#1
 Title is pretty much self explanatory, I have a shitty strat I want to  mess around with, so I decided to try painting it and maybe do more  stuff with it afterwards. 
Anyway, I want to do a black and red swirl  on the body and paint the pickups/pickguard black, so it'll hopefully  look like one of these two bad edits, I couldn't decide on the headstock color, so I made two versions: 
http://imgur.com/a/0CPZP
First,  about the swirl, I plan  just going to put some white primer over the  paint, swirl it with some red Humbrol paint and a cheap black oil paint  then put some wood coating over it all. Anything wrong with that, should  I use car coating instead or something? Also, how much paint do I need  in total to paint the body and possibly the headstock over?
For the  headstock I heard spray paint works well, so I'll use it for the pickups  as well, anything I should be aware of other than having to putting  some tape over the metallic parts to avoid painting it and fucking the  pickup over?
Also, anything I'll need other than the paint and a solder to put it all back together afterwards?                  
Last edited by Yamifag at Apr 7, 2017,
#2
Yamifag The link went nowhere. This search on YouTube takes you do lots of helpful videos. 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=swirl+paint+guitar+tutorial+

As for materials, the finish of a solid body guitar has so little affect on the sound as to be totally negligible. The main thing to consider is that the body of the guitar will be rubbing against your belly, and your arm will be rubbing against the front. So, you'll probably want to use a really, really durable top coat to protect both the finish on your guitar, and your shirt where it covers your belly and the sleeve on your strumming arm. 

I think you'll get better and more helpful advice talking to people with lots of experience in refinishing furniture. Face it, who would know more about putting finishes on wood, someone who has refinished a dozen guitars, or someone who had refinished a few hundred chairs and tables? 
#3
I've been telling people who want to experiment with the look of their guitars to just have something printed up by the guys that do vinyl wraps. Yeah, the same stuff that the oil baron's kids from the MidEast use on their Lamborghinis to turn it into the flash monster of the week. it was developed for bus signage and it's tough, easily applied, protects the paint beneath it and comes off when you're ready to change things up. NASCAR cars are wrapped because it's faster, cheaper, and you can get all those little decals and details just so without dinking with actual paint. And you can pull that wrap and do a different one for a different sponsor for the next race. There are companies that specifically do guitars (google axe wraps) and have pre-existing wraps, and I know that friends of mine have wrapped their guitars to match their 1995 Civics (woo). Because the stuff can be printed by a modified inkjet type printer, you can have any kind of graphic, including wood grain and even some things that look like a relic'd guitar to put on your brand new strat. 

Erm -- I'd suggest NOT using spray paint for your pickups. I've seen it done, but I've never seen it UN done. 
Last edited by dspellman at Apr 8, 2017,
#4
Quote by gerdner
Yamifag The link went nowhere. This search on YouTube takes you do lots of helpful videos.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=swirl+paint+guitar+tutorial+

As for materials, the finish of a solid body guitar has so little affect on the sound as to be totally negligible. The main thing to consider is that the body of the guitar will be rubbing against your belly, and your arm will be rubbing against the front. So, you'll probably want to use a really, really durable top coat to protect both the finish on your guitar, and your shirt where it covers your belly and the sleeve on your strumming arm.

I think you'll get better and more helpful advice talking to people with lots of experience in refinishing furniture. Face it, who would know more about putting finishes on wood, someone who has refinished a dozen guitars, or someone who had refinished a few hundred chairs and tables? 

Yeah direct link isn't working for some reason, but copy paste should do it. I already saw most of those videos, I'm just asking because of the specifics, since they don't go in much detail about the paint and all. 
Though, I guess if it doesn't affect the sounds that much I'll just try it with my existing paint. 
Quote by dspellman
I've been telling people who want to experiment with the look of their guitars to just have something printed up by the guys that do vinyl wraps. Yeah, the same stuff that the oil baron's kids from the MidEast use on their Lamborghinis to turn it into the flash monster of the week. it was developed for bus signage and it's tough, easily applied, protects the paint beneath it and comes off when you're ready to change things up. NASCAR cars are wrapped because it's faster, cheaper, and you can get all those little decals and details just so without dinking with actual paint. And you can pull that wrap and do a different one for a different sponsor for the next race. There are companies that specifically do guitars (google axe wraps) and have pre-existing wraps, and I know that friends of mine have wrapped their guitars to match their 1995 Civics (woo). Because the stuff can be printed by a modified inkjet type printer, you can have any kind of graphic, including wood grain and even some things that look like a relic'd guitar to put on your brand new strat. 

Erm -- I'd suggest NOT using spray paint for your pickups. I've seen it done, but I've never seen it UN done. 

It's not so much experimenting with the look as it's experimenting with painting. My guitar was less than 100 bucks and it's all fucked up right now, so I'm not worried about fucking it up even more as much as I am worried about spending money on stuff I don't need. Plus, I want to build a guitar some day, so might as well learn by painting this piece of shit instead of ruining 500 dollars in materials. 
Also, what do you mean by undone, you mean it's impossible to remove the paint afterwards or would it ruin the pickup in some way? Also, I found some acrylic paint and I heard it'd work well, would that be better for the pickguard as well?
#5
Quote by Yamifag

Also, what do you mean by undone, you mean it's impossible to remove the paint afterwards or would it ruin the pickup in some way? Also, I found some acrylic paint and I heard it'd work well, would that be better for the pickguard as well?


I would imagine the key to his sentence is "I've never SEEN it UN done". That implies that while it might be possible, it's so difficult that it's very, very rare to see anyone even make the attempt. "Possible" includes things that are extremely difficult, including things so difficult that no sensible person would even try them. . 

Since you've revealed that you're working on what sounds like it's almost a disposable guitar, and you want to gain experience for when you work on building a better guitar, I suggest that you not only practice painting, practice disassembly and reassembly as well. I mean, what the hell. If you're going to practice, practice doing it right. So, since it's a Strat, it's pretty easy to remove all the bits and pieces, including the neck, from the body. I'd recommend using a power sander to totally smooth out the existing surface, and use a good wood filler on any nicks or gouges. There are products out there that will dissolve old finishes so that you can scrape almost everything off to go down to bare wood. That isn't mandatory, but if you really want optimal results, do whatever it takes, right? 

Humbrol is a UK brand. I'm not at all familiar with it. I would recommend against using any oil based paint, unless you are doing the trick of floating oil based paint on top of water for swirly patterns. However, that method seems to be fraught with peril for a first time application. So, I'd suggest practicing on scraps of wood a few times before attempting the Strat body. 

For a sealing top coating, the only thing to be careful of is a finish that uses a solvent that would damage what it's being put on top of. Way back in the day, I had some problems with furniture I painted with enamels and then top coated with lacquer. The lacquer schmutzed up the enamel pretty badly. 

The last time I refinished a guitar, it was a Strat clone finished in a metallic burgundy. I stripped it to bare wood, painted it jet black with enamel, then top coated it with multiple coats of clear varnish. The pickguard was a sort of off-white, so I refinished it in pure white. Didn't make it sound any different, but I had fun doing it. That was in the early 1970's, so the availability of materials has changed a bit. 

The last thing I refinished was a huge wooden table. After over 35 years of hard use, the top wasn't in the best of shape. I stripped it to bare wood and stained it with American walnut. That brought out the grain very nicely. I then put about 25 or 30 thin coats of clear polyurethane on it. It looks great, and fights off spills and stains. If it were a guitar, it would probably take real effort to give it any belt buckle rash. 
#6
Quote by Yamifag


It's not so much experimenting with the look as it's experimenting with painting. My guitar was less than 100 bucks and it's all fucked up right now, so I'm not worried about fucking it up even more as much as I am worried about spending money on stuff I don't need. Plus, I want to build a guitar some day, so might as well learn by painting this piece of shit instead of ruining 500 dollars in materials. 
Also, what do you mean by undone, you mean it's impossible to remove the paint afterwards or would it ruin the pickup in some way? Also, I found some acrylic paint and I heard it'd work well, would that be better for the pickguard as well?

Seems to me learning to paint is probably just as easily accomplished on a chunk of random wood. Or a buncha chunks. Especially since its unlikely you'll learn much about painting a guitar by trashing just one old guitar body. 

As for spending money on stuff you don't need; you'll probably pay more for the paint than you will for a completed piece of transit vinyl (I'm guessing around $35). This is the digital age. You can do virtually any kind of paint effect or color or graphic on a computer and then transfer it to the guitar (including having a specific kind of printer spray paint on a guitar to duplicate it).  
#7
Quote by gerdner

Yeah, I'm going to fully disassembly it then use the floating oil trick. Besides, everything is soldered into the pickguard, so I'd have to disassemble it all to paint anyway, or else there'd be some white spots, parts that got glued together and all. 
I actually had a lot of red paint laying around, so I have enough to test before actually doing the guitar. I wouldn't mind fucking it up that much, but I'd rather not fuck it up on purpose. 
Quote by dspellman

It's not like I have never painted before, just never a guitar. Besides, the guitar is all scratched and there are some really fucked up parts. Even if I had a vinyl wrap to put in it, I'd have to paint the guitar over or else it'd get really fucked up. Since I'm going to paint it, might as well go all out.