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Hi guys,

Great website, very helpful!

However, I do have a few questions that aren't really covered.

The majority of the tutorials assume that the guitar is being refinished, or is going to be refinished, this is where my situation differs.

I am buying a new guitar, and I would like to place a cutom artwork/decal that I have created on the body of the guitar.

I read the tutorial on placing a custom logo/decal on the headstock of an unfinished guitar (featured on your website), but it mentions that placing the logo/decal on an already refinished guitar doesn't work very well.

My question is this, how should (and can) I go about applying and preserving a custom artwork/decal onto the body of the guitar?

As the guitar will be new, I'm not keen on the idea of having to strip the body's finish in order to apply the artwork/decal.

I also have another question that you guys may be able to help me with...

I have been searching for a 1:1 copy of the Les Paul body shape that I can scale my artwork to in Photoshop (the imaging software that I use). I read on the Gibson website that the custom shop uses a CAD picture/diagram that allows the artists to scale their artwork to. Is there somewhere I could get such a thing or something similar? If I have to pay a small amount for something like this then I have no problems with that.

I hope you guys can help out!

Thanks in advance.

Ben (want2design).


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I assume it's a waterslide decal? Those are kinda hit or miss with me. If you want to clearcoat it, you'll have to sand the new finish. An 800 grit wet sand should be fine for dulling the surface...try to get it evenly dull. Wipe clean, you don't want wet sanding grit under your decal. Apply the decal. Let it dry well, you want all the water gone. Here's where I hit or miss. Sometimes I let it dry an hour, sometimes overnight. I shoot a light mist of rattle can clear lacquer. This will sometimes help to 'melt' the clear film and any milkyness...sometimes. If you have issues with the film, and the lacquer does'nt help..it will look that way under the final poly. I figure it really depends on the specific type or manufacturer of the decal. I've used original NOS decals and repops as well as inkjet on decal paper...all with mixed results. I let the lacquer dry a few minutes and blast on the clear poly. Original Fender and Gibson decals seem to work best as the film dissappears under the clear. Good luck.

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Well I'm not sure what decal it is going to be at this point. Obviously, the more information you can provide me with on each type the better (as it will decrease my chances of finishing with a bad result).

Basically, all I have at this point in time is an early stage of the artwork I would like to put on the guitar, and a few concepts for other parts of the guitar. I need to decide on a decal type, and find a CAD drawing that I can scale the artwork to (which I am hoping is what you have access to at this website if you become an advanced supporter).

Anyways, thanks a lot for the reply, I appreciate it!


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If your design is not too complex, maybe have an airbrush artist do the graphic work and spray a standard clearcoat. Someone here posted a Jimi Strat decal graphic that looked very complex going over the curves with a special base coat to help the decal conform to the shape...must be some hi-tech system. This was going to be a limited run but I can see the decal being used for the multiple copies being offered. If yours is a one-of-a kind, airbrush graphics may be the way to go.

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