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djobson101

For Refinishing & Applying Graphic

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Hey guys,

I'm new here, and have a new project idea I'm ready to kick off -

What I'm doing is taking a guitar, and stripping all the finish off of it so that I can apply a graphic pattern to the front of the guitar. The patterns are on paper cutouts... What I'm hoping to do is adhere the paper to the front of the guitar when it is unfinished, and than seal over the top of it with some clear finish. A couple things I was wondering - First, would it be safe to assume that the clear coat will take well to the paper? And secondly, one of the guitars I'm contemplating getting for this project has binding on the body. Would the procedure for stripping down the finish be any different, or would I have to worry about breaking through the binding?

Thanks in advance if anyone has advice,

Dalton

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If you going to add something that doesn't cover the entire surface of the guitar you have to very carful to make sure you sand back the clear so it ends up flat in the end. I suggest you watch this video,

its not on guitars the process has worked for me before. but I was doing a smaller design that didn't cover the entire thing and it made it easy to level without putting a ton of clear.

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Hey guys,

I'm new here, and have a new project idea I'm ready to kick off -

What I'm doing is taking a guitar, and stripping all the finish off of it so that I can apply a graphic pattern to the front of the guitar. The patterns are on paper cutouts... What I'm hoping to do is adhere the paper to the front of the guitar when it is unfinished, and than seal over the top of it with some clear finish. A couple things I was wondering - First, would it be safe to assume that the clear coat will take well to the paper? And secondly, one of the guitars I'm contemplating getting for this project has binding on the body. Would the procedure for stripping down the finish be any different, or would I have to worry about breaking through the binding?

Thanks in advance if anyone has advice,

Dalton

Dalton ,

welcome to the forum ! :D

I bolded one part of your post that makes me scratch my head. I'm trying to figure out if you're removing the finish for a specific reason or if you just want to do it the hard way , lol.

I personally leave the finish on guitars that already have one when I'm doing the paper graphic thang. Scuff it with 600 or 800 grit paper just to dull down any shininess and remove any oils or wax that might inhibit adhesion.

Rubber cement is the absolute best product I've tried on these apps. a thin coat on the guitar surface AND the graphic works like a champ.

Clear coats are done in a normal fashion with no adverse consequences due to the paper.

The guitar with binding will be easier to do than a rounded edge guitar. Run the graphic out to the edge and trim flush with a razor blade. Hides the binding from the top , but not the sides.

Any other questions , feel free to ask.

Tim37 - thanks for the vote of confidence !

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The only reason I would consider the stripping down was to paint the back of the body a different color to match the pattern. Can you repaint the guitar if you sand it down like how you were describing? I am not the most experienced in woodworking so... I may sound funny asking these things. What I was thinking was if I do the guitar with the binding, to maybe cut out the paper along the binding so it still shows? Unless that'd be too hard. It's not that big of a deal to just go over the whole face though. Thanks for the good advice Our Souls, and everyone else for the links that will also be helpful for this.

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No problem , glad I aint the only one who's out there glueing picture to guitars ! :D The "trim it so the binding shows" is a great idea ! Go for it - it shouldn't be a problem , although you'll have that paper-thick transition at the edge of your binding. Clear it smooth and you'll be fine. If youre doing a whole different color , by all means , remove what you need to. lol

And you can, can paint a guitar by scuffing up the old finish and going over that , but now you're getting kinda thick in the paint area . Thats entirely a personal choice , though.

Best of luck - post pix.

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I definitely will... "pics or it didn't happen." Heheh, well this is certainly something I'd wanna share anyways. It may be a couple months (hopefully less.. one month!) but I'll be sure to share.

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anyone had any experience with adding graphics to plastic (a la EMG) pickup covers?

I'm planning a build based on a picture of a friend's face (we share a weird sense of humor) and I would like for the pup not to obscure the picture, but for the picture to continue over the pup. Potentially also over the end of the fretboard, but that might be ambitious.

any experiences?

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anyone had any experience with adding graphics to plastic (a la EMG) pickup covers?

I'm planning a build based on a picture of a friend's face (we share a weird sense of humor) and I would like for the pup not to obscure the picture, but for the picture to continue over the pup. Potentially also over the end of the fretboard, but that might be ambitious.

any experiences?

There are adhesive backed vinyls that are made to be printed on with ink jet printers that can be applied to shapes like pickups and fretboards. It will stretch and conform to those shapes. I cannot say I have ever seen it done on a guitar, but it happens all the time on vehicles. I have seen a set of keys laid on a hood of a car and covered with a graphic made this way. It conformed to the surface of every key in the set. It does take some skill to do it properly. and it does involve a heat gun (or hair dryer and a little patience) to help stretch the vinyl and remove its memory.

I'm sure there are several graphics companies in your area that can produce these. You need to look for one that advertizes vehicle graphics and wraps.

SR

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anyone had any experience with adding graphics to plastic (a la EMG) pickup covers?

I'm planning a build based on a picture of a friend's face (we share a weird sense of humor) and I would like for the pup not to obscure the picture, but for the picture to continue over the pup. Potentially also over the end of the fretboard, but that might be ambitious.

any experiences?

There are adhesive backed vinyls that are made to be printed on with ink jet printers that can be applied to shapes like pickups and fretboards. It will stretch and conform to those shapes. I cannot say I have ever seen it done on a guitar, but it happens all the time on vehicles. I have seen a set of keys laid on a hood of a car and covered with a graphic made this way. It conformed to the surface of every key in the set. It does take some skill to do it properly. and it does involve a heat gun (or hair dryer and a little patience) to help stretch the vinyl and remove its memory.

I'm sure there are several graphics companies in your area that can produce these. You need to look for one that advertizes vehicle graphics and wraps.

SR

You can also do the rubber cement / picture over a pup. I put two pics of Dimebag on my Dime tribute guitar and they were BL/Duncan so the rails and screws had to be re-exposed through the pic. Yours is going on an EMG - shouldn't be a problem at all.

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