How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Guitar?

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A GuitarIf you want to spice-up your guitar a bit with a new paintjob then you may be wondering, just how much does it cost to paint a guitar? Well, on average, you are looking at $600 and up for a custom paint job, but in these cases, you are paying for the labor and the expertise that are involved in the work. You can do certainly do it yourself, but if you’ve never done it before then you should proceed with caution.

Today we are going to touch on the subject of painting your guitar in-brief. We’ll answer a few common questions on the topic in order to help you to get started if you are considering painting your guitar on your own. Let’s take a look at some common questions that people ask!

What kind of paint do you use on a guitar?What kind of paint do you use on a guitar

A lot is going to depend on the finish that your guitar has currently. If you’ve got a lacquer finish, then you are going to want to go with lacquer paint. If you have an enamel finish, then you want to go with enamel paints.

These are available in oil and water-based varieties and water-based paints are generally going to be the easiest, as they look good and they are going to dry much faster than their oily counterparts. If you are sanding and starting from scratch, you might consider nitrocellulose or a polyurethane-based paint.

Nitrocellulose looks really great and you can get it at your local auto stores, but like any paint it comes with its own caveats so you may want to research the specific brand with the look that you like. It takes a long time to dry and to cure, but if you do your homework you can really get a pretty amazing paint job out of it.

Can I just paint over my guitar?

Can I just paint over my guitarWhen it comes to repainting your guitar, most people will sand it first and then give it a fresh paintjob just to make sure that it looks perfect and that the paint is not on too thick. The latter part is quite important, as you don’t want to end up with a great paintjob but a guitar that doesn’t sound as it used to.

Too much paint can produce a ‘tonal dampening’ effect that can take a lot of the zing out of those power chords and solo jams, so you want to make sure that if you decide not to start from scratch that you select a paint that will look good and isn’t going to require a prohibitive number of coats.

Popular Mechanics has an interesting article on this subject that is well-worth a read and you can find it here.

If you want to simply paint over the existing finish, that is always an option and we’ll talk about that in the next section so that you have a little idea of what you are in for.

Can you paint a guitar without sanding?Can you paint a guitar without sanding

Due to the chances of dampening your guitar’s tonal quality, it’s not recommended that you paint a guitar without sanding it. Potential tonal issues notwithstanding, there is another problem that you’ve got if you try to paint your guitar without sanding it first.

Most of the time your paint simply won’t stick.

So, if you want to paint your guitar, technically you will HAVE to sand it, at least a little. You can potentially minimize the amount of sanding involved, but there is not a 100% guarantee that this will work. That said, the trick is to get about a 220-grit sandpaper and to give the area that you are wanting to paint a quick, but light sanding just to ‘scuff it up’ a little.

This gives you a rougher surface, so that the paint has a better chance of sticking. This lets you paint a picture or something small if that’s all that you want to do and IF the paint sticks, then you can seal the pic and you’ll be done.

If the paint doesn’t stick, however, then you’ll probably want to sand the whole thing and start from scratch.

In closing

Today we’ve talked about some common questions in regards to repainting your guitar. As far as ‘how much does it cost to paint a guitar’, a custom job will set you back about $600 plus. While you can certainly do it yourself, take a note of your current finish so that you select the appropriate enamel or lacquer paint that you need.

Finally, while you can get away with just sanding a little sometimes, you’ll generally always need to do some sanding when painting your guitar. Take advantage of these tips to give yourself a starting point and plan out your paint job well in advance.

With a lot of care and planning, you can certainly paint it yourself, but consider going with the pros – you don’t want to risk that sweet, sweet sound.




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