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Need help with sunburst

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I'm building myself a 5-string bass, it's a copy of warrior instruments' soldier model. Here's a photo that I lifted off their site.

Warrior Bass

That bass is made of mahogany. I want this same exact finish. On their website they call it "translucend mojo purple"

Does anybody think there's actually a purple dye in there??

I've read the reranch tutorial on sunbursting, so I am familliar with the process. However, I won't be buying their sprays since i'm in Europe. I'm buying the anyline dyes from LMII.

My mahogany body is quite reddish/lite brown colored.

What color dye should I use to make the center color??

For the sides, can I use the black dyes in the dye set from LMII and mix it with nitro? Or will this make the black translucend?

Or is it better to use black pigment?


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This is very similar to the project I'm just wrapping up now...The back of my guitar is mahogany and I wanted a nice burst (front it maple, so it wouldn't match).

I decided to spray alcohol soluble Aniline dyes directly (w/o lacquer). This worked very well. Excellent blend. I sealed each color in with a coat or two of Vinyl sanding sealer. This gave it a lot of depth.

For the back, I think I ended up using the "Red Mahogany" dye for the middle, then a Dark Chocolate Brown, ending with the Black. If you use enough coats, the black becomes pretty solid...a really nice look - I like it much more than a "black" nitro as the last burst color.

Here's the tip if you're doing it this way...TEST ON A SCRAP FIRST!! I'm glad that I did - because I used a nitro sanding sealer first to seal my first scrap attempt, and it turned it to mush - color bleeding everywhere...took a while before I figured out I had to use the vinyl (and light coats). But all the time and energy paid off...I'll probably have it complete in a few weeks and I'll post some pictures then.

Also, I used dark grain filler on the wood, then sealed it with the Sanding Sealer, THEN applied the dyes using an airbrush. Good Luck!!

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Hi Morben (wish i'd know your name!),

The way you did it sounds pretty much like what I want to do.

I got a couple of questions more for you:

You applied all you layers of sanding sealer before you spayed the dyes on?

Or just one to lock the filler in?

Then you spray the dye mix(without nitro)of the red color on?

Then spray sealer again?

Then spray brown dye mix without nitro?

Then seal again?

Then black dye mix?

And finally all the clear coats, right?

You mentioned spraying the dyes with an airbrush, can I spray all this with a small automotive spraygun? that's all I have...


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You have the right idea... With Mahogany, you'll need to fill the grain (probably more than once), sand flat, then shoot some Sanding Sealer. Sand that flat and now you can begin your bursting. After Each color, I shoot another coat of Sanding Sealer to lock in that coat. This also helps if I screw up one of the color coats and have to sand back...I reduce the risk of sanding back through the previous color. After all the coats have been done, seal again (these are light coats - not heavy coats), sand flat - begin your lacquer coats.

I've never used a small automotive spray gun, but I would imagine that if you set the pressure, nozzle, and fluid flow so that you're applying a very light coat, it would work well. Remember, test on a scrap!

FYI, for the first color (red), you don't need to spray it on...you can just wipe it on with a rag. Much easier.

Good Luck! Let me know if you have any other questions!


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