Can You Paint A Guitar? Facts Revealed!

You can paint a guitar. The surface must be textured prior to painting in order for the paint to dry properly. This is because your guitar has likely already been painted, as well as/or sealed. You must eliminate or remove that layer of paint significantly in order to have a successful guitar paint job. 

The aforementioned was in consideration of the average electric guitar. In this article, we will address: what paints to use, whether or not it’s okay to paint on one, how to paint on an unfinished guitar body and if painting an acoustic guitar will ruin the way it sounds. 

Can You Paint A Guitar? Facts Revealed!

What Kind Of Paint To Use?

More often than not it is recommended that you use acrylic paint. Guitar-specific paints are typically made with polyester, polyurethane, and nitrocellulose which set/cure within a reasonable amount of time directly after application. 

This is not only fantastic for ensuring that the paint stays, but it also makes the body of the instrument stronger. 

You can also use spray paints! Be sure to research whether or not the spray paint you’d like to use is suitable for painting on 

Is It Okay To Paint A Guitar

It is okay to paint a guitar, but it depends on what type of guitar you intend to paint. 

An electric guitar or non-hollow bodied guitar won’t be affected in terms of sound production after paint. 

Whilst electric guitar produces the most sound whilst amplified, hence their intended use, an acoustic guitar produces its sound from the body. 

Painting an acoustic guitar or a hollow-bodied guitar will affect the way the guitar sounds. In fact, not only will it be affected, but in most cases, the sound will be completely destroyed. This is because the body of the guitar is what acts as the soundboard. 

The vibrations and resonance that are produced through the hollow body will be affected with the addition of a new layer and texture from the paint. Paint cures and creates a new foundation for the interior as well as the exterior of the guitar. 

How To Paint An Unfinished Guitar Body

Here is how you would paint an unfinished guitar body with acrylic paint or guitar paint: 

Gather some Acrylic liquid paint in your desired colors and set them out accordingly. After that, put some paint into a bowl or painter’s dish and get started. 

Be sure that the surface of the guitar is not rough. A rough or uneven body will not allow for the paint to cure properly. Sand all of the surfaces down with sanding paper or a sanding block. 

320-600 grit sandpaper is common, however, be sure that the wood of your guitar can be properly sanded with that level. If not, go lower or higher as required. Make sure there is no debris remaining afterward. 

You may also wish to disassemble the guitar, making the paint job much easier depending on the style you are going for. The good thing about painting by hand is that you do not necessarily have to take the guitar apart if disassembling one is out of your forte. 

Do not paint where the neck is supposed to sit if you choose to remove the neck during this process. This will make it difficult for the neck to sit in place properly once you reinstall it. 

Add primer to the point where you do not see the woodgrain. You should then sand the guitar again so that the surface is smooth and absorbent once more.  

Some paints may appear more streaky than others on the first coat. You can expect to do two to three coats depending on the quality of the paint you’ve purchased and the color you’ve selected. For example, red and orange paints tend to require more than one coat in general.

After painting the guitar, it is advised that you sand it down one more time if you deem it necessary. 

Add a clear coat of guitar paint for a glossy finish.  After that, just let it completely cure and you’ll be good to go!

Here is how you would go about spray painting an unfinished guitar body: 

Spray painting a guitar is pretty straightforward. The first step would be to take the guitar apart. Be sure to do some research and consider how your specific guitar should be taken apart in a safe and practical fashion. 

Use grain filler before sanding. Though this step is optional, it is advised because, without grain filler, you might find that the paint won’t be able to set properly whatsoever. You will likely find yourself sanding over and over again…

Be sure to also spray in a room where no dust or air will travel around on the guitar so that it does not dry with any unwanted particles within the paint. 

Next, be sure that the surface of the guitar is not rough. A rough surface will not allow for the paint to set properly.  Sand all of the surfaces down with sanding paper or a sanding block; see 320-600 grid sandpaper (very common for this process), or a higher or lower level according to the type of wood your guitar is made from. 

Make sure there is no debris remaining afterward. Spray the primer onto the guitar as needed. 

You should place any sort of plastic, tape, or material on top of where the neck sits so that the spray paint does not get into that area of the guitar. The addition of even a minimal amount of new paint in that area can impose on the neck’s ability to sit securely once you reinstall it. 

For a professional paint job, you should sand it again and go over this process a couple of times to make set the color perfectly. 

Add a clear coat for a shiny and glossy for the finishing touch. Not only will it disguise any potential mistakes but it will also add that glossy look that a lot of electric guitars have! 

Let the guitar cure/dry completely and you’re done!

Will Painting An Acoustic Guitar Ruin The Sound 

Unfortunately, the paint will completely interfere with and destroy the acoustic guitar’s sound. Unlike an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar‘s body is where the sound is produced. 

Significant alteration of the body will result in an unsatisfying and unexpected sound. Overall, painting an acoustic guitar is not recommended, however, proceed if you wish at your own discretion.


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