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Stripping a guitar with binding


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I picked up an '86 LP custom for dirt cheap, $300. The guitar had been knocked off it's stand and the neck broke off at the pocket. That was a piece of cake to fix because it was a lousy glue joint and the break was really clean.

The problem is, because of the fall, the finish cracked like crazy. Imagine shattered glass that didn't come apart.

I need advice on stripping this guitar without ruining the binding. Does anyone know any techniques other than sanding the whole thing? Or should I just use chemicals and re-do the binding.


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There are a lot of people here who will say "just go for it!" Strippers, thinners and sandpaper!

I'm here as an experienced finisher begging you not to touch it. You got your hands on a LP Custom that is almost 20 years old - that guitar is expected to have crazing, chipping and belt rash! The moment you start to remove that finish, the value of the guitar plummets.. (yes, I know you got a great deal on it..but it's still an awesome guitar).

Have you finished guitars in nitro before? If not, don't let this be your first one.

I haven't even asked, what color it is?

It always cracks me up that builders try to make their new guitars look old...but also seem to want the old guitars to look brand new.

Cherrish this sweet find! Give her a good set up and some new strings and let her play! I guarentee if you show up at a show with a beat to hell '86 paul custom, you'd see a lot more musicians drooling over it than if you showed up with a "like new" guitar.. shiney new guitars are a dime a dozen... Vintage crazed, yellowed instruments are a rare find.

I suggest you go back to where you found this great deal and find another, less valuable guitar, to refinish.

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Thanks for the response.

The guitar is an LP Lite, thin body. The color is **** pink/purple. I'm not sure if this is a rare, or valuable, instrument or not.

I've done a few nitro finishes, so I pretty much know what I'm doing.

The finish on the top is micro-cracked all to hell.

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This is a long shot.

If you've done nitro finishes before, and you have a sprayer, and you know how to use lacquer, thinner, retarder, all that stuff...

Then it's 'possible' you could remove all the hardware, prep the guitar by fine-sanding it and cleaning it thoroughly, and re-shooting it using some retarder.

The retarder will allow your new coats to blend into the existing coats and you may be able to basically just 'fill in the cracks' by re-melting the old lacquer and allowing the new lacquer to fill in the voids.Too much retarder and you'll blow it tho.

This is possible only if you're pretty experienced with lacquer and know how to 'make it work for you'. You're bending the finishing rules a bit, but it might work.

Easiest way out sez I.

Is it a nitro finish to begin with? It has to be for that to work.

PS, got pics?

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