One question I get a lot is ‘how do you paint a guitar with binding’ and as it turns out, you’ve got 2 ways to go about it. The first method is taking apart your guitar and meticulously taping up the binding, perhaps even sealing with a little clear coat, or you can basically just paint over it and scrape it with a razor once you’ve finished painting.
In this article I’ll tell you a little about the binding on your guitar and what it does for you. It’s a lot more than protection and ornamentation, and I’ll also discuss if acoustics actually need it. Finally, we’ll go over the process in-brief of how it’s done but I recommend that you do a little extra homework on this one.
You do not want to hurt that binding, as you are about to see!
Why do guitars have binding?
Binding Is something that you will find on acoustic guitars and it is basically like a ‘bumper’ for protecting the edges of your guitar. This also helps to protect your guitar from getting moisture damage, so these binders are actually quite important.
What happens in the process is that a small edge is created and before the guitar is finished, it is inlaid with this protective binding, which is then painted and sealed into place. While performing a protective function, binding also provides a nice bit of aesthetics to your guitar and this also makes it a quite desirable process.
Finally, it can also really enhance the projection and the actual tone of your guitar, just think of it as a final ‘seal for the sides’ and you’ve got the basic picture.
Do acoustic guitars need binding?
Well, the answer there is kind of a yes and a no. While the guitar can certainly be made at less cost and with less time, it’s not really a great idea. Guitar builders will tell you that the binding is very much important to the overall sound that your guitar will produce.
This is why you’ll want to be very careful if you are doing any kind of modifications on your binding. If it becomes damaged enough, then this can greatly reduce the quality of what your guitar can produce and you’ll likely need costly repairs.
That said, if you are interested in how to repaint bindings I can certainly tell you how most people do it, just understand that I really don’t recommend it if you aren’t feeling 100% confident about the process.
Your binding is important, so just be very careful!
How do you paint a guitar body with binding?
One method that you will find is that people will protect the edges of the biding with a clear coat, taping up the bindings to keep paint off of them for the repainting process. This is a very time consuming process, and to save time it’s also not uncommon for people to simply paint over the binding, scraping away the paint with a razor blade later to basically ‘clean it up’.
This is certainly something that you can see online and I’d definitely recommend watching the process all of the way through so that you know what you are getting yourself into. If you’ve got the patience, you can do it, just know that either of the methods are going to take a lot of time if you want it to geet done right (and especially to not risk your binding!).
Some final words on painting guitar bindings
Today we’ve touched on that binding on your guitar and its importance as well. That binding is there to create a protective seal that improves both the integrity and the sound of your guitar and while it can be painted, you might consider taping it up carefully to leave it alone. That said, as long as you understand the two ways that it is done, it’s definitely something that you can do.
Just set aside a lot of time for the process and be very careful with those binders!
If you’d like to take a at how to paint a guitar without binding, like a Stratocaster, then there is a great 3rd party tutorial on it which you can find here. Be sure to take a peek when you’ve got a few moments, as it’s well-worth your while!