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Discussion Starter #1
Thinking of starting a super strat guitar project soon but I am hesitant on painting. Thinking of going solid colour first time around so nothing crazy, I've read a bunch of diff stuff on how to do things but I am wondering if people actually have tried this using readily available materials? If so, what were some lessons you learned?

Simply put, i have not seen a guitar to buy like I have in my mind.. sure i could probably have something custom done for 1200+$ but why not do it myself and enjoy the rewards?
 

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I had flourecent pink 1980's Kramer American guitar, then I bought some Stone Fleck paint - Concrete.....then Got my gals finger nail polish and made my guitar look like a murder scene. People give me compliments and ask if it was custom paint from Kramer.
 

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Although My current electrics use the natural finish. IN the past When I used paint on electrics, I just got spray bombs, started with primer and 2 or 3 coats of laquer.
There was a custom paint auto shop in downtown Dartmouth NS which could make up bombs in any colour you wanted. I Picked from a catalogue. Maybe you can find one of those shops. They also sold auto parts.

After I moved had to resort to Canadian Tire auto laquer. Id buff out 2 or 3 coats little bit then clear coat it with 4 or 5 coats. It takes a bit of practice to avoid runs and orange peel.

Best done outside on a moderate day in the shade to avoid this as well as the vapours. Plus you can check it in the3 daylight which helps you see it better.

I acheived some very fine results.
 

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I've had pretty good results using water based wood stains. They come in all kinds of colours, are easy to work with and doesn't create a huge mess.

I was looking for a clean, non-toxic method - something I could do indoors and not kill myself with fumes and spray and was easy to clean up. So I used the water based stain and finished with several coats of tru-oil and a wax finish on top.

Overall, they came out pretty well. The finish isn't as durable as say a lacquer or nitro so there are going to be dings and scratches. But for what I was trying to do, I was more than happy with the results.

The "Purple People Shredder" was for my niece who, well, likes purple. It's a two piece alder hardtail, string through body and sounds really nice. The rails can all be split with the little mini-toggle switches. I didn't spend enough time with the final sanding so there are some spots that could have been better.

The "RastaCaster" was for my hippie friend with whom I play in a couple bands. I didn't get any finished photos but it came out really nice - two piece ash body with a vintage tremolo, all black hardware with black pickguard and a rosewood fingerboard.

There's a third one that is mine but I haven't taken any photos yet. It's exactly like the Purple but it's bright canary yellow with all black hardware. I think it looks really cool.


 

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A long time ago I had an art student girlfriend* who liked to hand brush graphical shapes and things on hats, shoes, jackets, etc. I asked her to paint my old Kramer, she brushed on acrylic artist paint of some kind. I sanded it flat, then used spray Varathane clearcoat overtop. I wetsanded and did a few more coats of clear and the whole thing came up pretty smooth and glossy. I have no idea if this was the "right" way to do it, never tried it before or since. Also didn't have this forum back then to ask you guys!

I don't have any close detail pics handy, but here's one from a distance:



* Hey Debi... that's right, it's ME!!! Just in case you see this someday. The WWW is a small place.

Still have that guitar, but it hasn't been onstage in forever.
 

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Ventilation is the first problem to consider. It's too cold to paint outside all year around.

One side of a building or one window/doorway is the air current's "natural outflow." Somewhere halfway outside, perfectly ventilated but still reasonably heated (residual heat only, for safety) can be a workable spot for a short application of paint. A nearby smoker can probably tell you where this spot is, although he or she shouldn't hang around during the painting.

Shaking a can 100 times is not a waste of time, but is noisy if you're working secretly.

As you finish cans, remove working spray tips and keep them in a small thinner bottle. An instantly available spray tip of the correct type can be a lifesaver.

A jig to hold the guitar, whether hanging or on wheels, is something to think about beforehand. A hanging mount (string around one machine-type) gives you the problem of controlling the spinning guitar/neck, and a flat bench job requires three tiny finishing nails on the top face, front-first painting order and a flip for the back.


If you do coats so light you can barely see them going on, you're on the right track in the early stages.

You need nice clean rags, appropriate thinners (small can will do) and #000 or #0000 steel wool. I don't personally do much fine sanding, but I would imagine you'd need paper between #600 and #1200 for the final stages. I just go to #320 and then rub the lacquer with the steel wool. A fresh Scotch Brite pad (non-detergent) is also handy.

The most important step is the ventilation check and making sure flames, amplifiers, and even arc lighting (unusually hot light sources) sources are off. Don't paint in a building's natural air inflow.

If you can't control your environment like this, you need a spray booth.
 

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one more thing

the paint tips are all great tips but the most important thing to remember is to make sure that the body is sanded right, that there is no dings dents ect in the wood. the paint and the clear coat will bring out every flaw so sand and check as much as posible use a good primer that will show all the imperfections trust me bin there throw'en that away, if you take your time it will be amazing. good luck. :rockon2:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great responses guys! I am a bit apprehensive to start but i've got this axe in my head that I want to play so i am gonna give it a go.. from what i have seen, patience between coats and then the sanding are the biggest parts..
 

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If you are sketchy on painting... I would reccomend not doing it unless you really are into it, ready to learn. I tried... and it takes a hell of alot of work + reading... you can always pay someone $150 - $400 to paint it for you, and you do the rest?
 
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