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UniverseZero
Wikipedia is your friend
Join date: Jun 2006
1,147 IQ
#1
THE ULTIMATE REFINISHING THREAD!
Read before posting any question about painting or refinishing


Any thread that could've been answered by looking in this thread will be locked

Hi GB&C, due to the amount of "how to paint a guitar" threads that have popped out lately I decided that UG needed a sticky about refinishing.
This thread will always be a WIP and I will try to update with new tuts everytime I see something cool and new, if you think there is something missing I would like you to PM me so that I can add it to the first post of the thread. any other questions about refinishing should be added here instead of opening a new thread. For links to many other great threads, check out the GB&C Central Hub.


Stripping Paint
Using Heat This tutorial explains the use of a heat gun to strip paint off the body of a guitar.
Using Chemicals This tutorial explains the use of chemicals to strip paint off the body of a guitar.
Using Sandpaper This tutorial explains the use of sandpaper to strip paint off the body of a guitar.

Painting

Basic Refinishing As title says, tutorial on basic refinishing, both on full body and area refinishing.
The Whole Process This Pictorial shows everything, from preparing the wood, to clearcoating it!

One color
Solid Colors Want only one color on your guitar? this is the tut to check then!
Spray cans Video showing how to use spray cans to get a very nice finish.

Bursts
Fender Strat Burst Want a vintage 2-tone burst like those on those old fenders? this tutorial is for you!
Gibson Burst Tut explaining how to burst a guitar gibson style.
Taylor Burst Pt. 1 Video showing the factory process to get a Tobacco burst finish on a Taylor guitar. Part 1.
Taylor Burst Pt. 2 Video showing the factory process to get a Tobacco burst finish on a Taylor guitar. Part 2.
Semi-hollow burst A thread that explains the process of bursting a semihollowed tele using dyes.
3D burst This tutorial shows how to get an amazing finish with 3 colors and a figured wood, also shows how to get faux binding on the sides of your guitar.
Easy Burst Tutorial explains an easy way to burst your guitar using templates.

Dyes and Stains
Dyes Explains the use of Dyes to paint a guitar
Figured Wood Stain Explains the use of black and colored dye to bring that flame alive.
Wood Stains Explains the use of stains to paint the wood.


Other Finishes
Material Finish Explains how to use a material like fabric or paper to cover your guitar and clearcoating it.
Holoflash Explains how to add a holoflash finish to the top of your guitar.
Swirls Explains how to get psychodelic paint swirls on your guitar. Video
Airbrushing Explains various Airbrushing techniques, not on a guitar, but process aplies too.
Tru-oil finish This is a brief article about Tru-oil and other oils/varnishes and how to use them.
Mixing shellac This article explains how to mix and use shellac to protect a finish.

Polishing
Polishing Explains how to get your guitar glossy as a mirror
French Polishing Explains old techniques to get your finish amazingly mirrored.
Buffing tutorial This is AlGee's tutorial on Buffing, better than most factory finishes!

Schedules
Nitrocellulose Shows a step by step guide to get a nitro finish.
Waterbase Shows a step by step guido to get a waterbase finish

Random Stenciling Tips
Quote by Ippon
1. When cutting masking tape on top of the guitar body that has dried for at least an hour, go through the pattern with the blade very lightly at first. Then go through it a second time to make the final cut. Yes, don't cut through with the first pass. The paint is still "soft".
2. If you prefer not to cut on top of the guitar body, you can use regular paper for the mask. Use all purpose Elmer's gluestick to stick the mask on top of the body. I've used white rice, watered down flour (sticky) but Staples or Office Mart carry this special spray for temporarily sticking paper to anything ... kinda like the adhesiveness of PostIts ... I've used those made by 3M, works great.
3. When using #2 above, make sure you go through the edges, twice, thrice to ensure it's stuck and that paint won't seep under.
4. After you're done masking and spraying each layer, wait at least 1 hour to ensure it's sufficiently dry.
5. Then using the 1500 grit sandpaper that you've soaked overnight, very lightly sand the demarcation lines. Make sure the paper is always wet, lightly sanding until you can no longer feel the ridges between the star's edges and the background.
6. When clearcoating, spray the edges first, the front, the back, then repeat immediately 2 more times.
7. Wait another hour, repeat the above: 3 coats of clear.
8. Wait another hour, repeat the above: 3 coats of clear.
9. Repeat steps 6 to 8 the following day and for a 3rd day. This is called the rule of 3s.
10. Wait a month for the finish to fully cure/harden, then use 3M Finesse It II to buff the body.



Remember that this thread is a WIP.

People who have contributed to this thread:
Dave293, xifr, Ippon, Invader Jim.

Cheers,
UniverseZero


Quote by robbo_0013
UniverseZero is some kind of pwnerer of numerals

Quote by spazzymagee417
your avatar entertains me.
Last edited by UniverseZero at Feb 3, 2008,
xifr
Master of the Penguins
Join date: Aug 2004
1,067 IQ
#2
Originally posted by AlGeeEater
Hi. I was asked to do a mod/tech tip of the month type of thing. I thought it would be good if I could teach you guys how to bring the luster and clarity to your newly finished guitar.

Before I begin the polishing stage, I sand the body down with 400 grit. I spray one more coat of lacquer to get it flat so I don't have to start with 400 grit. After it has dried for 2 weeks you can begin!

I first start out by sanding the top of the body with 1500 grit. It doesn’t take long until the whole body is in a dull sheen. Sand from the bridge to the neck (lengthwise). Do the exact same with the back. There shouldn’t be any pits, craters or large scratches. If there are, just drop fill them with lacquer and sand them down. Rip off a piece of 1500 sandpaper and sand the sides. If you have a flat top guitar unlike a Strat with bevels, don't sand the edges yet. The clear is thin there unless you build it thick on the edges like me. I like to do that so I can sand everything. The next step is to repeat sanding the body with 2,000 this time.

Once you get the whole body sanded with 2,000 and the lacquer is deadly flat, you can begin polishing. I use Stew Mac buffing pads in absence of a buffing arbor. They work great! For my buffing machine, I use a Craftsman Variable Speed hand drill. I think it reaches about 700 RPM.



The first step is to use a fine cut compound. I use 3M products, and IMO they are awesome. They remove 1200+ grit scratches.


Apply the compound all over the body like so:


Start using the buffing pad. I always go against the sanding marks. Never go with them or you will never get them all out. I usually buff slowly letting the compound work. Don't stay in one area too long or you will buff through! Make sure not to get the surface too hot also, it will cause the lacquer to heat and will allow the wheel to pull the lacquer right off. OUCH! Get all the scratches out with the fine. I call this the cutting stage because I push pretty hard on the wheel to the body to get the scratches off. Never start on an edge. When you are done, wipe the body down with a cotton cloth.

As you can see this thing already glows and looks better than most factory finishes:


The next step is to use a swirl remover.



They make them for light and dark colors(although, you can hardly see any swirls on lighter colors). I only had the dark color swirl remover, so whatever You don't need a lot of this stuff because you are now removing swirls and buffing the finish. I use about a gaurter sized dot.

Use as light as you can get away with. Use light pressure to buff the surface. Once the compound starts to dry, buff the finish to a high gloss.

The next step is to wax the body. I usually wait a week before I wax a body, but I did all this in about 30 min Here is the body before waxing:



I use this wax. I'm not sure where YOU can get it, but I get it specially ordered through a friend.



Here she is!

P.S.-I sprayed this with dupli-color too.
"A wise man once said, never discuss philosophy or politics in a disco environment." - Frank Zappa
Quote by Jinskee
Don't question the X.
<Frenchy> I'm such a failure
UniverseZero
Wikipedia is your friend
Join date: Jun 2006
1,147 IQ
#3
Ippon's Paint on Plastic tutorial!

Quote by Ippon
If you want the paint to not scuff or peel, you need to use:



You have 2 options with Acrylic Paint for Plastic:
  • Paint for Plastic Primer + Acrylic Colorcoat Paint; or,
  • Paint for Plastic Colorcoat.


With either options, you need to lightly scuff sand. Use 400 grit, nothing coarser, or else the scratches will be too deep/rough. 600 is better.

With option 1, you'll have more choices with the colocoat. For example, if you decide on an elaborate or intricate design, the primer for plastic will serve as your base. This is best if your design is at least 3 or more colors.

Here's a sample:



With option 2, you can stick with a simple 1- or 2-color design. Here's a sample:



It is best to use Clearcoat on Option 1. Clearcoating is optional on Option 2.

Remember, Paint for Plastic will form a molecular bond with your PickGuard's plastic.

Good Luck!



Quote by robbo_0013
UniverseZero is some kind of pwnerer of numerals

Quote by spazzymagee417
your avatar entertains me.
Last edited by UniverseZero at Feb 20, 2008,
xifr
Master of the Penguins
Join date: Aug 2004
1,067 IQ
#5
Reserved for tutorials.
"A wise man once said, never discuss philosophy or politics in a disco environment." - Frank Zappa
Quote by Jinskee
Don't question the X.
<Frenchy> I'm such a failure
xX_JIMI_Xx
o lawdy lawd
Join date: Feb 2005
180 IQ
#10
hey

im thinking about buying a used guitar to refinish (completely different colour). so i will have to strip it and re paint it etc etc.

the tutorials on sanding and painting (as far as i can see) use guitars that do not have binding.

my question is do you have to do anything differently when doing this to a guitar with binding? sorry if its a dumb question, im new to this and wanna get it right

cheers,
UniverseZero
Wikipedia is your friend
Join date: Jun 2006
1,147 IQ
#12
Quote by xX_JIMI_Xx
hey

im thinking about buying a used guitar to refinish (completely different colour). so i will have to strip it and re paint it etc etc.

the tutorials on sanding and painting (as far as i can see) use guitars that do not have binding.

my question is do you have to do anything differently when doing this to a guitar with binding? sorry if its a dumb question, im new to this and wanna get it right

cheers,


here's a tutorial on stewmac that shows how to work with bindings , it also shows the way to handle paint if the guitar has binding.


Quote by robbo_0013
UniverseZero is some kind of pwnerer of numerals

Quote by spazzymagee417
your avatar entertains me.
RG_FANMAN
is stealing your pedals
Join date: Mar 2007
2,557 IQ
#13
Quote by Guitarislife125
How would I go abouts painting a guitar so it looks like the following:




That guitar looks like the same guitar the other guitarist in Death had in the vid for "lack of comprehension"
Guitarislife125
Steinberger Player
Join date: Jul 2006
913 IQ
#14
Quote by RG_FANMAN
That guitar looks like the same guitar the other guitarist in Death had in the vid for "lack of comprehension"


Because it is, the guitarist, Paul Masvidal, played for Death on the Human album.
RG_FANMAN
is stealing your pedals
Join date: Mar 2007
2,557 IQ
#15
Quote by Guitarislife125
Because it is, the guitarist, Paul Masvidal, played for Death on the Human album.


Sweet! I've only started to get into Death, so I wouldn't recognize him on the fly.
Spankyx2
The Spankinator
Join date: Mar 2007
327 IQ
#16
Yeah I am wondering what type of paint I should get for my project. The guy at the Hardware said there was Latex And oil based enamel. Which do I choose?
RNRSoldier
TRUE king of the bears!
Join date: Aug 2005
789 IQ
#18
Hey, I'm considering painting my crappy Yamaha with a Canadian flag design, are there any tutorials around for how to paint designs like this (two colors,not very detailed design) ?
El Gearo:

Fender '69 Reissue Mustang
Fender American Standard P-Bass

Fender Blues Junior
zekk
I am me as you are we
Join date: Jun 2006
3,438 IQ
#19
Hey, Im planning on doing a JH Flying V based guitar for art. How would I go about painting it?
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sempri_fi
Banned
Join date: Jan 2006
1,001 IQ
#20
Quote by zekk
Hey, Im planning on doing a JH Flying V based guitar for art. How would I go about painting it?


jimi used nail polish on his flying v, and it was all hand painted, you could try using a picture of it and doing a grid scale replica onto a full sized guitar. or you could just wing it and see how it turns out, it really depends on how artistic you are.
UniverseZero
Wikipedia is your friend
Join date: Jun 2006
1,147 IQ
#21
Quote by RNRSoldier
Hey, I'm considering painting my crappy Yamaha with a Canadian flag design, are there any tutorials around for how to paint designs like this (two colors,not very detailed design) ?


follow the basic refinishing tutorial, basecoat white first, then mask and spray the red color


Quote by robbo_0013
UniverseZero is some kind of pwnerer of numerals

Quote by spazzymagee417
your avatar entertains me.
zekk
I am me as you are we
Join date: Jun 2006
3,438 IQ
#22
Quote by sempri_fi
jimi used nail polish on his flying v, and it was all hand painted, you could try using a picture of it and doing a grid scale replica onto a full sized guitar. or you could just wing it and see how it turns out, it really depends on how artistic you are.


I'm going to jsut wing it, using jimis just as an idea.
should I use nail or regular paint or what?
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JohnnySoul
ooh
Join date: Jan 2005
257 IQ
#23
heey i'm planning to draw on my guitar as well! are acrylics okay, or not? if not, what kind of paint should i be using? and will it kill my guitar's sound in any way? and im not repainting on my guitar btw, it's gonna be some design painted on it. would that be okaay? :/

thanks

ps. sorry for hijacking >_<
Last edited by JohnnySoul at Mar 31, 2007,
sempri_fi
Banned
Join date: Jan 2006
1,001 IQ
#24
im pretty sure acrylics will work, you'll have to scuff sand it so the paint will stick

and

you can use nail paints, but it might get expensive in a hurry, maybe checkout an art supply store and ask them what they'd recommend using over poly.
shotbythepope
UG Senior Member
Join date: May 2006
1,268 IQ
#25
I have a half sanded guitar body. I'm too lazy to sand the whole thing. Can I just put some primer on it? Or do I have to sand the whole thing? Im paiting a solid colour, by the way.
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malibu43
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2005
178 IQ
#26
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum. I have a Yamaha EG112 (inexpensive guitar) that has been signed by one of my heros in a silver paint pen. It's a black guitar with gloss finish. After a year or so, the paint is starting to wear off from a little playing, but also just handling during cleaning and such.

I asked a local guitar repair shop about putting a couple layers of clear coat over the front of the guitar to protect the autograph, but they said they wouldn't do it (to "risky"). I bought some minwax polycrylic (brush on and spray) and experimented a little on the back of the guitar. The spray came out "orange peely" and the brush on left brush streaks. I'm not very experienced in this stuff, and I'm a little frustrated that I seem to have a finish that will work but I'm having so much trouble getting a smooth finish.

Can anyone help me out? I tried reading throught some of the tutorials, but I get confused since most of those start from scratch and are geared towards refinishing the entire guitar. All I'm looking to do is add a little protection to one specific part of the guitar. The finish doesn't need to be flawless, but should at least look nice. It seems to me like there has to be some easy inexpensive way to do this without buying all sorts of tools and materials...I hope.

If someone could walk me through step by step what I need to do or suggest where to look, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks!
malibu43
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2005
178 IQ
#28
Quote by dave293
http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Luthier/Technique/Finish/CelebSig/celebsigsig.html

Check it out, it should give you an idea onn how to approach this.


Thanks. I'd actually seen that article already. Unfortunately, this article give a lot of detail about how to get the guitar/signature ready for applying the finish, and then says this:

"The new shellac base insured that my sprayed nitrocellulose lacquer would adhere well, so I proceeded with a regular schedule of spraying, leveling, pollishing and buffing:"

This is the part that I'm not really sure what to do. In my case it will probably be brushing on Minwax Polycrylic instead of spraying, but I don't know what should be involved leveling, polishing, and buffing... Here is what I'm guessing:

Sand with 320 grit between coats, up to maybe 3 coats. Then start sanding and work my way up to really fine grit (1500, 2000?). At this point is should be nearly pollished, I think... I was only planning on applying the additional clear coat over the part with the signature. Will this work? Or will there be an obvious difference in the finish? It does't have to be perfect, but I don't want it to look like crap. It is only a < $200 guitar, after all.

If I'm biting off more than someone with no experience (or a lot of time and $$$ to put into it) can chew, please let me know so I can save myself the frustration.

Thanks!

PS - should I start a new thread, since this is a sticky?
Last edited by malibu43 at Apr 8, 2007,
dave293
‪‪‪
Join date: Nov 2004
480 IQ
#29
That sounds alright. Though after sanding with 2000 i'd use some buffing compound to buff the finish. Spraying would be prefered, in which case you would spray 3-4 coats before evening touching the finish with sandpaper, level too soon and you risk sanding through and ruining the signature.

It would be better to clear the entire top or may may end up with some uneveness in the finish.

As for biting of more than you can chew. If you do your research (with it's obvious your doing) there's no reason you can do a decent job.
dave293
‪‪‪
Join date: Nov 2004
480 IQ
#31
Use satin lacquers and do it the same as a normal finish. Matte or satin lacquers are just regular lacquers with a flattening agent added. A matte finish could be done by scratching the finish with steel wool but this gives the finish a scratchy look to it.
Jeff_Wiedlandt
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2007
166 IQ
#32
im thinking of painting a confederate flag on a lp with a carved top, does anybody have any ideas on how to do that well?
Ulrik
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2006
48 IQ
#33
Quote by Jeff_Wiedlandt
im thinking of painting a confederate flag on a lp with a carved top, does anybody have any ideas on how to do that well?

check out the Rebel Flag here.
sakura'sdarkest
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2006
422 IQ
#35
Okay here's a twother...

1. How do I achieve a silverburst? Do I use the standard bursting method or is there a special way of doing it silver style?

2. Being a big fan of anime I want to paint some on my guitar, is there any specific paint I have to use? I was going to use games workshop paint and water it down howether I thought I might aswell ask here first. I was going to do it on the pickgaurd after sanding it down if it makes any difference.

Just incase anyone wondered fender mustang, silverburst with silver eddie van halenish stripes on the back with anime picture on the pickgaurd.
JD Red LP
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2006
937 IQ
#36
I couldn't find anything in the tutorials about doing a two tone type paint job. I'm thinking of doing a Frankenstrat esque paint job to my RG 320. White with metallic Teal/light blue stripes. So the first coat would be the bluish color, then tape, then the white. How would I go about the sanding? I wouldn't want to end up sanding through the white and having to start over. Anyone done a paint job like this?

Noob question:
Is it absolutely necessary to sand down to the wood? What if the body on the guitar is perfect? Could I just scuff it then spend a lot of time with Primer?
dave293
‪‪‪
Join date: Nov 2004
480 IQ
#37
I'd do the white first then the mettalics stripes. Do not sand the mettalic piant as it ruins the effect. Spray a few clear coats then level sand.

Whether you sand down to wood is up to you. You can just scuff with 220 and spray.