful to put the right grit paper on the bottom.

Pics of that goldtop/red back would be great, thanks!
It looks like tinted nitro, not PU. If you're going to respray with a solid colour, just scuff the surface enough for the new paint to take, then shoot it over. There's no sense in stripping it completely, then having to do all of your prep work again. Don't worry too much about refinishing though, since the set-up and fretwork is a more useful skill. There's no point in making pretty guitars that are basically unplayable. Invest in some tools and get to work.

Oh, and sand by hand where possible. Electric sanders are great for prepping raw wood, but it's so easy to eat through the wood if you lose concentration.