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How do I give my Bass guitar a custom paint job?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2009.12  

Cody W 
Asked at 2009.12.18 01:29:43
Step by step?
answer Cory T  Answered at 2009.12.18 01:29:43
Here's what I've done in the past...

Disassemble the Bass as little as necessary, but enough such that things that don't need to be painted don't get painted (neck, pickups, etc).

Remove the pickguard and tuck the pickups inside the body cavity.

Using painters tape, tape over the cavity making sure to only tape on the body where the pickguard will be when reassembled. Remove the bridge and any cover plates and tape accordingly.

Sand the body completely. Depending on what is on the body now (solid color, etc), vary what grit sandpaper you use. Start with a heavier grit and decrease as you get closer to the actual wood.

Clean with a damp cloth to remove and dust, allow to dry and you're ready to begin painting.

Best case scenario, using a piece of string or a coat hanger strung through the holes where you mount the neck, suspend the body in an open area. This allows you to move around the body freely yielding a consistent coat of paint and keeps overspray from getting everywhere. If you can' t suspend the body lie it flat on a clean surface, preferrably a cloth or some other soft surface that won't scratch the body/paint/finish.

This works best using spray paint or an airbrush. If using a spray can...always begin your spray approx. 6 - 8 " before you get to the body, and in 1 smooth motion (roughly 8 - 10 " from the surface) spray to approx. 6 - 8 " PAST the body. This gives you a smooth coat with no stop/start paint lines. Continue working in smooth strokes from the top to the bottom of the body. Apply just enough paint to coat the surface ONCE...don't get impatient.

Allow the body to dry completely and continue this process until the desired color/darkness is achieved. You may use a VERY FINE sandpaper on the body between coats to achieve a deeper color and more consistent paint job if you want but it's not necessary.

After you're finished with painting, it's time to apply the clear coat.

With the clear coat, the process is the same as with the paint. Start 6 - 8 " in front of the body and spray to 6 - 8 " beyond the body.

Allow the first coat to dry and lightly sand with a VERY FINE sand paper....even a rough 3M green sponge will just need to lightly rough the surface between coats.

Continue applying clear coat with this method until desired "shine" is achieved.

After it is completely dry, remove the painter's tape, reassemble your bass, string it, set it up (check the action, etc), and you're ready to go with your newly painted bass.

If you're not familliar with setting up your instrument i recommend you take it to a local luthier and have it done professionally. Also, if you're asembling it yourself...make sure you don't overtighten the bolts that hold the neck in place. Conversely, make sure that the bolts are tightened enough that the neck mounts flush against the body.
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