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wow a question i can answer!

Right firstly, Pros:

they are easy to use, and basic airbrushes can picked very cheap, about £10, the one i use is about £50, and is quite a good airbrush (a Badger 200, if you are intrested)

They can also spray nearly everything you stick in them, as long as you thing it to about the viscossity of milk (semi-skimmed of course)


Can be expensive

You need something to act as a proppelent, there are two options: a Compressor (expensive, but worth it, constant supply of air) or airbrush aerosol cans (cheap, but not much air, u would probably use about 20 large cans painting a guitar if you like to have solid thick coats of paint, which would come to about £140)

I personnally have a compressor, that i got for free, and im happy it was free, cos i dont use it as much as i thought i would.

Hope this helped and hope you can make some sense of it, PM me for any other questions.

Matt :D

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I use an airbrush quite often, however I would never try to spray clear with it for a couple of reasons.

1. You have to thin the paint so much in an airbrush that it takes far more coats to build up the clear. I can spray an entire guitar with about 1oz of color or clear to cover it, however, this coat of paint is incredibly thin. As comparison, one coat of clear with the big gun is about 8oz, and I put 10 to 12 coats on, this would mean 80 to 112 coats with an airbrush to get the same amount of paint on. I have tried doing clear with an airbrush, but even after 30 coats I was still sanding through without even trying.

2. There is problems with spraying clears through an airbrush on a large surface with most kinds of paint. With Laquer, the problem is that the paint is so thin, it is drying as soon as it hits the body, there is no chance for each overlapping pass to melt into itself and look smooth, you end up with a bunch of foggy lines. With Poly's, the paint isn't on thick enough to flow out, resulting in a pebbly finish.

3. You can acheive an OK finish in clear if you use a Large tip on the airbrush, on my Paasche H model I would use the #5, on my Iwata revolution, I couldn't spray clear, 1/2" is about the widest pattern I could get. You run into problems here because the biggest airbrush bottle I've seen is 2oz, that simply won't hold enough paint for you to spray the entire guitar.

My suggestion is to buy a good medium sized spray gun first, then you can spray primer, color, and clear all with the same gun. Then, when you want to try your hand at graphics or fading paints, buy an airbrush. When you buy an airbrush, don't buy the $20 kind, the parts will wear, you will never get a smooth pattern, and it just won't last. Figure out your needs, if you never want to do photographic touch up work, don't buy a turbine feed, or fine detail guns. If you want to do larger surfaces and just some fades or bursts, something like a Paasche H model will do just fine, if you want to do more detail, get a dual action airbrush like the Paasche VL or Iwata Revolution (the Revolution is amazing, a little pricey but god I love it)

The biggest trick to airbrush use, is paint consistency, and air pressure, it takes practice, but once you learn how to use the airbrush, and use it for it's intended purpose, you will love it.

One word of caution, many hobby stores etc will try to sell you on the Aztek airbrush's, stay away from them unless you plan on ONLY spraying acrylics, most of the airbrush is plastic and will not last long with laquers or solvent based paints, plus they cost almost as much as an iwata anyway, and more than a paasche, I really recommend the Paasche H as a first airbrush, dead simple to use and works very well. They cost around $60US, the Iwata Revolution is around $100US and the one I use for ultra fine work, the Iwata Micron CM-B is around $500US. But the truth is, I use the Revolution for 90% of the work, the Paasche for 9%, and the Micron for 1%, so, it was kind of a stupid purchase LOL!!!!

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Hey, Jeremy, if you have time, as an obvious expert, could you explain a little about airbrush options, and why we want (or don't want) 'em. I 've been looking at some, but I'm completely bogged down in side-feed vs. gravity feed vs. siphon, dual vs. single action, internal mix, etc. Everybody I've talked to has a different take on what works, and why, but I've seen your work (awesome), and thought maybe you could clarify how it works.

Thanks muchly,

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Sure, I'll do what I can.

ok, airbrush basics.

I'm only going to talk about single and dual action, because I don't personally see much value in the turbine airbrushes anymore with the new generation of dual action gravity feeds on the market.

Single action:

Tips are set manually, usually by screwing or unscrewing the threaded portion, while spraying there is no adjustment unless you physically unscrew the tip to allow more paint to flow, this means you can't linearly adjust while spraying. The spray button on top adjusts only the airflow, you just push it up and down, hence "single action"

Pro's: Very simple to use, you need only to worry about your air flow. All manual adjustment means no accidental blops of to much paint from an unsteady hand.

con's: more limited adjustment while spraying, generally can't get anywhere near as fine a line with a single action. The tip is harder to clear when paint clogs it. and IMO more difficult to clean.

Dual action:

The air button is also a lever which moves front to back, all the way forward is tip fully closed, all the way back is fully open. This allows you to change your spray pattern while spraying. This is especially useful when doing graphics like flames or shadows where you need a tight spray pattern at the end, but want to blend it as you move into the flame or shadow thus needing a larger pattern.

pro's: Much finer detail work is possible, down to a pencil line thickness with certain airbrush's. More control is offered with the variable pattern width. Tips clog less since they are always closed when you don't spray (lever's are spring loaded) and if they do clog you can generally clear them just by opening the tip all the way.

con's: More expensive to buy. They do require smoother and steadier hands due to the lever's being moved in 2 directions, if you are shaky, you will end up with an inconsistent line pattern. Worse yet, if you goof and pull back to far on the lever, you get alot of paint really fast.

Gravity feed:

Paint bottle or container is mounted on top of the airbrush, generally these are part of the airbrush body, not a separate bottle.

pro's: ALL the paint gets used, no left over. No air bubbles get in causing spattering while spraying, especially when paint gets lower. IMO these are easier to spray with consistently because the paint flow is automatic, you're not waiting for paint and hoping it doesn't spatter. paint keeps the needle wet all the time, I've never had a gravity feed airbrush clog on me. the way the paint container is set on the body, you can generally work almost straight down and not worry about the paint leaking or dripping from the bottle as well, especially if it has a lid.

con's: Generally hold far less paint, usually no more than 1/4oz - 1/2oz. Can be tricky to clean the airbrush body as it gets filled with paint, but as long as you clean completely right after you are done spraying you are generally ok.

Syphon feed: (bottom or side)

Uses air syphoning to suck the paint into the tip

pro's: Much bigger bottle, can get up to 2oz paint bottles. With multiple bottles, you can have all your colors at the ready, just have one with thinner in it, spray through your airbrush, pop on a new color and go.

con's: You always have some paint left at the bottom that doesn't get all used, you run the chance of having air in the pickup feed that causes spatters. The air bleed hole in the tops of bottles often becomes clogged, then they dont work at all until you unplug them. And I've never had a bottle that didn't drip if you tilted it to far.

Internal mix vs external mix:

Basically, it's just what it says, in an external mix, you have basically 2 tips, an air tip, and a paint tip. In the picture below (paasche H model airbrush, single action syphon feed external mix) you can see the paint tip goes up into the very end of the gun, the air tip has the exit air behind the paint tip, when air flows over it, it syphons up the paint and blows it forward, thus mixing the air and paint externally, these guns are FAR more prone to clogging as the air over the tip dries the paint as it flows.


Internal mix means that the paint is syphoned into the airbrush body or fed in (in the case of a gravity feed gun) and mixed with the air inside. In the picture below (Iwata Revolution dual action gravity feed internal mix) you can see the color cup is up top, far behind the tip, the paint flows into the body and the air pushes it forward, so what keeps the paint from just spraying out in a straight line? well, at the tip, there is a milled groove around the paint needle exit hole, inside there are air veins that start before the paint entry hole. The air that goes through these veins is clean air without paint, when the paint and air reach the tip, the air is blowing in a cone shap, and the paint pushes through becoming atomized in the airflow creating the spray pattern.


On a dual action airbrush, the amount you pull back on the lever regulates the amount of paint coming out and the fine-ness of the line, on a single action, unscrewing the tip further regulates it.

Well, did that answer all your questions? if not, shoot me the rest, I'll get on em :D


reason for edit: realized I missed one of the pictures

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  • 3 weeks later...
B) hi, this is my first post, yay!

i was wondering what you would suggest for the absolute beginner (i.e. me! :D ) airbrushing type person

i don't have much to spend, about 50 dollars U.S.


Get a Paasche H model airbrush, around $45 and a great beginner airbrush :D

Paasche H

thanks, i'll look into that, though i think my project guitar has been put on hold for a bit as i just bought a sax. guitars and saxes are both great, and i had been neglecting my sax playing for a bit, but soon ill be back makin guitars, lol

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  • 1 month later...

hey i think i have a bager 200 its a bager thats all i no, but umm...... i paint rc car bodys let me see if i can find some pics ahhh yes the infamous skyline, all air brushed


air brushes are worth the money so i would get, well i allready have one so yeah...... i gonna paint my guitar with it, is that a good idea??

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WHOAH! Thanks for the info, LGM! That post frikkin rocks! :D

I been thinking about getting an airbrush and learning how to use it, and that really helped, though I do have a question:

Since I was not gifted with a steady hand ( B) ) the dual-action is out of the question, but I want the control that dual-action provides. Couldn't you just attach a knob-style or pedal-style flow control to the hose running from the compressor to the gun and adjust it on the fly with your other hand?


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if it's just the airflow you are concerned about controlling, just adjust your air pressure as needed, that's what I do anyway. If it's the paint flow you are concerned about, be sure to get a dual action with an adjustable stop you can set.

The new Iwata HP-C+ has a micro air adjustment that you can set with your opposite hand, and it has the paint flow adjustment stop. I'm going to get one as soon as I have an extra $150. My custom micron has them, but I don't really like the micron as much. it's almost to fine of an airbrush.

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Ah, I see, I thought the airflow determined paint flow (air passing over the jar/cup opening draws the paint out, right? So theoretically the lower the air pressure the thinner the paint? But then, what do I know about it? :D )


The airflow does affect the paint flow, but not in the way you're thinking I don't think.

Basically, there are 2 reasons to have more or less airflow.

1. If your paint is thicker, or metallic, you'll need more airflow to move it, to actually spray, metallics don't spray very well with an airbrush to begin with though. If you are doing large area coverage, you want thicker paint that won't blow around and look crappy.

2. If you are wanting to do really fine detail, you need less airflow and thinner paint. If you have to much airpressure the air will basically splatter the paint against your surface.

On a dual action airbrush, pushing the button down controls the amount of air, pulling the trigger back moves the needle back opening the paint flow further allowing more paint to flow. Lots of paint flow with little air will create splatters. There is a definite learning curve, but the dual action, although harder to use, is much more useful in the long run B)

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  • 5 weeks later...

One word of caution, many hobby stores etc will try to sell you on the Aztek airbrush's, stay away from them unless you plan on ONLY spraying acrylics, most of the airbrush is plastic and will not last long with laquers or solvent based paints, ,

:DB):D:D I just Bought a A-470 Son Of a ................

any body wanna buy a AIR BRUSH


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Just my opinion but you would be better off to get a mini spray gun to do overall painting. I have a Badger 150 that I only use for shadow work. I have used my mini gun to spray everything from Imron to Basic Lacquer. I got my gun from Harbor Freight for $49.00 It's well worth it. 35243.gif

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Just my opinion but you would be better off to get a mini spray gun to do overall painting.

Your opinion is noted, now if you go back and read the thread from the beginning you'll see that this was stated already as well. :D

The paasche H will put out enough product to spray a full body with, And a mini spraygun is great. However, when it comes to buying spray guns, I can't recommend buying cheap ones like those at harbor freight. The biggest problem is many of them use plastic components which with time will wear very quickly with solvent based paints. I just bought a Sata mini jet, it's a $300 gun, but worth every penny, it sprays great. I just personally think that if you are planning on doing more than a couple guitars, and want to invest in spray equipment, there is no point in buying cheap stuff.

I spray fairly large surfaces with even as fine an airbrush as my Iwata HP-C, once you really learn your guns you will be able to acheive anything you want with them.

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