Hi all. I recently purchased a used guitar (Epiphone explorer GT to be exact, modded with EMGs ) and I've grown kind of unhappy with its dark color, so I want to brighten it up a bit so it fits in with my other guitars.

I have no electronics skills whatsoever, so I'd like to avoid messing with all that stuff, but all the tutorials are saying that all the electronics have to come off before I paint. Would the guitar be fine if I covered it all with masking tape and sprayed over that?
Quote by kabadi.man

you could get away with the volume/tone controls remaining as the edge of where you tape would be hidden by the control knobs, but everything else has to come off

To me that sounds like the knobs would hide unpainted parts, so there's no need for them to come off (sorry :P).

There is no doubt that if paint got in the electronics everything would go south, but if it was all sealed off completely with no chance of something happening why would it all need to come off?
Quote by Brikkyy13
To me that sounds like the knobs would hide unpainted parts, so there's no need for them to come off (sorry :P).

No. Take all the electronics off/out. Pull the tuners, pull the strap locks and, if it's me, I'd take out the nut. I'll guarantee that if you don't, you'll regret the half-assed job you'll have in the end.
You're gonna have to take EVERYTHING off the guitar.
Pickups, all electronics, tuners, strap buttons/locks, etc.

If this seems like a complicated job. Take it to your local guitar shop and have them do it.

But if that's not an option, then wait til you learn how the guitar electronics work before doing a project this big to your guitar.

I mean, the color can wait, right?

Btw, there is ALWAYS a chance paint can get to the electronics and other hardware if they are left on the guitar.
I wouldn't take the chance.
Jackson DK-2 [2004 MIJ] (EMG 81/SA)
Jackson RR-3 [2007 MIJ] (EMG 81/60)
Ibanez RG370DX [2009] (EMG 81/60)
Epiphone Les Paul Custom [2004] (EMG 81/85)
Ltd/Esp M-17 7-String [2013] (EMG 81-7 set)
Bugera 333XL 120watt Tube Head, Crate BV412 Cab
Last edited by Chaz-6(sic)6 at Apr 20, 2016,
I'm assuming he's going for the half-assed job considering that electronics are much easier to work on and much less time-consuming than anything involving electronics. So yes, you can paint a guitar without removing the electronics. The wires are usually long enough to lift the electronics outside of the body to get them out of the way. Now if you want a good finish, you need to remove them.
I'm currently working on assembly of the equivalent of a "choose your own adventure" kit guitar. I'm hand-selecting parts and handling all the dying, staining, sanding, and finishing myself along with setups.

While I've opted to do something a bit more intensive than using rattle cans and spray lacquer, I'm going into my 3rd week and probably 10th night of working the finish on the body.

This is not a small task, and to do it right and make it look the way you want it is going to take a bit more than 1 grit of sand paper, primer, enamel, and lacquer. Painting is 80% prep, 5% application, and 15% patience. If you're not willing to go through the prep (which involves removing the electronics), it's probably just money lost.
if you don't care about the resale value, do whatever you want to. but if you're going to get lazy and take shortcuts it won't turn out very good.