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A Detailed Guide on How to Paint a Guitar

Guitars are as individual as the musicians who play on them. Some prefer a rather simple look, the others a fancy, individual look. One way to personalize a guitar is to paint it.

If you want to paint a guitar, you’re in the right place here. We discuss the colors you can use and show you what to look for in the painting.

If you choose to paint your guitar, make sure you’re more confident in your decision. A painted acoustic guitar can not later be changed back to its original state.

Also, make sure that your guitar is a copy that you do not want to resell. The guitar dramatically loses value through a painting, if it were bought from someone at all. Be aware of this before you put the first brushstrokes.

Paint guitar: Required material

You need these materials to paint your guitar:

  • A guitar of your choice
  • Ideally, colored acrylic paints
  • Brush
  • Fine sandpaper (e.g., 1.000 grit)
  • Clearcoat for spraying or painting
  • Masking tape

Types of color


Acrylic paints with color pigments are ideal as they are easy to spread and are waterproof once they have hardened. Acrylic paints for crafting are a little thinner than commercial acrylic paint and, therefore, more comfortable to apply and spread. The sound is hardly affected by the acrylic paint. The vibrations on the ceiling of the guitar are changed only insignificantly with a thin paint application.

With the addition of water, acrylic paints spread well over wood. The difficulty is to find out how thin you can touch the color without it becoming stained. If you want to paint a guitar and apply too much acrylic paint, it may damage the sound of the instrument, so be careful when washing.

Airbrush colors are also conceivable in principle since they consist of excellent pigment with high opacity. Again, the airbrush color needs to be thinned a little, so that the color later rests quite finely on the wood of the guitar. If your guitar is fiberglass made then you can use fiberglass paint.

Preparation of the guitar

Once you’ve decided on a color, you’ll need to prepare your guitar for your painting skills.

First, remove the guitar strings so that you expose the entire body.

Then you can mask the bridge with some masking tape, so you do not accidentally paint it with paint.

Sanding the surface to be painted

The surface of an acoustic guitar is sealed so that the instrument is preserved and it does not begin to rot at the slightest moisture. Exactly this lacquer layer must first be sanded off so that the paint adheres permanently to the substrate. This is best done with fine-grained sandpaper (e.g., 1,000 grit).

Since the paint is not too thick, you should be careful at the beginning. Loop only in the direction of the grain and stop in time if you see the paint has been completely removed.


Apply color

Guitar Painting

Only now is it really about painting the guitar? Now you can score with your quaint talent.

When designing your subject, make sure that you do not make any mistakes, because you can not wipe the paint off as quickly as you would on a sheet of paper. A wrong color stain always stays behind with at least one part in the wood. The only solution is a thin second coat of paint over the failed spot.

It is better, however, not to make any mistakes when painting. Take a little more time and paint carefully and with full concentration.

It’s best to dry your finished artwork on the guitar overnight before re-sealing your guitar with a clear coat.

Paint the guitar

For the guitar to shine as beautifully as before, you need to put a layer of varnish over your painting. Ideals are acrylic or nitrocellulose-based clearcoats that are UV-resistant. Such paints are available both for spraying and for brushing, this property is purely a matter of taste.

All you have to do now is examine the first clear coat and decide if additional layers are needed. Often the order for spray paints is slightly thinner, so you’ll need a second coat more here.

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