How To Sunburst A Guitar Body

Knowing how to sunburst a guitar is essential for any hardcore guitar player. The look that has lasted on rock guitars since the late 1950’s to present times. This timeless finish can be achieved using lacquered sprays and patience. If you are ready to learn how to sunburst a guitar body, then read on.

To sunburst a guitar body, you will need:

  • Guitar with a wood body and neck, strings, pick guard removed
  • Grain filler
  • Sand block
  • Wood sealer
  • Three nitrocellulose lacquer transparent sprays: clear, shade of yellow, shade of brown
  • Cardboard or cardstock paper
  • Scissors
  • Thumbtacks or loose change
  • Soft cloth

Wood Preparation:

  1. Apply some grain filler. Depending on the type of wood the guitar is made from, you may need to apply a grain filler. Ash and mahogany require a filler.

  2. Level it. Use the sand block to create a smooth finish in preparation of learning how to sunburst a guitar body.

  3. Coat your body. Keep the integrity of the wood grain by apply three to four coats of sealer and let it dry before continuing. 

Sunburst a Guitar Body: 

  1. Bring the sun. Apply the yellow-shaded lacquer to the to the entire guitar body. Cover the back of the instrument first, and then let it dry. Next, spray the front as you perform how to sunburst a guitar body. 
  2. Create a template. Using cardboard create a template of the guitar body that is between 1.5 to 2.5 inches (your preference) smaller than the original. Attach coins or thumb tacks to the template for elevation and place it on the face of the instrument while you actively demonstrate how to sunburst a guitar.
  3. Squirt away. Using the brown-shaded lacquer apply it to the area outside of the template as you work through learning how to sunburst a guitar body. Spray from a longer distance when closer to the template and lessen the space as you apply outward.
  4. Drench the sides. Mist the sides of your guitar with the dark color lacquer and let it dry. This may need to be repeated depending on the look you desire as you accomplish how to sunburst a guitar body.
  5. Top the coats. Apply two to three coats of clear transparent spray as you finish learning how to sunburst a guitar body. Let dry 12-24 hours and wipe with a soft cloth.


  • Spray lacquer in well-ventilated areas
  • Allow ample time for guitar body to dry



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