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How To Paint An Electric Guitar Professionally: Best Full Guide 2023

How To Paint An Electric Guitar Professionally Best Full Guide 2023
  • Max Kuehn

Looking to add some personality to your electric guitar? This article will show you how to paint an electric guitar with easy-to-follow steps. Painting an electric guitar can be a fun and rewarding experience. With patience and attention to detail, anyone can give their guitar a one-of-a-kind look.

Equipment and Supplies

Here’s everything you’ll need to get started on your repainting project:

  • Guitar
  • Sanding orbital
  • Sanding sponge or sanding paper
  • Sandpaper with fine, medium, and coarse grits
  • Cleaner (vacuum)
  • Cloths
  • spirit of mineral
  • White Primer
  • Paint cans or spray cans
  • Spray cannon (if you decide to use spray cans)
  • Coats of clear color
  • Pads of ultra-fine sandpaper
  • Eyeglasses and a dust mask
  • Cutter of wires
  • Screwdriver
  • Allen screws
  • Iron for soldering and solder
  • Tape for masking

If you’re doing your own painting, follow the simple standards outlined in this article and avoid rusting, as your haste and mistakes will show up in the results!

Equipment and Supplies

How To Paint An Electric Guitar Body

Taking Off the Old Finish

Step 1: Remove the guitar strings as well as the screws in the body.

Remove the guitar strings, then use a Phillips-Head screwdriver to detach the neck from the body. Unscrew the screws and knobs on the front of the instrument once the body is standing alone. Remove the screws from the guitar’s pickups and bridge.

If a faceplate covers your volume knobs, you must first remove the plastic sections of the knobs before lifting the faceplate off.

Step 2: Disconnect the electrical connections between the bridge and the pickups.

You may lift your bridge and pickups, which are connected by cables, once all of the screws on the face of the instrument have been removed. Snip these and solder them later when you reassemble your guitar.

If you’re unsure about dismantling your instrument, take it to a guitar store and get it done securely for you.

Before painting the guitar, make sure all electrical wire has been removed.

Step 3: Using a hairdryer or a heat gun, warm the old paint.

Set your heat gun or hair dryer to the lowest setting and sweep it across the body of your instrument back and forth. The heat from your hair dryer or heat gun can soften your guitar’s finish, making it easier to remove the paint.

Continue to heat the paint for another five minutes before poking it with a putty knife. You can move on to the following stage if the paint feels soft.
If you leave the heat gun in one location for too long, you will burn the wood beneath the paint.

Step 4: Using a putty knife, remove the previous paint.

Begin by scoring a small area of softened paint. Remove the old finish with your putty knife, and don’t worry if it splits. Scrape away at the paint to remove the old finish without hurting the wood beneath it.

If the paint still won’t come off, soften it using the heat gun. After you’ve removed the finish, you should be able to see the wood grain underneath.

Using a putty knife, remove the previous paint

Step 5: Sand the guitar’s body.
Sand the surface of the guitar’s body in the direction of the grain with 100 grit sandpaper. Sand down any flaws in the guitar’s body to make it as smooth as possible. Sand the sides and edges of the guitar as well, following the contours of the instrument.

After sanding with the 100 grit sandpaper, use the 200 grit sandpaper to smooth out any remaining flaws.

If the sandpaper hurts your hands, use a sanding block.

Step 6: Use an automotive filler to fix any holes.

You’re likely to encounter bumps or divots in the body of your guitar when you sand it down. Buy an automobile filler online or from an auto shop and follow the directions to make the sticky mixture.

Scoop up some of the filler with a plastic scraper and spread it over the divots in the guitar’s body. Allow the filler to dry for at least 20 minutes after filling the divots.
Bondo is a well-known automotive filler.

Step 7: Sand the automotive filler flush with the guitar’s surface.

You’ll need to sand the instrument with the 100 grit sandpaper once you’ve filled in any divots and it’s somewhat smooth. Keep sanding until the automotive filler is flush with the guitar’s body.

Step 8: Using a dry rag, dust the guitar.

Don’t saturate the wood grain to prevent moisture from being absorbed into your guitar. Wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth or a clean rag, removing any sawdust or debris that may have accumulated on the guitar.

Any dust or debris left on the guitar will be sealed into the finish.

Using a dry rag, dust the guitar

Sealing the Guitar

Step 1: Set the guitar down on a flat surface.

Drop cloths should be placed under the guitar to prevent the paint from staining the surface. With the back of the instrument facing up, place it on top of the drop cloths.

Step 2: Pick a wood sealant.

Wood sealer is available online or at a hardware store. Purchase a high-gloss water-based wood sealant. If you’re painting your guitar a lighter color, use a white sealant. Apply a gray sealant if you’re painting it a dark hue.

Step 3: Seal the guitar with wood sealer.
Using a dry rag, saturate the sealer. Drag the rag along the grain of your guitar’s surface once it’s soaked. Make lengthy movements with the sealer and avoid scrubbing in a concentrated region. Allow 10 minutes for the back of the guitar to dry before turning it over and finishing sealing the front and sides.

Please dispose of your filthy rag and replace it with a clean one. Remove the shielding from the electronics bay and apply the sealer to all pickup and electronics cavities and the neck pocket, taking care not to let it puddle. These regions are frequently ignored, allowing moisture to penetrate the wood.

Step 4: Let the instrument dry completely before applying three to five coats of sealant.

  • Allow an hour or two for the sealer to cure before applying another even coat. The sealer will make it much easier for the colored layers of paint to adhere to the guitar’s body.
  • Continue to apply extra coats of sealer until the guitar has been treated three to five times in total.
  • Between each successive coat, allow the sealer to dry for an hour or two.
  • The wood grain will be a considerably darker color once the instrument has been properly sealed.

Let the instrument dry completely before applying three to five coats of sealant

Step 5: Allow three days for the sealer to dry.
Check if the sealer is no longer moist or sticky by feeling it. Ensure that the instrument dries in a well-ventilated place so that no one becomes ill from the sealer vapors.

Step 6: Sand the sealer’s reflective areas.
Carefully sand over the bright sections of the sealer with 200 grit sandpaper. If you sand too hard, you risk exposing the wood grain underneath. If this happens, add more coats of sealer to the guitar and let it dry before continuing. The instrument should have a dull white or gray tint after finishing.

Begin To Paint Your Guitar

If you prefer to use spray paint, make sure you apply thin coats of paint and let each thin coat dry completely before applying another.

Allow one week for your colored coat of paint to cure completely before applying your clear coat of paint.

Begin To Paint Your Guitar

Begin Applying Your Stain

If you’re going to use a stain, you’ll need to moisten the body of your guitar first to make applying the stain easier and avoid flaws.

You’ll need to apply the stain on the guitar according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’ll need to apply as many coats of stain as necessary until you reach your desired look.

Finish With A Clear Coat

After the stain or paint has dried for a week, you should give your instrument a clear layer.
A nitrocellulose clear coat is strongly advised (like this one). When applying your clear coats, go as thin as possible, add the second layer after the first has dried, and so on.

To achieve a factory finish, you may require up to a dozen coats. If you pick a nitrocellulose or polyurethane finish, you should wait three to four weeks for the paint to cure completely. However, if you choose an oil-based finish, you will need to wait a few days for everything to solidify.

Polish the Surface

Use a wet sanding technique instead of dry sanding the polish! When sanding the polish, use a wet sanding technique on the hardened finish, starting with a fine grit (400) and progressing to a rougher grit (2000). In your grit procedure, you should use 400 grit, 600 grit, 800 grit, 1000 grit, 1200 grit, 1500 grit, and 2000 grit. Here’s a decent multi-pack of grit sandpaper.

Any scratches, swirls, or tiny pits in the finish or elsewhere should not be skipped over or overlooked; they will be impossible to remove.

Also, make sure you don’t sand through the clear color coat and into the color, so be cautious while sanding along the edges to avoid sanding into the paint.

Reassemble Your Instrument

After all of the paint has dried and you’ve sanded everything down, reassemble your guitar’s hardware by screwing or bolting it back together.

If you had to snip any wires when disassembling your guitar, you’d need to solder them back together. This is an excellent opportunity to upgrade any low-quality manufacturing components.

This is also the time to replace your worn-out pickguard with a new one! After reassembling your guitar, you can clean and shine it with your standard guitar polish. Then string it up, tune it up, and start playing!


FAQs About How To Paint A Guitar

On An Electric Guitar, What Kind Of Paint May You Use?

The greatest finish for your guitar is lacquer; thus, lacquer paint is the ideal option. If your guitar has an enamel finish, you should use enamel paint. Enamel paints are available in both oil-based and water-based formulations. Because oil-based enamel takes a long time to dry, water-based enamel is advised.

Is It Possible To Spray Paint A Guitar Without Dismantling It?

Yes, it is possible to paint a guitar without removing the electronics. The wires are usually long enough to allow the electronics to be lifted outside of the body and out of the way. You must now remove them if you want a good finish.

What Is The Cost Of Having A Guitar Painted?

A guitar refinish starts at around $200 for the body, while a good bespoke paint job can cost $600. The work is more expensive than the paint and other materials, which will cost you roughly $50 to $60. You can do it yourself, but it will take a long time and a lot of patience.

Is It True That Painting A Guitar Alters The Sound?

In contrast to acoustic guitars, painting an electric guitar has little effect on its sound because the electric derives the majority of its sound from pickups and amplifiers rather than the body. If you’re considering painting your electric guitar, don’t worry about the sound quality; do it!


As you now know, the process of electric guitar painting is not quite as straightforward as one may believe it to be based on first impressions alone. The secret is to consistently take your time, keep your workspace tidy, and make sure you’re using high-quality materials. Fidlar hope you found this article beneficial, and let us know if you have any questions!

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