Guitar painting: part 9 (conclusion)

So the guitar painting summary: I'd say it was a success. Here's what it looked like before:

And here's the "after". Me using it on stage at Riverpalooza:


While I can point out imperfections in my work until everyone gets totally bored, I think it looks good enough. Definitely learned a lot about guitars and painting and general craftsmanship along the way, which was the point.

I like the guitar. I installed new pickups which sound a lot better and a new switch (the old one was broken). I'm noticing some possible intonation problems which I may have to go get my local guitar guy to look at, though I've gotten cocky enough to adjust my own truss rod and bridge now, so we'll see if I can fix it on my own.

A lot of people have asked me for advice as I've done this project, so here are a few things I'd do differently if I started it over again:

  • I would make sure to sand the sanding sealer down better. I wasted a lot of time by not sanding it properly and then the primer didn't adhere to it. I thought shinier was better. Also any nicks and dents that are visible now were certainly visible at the sanding sealer stage.
  • I would be more careful around the edges when sanding. Everything I read said to be careful around the edges when sanding and I still wasn't careful enough. The edges are where you can see the biggest imperfections on my guitar.
  • I'd sand the inside of the "horns" better. The two pointy things at the top. In there I did the lamest, laziest sanding job and it looks bumpy and gross. No big deal, who can see it, right? Well, whenever you look down as you're playing it, you'll see it and you'll remember how lazy of a sander you are.
  • I would put more than 10 thin clear coats on the guitar. Can't hurt to have the extra coats if you're unsure about wet-sanding. I managed to sand through the clear in a few points and strip off some of the paint. Extra clear would have given me some extra protection and it doesn't take that long to apply.

Sanding, sanding, sanding. If I had to do it over again it would be way easier just for the experience in sanding that I've picked up.

Want to do this yourself? Here's the reference material I used:

  • Paint Your Own Guitar - I bought this eBook -- it and the free videos you get were a huge help. My only complaint is that the book is geared more towards copying various famous rock guitar designs and solid colored guitars are considered afterthoughts. But really, about 90% of what I did I learned from this book.
  • Project - Great site with a lot of excellent tutorials. This is the site I got the heat stripping idea from, which was a fairly painless way to strip the guitar.

And thanks a lot to everyone who emailed and commented with helpful advice and suggestions. Part of my motivation for blogging the whole process became knowing that someone out there might be able to help if I boned things up too badly.

Other parts in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

GeneralBrad Turcottegear