How To Paint A Guitar Body

Sometimes you just know when your guitar is badly in need of a touch-up or a complete revamp, and learning how to paint a guitar body is actually not that difficult. Whether you’re going to paint a guitar body for the first time or you’re giving your old guitar a facelift, this article knocks the task out of the park with a few easy steps.

To paint a guitar body, you will need:

  • A place to work (preferably an old table)
  • Sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Nut driver
  • Your choice of spray paint
  • Protective mask and clothing
  • Newspaper
  • Screwdriver
  • Primer
  • Paint brushes
  • Wood finish
  • Lacquer (optional)
  1. Start by removing the strings, tuning pegs and tuner knobs from the headstock. The entire guitar will eventually be disassembled, and this is why removal of the strings is completely necessary.
  2. Cover the fret board in masking tape. This can be done by applying several strips vertically over the fret board to ensure that the paint or finish does not come into contact with it. If you happen to be revamping an acoustic guitar, use the masking tape to completely cover the hole so that paint cannot enter the inside.
  3. Start the process by applying a coat of finish to the neck’s back and also to the guitar’s headstock. Leave these parts to dry for at least 24 hours. After you’ve done this, you’ll be completely finished with these parts and you’ll be halfway to rocking out with your new and improved guitar.
  4. Next, detach the pickups and contact plate off of the guitar. Because these connections are wired, you’ll need to desolder them to completely remove them.
  5. Now that your guitar is disassembled, prepare the table. You’ll need to pick a pretty spacious table to work at for the sanding and painting process. Make sure to also cover the table in newspaper to protect it from the paint.
  6. Begin sanding the guitar body. Keep in mind this will be a pretty lengthy process, and because of that it takes a lot of patience. You want your end result to be very smooth, so keep working at it. However, make sure that you don’t over-sand and ruin the underlying wood.
  7. Apply the primer to the guitar body. It’s okay to use primer in a spray can, but if you’re using a brush, make sure to paint along the direction of the grain for a nice result. Make sure that the body is coated evenly and leave to dry for about a day.
  8. Once the primer has dried, sand the body again. This time, you won’t sand until you have bare wood. You just want to sand until the surface is smooth again. Applying the primer with a brush can leave protruding streaks, so go ahead and sand them down to a smooth and even surface.
  9. Begin painting the guitar. Remember to wear your protective mask and clothing for this process. You’ll want to spray paint the front of the guitar first with nice, smooth back-and-forth strokes of your arm. Examine the guitar body for any missed spots, and once it’s passed inspection, let it dry for 24 more hours. If you want, you can apply another coat of paint once it has dried.
  10. Apply the lacquer if you’d like. The lacquer is not mandatory, but it will give your guitar a better shine and it will produce a better overall result.
  11. Now that the guitar has been completely revamped, reassemble it. Congratulations! You’ve finished your paint job on your guitar, and you’re ready to get back to rocking out with your new look.
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