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Learn the basics about repainting and finishing your electric guitar

As guitarists, we can never have enough of them! Every few months a new one catches our imagination, and then we try and save to make the purchase. However, if you consider the playability and practical concerns of regular practice and wear and tear on the road, nothing beats the low budget guitars; built like a tank and okay-ish sound, it is the ultimate bang for your buck!

The most significant limitation of an affordable guitar is that there aren’t many colour options available for you. If you are thinking about how to refinish guitar with new paint and a polish job you should ideally be looking for a guitar "luthier” or a professional company that has tons of experience with building and repainting guitars.

But for individuals with patience and a few painting skills, you can do the finishing by yourself, and in this article, we will be listing all that you need to know to get the job done expertly!


The tools required

The following is the list of the tools necessary for a paint job on your guitar,
  • Paint or stain
  • Clear coat
  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdrivers
  • Allen wrench
  • Soldering iron
  • Dust mask and eye protection
  • Mineral spirits, primer, and cloth
  • Orbital sander for large surface areas
  • Sanding paper of various grades from the course to the finest


Repainting the guitar

Before beginning, you must remember that depending on the amount of work required it will take around 2 weeks to finish the job. So ideally you must have a spare guitar around for practice.

Guitar disassembly

You need to start by cutting off the strings of the guitar using a wire clipper as there are no ways you can paint with the strings on. The next is taking the neck off if it is a bolt on style. If the neck is set in and glued, it is meant to be left as it is. Unscrew the bolts and gently nudge and wiggle the fretboard out of the body. Finish the disassembly by removing the hardware including the pickups, pickguard if any and finally the bridge. If your guitar has a Floyd Rose tremolo system be cautious while detaching the bridge.

Sanding to remove the old paint

You will need to sand your guitar extensively to remove the old paint. Use an orbital sander to take care of the back and the front of the guitar. The hand sandpapers are for the fine crevices and the edges. Start with the coarse sandpaper and gradually move to the more exceptional paper to make sure you remove all the existing paint.

Getting the guitar ready for a paint job

You will need grain filler; a putty-like substance to fill in the uneven surfaces after your sanding work. That is true especially for mahogany and other porous woods. Apply mineral oils to remove the presence of oil from the surface of the guitar. Apply the primer of choice thoroughly and let it dry for a day or two.

Painting the guitar

Select the paint of your choice, not just the shade of the colour but also the type. You have the option to go for the nitrocellulose or polyurethane lacquer. Our expert's advice to apply the primer and paint in 3-4 thin coats to ensure complete coverage and less dripping. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

As the final step polish your guitar once the paint has completely dried off. Re-assemble your guitar and get to playing!

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