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Need Help Removing Guitar Paint


Dustin2414
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Hello, I'm new here so if im posting this in the wrong place im sorry. What im tryign to do here is remove the paint off my electric guitar to refinish it. I just did my friends the other day and it took us all day of sanding it with sand paper. I dont want to have to resort to doing that again for a while. Are there any other ways of removing the paint other then sanding? If so I need things i can get at common places and etc. Prices would be helpfull too. Thanks

Also one more thing im not sure about this so ill ask...Is it ok to remove the neck of the guitar? if i remove it will it mess it up?

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you can use a heat gun... but im having loads of trouble using one atm...its pretty much just burning my guitar up :/

so yer i need tips too

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I've used paint stripper in the past then scrubbed it heavily to get all the stripper residue off. Then before priming I used a bar coat I've also used a small hand powdersander, as long as you just rough the paint up and are careful not to burn through to the wood, they're very effective.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hello, I'm new here so if im posting this in the wrong place im sorry. What im tryign to do here is remove the paint off my electric guitar to refinish it. I just did my friends the other day and it took us all day of sanding it with sand paper. I dont want to have to resort to doing that again for a while. Are there any other ways of removing the paint other then sanding? If so I need things i can get at common places and etc. Prices would be helpfull too. Thanks

Also one more thing im not sure about this so ill ask...Is it ok to remove the neck of the guitar? if i remove it will it mess it up?

Depending on what type of body you're working with, you can just use a random orbit sander. I just broke down a Peavey Raptor body and use the sander. You just have to be careful around the curved sides and armrest. You'll have to hand sand the inner surfaces of the horns, but I did an entire body in just under a couple of hours between the two methods. If you burn through the sanding sealer, just be sure to reseal the body or your new paint/finish won't adhere properly. It'll just suck down into the wood.

Just be sure to wear a mask when you use the sander. I wore one even though the sander I have has a dust collection filter on it. Worked great and have already begun refinishing the guitar.

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I'll ask here instead of starting a new thread.

This has to do with MDF bodies, paint striper is a bad idea isn't it?

I'm kind of afraid that what strips the paint would also degrade the epoxy/formaldehyde that holds the MDF together.

I found this body on e-bay and fell in love with it because it was so ugly and simple, it wasn't until I had it in my hands that I found out it was MDF (or something similar).

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I'll be honest, I am new at guitar building. It really does appear to be some form of "particle board".

I only have one picture available at this time, and all you can see is paint.

There is a good size chunk taken out of it (bass side-upper cut out, at the neck pocket), this would show the "wood" the best.

It appears to be a non structural point and I am planning on building it up with epoxy or bondo.

I'm having issues with my USB port on my computer, so I can't upload any new pictures.

Anyway, I'm likely to start a thread about it in the projects ongoing once I gather most of the parts I need to do the build, and get my USB port fixed. If for no other reason, I really would like to get an idea where this body came from :D.

Edited by Alac Luin
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  • 1 year later...
Guest RavenT

MDF is not the best thing to use for a guitar. The builder built it fast to make $$$

If your pickups are out try screwing in a small screw and take it out and put it back in if the screw does not grip like the first time then it sounds like MDF. So if it is all the parts that were screwed in won’t screw tight again. So now you have a whole new project. Use that body as a template and make a new body of wood. The MDF look can also be the wood filler.

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i have sanded 4 guitars down in 3 months and i know the agony of a n00b trying to do this stuff.... and i believe i am much closer to developing cancer than i used to be right before i started!!!

look buddy, sand paper is safe to the general shape of the body but the worst stuff you can do for your physical/mental health! i changed my religion 7 times until i was done with the second guitar! hehe....

sexy strippers (in a can) MIGHT work but it depends on the type of paint you have. I tried working with strypease, ACE stripper, and many others to strip down the Greco Device MIJ i had and i tell you it didn't do jack.... only gave me an insane headache for a week!

the best stuff i found to remove paint without affecting the shape of the body is a random sander. if you buy a good one it'll strip it down nicely and leave you with some final sanding to do. the inner sides of the horns can be done with a dremel with a small sanding bit attached to it... be careful with these though coz the grit won't be finer than 80 (or at least none that i've seen around) so work VEERY lightly in order not to sand through the wood and be in a lot of trouble while refinishing.

i will never do refinishing again! i swear ppl should be credited for refinishing old MIJ guitars much more than builders!!! that Greco was built to sustain a nuclear war not a couple of gigs!!!! UGH!

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The reason a lot of people have problems with strippers is the way they're used. Think about this logically for a minute -

A chemical stripper attempts to bond with the paint causing a reaction that will generate heat and make the paint release its bond to the surface.

These chemicals also evaporate quickly - they will soak in the wood a bit on some models, but 99% of them are not water based so they will evaporate - or - can be rapidly decomposed by wiping the piece with a wet cloth.

Since they evaporate so quickly, the use of a large trash bag helps. Once the piece is covered in stripper (either sprayed or brushed IN ONE DIRECTION ONLY) place it in a large trash bag and let it sit for 6-24 hours (depending on the stripper) check it every couple of hours to make sure its not dry.

This allows more time for the chemical reactions to happen to loosen (slime) the paint making scraping easier.

Also, once you've weakened the finish a couple of times and sanding becomes much easier - especially if you're working on something like an Ibanez with it's 3mm of polyester clear coat on top.

Some other inexpensive models do sand off just fine. Unless you're good with the power tools, it will be easy to damage the body - especially the horns so "make" a sanding tool to help here. Usually, a small piece of PVC or large marker that you can wrap sandpaper around will produce better results than using your finger or just folding the sandpaper.

Another thing to consider is the grain filler coat. Typically - bodies have a thin coat of this on and you don't want it to come off unless you planning to add one yourself to make sure the grain is sealed giving you a mirror finish. Strippers usually won't take this off - but sanding will.

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