Can you paint an acoustic?

Hi there, I'm looking at painting an acoustic for a friend. I'm pretty nervous about it, I don't want to wreck his guitar and I want to make sure I do it right. Do I have to strip off the varnish and sand it down? Airbrushing--I've heard its the best way to get it done. How much does it cost? Would that go over the varnish? Any help on the matter would be appreciated. Thanks, Mella

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What kind of guitar is it? what kind of paint job is he looking to acheive?

Have a quick look at the "Worst guitar finish" thread here, for anti-inspiration. Yes, you will need to remove the present lacquer. Anything sprayed over lacquer will just not "grip" and be blinkin' awful. I don't have the exact URL to memory, but search for "Guitar re-ranch". The site is stuffed full of tips, and the products you'll need.

Good luck, come back if you'd like more advice, and don't forget to post updates on how you're doing.

EDIT - it's just www.reranch.com
A good start, and more besides.

You guys are going to have to be patient with me...I'm not the guitar expert, he is. I'm just the artist. He wants a paint job with the faces of legends on it in black and white, lyrics, all that jazz. The way I understand it, I'd have to strip off the finish, then I would paint the design, and then I'd have to apply a new finish on top, in clear. As for the design, I'm pretty familiar with acrylic paint, and could do oil in a pinch, but would stain be the best way to go? What about automotive paint? The reranch site has been very helpful, especially as far as stripping and wood preparation goes. I might take the guitar in to a shop and have them strip it down, do the design myself, then have them apply the final finish. How does that sound? Thanks for your help, I'm doing my homework best as I can. ~Mella

Well you sure can paint an acoustic guitar, and as mentioned before you have to carefully remove the previous finish.

However, you will certainly change the sound, that is something you have to take into consideration. I'm not saying your guitar is going to sound bad, just that you will change the sound, for better or for worse is for the player to decide.

The whole idea with "solid tops" is for the top on the guitar to be able to vibrate more and create better and warmer resonance. The methoods to achieve this are probably as many as there are manufacterers, so I don't think there are a universal reciepie for this.

I've seen that most of the luthiers do apply many layers of lacqure/finish solvent of your choice, in many many superthin layers (10-15) because if you spray it to thick, you take away the ability for the wood that vibrate according to the frequencies you create while playing.

I would check out "www.stewmac.com" for solvents, polishing products and further information regarding the subject. Another great place is "www.projectguitar.com".

My tip would be to aproach all the different steps very very gentle, be careful sanding it down, and polishing it,and do not paint too thick, instead apply different superthin layers.

Good Luck
have a good one
hope that helped some
//Ken1

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