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Anyone repainted a Strat?

marcuslom

Senior Member
Messages
295
One of my favourite Strats is in Olympic White, not a color I like much. I was thinking of having it repainted. Never done it before and I wonder how that goes. Just thinking about it, stripping it and painting it again does not seem a high risk change, but one never knows.

I would like to learn from the experience of others, and get some recommendations and references.
 

scott520

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,113
Like ProII said/asked...poly or nitro? Poly is a bitch to get off and nitro strips a bit easier. Conversely, painting with nitro can be a bit tricky and time consuming as well. You can find a TON of information on this site:
http://www.reranch.com
 

joeybsyc

Member
Messages
1,899
If you don't care about "wood breathing" and all that jazz, you can easily use your poly or urethane white as a base coat for a different color and not have to strip anything... just scuff it up a little and have at it. It'll make the perfect base for a new finish.
 

mullytron

Member
Messages
1,261
I'm in the process of refinning a 70's three-bolt right now. The original owner sanded or stripped it down to the sealer, and it was then *heavily* damaged in a house fire. The upper horn was badly burnt, charred, cracked, and shrunken, but I was able to stabilize it and rebuild the contours. I used a heat gun and scraped to get the rest of the sealer off, sanded it *minimally* and then used a grain filler, since the ash was very open-grained. I opted for a vinyl sealer and used spot putty afterwards, because the paint surface was so trashed with dents and dings. I repainted it with black nitro, since it was black originally, and am all set to shoot some clear this weekend and buff. It can't be done soon enough for my taste.

I think refinning a 70s Strat (or any Strat with a heavy, modern finish) is one of those things you do once out of love or dedication. and never do again if you're smart. You can't really charge enough for the amount of work that it is, so it has to definitely be a labor of love. I run a repair shop and I even feel like I would rather say no! I guess I'm a sucker for a challenge. But if you have the urge, go for it, you will definitely learn something.
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,263
I paid to have my favorite Strat refinished. The guy did a beautiful job, but the guitar was somehow just not the same. I will never do it again. If you love the way the guitar is now, I would leave it alone and find another in the color you want. You don't see the color when you are playing anyway, especially if you have your eyes closed or are making a guitar face :D
 

standard24

Senior Member
Messages
9,075
I took a Strat body to an auto paint and body shop. They painted it shell pink for me. Looks great.
 

Tele71

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,316
Don't strip just rough it up with sandpaper and paint over what you have.

You donig the work yourself or having someone do it for you?

Going back with another color or going for the wood look? One thing to remember about painted bodies vs. natural finished wood bodies is that the painted ones are painted for a reason and are more than likely not stain grade.
Best
Paul
 

kev

Member
Messages
2,590
all great advice, esp. padols above^^^

Go for it OP, esp. if you like investing in learning something new about guitar building. Every time I refinish a guitar, my respect for the real folks who do that work gets bolstered that much more. It's an addictive thing, and tests my patience every time but man it's fun! I've refinished my 'strat-like' guitar several times, and a few others as well. This last round on the specific guitar I'm talking about I did in 2007 using products from ReRanch (highly recommended).
 

TresGatos

Member
Messages
1,552
I paid to have my favorite Strat refinished. The guy did a beautiful job, but the guitar was somehow just not the same. I will never do it again. If you love the way the guitar is now, I would leave it alone and find another in the color you want. You don't see the color when you are playing anyway, especially if you have your eyes closed or are making a guitar face :D
Often the not-the-same has to do with how the neck was reattached, intonation and string height, pickups were set, bridge was set... not the actual paint changing anything. I can bring the same guitar to 2 local setup guys and be handed back 2 completely different guitars.
That's the risk you take when you take apart a guitar you really know well and like.
 

440gtx6pak

Member
Messages
1,858
I repainted a Highway 1 Tele a solid color because it had wood grain that was poorly matched. It was fairly easy to do since the paint on it was already lacquer and that is what I used to re-finish it with. Lacquer is the way to go since it was nice to work with and blend over any mistakes with buffing. It came out extremely well but the time involved really added up. Long story short, I'd rather spend that time playing and not painting so I'd never do it again.
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,263
Often the not-the-same has to do with how the neck was reattached, intonation and string height, pickups were set, bridge was set... not the actual paint changing anything. I can bring the same guitar to 2 local setup guys and be handed back 2 completely different guitars.
That's the risk you take when you take apart a guitar you really know well and like.
Agreed. It was the same guy who sets up all my guitars, that one included. Can't really describe it other than it wasn't the same.
 

windwalke9649

Member
Messages
483
Regarding refinishing, if you don't have much experience, stay away from nitro. It takes far more time & effort to have it come out good. Each coat takes weeks to cure, and it requires a lot of wetsanding, polishing, reapply more coats, etc.. Getting it to a glossy shine can be difficult.
Polyester finishes on the other hand a very easy to work with, they dry already almost glossy, but you're out yet but you are essentially coating your body with plastic.
Removing a hard polyester finished can be difficult if you don't have the right chemicals to do it, did you do want to use chemicals to strip it. A friend treated his polyester finished with something, I don't remember what, it had to sit on it for quite a while, but when it was done he just rubbed the party life over the body and its cold out the whole layer finish.
If I could do it myself, or find somebody that could, the first place I would go to a local auto body shop. I have quite a few friends who had their guitars we finished it auto body shops. Bill usually take a job because it's a really simple quick job for them, its a quick way to make a buck. Plus they have all the really cool colors.
 

Ron Kirn

Vendor
Messages
7,632
There is no need to remove the existing paint... it makes a great sealer... simply fill any dings, dents, and other foibles with lacquer putty or BonDo, both available at the local Auto Parts store... then sand the whole thing with something around 240 grit....

give it a shot of lacquer sanding primer, the grey stuff, also available at your auto parts place.... sand again with 240...

Pick up a couple of cans of Dupli-Color Automotive touch-up paint, it's Sherwin Williams Acrylic Lacquer... pretty much the same stuff as Dupont Lucite that Leo used back when.. squirt it on the body...

Swing by Lowes or Home Depot and getcha a couple cans of Minwax, Deft, Cabot's, or anyone of a number of other makes of Clear Nitro Lacquer... hose down the body with it... let it harden for a few weeks... follow the instructions in the stuff I emailed ya... to polish it.... have fun...


then.... You have mail...

Ron Kirn
 

DT7

Member
Messages
2,794
I refinished a poly guitar once. One of those things you're glad about when it's done, but you swear you'd never do again. It's the biggest PITA I've ever encountered.
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,301
I've refinished a few... Maybe five seriously and two just having fun... Testbeds if you will.

Nothing wrong with going full monty with a full strip but I agree with Mr Kirn. If the guitar is modern poly, I'd just scuff it up gently and go over it with whatever new color.

I've done a couple with quality paint, a couple with Duplicolor and one with Reranch. I'll probably never go the Reranch route again. Turned outgreat , just not sure it was worth the extra effort.

You have to keep your expectations reasonable. Your first time isn't likely too be perfect nor is your second or third but it will look great on stage.. Prep work ius everything. Don't rush anything. Take your time.

Next step up would be seeing if any family or friends have experience.

Next step would be having a body shop doing the work. This is likely to satisfy most.
 

marcuslom

Senior Member
Messages
295
Sounds like a lot of work for a complete neophyte in such endeavors. Unfortunately, I know more about music than guitar construction. I am not sure what the coating is. It is a Clapton model that instead of Eric's signature is signed by a guy called Mel or Mark Kedricks as far as I can read it. It is in new condition but must be a decade old or something because the neck is very stable, which is rare in newer Strats when the air dries.

My first Strat was a MIJ Fiesta Red, a nice color, though I have seen other very attractive Fender reds. I want to put a red pick guard on it too. I saw Squire Strat like that and thought it was the bees knees of a look

If I put my mind to it maybe I could pull it off, but unless it costs a lot I would rather have it done competently.

Thank you for the useful replies.
 

windwalke9649

Member
Messages
483
Sounds like a lot of work for a complete neophyte in such endeavors. Unfortunately, I know more about music than guitar construction. I am not sure what the coating is. It is a Clapton model that instead of Eric's signature is signed by a guy called Mel or Mark Kedricks as far as I can read it. It is in new condition but must be a decade old or something because the neck is very stable, which is rare in newer Strats when the air dries.

My first Strat was a MIJ Fiesta Red, a nice color, though I have seen other very attractive Fender reds. I want to put a red pick guard on it too. I saw Squire Strat like that and thought it was the bees knees of a look

If I put my mind to it maybe I could pull it off, but unless it costs a lot I would rather have it done competently.

Thank you for the useful replies.
If you're concerned about the cost, than you're better off just buying a body from Warmoth in the color you want. It's going to be much more expensive to refinish it.
If you want a color that requires several coats of different color paint, it's going to be in the rediculous realm.
That candy green on the Clapton strat requires one color to be shot, allowed to cure, then another coat of a different color b is applied, and on and on depending on the finish.
When I did my Strat I was first considering the candy green color, until I saw all the steps involved in achieving it. I can remember all the paint colors it needed but I do remember that one was gold. A lot of these colors require multiple coats, specially the metallic ones.
Very similar to a lot of the new paint colors on cars that are triple layer paint job.
You can probably find the body you want in the color you want for a couple hundred dollars. Just the basic nitrocellulose paint jobs going to cost you at least 400, and probably much more.
( that is, if you do want it done right like you said ?
 

Ron Kirn

Vendor
Messages
7,632
guys tend to look at building as a means to have a quality instrument at a reduced price... with the cost always ever-present.

That's a mistake... 'cause, for one, you will probably get hooked.... so all those tools are gonna be expensive.... and buying the wife a new Channel purse, or Prada shoes, as a "peace" offering... has to be factored also..


Butt... big butt (____*____)

as you build, you will become more, and more proficient at "dialing in" the guitar.... you will learn fret work.. small repairs, you will become a master of the construct...

what does that do for ya....

You will now be empowered.. when you see a "beater" you will immediately asses it's repairability... this opens the door to many superb, but mistreated guitars that find their way to Craig's List, eBay, or just the garage sale up the street...

Just the $$$ saved because now, doing a setup is within your capabilities. It will save you a fortune over your lifetime.

So keep things in perspective... and it;s Saturday... ask the wife it she would like to visit the mall, where you make your first 1000.00 purchase to begin... You get her a pair of Ferragamo shoes.... :omg

Ron Kirn
 

windwalke9649

Member
Messages
483
guys tend to look at building as a means to have a quality instrument at a reduced price... with the cost always ever-present.

That's a mistake... 'cause, for one, you will probably get hooked.... so all those tools are gonna be expensive.... and buying the wife a new Channel purse, or Prada shoes, as a "peace" offering... has to be factored also..


Butt... big butt (____*____)

as you build, you will become more, and more proficient at "dialing in" the guitar.... you will learn fret work.. small repairs, you will become a master of the construct...

what does that do for ya....

You will now be empowered.. when you see a "beater" you will immediately asses it's repairability... this opens the door to many superb, but mistreated guitars that find their way to Craig's List, eBay, or just the garage sale up the street...
+1 this is all true. Once you get the experience, guitars, as amps, etc just look different to you. I know for myself, and assuming its the same for other guys to do their road work, when thinking about a purchase, you just judge the instrument in a completely different way. Whereas most guys who don't know how to do that kind of stuff will sit down with the guitar make sure it sounds good plugged in, has the hardware on it already that they're going to want etc.
When I look at guitar, I'm looking at it as a platform ; it doesn't matter if it doesn't have the tuners or pickups I want, I don't care how they have the guitar wired. When I try out a potentially new purchase; if I play it for an hour, its only plugged in for about 5 minutes. The sound of it amplified is inconsequential to me because I know that I can address any thing that I feel it's lacking. The most important thing to me is the body and the neck, everything else I can change if I want.
Also the more guitars you work on, and the more different types you work on, the more knowledge or later able to draw upon. If somebody's describing a problem with their guitar, and its not a guitar that I have any experience with I can still usually come up with a pretty close diagnosis of what the problem is because I've seen it in other guitars before.
As much as I can't stand the word "empowerment" ( whenever I hear it either add, I think " so you're saying prior to this I was completely powerless? But that's a whole different hang up I have ) really does empower you. this is even more true when you start working on amps an effect pedals, in this is the area where you really do I save a lot of money.
boutique Fuzz Face type pedals for $200+, and I know I can build it using the exact same components and the painted enclosure for about $40(the regular fuzz face circuit contains a grand total of about a dozen parts, after the simple boost pedals, the FF had to be one of the most simple and basic circuits around) . The only drawback is it does make you kind of jaded, things that I've always been "good enough" become utterly unacceptable to you. I can't tell you how many "broken" vintage effects that I've purchased for a song (usually $5-25), that turned out to have a blown diode. So 30-minutes and 75 cents in parts, and I turn around and sell it for $300-400.
All of my gear ; guitars, amps, pedals, hell even the standard fender picks I use are filed and shaped to my preference. The neck on the Start ii built has a neck profile that was shape with sanding blocks, a belt sander in hours of putting it back on the body trying it out take it back off, sand more away, etc. But when I was finished but when I was finished the neckthat I had was the envy of everyone who played it. I had been offered*some insane figures buy it from me.
I got it basically without a profile, then I send it in sanded it down to what was essentially to a soft in v, but then starting at around the 7th fret, I started sanding down the treble side shoulder to the heel. So essentially it was a hybrid of a Clapton v neck, and the Wolfgang asymmetrical. I was offered this money because they just don't make a neck like that. And that's the type of stuff you're able to do when you start working on your own gear and learning how to do it. *
 
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