#1
I have this old, cheap Strat copy and I want to make it look better. First thing I want to do is re-paint it, but I need some help on how to do it.

From what I understand, first thing I need to do is take it apart. I know how to do it. Then, I should probably sand it with sandpaper. This is where I need help. How do I sand it not to damage it too much? What kind of paint and lacquer should I use? How do I apply it? Do you have some tips or anything else to add?

I'd be really grateful for any help.
#2
The very first thing to do is make sure that you have everything you need before you start.

Complete dis-assembly, including electronics. Well ventilated room. Some form of apparatus for hanging said guitar to paint it. Usually people put a sturdy hanger through one of the bolt holes for the neck and hang the guitar from a line.

As far as removing the finish you have on it now... buy a heat gun. That will make your life much much easier, especially if you plan to strip down to the wood. Less messy also. You'll still have to sand a bit, just enough to rough the body up for primer to adhere well to it. But nothing drastic.

If it is a cheap strat copy, you won't want to do any type of transparent finish. You'll most likely find a multi-piece body hiding under the current finish.

Automotive paint works fine. You'll need primer, color, and clear. A few coats of primer, several coats of color to reach desired depth, and several coats of clear to polish up. A little wet sanding, and it should look quite nice.

Unless you have a compressor and spray gun, you'll need to use spray paint. Get a spray handle for it so you aren't working your finger to death.

I'd really recommend looking at some Youtube tutorials as those will be able to take you through step by step.
Gear: Gibson Les Paul Studio, Gibson SG Special, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Jazzmaster, Gretsch Pro Jet, Carvin C350, Epiphone ES-339 P90, Epiphone ES-335 Pro. Peavey 6505, Sovtek MIG-100, Vox AC30, Peavey XXX.
#3
Quote by ThunderPunk
The very first thing to do is make sure that you have everything you need before you start.

Complete dis-assembly, including electronics. Well ventilated room. Some form of apparatus for hanging said guitar to paint it. Usually people put a sturdy hanger through one of the bolt holes for the neck and hang the guitar from a line.

As far as removing the finish you have on it now... buy a heat gun. That will make your life much much easier, especially if you plan to strip down to the wood. Less messy also. You'll still have to sand a bit, just enough to rough the body up for primer to adhere well to it. But nothing drastic.

If it is a cheap strat copy, you won't want to do any type of transparent finish. You'll most likely find a multi-piece body hiding under the current finish.

Automotive paint works fine. You'll need primer, color, and clear. A few coats of primer, several coats of color to reach desired depth, and several coats of clear to polish up. A little wet sanding, and it should look quite nice.

Unless you have a compressor and spray gun, you'll need to use spray paint. Get a spray handle for it so you aren't working your finger to death.

I'd really recommend looking at some Youtube tutorials as those will be able to take you through step by step.


Thanks for such an insightful reply. I'm thinking of possibly doing it outside, but then I'd have to take into consideration such factors as wind and sun. Does wind and/or sun have any positive or negative effect on the painting process? Hanging the guitar is also not a problem.

As for the finish, I was thinking of just scrapping it off with a scraper and then sanding the body with sandpaper until it's smooth.

The current finish looks terrible. I can see the wood through it and it isn't pretty.

Can you explain a bit further the "primer, color, and clear" part? English is not my first language and I am not entirely sure what those are and how they are used.
#4
Sun isn't as much of an issue but wind can definitely be a factor when trying to get a nice clean and smooth finish. The 'primer' is the base coat that goes down - it sticks to the surface material and creates a good base for the paint to stick to. The 'color' would be the finish that you want to see. The 'clear' is a clear protective coat that covers the color to protect the finish.

Given that it is a cheap guitar to begin with, you may be better off using the existing finish as the primer coat. Simply rough it up with some fine sandpaper and apply your color coats and then your clear coats.
#5
look on the GB&C subforum, they have lots of painting threads. i have probably done a dozen (more for fun) and one i was painted for a guy i know that he wanted. he paid my expense and gave me a few bucks. it was fun. i saw him at a bar a while later with it. i do have to say it was pretty cool to see it in action.

honestly what it comes down to is patience (a skill i still lack to this day).
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#6
Quote by LuchadorMetal

As for the finish, I was thinking of just scrapping it off with a scraper and then sanding the body with sandpaper until it's smooth.

Thats how I do it...very sharp scraper blades followed by 100 grit, 220 grit, 600 grit.

The smoothness of the final coat is dependent on the smoothness of the final sanding.
#7
Can I do without scrapping it all off? Just sanding it until it's smooth, but still with the paint on? Like, I'm going to apply primer anyway, so if it's now black and I want to paint it dark red (think crimson or scarlet) then is it OK if I don't sand it to the wood?

Also, what kind of primer exactly is it best to use? Is this one good to use?
#8
You don't have to sand down to wood. You can rough the current finish up and be fine to spray over it.

Just make sure that when you are done scuffing the finish that you wipe the body of the guitar down really well - blow the dust off and wipe it down with some kind of alcohol or solvent to remove any skin oils that may be on the guitar body from handling it - the best time to do this is after you've hung it up. Then let it dry for a bit before spraying with paint.

Unfortunately, I only know English, so I can't comment on the link you've provided. But if you aren't sanding down to the wood, you don't have to use primer. Try to find Krylon Plastic paint, as the finish on your guitar is a poly finish. It will adhere very nicely, no need for primer that way. According to Krylon you don't have to sand, but I would just to make sure that it does stick to the body. Just a light scuffing should do fine.

http://www.krylon.com/products/fusion-for-plastic/
Gear: Gibson Les Paul Studio, Gibson SG Special, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Jazzmaster, Gretsch Pro Jet, Carvin C350, Epiphone ES-339 P90, Epiphone ES-335 Pro. Peavey 6505, Sovtek MIG-100, Vox AC30, Peavey XXX.
#9
Quote by ThunderPunk
You don't have to sand down to wood. You can rough the current finish up and be fine to spray over it.

Just make sure that when you are done scuffing the finish that you wipe the body of the guitar down really well - blow the dust off and wipe it down with some kind of alcohol or solvent to remove any skin oils that may be on the guitar body from handling it - the best time to do this is after you've hung it up. Then let it dry for a bit before spraying with paint.

Unfortunately, I only know English, so I can't comment on the link you've provided. But if you aren't sanding down to the wood, you don't have to use primer. Try to find Krylon Plastic paint, as the finish on your guitar is a poly finish. It will adhere very nicely, no need for primer that way. According to Krylon you don't have to sand, but I would just to make sure that it does stick to the body. Just a light scuffing should do fine.

http://www.krylon.com/products/fusion-for-plastic/

So if I don't sand it down to wood I don't need primer?

Also, how do I paint it from both sides? I understand, that I have to hang it up and just spray paint it. I am thinking of doing it outside, but I will have to leave it for long periods of time to dry and I don't want to leave it outside overnight. So how do I leave it while the paint dries?

And how many coats of paint and lacquer do I need? And how long does each of them have to dry?
Last edited by LuchadorMetal at Jun 10, 2015,
#10
Quote by LuchadorMetal
So if I don't sand it down to wood I don't need primer?

Also, how do I paint it from both sides? I understand, that I have to hang it up and just spray paint it. I am thinking of doing it outside, but I will have to leave it for long periods of time to dry and I don't want to leave it outside overnight. So how do I leave it while the paint dries?

And how many coats of paint and lacquer do I need? And how long does each of them have to dry?

if you are going to use lacquer then take the guitar down to wood. you don't want to put a lacquer finish over the (likely) poly finish the guitar has on it now.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#11
Quote by LuchadorMetal
So if I don't sand it down to wood I don't need primer?

Also, how do I paint it from both sides? I understand, that I have to hang it up and just spray paint it. I am thinking of doing it outside, but I will have to leave it for long periods of time to dry and I don't want to leave it outside overnight. So how do I leave it while the paint dries?

And how many coats of paint and lacquer do I need? And how long does each of them have to dry?


No, you don't need to primer if you are going to paint over the current finish. Primer is a bonding agent between the wood surface and the paint to help everything stick together. If you're not going down to wood it isn't necessary, you're just bonding paint to paint.

Just do enough coats of the color to get good coverage so that you don't have any of the old color showing through. Probably 3 good coats should do it. Then put on a few coats of clear over top of it - probably 3 of that as well.

As for moving it around. Get some kind of a metal hook to hang the guitar body on a line of rope. Have a line of rope outside and a line of rope inside. Bring the guitar in at night and hang it on the line inside.
Gear: Gibson Les Paul Studio, Gibson SG Special, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Jazzmaster, Gretsch Pro Jet, Carvin C350, Epiphone ES-339 P90, Epiphone ES-335 Pro. Peavey 6505, Sovtek MIG-100, Vox AC30, Peavey XXX.
#12
Quote by gregs1020
if you are going to use lacquer then take the guitar down to wood. you don't want to put a lacquer finish over the (likely) poly finish the guitar has on it now.

Can you explain why not? And what should I use then? Nothing?
#13
Lacquer and polyurethane have different chemical compositions. They won't stick to each other. If you put lacquer over poly, it will come off... thus, wasting your money and time. Your guitar has a polyfinish. Most spray paints are poly unless they indicate otherwise.
Gear: Gibson Les Paul Studio, Gibson SG Special, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Jazzmaster, Gretsch Pro Jet, Carvin C350, Epiphone ES-339 P90, Epiphone ES-335 Pro. Peavey 6505, Sovtek MIG-100, Vox AC30, Peavey XXX.
#14
Quote by ThunderPunk
Lacquer and polyurethane have different chemical compositions. They won't stick to each other. If you put lacquer over poly, it will come off... thus, wasting your money and time. Your guitar has a polyfinish. Most spray paints are poly unless they indicate otherwise.

So what should I use then?
#15
Quote by LuchadorMetal
So what should I use then?

use a poly paint and not a lacquer paint.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#16
poly paints usually want you to add the additional coats of paint within about 20 minutes, and then allow 24hrs to dry after that, so for your color put on a spray coat, wait about 15-20min and put another coat, then repeat as needed. Once you have the coverage you want hang the guitar inside and let it dry for 24hours, then repeat the same process with the clear coat.