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Guitar Re Spray

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A.Worthington
(@a-worthington)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Hi, recently bought a very old Fender Strat, chips, scratches and gouges all over the body, got a quote for £300 to be filled and re sprayed which is too much for me, but now ive had the idea to sand all the paint off to look like my SG which is just like a standard wood with a coating. the question is, when ive sanded it down to the grain, what should i coat the guitar with to protect the wood? would it just be clear varnish, or laquer or what?
Thanks in advance for your help guys


   
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Anonymous
(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

you could just leave it as is, or cover it with stickers, cuz the grain might suck.


   
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EzraplaysEzra
(@ezraplaysezra)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 484
 

Whoa, whoa , whoa - How old are we talking here? If it's 45 years very old those then those scratches and gouges are valuable, or more so the original finish they reside upon. If it's 45 years old the answer is simple - send it to me and I'll cut you a cashiers check. If it's 25 years old there are a number of variables in how to.

I have built a number of guitars and I can tell you the difference between a home made guitar and a guitar you can sell is all about how much time you put into the finish. It is by far the most time consuming and difficult work involved in building a guitar. I have also stripped enough guitars to tell you it would take some remarkable circumstances to ever be coxed into doing it again. Starting with bare would is far easier than getting to bare wood and replacement bodies, finished and unfinished can be found for a little more cash than what you'll spend even if you refinn'd it using hardware store sand paper and rattle spray cans.

But it can be done, if you take your time and invest some time reading up.

Some guitars use catilized urathane for finishes (PRS and Squire) These are stupid hard and very difficult to remove completely. I've seen good results scuffing these up and spraying over them. As you have described yours, it is probably a poly finish used in the eighties and ninties on fenders, the scratch and gouge as opposed to the melty, waxy bites CU finishes get. The best way to remove them is with a hot air gun, by applying heat the finish will separate from the wood but the wood will also burn quit easily. The curves, edges and horns are far more difficult than the flat surfaces and the burn easier as well. Sanding is an option but alot of care has to be used in keeping flat surfaces flat and rounded surfaces rounded, things can get very "home made" looking very quickly. Getting to actual bare wood is very difficult as the sealer used often impregnates into the wood, some colors more than other.

Very briefly, rough sand flat surfaces with a sanding block, after heat is used if heat is used, then the sides and inside horns, I have a cheap tool that is easy to make to make a round sander out of a short piece of PVC pipe, inquire if interested. Then very carefully hit the round overs. I compound called "air plane remover" is good for softening the finish and working it away from the wood. Once the wood is removed a schedule of sanding from coarse to fine is used to prepare the wood for finishing, you are about to become and expert sander by the way, you will hate the words "sand", "paper", "rub" and many others is short order, are you old enough to by beer? you'll need a few, for sure, if not get an older person to buy you some, now is as good a time as any to start. I don't drink anymore, but I'm a professional, I don't need the lubrication but you will.

If you are looking at it as bare wood, whatever wood it is will determine what steps need to be made in starting the finish process. Ash, for instances, would need grain filling where alder would not.

Information on fender guitars concerning year, finish, and wood are all easily and thoroughly available.


   
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EzraplaysEzra
(@ezraplaysezra)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 484
 

Onto finishing.

You have the body prepped and sanded. Now to fill to gouges. Use auto motive body filler. What? That's what Leo Fender used, it's cheap, easy, paints well and dries fast, and it is great for reshaping all of those mistakes you made while imbibing in the sauce. By the way, gluing sand paper to an empty beer bottle (dry, don't use the one in your hand, ya drunk) would make a fine block for sanding those sides and horns, your going to need one for each grit so drink up!

You can use clear coat for your sealer base. Three layers should do it about an hour apart if you're using poly. But read the directions for dry time.
On a fender, if the body looked good enough for a burst or clear finish it would have had one, if it has one, it's spoiled by the body filler (who told you to use that crap?) So you're going to use an opaque color.

Now, sparkle and matalics are more difficult then solids, and some colors are more difficult than others, red is difficult. Guitar reranch.com is an awesome resource for finishing guitars. The important thing is building the finish up and scheduling applications and sanding, that and the patience to allow coats to dry properly without touching them to see if they're still tacky (you wouldn't do that would you?). Re ranch is the resource you want for this. I use Nitro mostly but I also use some regular old colors from my favorite graphic artist Russ Tolium ( get it?) Depending on what you are looking for, many products can be used to get great results without spending too much on equipment. Its important to use products as intended and products that work well together and that takes some time and practice. Get a 17th century french amour made of similar wood, if one isn't available any expensive heirloom will do, and prepare it in a similar way to the bare wood body. Practice prepping and spraying the wood from the 17th century french amour before moving onto your guitar body, your mom will forgive you when she sees your amazing zucchini green start. You could also use scrap wood or hard wood boards from the lumber yard if your parents lock the house when they're away.

Follow the schedule for finish coats and sanding (I do believe Stewart Macdonald had a good tutorial with a schedule for this on their website, I'll see if I can find it) and here is the good news, get a beer ready... all that sanding you did before... you ain't seen nothing yet. Final sanding, wet sanding and polishing! I don't always use a clear coat but it is required for a factory finish look. Man are your arms going to be sore, too sore to carry a case of beer so stock up ahead of time. Again, back to the auto parts store, I should have told you this before you started drinking, for polish. You are going to want to polish that baby up.

This, of coarse, isn't instructions, it just a little insight into what to expect. The info is out there for free you just got to look. I'll do my best to post some links to info. I enjoy wood working and I take a lot of pride in my work, but finishing, sanding an polishing is what makes the guitar. No sane human would enjoy doing that for more than 10 minutes (sober). It is the work in the wood working. When I take a 2 HP router to a block of wood I see results immediately, spraying paint you wait weeks to see the process come together only to take it and sand the begesus out of it and start over... and that's if things are going as planned!!! One mistake sanding though on the round over and guess what? you're taking the whole thing back to square uno. I dig the whole "relic" thing but honestly, once you meticulously finish a guitar and some chuckle head says "can you relic it" its kind of like a tattoo artist finishing a portrait on a guys shoulder and the guy saying, "it looks great! Can you maybe stab me in the shoulder now to give it that tough guy look?" Yeah, buddy, I'll stab ya alright.


   
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A.Worthington
(@a-worthington)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Thank you so much for all that information, its extremely helpful. If it helps with the wood species question, its a 1982 fender strat with a fender branded floyd rose (looks very primitive imo) because the gouge is deep and jagged do you think it would be better to just smooth the edges of the gouge to create a type of blended relic type of finish? I did try practasing stripping the paint off my vintage brand strat but I found it was similar to chip board so thats just gone in the bin haha. Many beers are consumed without the added work required to sand meticulously. Thanks so much again for your help.
Adam


   
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imalone
(@imalone)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 267
 

Someone needs to give Ezra a magazine column, or at least collect your posts until there's enough for a book. :)
If it helps with the wood species question, its a 1982 fender strat with a fender branded floyd rose (looks very primitive imo)
If it's a US or Mexican one it's apparently going to be Ash or Alder. Yes, that's not very helpful.


   
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A.Worthington
(@a-worthington)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

It's made in japan


   
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EzraplaysEzra
(@ezraplaysezra)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 484
 

It's most likely Alder. (unless its a blonde, burst or trans - then its most likely sen or ash) But here is a new issue, With the floyd you have the mounting hardware in the body and they are really difficult to remove without damage, they are also crap to sand around. I would rough up the finish and spray over it, filling the current gouges and starting from there. It would be the easiest solution with the fewest head aches. You probably wouldn't need a base coat, just the color coats and clear if desired. I'd personally use regular (high quality) spray paint seeing as this guitar isn't terribly valuable. You could get a real good finish, I have an early eighties Charvel that was spray painted and it is one of my favorite guitars, completely original and strange and the wear on it is really natural looking. Big bonus, if you don't like it you aren't too many steps away from where you started from. Epoxy might be a good start for filling in the gouges as I don't know that auto body filler will adhere to the current poly filinsh, just be sure that its sand and paintable. Remember to protect things you don't want paint on or in. The entire project could be done in less than a 12 pack.


   
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EzraplaysEzra
(@ezraplaysezra)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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Someone needs to give Ezra a magazine column, or at least collect your posts until there's enough for a book. :)

Thanks for the endorsement, but it should have read: "I think Ezra should have his own column, but of coarse, imalone." Haha!


   
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bondmorkret
(@bondmorkret)
Eminent Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 32
 

Hand sanding a guitar body is a big job, I once did it. Tough work!

Online Guitar Lessons at BondTuition.com


   
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imalone
(@imalone)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 267
 

Thanks for the endorsement, but it should have read: "I think Ezra should have his own column, but of coarse, imalone." Haha!
I've had this username for so long it took a while before I realised that wasn't a typo :)


   
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