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This weekend I got it into my head that I want to paint my old guitar (as well as replace the broken switch and the crappy pickups). I also want to learn how to modify guitars instead of being a guitar retard (or guitard) for the rest of my life. Here’s what I’ve gotten done so far:

guitar before

Gibson Epiphone G-310. The first left-handed guitar I owned and the guitar I used for I Don’t Know What I’m Doing. Before this I was playing an upside down left-handed Wayne’s World Fender telecaster.

the tools

The tools I’ll be using (forgot to include the putty knife I used to strip the paint). Heat gun (or pistolet thermique in French), mask, goggles.


Tore the guts out and detached the neck. It’s at this point I’m realizing I may never get the guitar back together again without having to cry to a professional who will tease me. I also can’t get those metal bridge things out no matter how much I swear, so I guess they’re staying in while I do this thing.


I move everything to the garage. Taking the paint off the back is surprisingly easy though it’s hard to hold the guitar in place while I heat gun and strip it.

just about stripped (front)

Flash forward a couple of sweaty hours and I think it’s more or less stripped. The edges were a pain in the ass. It can still use some clean up, some black remains on the edges, but I’ll wait until someone’s around who can hold it for me.

So next is sanding. Also deciding if I’m going to do the neck and headstock. I can’t find much in the way of instructions for that on the internet and I’m hesitant to try it in case I damage the fretboard. Also I have to figure out what pickups I’m putting in this thing as well as find a replacement pickup switch.

Oh and what color am I going to paint it?

Other parts in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Posted on - May 29, 2006 [at] 2:00 pm by Brad
Tagged in -

13 Comments on this post

Richard on Guitar painting: part 1
May 29, 2006 at 3:23 pm

If you’re in a rush to refinish the guitar (like for practice tomorrow night) maybe you should think about fake wood grain stick-on vinyl. No dry time vs. using an always dangerous X-acto knife. You could consider a textured finish (gluing on cat litter, leather, hockey cards). I’d leave the neck and fretboard alone for now. A stinky/gorgeous body is just eye cancer/candy, a shitty neck job relegates your guitar into just being a martial arts weapon.

SexyJosh on Guitar painting: part 1
May 29, 2006 at 3:24 pm

Hot pink… or blue. Bradsucks Blue.

Brad on Guitar painting: part 1
May 29, 2006 at 9:47 pm

I think I’ll leave the neck alone for now. I can always detach it and do it later if I’m feeling brave.

Right now I’m leaning towards a red color, but it’ll probably just depend on what color catches my eye when I go to buy spray paint. Wondering if I should attempt some sort of stencil design, but with my limited art skills that could wind up looking way worse.

Bjam on Guitar painting: part 1
May 29, 2006 at 11:32 pm

Get Drewtetz to design you a kickass Brad Sucks stencil. Or just print out your falling over guy logo and cut it out and make a stencil out of that. Or find an artistically minded friend to sketch you something and then paint over it in whatever paint won’t chip off.

JB on Guitar painting: part 1
May 30, 2006 at 1:40 pm

Take it to one of those mall kiosks where they airbrush t-shirts to order.

Shawn on Guitar painting: part 1
June 8, 2006 at 3:56 pm

play with the idea of trims, like the kind that jackson uses on it’s jackson RR5’s. find two or three colours you like, for example, i like black and neon green. And i really want a black guitar with green trims. If you do decide to do that, get some car-pinstriping tape to put around the edges, and put, i imagine, newspaper or painting tape in a large area around the trim spots, as to not mix the colors. also, a cool effect is to use spray paint from really high up to get a splatter effect (i.e. blood, piss, mud, etc…) idk. start looking at guitar/car designs or paintings you like, and look at the features you really like. good luck.

Matt on Guitar painting: part 1
June 26, 2006 at 7:17 pm

Looks like you swore too much at those metal bridge things (anchors). It looks like you cracked the wood all around them. but anyway, just make sure you tape off your cavities, or your pickups wont fit back in. You should check out some dimarzios for that btw. I suggest you prime it first before you start, and definatly use spray over a brush. The switch is easy to find, but make sure you labeled the wiring on it before you took it apart…unless you know what your doing. For the neck, get some fingerboard dye for the fretboard after you defretted it. New fretwire only costs like $5-10 for 4ft. Make sure you have to tools to put it back in though. For the rest of the neck, almost same as the body, just tape up the whole fretboard with some very sensitive tape. Make sure you dont spray into the truss rod or it wont ever move again.

octavian on Guitar painting: part 1
July 21, 2006 at 6:36 pm

can you just spray paint the body without stripping the paint. lets say, with a spray paint like krylon fusion?

Steve on Guitar painting: part 1
September 13, 2006 at 12:51 am

sand it to the wood(by the way my first language is french), use an electrical tool;most important , take your time, take it easy ,I am doing the same with an old guitar,I began last year and for long didn t know what to do , then found out that I had to sand it to the wood to be able to have the result I want,good luck


Steve on Guitar painting: part 1
September 13, 2006 at 12:58 am

don t sand the fret bord …

Steve on Guitar painting: part 1
September 13, 2006 at 1:00 am

I ll tell you later what to do with the fret board if ask me to, cause I have a friend who knows about it

Raul on Guitar painting: part 1
January 7, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Hi pal. Was really great to see your blog with all the details about the job that you did with your guitar (Guitar painting). I want to know your opinion about a subject. I own a bass that now got a white finish (really looks like cream or wintage white, you kbow, banana color), and I want to paint it in black. Can I pait over the original color? what do you know about it? I apreciate your answer. Send me your answer to my mail! Thanks a lot ! and have a happy nw year.

Cy on Guitar painting: part 1
July 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm

no…you cant just paint over it..thats a really BAD idea…for various reasons..its not hard..take it apart carefully…bag and label all the parts…get a hand sander…i got a black and decker mouse sander for like $30 and a pack of various grit papers that fit it for $7.sand it down until you get all the paint off..the use a lighter and lighter grit paper until its UBER smooth.PRIME.(let dry)BASE COAT (let dry) recoat until your happy,letting dry between coats(some people say up to 2 days)
LAQUER (read about it first) let dry



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