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Grain Filler Question


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This is probably a simple question for most you, but I'm wondering what type of grain filler to use if I'm planning to paint the guitar. I know it probably makes a difference if you're going to stain or paint the body and I just want to make sure I do this right the first time.

The body is basswood and isn't in bad shape at all. I just want to make sure I get the best, smoothest finish possible.

I would really appreciate any help/advice.

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Basswood is soft and unforgiving so "not in bad shape at all" could mean anything....! Is the surface perfect or so-so? Anything less than perfect will remove that "smoothest finish" you are after. Whilst Basswood might not need a sealer, it might benefit from something like this at this stage in order to highlight or even fix any issues. If issues exist, something that is high build (like maybe a poly primer?) can be figured in so that you can knock it back to a perfectly smooth finish prior to colour coats. This does mean you might need to make separate jobs with your paint guy whilst you perform any maintenance post-priming.

Talk to your guy. If he doesn't normally do instruments he might be eager to know more. Always good to share each other's knowledge. :-)

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food for thought, I had an interesting "reaction" with a guitar I modified a little while ago. I used a basswood ibanez body, and cut it down to size to add a flame maple top. I sanded the back and sides down to the sealer, but broke through the sealer in a couple spots. I didn't think much of it, but after I painted it, there was DEFINITE witness lines and absorption on the basswood where the sealer broker through. I wound up sanding back again, and resealing with some vinyl sealer which worked out nicely.

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Grain filler and sealer are not the same thing.

indeed. Just giving some recent experience that seemed prudent lol. Mistake I learned that I had to redo a lot of work needlessly. edit: I had assumed incorrectly that primer would "seal" and save me some time... boy that bit me in the buttocks...

Edited by bob123
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The most immediate problem I can see here is the likelihood that the OP will need to have more interaction during the paint process to ensure that issues do not occur. It's all too easy to put the workpiece into the hands of the painters - who likely do not have direct experience of painting instruments - only to have problems occur further down the line.

Perhaps I wasn't clear in my earlier post. Grain filling and sealing can be the same thing or separate stages. Even some primers can act as one or other dependant on the substrate and the attributes of the primer.

You mentioned dyeing and staining. Personally I tend to discount Basswood as a budget-end wood but some really swear by it. As far as paint is concerned, I recall that it doesn't take dye/stain evenly or at least doesn't look good with them.

Let's take this from the top so as not to continue complicating the issue.

- what paint is/was already on the body?

- what work has already been done it?

- what finish are you aiming for?

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