Hey guys.

I am really itching to build my own electric guitar. Thinking about getting a Warmoth Tele body veneered quilted maple top. I’ve seen a few companies where you can buy dyes, Fender colors, and finishing coats etc…in spray can form.

Have you guys ever done this and how good were the results?
Any advice?

never built one from new stock…just built bastard strats.
Was still a ton of fun.

ya know ,ill bet if ya would do a lilttle searching on finishes ya mite find that one from the other would sound different,sumthin to keep in mind,

I’ve refinished an acoustic guitar and finished a solid body (three times) that my son and I designed and built.

Several things are needed to do a good job if you are looking for a mirror-like finish (1) a dust free environment for spraying (must be out of direct sunlight) (2) lots of patience (3) touch (4) willingness to scrape it all off and start again when you screw it up. (5) Did I say lots of patience?

Good materials will help. Don’t overlook the pre-painting surface preparation. You are wasting your time if you skimp on that step. And don’t rush any step.

A buddy of mine has built a number of solid body guitars from scratch. The last few were done with a matt tung-oil finish, and they are works of art and pleasant to touch. The guitars he has tried to give the mirror finish are definitely a step below in appearance If I ever finish another solid bodied guitar I’m going to go the tung-oil route.


T. did you use spray products, or did you use an airbrush?

On the solid body guitar, I first I used a high quality wood filler (to fill pores - learned the hard way that unless you fill the pores properly, the finish will never level the way you want it too). I think that the ‘filler’ was finely ground calcium carbonate with a binder. Surprisingly, I found it pretty hard to get the filler on right, and had to sand it off once. Being rather limited in budget, I used automotive lacquer (in spray cans) instead of the laquer that is sold by luthier suppliers. That stuff is really expensive. My process involved lots of coats, lots of wating, lots of sanding between coats. Then a lot of buffing at the end, and the finish turned out really well.

I have always wondered how much difference it would make to have used a lacquer purchased from a luthier. My assumption is that there is at least a chance that it would make the process a little easier.

But now a war story: A day or two passed, and I decided I would do some final buffing to try to get the finish to an even higher level of polish. It was a nice day, so I decided I would do the buffing while sitting on our back deck. I got interrupted for a half hour or so, and just left the guitar sitting where I was working. Well, during that time, the suns position changed enough so that part of the guitar was in the sun. Well, wood actually has gases (air?) in it that expand when heated. And it turns out that the finish had not hardened completely. So when I came back out, there were these nice, big bubbles that had pushed the finish away from the wood. Back to square 1.


The electric guitars that I have built I used a polyurethane clear finish on. I know that poly finishes are not always the best for tone, but the finishes turned out very nice. Dead smooth with a glass-like finish. And considering these guitars were solid body electrics, I wasn’t too worried about the “tap tone” of the body.

By the way, I brushed on the polyurethane and sanded it flat between each coat. On the last few coats, I brush it on very thin and use a very fine emery cloth between coats. Then I let it cure for about a week. Then I smooth it out again with a extremely fine sand paper, then a 0000 steel wool, then a pumice stone/oil combination and finally a rottonstone/oil combination. I believe you can use a car polish after that, but I try to leave the finish alone for a while before trying anything like that. Polishes can have solvents in them that can ruin the finish if it has not completely cured.

You have seen ?

(Esp these articles : ) ?




My last guitar I just rubbed some stain into it. The body came sanded and sealed though, so I’m not 100% certain how long it will last (it’s rubbed off in one place), but it stil looks cool.