Now that the guitar has been stripped, it's ready to paint. But before we actually start slapping some colour on to it, yep... there's more preparation.
Before applying paint to the guitar, it needs to be primed. A primer needs to be applied to the guitar. It is a preparation coat before painting. Priming is important because it protects the wood, increases the adhesion of the paint and it also increases paint durability.
To apply the primer, a few tools are required. The main tool needed is a spray gun. I have purchased most of my supplies from a local hardware store in Australia called SuperCheap Auto. It's a one-stop shop for all the supplies you'll need to paint a guitar and not only are their products reliable, they're budget friendly too. I bought this spray gun for $35.
You'll also need an air compressor, which supplies the air to the spray gun, allowing the gun to spray paint. Air compressors can range from about $80 upwards to $600 or more. The $80 variant will get the job done. Luckily for me, my friend's father owns an air compressor, saving me the cost of buying one myself.
You'll want to make sure that the guitar is free from any dust and dirt before applying the paint. This can be easily done by a light rub with 2000 grit sandpaper and wiping down with a lint-free cloth. This will also ensure that the body is smooth.
Always remember to stir the paint before loading it into the gun. As with most paints, paints are colloids
, meaning that the paint solution is made of a particles suspended in a liquid. (Thank you High School Science
). As a result of being a colloid, over time these particles will settle to the bottom of the container. Paint should not be used this way. By stirring the paint, this allows the particles and the liquid to blend together in equilibrium. (Thank you High School Science once again)
After the paint has been stirred, you will need to mix it with a paint thinner. A general rule is 1 part thinner to 3 parts paint. After that, your paint/primer is ready.
You should follow the instructions of whatever spray gun you buy. From my experience, don't use the air compressor over 60PSI, otherwise there will be too much output and you'll end up spraying too much primer. Use a vertical application, spraying from top to bottom.
When priming is done, hang up the guitar somewhere protected from the weather. A shed or garage will do fine. The main enemy here is the wind and rain. Rain will obviously wet the guitar and wash the primer off and the wind may blow loose grass, leaves and whatever debris onto the guitar, which will stick.
Leave the guitar to hang for 24 hours. Although the primer will seem like it's already dried before an hour is up, it is safer to leave it for a day.
I primed my guitar last night (15th January) but it was too dark to take photos. Instead this photo was taken today (16th January) after leaving the primer to dry.
After priming, the guitar is now ready to be painted. Thanks to the primer, the paint will apply very easily to the guitar, making my job much easier. Applying the paint takes the exact same process as the primer. Instead of loading the gun with primer, we load it with paint. Before I painted the guitar, I went over the primer very VERY lightly with 2000 grit sandpaper to smooth it out once again and to remove any rough parts of the primer.
Today I applied the black base coat to the guitar and it is currently drying.
In the background you can also see that I'm painting my SG and the blue air compressor.
After using the spray gun, like with all equipment, it is very important to clean it. No doubt you will have gotten paint on your hands, gun and maybe the floor too. The easiest way to clean paint is with mineral turpentine. A cloth dipped with turpentine will be enough to remove paint off your gun and hands, as long as you haven't left it time to dry. I would also advise after painting, dispose of the leftover paint and load the gun with a bit of turpentine. A few sprays of turpentine will clean out the leftover paint inside the gun.
With the air compressor, make sure ALL the air has been expelled from it. All air compressors have a bolt on the underside which can be undone to let the air out. Alternatively you can hold down your spray gun to release all the air. Remember, compressed air is dangerous and can explode.
Items purchased to date:
- Stratocaster body. $50.00
- 1L Septone paint stripper. $20.00
- Duct tape. $4.00
- Wet & Dry sandpaper x2. $2.60 ($1.30 each)
- Air Spray Gun. $35.00
- 125mL pot of Grey primer. $5.00
- 125mL pot of Black paint. $5.00
- 1L Mineral Turpentine. $4.90
Total cost to date:
If anyone has any questions which haven't been answered, feel free to PM me. I'm sure that I have not covered every little topic otherwise this article would be a case of TL;DR. I'm sure some people will find this too much to read already but please bear with me.