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Hey guys, this is my first post. I've recently decided to give building a guitar a try, and I have a freshly glued blank outside waiting for a good routing. I'm pretty much ready to go, but the problem is I have no idea what to do to get the finish that I want. The finish would be similar to this.

This is somewhat rough mock-up of what my guitar will hopefully look like.

I'm guessing I'll need to use a stain or some lacquers or something. I'm pretty much in the dark here when it comes to wood finishing and would really appreciate some help.

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First - read the tutorials on this site if you haven't already on finishing. Second, it looks kinda like a dk. cherry finish with black paint. The masking would be pretty easy since it appears to be all "straight angles" :D.

If it were me (and hopefully Syxxstring will see this post and contribute)

kpcrash's 10-step Guitar Finishing

1. Fill the grain, sand smooth to 600 grit, seal it (grain filler, sanding sealer come in handy here. not a big fan of grain fill, but with a clear finish it helps)

2. Stain coat (don't know what wood you're using - so a little cloudy on this one).

3. Time for masking

4. Apply thin layers of black lacquer per manufacturer's directions (prob need 3 THIN coats)

5. After a day, remove the masking using an xacto carefully along the edges of the tape (hmm....)

6. If everything is to your liking, you can start the lacquer clearcoats (if not, gently (600-800 grit) sand and irregularities)

7. Apply 15-20 clearcoats of lacquer per manufacturer's directions. COATS MUST BE THIN!

8. After the finish has cured (if nitrocellulose lacquer about 30 days, acrylic lacquer about 10 days), sand smooth starting with 800 grit and work up to at least 2000 grit making sure the finish is completely smooth and free of pits/peel,etc - IMPORTANT: WET SAND IN ONE DIRECTION (makes it easier for step 9)

9. Starting with a clear coat safe rubbing compound, begin buffing/polishing the finish - or start with swirl remover (Scratch X or similar) if you finish is amazingly well sanded

10. Wipe everything down real good and assemble carefully. If you have to drill/cut anything after this is done, make sure you use tape to prevent finish crack.

Sorry if this seems too abridged - but should give you a good starting point.

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The neck is just there for reference. I'm going to use a carvin neck, since I am terrified of actually building a neck from the ground up by myself. There's a bunch of inconsistencies and such in the mock-up that I was just too lazy to fix.

So the meat of what I need to do is

etc...

* Stain the body

* Mask design

* Apply black lacquer

* Apply clearcoat.

etc...

That's not too bad. Plus I've got all the time in the world.

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>snip<

4. Apply thin layers of black lacquer per manufacturer's directions (prob need 3 THIN coats)

>SNIP<

May I suggest that before you apply the black. That you shoot at least one clear coat . This will seal the tape edges and prevent bleeding under your tape of the black You will get a crisper edge on your color.

Just a suggestion, :D

Mike

Edited by MiKro
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May I suggest that before you apply the black. That you shoot at least one clear coat . This will seal the tape edges and prevent bleeding under your tape of the black You will get a crisper edge on your color.

Just a suggestion, :D

Mike

Mike, you're exactly right - my oversight. As long as it's thin enough to not "promote" cutting to deeply to loosen the tape edges.

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I'm not sure how far the painting tuts go as far as masking... this is an art in and of itself. Take it from me, I've made enough painting mistakes to know-- If I can give you 3 pieces of advice on this, here they are: take your time, use the right tool for the job, and make sure you're good at it before you try it on your expensive guitar.

Set aside an hour or two, just to get your masking layout to where you're happy with it. This is a relatively complicated layout, and it's going to be frustrating. Don't worry! Hot rodders can spend a whole day JUST planning and laying out the masking for flames for a car paintjob.

Secondly, I don't want to be condescending but I don't know how much paint work you've done before. Make sure you've got decent tape. Cheap tape can leak and totally ruin a paint job. Paper tape will handle turns better, but it's generally more expensive than vinyl tape. For the fine lines on the back, you may want to stop by a local auto body/paint suppy place for pinstripe tape. You can get it in all different sizes.

Also, don't forget masking tape and/or paper EVERYWHERE else on the guitar. Overspray shows up in the strangest places....

Third, again, I don't know how much of this you've done. Practice the same layout on a test panel to see where your problem areas are. Practice peeling your tape once it's got paint on it! Going around the tape with an X-acto is a good start, but remember to peel your tape from a 90 degree angle, slowly, in order to further reduce lifting.

Best of luck! I'll probably forget to keep checking this thread, but you can send me a PM if you have questions about anything I said.

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Your best bet in tape is find the local autobody supply store. It's the same tape as your local big box retailer, but usually much fresher.

Also shoot lightly around the tape to seal it, let that flash, then proceed.

If you can work in Adobe Illustrator or another vector graphics program you can have your local sign shop cut it for you, just make sure they use a low tack masking vinyl.

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