#1
Hello UG,

As a long-time lurker and amateur guitar builder, I am now posting my first decent thread in the gear building section. I really hope some more experienced people can help me out. I also hope that my post is 'complete' enough to sketch my situation and needs.

So, the thing is...
I recently bought a DIY guitar kit. It's a mahogany flying V guitar, and I really like the looks of it. As mentioned before, I am a complete beginner at this kind of stuff. My question is about getting help to paint it.

The guitar I'm basing it all on:
Picture 1
Picture 2

As you can see, the guitar has a Satin Red Wine finish. My dream guitar is a flying V with the same finish. Therefore, I'd like some help and information on how I should paint and finish my guitar exactly like it. Does anyone here have any experience with this kind of work? Is it hard for a beginner, or rather doable?

I appreciate ANY kind of help or response I get, people.
Thanks!
Gear:
ESP LTD EC-401FM STB
Ibanez AR307
Bugera Infinium 333XL
London City Bulldog
Line 6 Pod HD 300
Digitech Digiverb
Wishlist:
Pedalboard
#2
Satin finish is about the hardest to do well. I would suggest going to a lumber yard and buying a piece of mahogany. 1x4x4 will be fine. Use it as a test wood. Find tinted stain you want. There's many ways to stain wood. My favorite way, to make the grain really pop, is to brush it on with a foam brush, let it sit a minute, then wipe it off with a rag in the same direction as the grain. You can let it sit longer for darker. Look around some woodworking sites for staining tips.

That would be satin/flat. But also unprotected. To add protection, you need a satin clear. I prefer duplicolor, yeah it's automotive but it works. Here's where it's hard, you have to spray it perfect. So take your now stained practice board, and clear it. Try a few styles, for instance. 1 heavy coat 2 light coats or just 4 light coats. It's so hard to predict what will give you the best outcome.

Here's why satin is so hard to do. Once you spray it you're done. Any attempt to fix a spot by sanding recoating will create glossy spots. So you only get 1 chance with satin
#3
Quote by highgear

That would be satin/flat. But also unprotected. To add protection, you need a satin clear. I prefer duplicolor, yeah it's automotive but it works. Here's where it's hard, you have to spray it perfect. So take your now stained practice board, and clear it. Try a few styles, for instance. 1 heavy coat 2 light coats or just 4 light coats. It's so hard to predict what will give you the best outcome.


Thanks for trying to help me, man.
What do you mean by heavy and light coats? If I understand correctly, this 'satin clear' stuff is 'invisible' stuff, in a spray can, that comes on top of the stained body, right? (Sorry if this sounds stupid, but again, I'm a complete beginner).
Gear:
ESP LTD EC-401FM STB
Ibanez AR307
Bugera Infinium 333XL
London City Bulldog
Line 6 Pod HD 300
Digitech Digiverb
Wishlist:
Pedalboard
Last edited by Plaeghdraeger at May 19, 2015,
#4
Not stupid at all.

Yes, I'm talking about clear in a spray can. The reason I use/suggest automotive is it is UV resistant so it won't discolor.

You can get it in flat, satin or gloss.

The basic principle is the thicker the finish the better protection.

A "heavy" coat means to spray more at one time. Be careful though as the more you spray, the more likely it will run. Remember, you can't sand off and fix imperfections.

A "light" coat means to spray less at a time. This requires more coats to get thick enough but has a less likely to run. The problem with doing light coats, it may "orange-peel". This will give your finish a texture and appearance of an orange peel.

So, after you stain your practice board, practice a few ways with the clear.

Always keep your spray can 6-8 inches from your target. Begin spraying off to the side and don't stop until you past the other side. Move your arm in a sweeping motion. The slower you sweep across, the heavier you get, faster equals lighter.
#5
Quote by highgear
Not stupid at all.
Yes, I'm talking about clear in a spray can. The reason I use/suggest automotive is it is UV resistant so it won't discolor.
You can get it in flat, satin or gloss.
The basic principle is the thicker the finish the better protection.
A "heavy" coat means to spray more at one time. Be careful though as the more you spray, the more likely it will run. Remember, you can't sand off and fix imperfections.
A "light" coat means to spray less at a time. This requires more coats to get thick enough but has a less likely to run. The problem with doing light coats, it may "orange-peel". This will give your finish a texture and appearance of an orange peel.
So, after you stain your practice board, practice a few ways with the clear.
Always keep your spray can 6-8 inches from your target. Begin spraying off to the side and don't stop until you past the other side. Move your arm in a sweeping motion. The slower you sweep across, the heavier you get, faster equals lighter.


You just gave me A LOT of good tips, man Thanks a lot!
Going to give it a try in the way you just described!
Gear:
ESP LTD EC-401FM STB
Ibanez AR307
Bugera Infinium 333XL
London City Bulldog
Line 6 Pod HD 300
Digitech Digiverb
Wishlist:
Pedalboard
#6
Duplicolor is indeed a very good choice for the Clearcoat if you don't want discoloration.

For the Wine Red finish, you can either go with Stain or Dye. Most bigbox DIY stores carry Stain. If you want to go with Dye, check out LMII.

edit: didn't realize you were in Belgium. Go with whatever's local.
Last edited by Ippon at May 20, 2015,
#7
I've heard of guys going over the finish with scotch brite pads to remove the gloss from a finish on the les paul forum there is all sorts of guys who have talked about it to death. This idiot did it to a really nice Korean PRS guitar and I was really upset because I had to buff it back to gloss. Flat red didn't look good on it. I probably have a photo of the finalized guitar on my page restoring it to gloss. Scotch Brite pads also can give stuff a brushed nickel look.

I know Sully's guitar garage who is a youtube builder said use brush on wood finish when I asked him 2-3 years ago, his works impressive for a guy building guitars out of his home.

the thinner the finish the better acoustic tone I remember Ed Roman saying. You can use varnish to finish the guitar as well. The only down side to stuff like Tung Oil is that it requires maintenance to keep it looking good but apparently it sounds "better". Gunstock oil for example John Petrucci uses on the backs of his necks.

hmm.. what else can I chime in about..
use a mask , polyurethane is carcinogenic (causes cancer).

buy a palm polisher and a bunch of sand papers and waxes, you'll need it, never done a satin finish but I'd love to know where to "stop" as my heart would tell me 2000 in most instances for a flat schecter like finish because the finish makes it look the way it does. If anyone has any tips on this for the future let me know. For gloss I sand to 2000 and then use polishing / rubbing compound and finish with a swirl and scratch remover. I've done lots of scratch free finishes, just never had the space to actually refinish a guitar.

have a room to let the finish harden , waiting for the finish is probably one of the biggest reasons guitars can cost so much. Jackson / fender custom shops use a UV light room to speed this process up.

interesting fact if you work with nitrocellulose lacquer you can drop fill dents with krazy glue (not super) and it looks like it never happened. Polyurethane this doesn't happen with it creates this weird crystal like look, no idea how to describe it.

I think that's about it, everything else has been said. Good luck on your project.

this is sullys page , he's kind of weird but very insightful
https://www.youtube.com/user/jsullysix
Last edited by Tallwood13 at May 20, 2015,
#8
Side notes.

Most guitar finishes started out as "automotive." Leo used whatever the local GM plant was using (and, it's rumored, bought "tails" -- leftover paint from production runs). Nitrocellulose lacquer was originally used for heavy machinery and cars, but "print through" and chalking and checking and splitting complaints led most automakers to dump it in the early/mid 50's in favor of acrylics, etc. Gibson and Fender used the SAME acrylics at one point and Gibson had to rename a few of the colors that it used on its Firebird line "poly" to avoid using the same name as Fender. Gibson used a nitrocellulose clear coat over the acrylic color coat, so you'll often find pelham blue guitars, for example, mistaken for inverness green, thanks to the yellowing of the nitro clear coat. It's routine to pull the pickups to find the actual original color, and you'll often find areas where the clear top coat has been worn off to reveal the original color beneath.

"Orange peel" usually results from less-than-optimal spraying technique, but it can usually be sanded smooth.

Matte and satin coats are not created by sanding or the lack of it, but by adding deglossers (often talcum powder or something similar) to the paint. Wear or grease on these paints will result in slightly glossy spots. I don't mind matte/satin finishes on the backs of necks, but I much prefer gloss paints everywhere else on a guitar, fashion statement aside.
#9
This thread has become very useful for me guys Thx a lot!
Gear:
ESP LTD EC-401FM STB
Ibanez AR307
Bugera Infinium 333XL
London City Bulldog
Line 6 Pod HD 300
Digitech Digiverb
Wishlist:
Pedalboard