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Author Topic: Painting instruments  (Read 24066 times)

billiumbean

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Painting instruments
« on: 07 Jan 2009, 01:20 »

I'm posting this in this forum and not the music forum because I think it's more likely that someone in an art forum will know more about this than the guys who love the sound of a guitar.

I was wondering if you personally or someone you know or have heard about has ever hand-painted a guitar (or any similar instrument).  What kind of paints would be the most durable, what techniques do you prefer, etc.?  Photos are welcomed and appreciated.
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GenericName

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #1 on: 07 Jan 2009, 14:34 »

Interestingly enough, I have hand-painted a guitar.

It was for an art project.

It really didn't require anything other than the basics for painting--I obviously gessoed the body of it first, and then just used acrylic paints over top of the white gesso.

It's still my main guitar, despite being a little quieter--it was a high-quality guitar beforehand. I've performed with it several times and gotten nothing but compliments.

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Lines

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #2 on: 07 Jan 2009, 16:51 »

Honestly, I think you could use acrylic or enamel. Enamel will have a more translucent, gloss feeling than acrylics will, but acrylics can be made to look like that with mediums. As long as you prime it first and put a fixative/varnish over top, you'll be okay.
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ncc74656m

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #3 on: 08 Jan 2009, 11:56 »

Acoustic or electric? Not that I guess it matters much. I'd say you could probably just sand/scuff the surface of it to give you something to bite into with the new coating, then prime and paint. I don't know if I'd ever have the heart to do this, despite the fact that I let strange people write on my guitar, but I hope it comes out well for you and I wanna see whatever diabolical plan you have in mind when it's done.
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billiumbean

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #4 on: 25 Jan 2009, 01:41 »

Personally, I'm not sure if I'd ever get as elaborate as GenericName's guitar (which is just bitchin', by the way).  It may be a bit distracting at gigs.  What did the art project entail, exactly?  Seems a bit too costly for most school assignments.

The guitar I have in mind would be electric.  Probably vines wrapping around the body of a guitar intersecting at the navel of a fetus under the bridge of the guitar. 

Or a rabbit.
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imapiratearg

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #5 on: 25 Jan 2009, 06:36 »

I really want to sand off the finish on my Strat, repaint and refinish it because AAARRGGGH RED SPARKLE.

I'm thinking I'd make it either seafoam green or some kind of checker pattern like the dude from Cheap Trick.
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billiumbean

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #6 on: 25 Jan 2009, 17:23 »

Seafoam green, dude.

Holy fuck, why is seafoam green so badass?
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zerobar

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #7 on: 11 Feb 2009, 14:59 »

Well, I've done a little bit of refinish work on solid body guitars, but pretty much all of it has been with a spray finish. If you're look at doing a pattern (like something along the lines of, say, a checkerboard) then I recommend using spray lacquer or enamel. You can mask a body using either painter's tap (pain in the ass if you're doing anything other than stripes) or you can use sign maker's tape, which comes in sheets and can easily be cut with an exacto knife.

As far as types of paint, Lacquer is the best, because it will breath and expand/contract with the guitar. It also ages better, but is less durable. You can buy some basic colors of lacquer, as well as clear, in spray cans at your local hardware store, but if you want a particular color, stewart macdonald sells cans of manufacturer matched paint, or you can look at a hobby store for model making spray lacquer. Both options are more expensive.

Enamel gives you better options as far as color, but coats like a poly finish, which means it doesn't breath or expand, which somewhat reduces your tone. That being said, it is much easier to find more colors and is more durable than lacquer. It is also generally less expensive.

I wouldn't recommend acrylic paint, since the water tends to raise the grain of the wood, causing it to rough up, and need to be sanded smooth again. Also, the water will cause the wood's tone to change, due to it absorbing the water.

IF is was painting a guitar in a detailed pattern, i would probably use an airbrush with enamel and sign maker's tape for masking.

This is a pretty good step by step of what I would do.
http://www.jimfogarty.co.uk/Luna%20Guita%20Airbrushing%20Stages.htm
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Spub

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #8 on: 21 Feb 2011, 13:42 »

Hey, I'm doing something similar to my acoustic right now and I had a question or six.  I knew you'd have to sand down a regular electric and do all the priming stuff.  What do you have to do with an acoustic?  I know it doesn't have such a thick coat on it, but do you need to sand it down too?  Thanks for the help, guys. 
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KharBevNor

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #9 on: 25 Feb 2011, 04:04 »

If it's varnished, you need to sand the varnish off completely. I don't think even enamel will stabilise on top of varnish. You might roughen up the wood as well but it's not strictly necessary.
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Carl-E

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #10 on: 23 Mar 2011, 22:25 »

If you don't need to rough the surface (and you really shouldn't, it can change the sound quality) you could just use a stripper to remove the finish.  Be careful if you just want to do the face of the instrument and want to keep the original finish on the back and sides (like GenericName's guitar). 

My brother plays bass (electric and standup) and brought home a beautiful standup bass from Mexico that had been painted a deep blue with the traditional gold sun, moon and stars all over it.  The whole thing was painted, front, back and sides, neck and all - just the fingerboard and bridge were original finish (well, viol bridges are unfinished, but yeah...) and it was a thing of beauty that also sounded beautiful.  However, it didn't withstand the change in weather too well (from the sonoran desert to new england), and started to fall apart after a year or so.  He had it rebuilt, and found out it was about 150 years old.  Touched up the paint job, but it wound up needing a lot more work than he could afford - one section had caught dry rot, and the humidity had started it growing again - and so he sold it. 


Ever try to get a double bass through US customs from Mexico?  They just assumed it was full of drugs.  Not a picnic...
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KevinLevin

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Re: Painting instruments
« Reply #11 on: 26 Aug 2012, 01:39 »

I am also  having acoustic guitar and want to paint it according to my taste. Like , it should give some pleasant look, eye appealing. You guys have some ideas? Please share.
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