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Discussion Starter #1
...a close friend has offered to paint my strat body bright red. he claims to have the proper tools, and i'd like to go ahead with this. can anyone give me some cautionary advice? mistakes to avoid, for example. best paint to use etc?

thank you in advance,

-dh
 

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I would use a Base Coat, Clear coat system. Couple of coats of clear as it will need to be wetsanded and buffed. When wet sanding keep a dry rag handy to immediately absorb any water that might get in screw holes or any other holes. the water left undisturbed can absorb into the wood and wick up to the surface just under the paint. This will case the paint to lift around the holes. BTW I'm having this one painted tonight.

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c127/lowtones/StealthV014.jpg
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c127/lowtones/StealthV007.jpg
 

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I'm sure this goes without saying but try to use nitro and not poly. Who knows whether it's all voodoo or not, but it's pretty much a consensus that nitro sounds better. Plus, it's easier to remove if you ever want to strip it. Poly takes a nuclear bomb to remove.
 

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nine said:
I'm sure this goes without saying but try to use nitro and not poly. Who knows whether it's all voodoo or not, but it's pretty much a consensus that nitro sounds better. Plus, it's easier to remove if you ever want to strip it. Poly takes a nuclear bomb to remove.
I use both and I will go with Poly any day because it's a tougher finish and doesn't chek with age. :banana: Exactly the opposit reason some people will go with nitro. Tone? I doubt it but who knows.LOL I don't think that even if you recorded a guitar in a state of the art studio then stripped the guitar recoated it with the other finish restrung it with the same strings etc. you would be able to tell for sure because there are just too many variables.
So, whatever floats your boat, is best for you. either you have a good sounding guitar or not. Keep in mind that a lot of nitro finish guitars still have poly sealers but a nitro topcoat because it is softer and easier to buff out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
...here are some comments from alan on the strat list:

Poly is harder and naturally tends to
accentuate the high frequencies because of this.
Also, the sheer thickness of the finish tends to
have the effect of encapsulating the body in a
shell, stopping the body (which now acts more
like a wooden "core") from resonating properly -
so you get less of the body wood resonance than
with a thin finish. Think of the way an airplane
is built - with a stiff outer shell, which makes
the whole plane very rigid and strong, even
though it is very low density taken as a whole.
There is also a surface effect with a hard, thick
finish - more of the vibration travels through,
and is coloured by the surface due to the higher density.

So, refinishing properly with a thin finish
almost always improves the tone and increases the
resonance of a guitar. The only exceptions are
bodies made from softer woods like Asian
basswood, which may need the added treble from
the finish to balance the tone a little, and need
a really hard finish to protect them from dings. Alder or ash always benefit.

As to poly vs. nitro: horses for courses IMO.
They both have pros and cons and you have to
decide which features are more important to you.
I like poly on necks for the durability and nitro
on the body for the tone and looks. Poly is easy
to apply, cures really quickly, is really
durable, doesn't change colour or shrink with age
and can be buffed to a very high gloss. Nitro
isn't as hard wearing, tends to react badly with
many chemicals (including some sweat), is more
difficult to apply properly, but it changes for
the better as it ages - the tone and looks
improve with age. The checking (minute cracks in
the finish) that happens with an old nitro finish
allow the wood to breathe more, which IMO
improves the tone over time. The checking can
accentuate the grain and figuring of the wood
(with a transparent finish) by introducing diffraction.

Alan
 

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in my opinion, there are several "common beliefs" in respect to guitars that I totally or partially disagree with.

firstly, I am a woodworker by trade with near 20 years finishing wood furniture with various products, and have a pretty decent understanding of wood finishing - which of course all guitars are.. wood.

I think a more modern finish, be it a polyurethane, a conversion varnish, catalysed lacquer, etc are just as capable of providing as thin a coating as "nitrocellulose lacquer", its just that since you can spray a lot more on and build up a thicker finish, many do. The advantages of a thin finish is the same no matter what that finish it. Likewise, a thick finish (whatever it is) is detrimental to the sound.

You just cant beat a good, modern product for durability, and unless you really like the softer finish that NC gives, and the fact it will check over time, I cant see it adding anything.

I personally use a two part catalysed lacquer. I apply it thin as I can with still filling the grain. It is a clear, tough finish that can be built up in multiple coats in a day, and rubbed out within days. But it looks like NC, other than it wont check even when going through many cold warm cycles.

One other thing... that bit about wood breathing better through a checked finish is false. Any decently applied wood finish will still allow the wood to undergo seasonal changes in moisture content (what breathing is). Unless you are talking a thick, polyester finish or an extremely thick finish of anything - the wood will breath just fine without checks. Trust me.. wood moves and you dont stop it with a few coats of finish.

I will never use NC lacquer myself, because you can use an as thin coating of something so much better these days.

Lastly, NC lacquer is considered the EASIEST finish to apply in the woodworking industry. No mixing, no fancy recipies... just open the can and spray, the only thing I can see harder is that fact each coat softens the one underneathe and a burst finish can sometimes be ruined with a sag if you get too heavy with the gun.

I like talking about wood and finishes... :)

Again, these are my own opinions with my personal experience. Nothing more.

AJC
 

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I'm going to throw this in here, but please don't take offense as I don't claim to know any more than anyone else on this subject.

It is my opinion that paint, whatever type you use will have a small effect on the resonance of the guitar. Some say that it will mute the tone, others may say that it adds mass and therefore sustain. I think that this is kind of a mute point myself, as the biggest factor affecting to resonance of your guitar, is what it is in contact with - namely your body.

Almost everyone knows that if you rest your guitar on the table, the table resonates in sympathy with the guitar, acting as an amplifier. Put a towel under the guitar (padding) and the effect is lost or lessened depending on how much padding you've used.

I've got a bit of padding around my middle section, and I'm sure that it effects my tone and sustain more than the paint on my guitar. What better tone? Get fit and play naked. If that is not an option, you could try wearing a wooden barrell.

There has got to be some way from stopping these types of thoughts from running through my head...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hamm Guitars said:
I'm going to throw this in here, but please don't take offense as I don't claim to know any more than anyone else on this subject.
It is my opinion that paint, whatever type you use will have a small effect on the resonance of the guitar. Some say that it will mute the tone, others may say that it adds mass and therefore sustain. I think that this is kind of a mute point myself, as the biggest factor affecting to resonance of your guitar, is what it is in contact with - namely your body.
Almost everyone knows that if you rest your guitar on the table, the table resonates in sympathy with the guitar, acting as an amplifier. Put a towel under the guitar (padding) and the effect is lost or lessened depending on how much padding you've used.
I've got a bit of padding around my middle section, and I'm sure that it effects my tone and sustain more than the paint on my guitar. What better tone? Get fit and play naked. If that is not an option, you could try wearing a wooden barrell.

There has got to be some way from stopping these types of thoughts from running through my head...
...i've tried everything. watching reality shows seems to help, but the effects wear off quickly.

let me know if you decide to start a support group.

-dh
 
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