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How To Finish A Guitar Body


Finishing A Guitar Body With Stain And Lacquer



How To Finish A Guitar Body

Page Update 3/7/2016


How To Finish A Guitar Body With Stain And Lacquer


When staining, painting, or lacquering a guitar body make sure that your up to the difficulty of finishing this challege.  This can be a time consuming and frustrating task if you don't have the patience involved to do it.  It may be good idea to read some guitar maintenance books as well to help you with your task.  We are merely providing some tips to help you finish your guitar body.  It is also a good idea to try any finishes on a piece of scrap wood before you work on your guitar project.

  • Use Masking tape to cover your neck pocket and edges.  This will prevent any problems with attaching the guitar neck at a later point. 
  • Wipe down your Guitar Body to remove any particles etc. 
  • You may want to hang the guitar in your finish room using an old hanger or hook of some sort.
  • Apply your finish of choice (Stain, Paint, etc).  In our example we use a See Thru Transparent White Stain.  The Tele style body below that you will see has approximately 10 coats of white stain on it.  This stain did not cover as well in the 1st few coats so we had to do a number of coats in order to get the desired outcome.  Hopefully, you will be able to see the transparent stain in the picture below.  We applied this stain with a rag and let the coat dry for at least 3 hours before applying any further coats. Click Pic to enlarge.  Always apply stain etc. per the manufacturers instructions.

  • Some people say after 3 or more finish coats have been applied to wet sand with #400 grit wet / dry sand paper.  Just a warning, it's still easy to sand through the finish at this point so be extremely careful NOT to sand through the finish. Edges can be difficult to sand as well and you must be careful here as well.  Use your best discretion whether you need to sand at this point.  I had some trouble with this as I sanded though the finish and had to re-stain.  This took many coats to repair the damage, so be aware that this could happen.
  • You will want to repeat finish application and sanding as necessary at this point.  Again, this is a matter of your personal preference.  Please be very careful with any sanding at this point.
  • Once you have applied your stain, paint, or finish of choice you may want to lacquer your guitar body at this point.  Lacquer can protect your finish.  There are many options for lacquer.  There are spray lacquers or paint on type lacquers.  Read the instructions carefully before applying lacquer.  Also, Lacquers have a strong smell to them as well so wear a respirator when applying it. 
  • Now that your guitar body has dried (usually 2 weeks to a month), you can now remove the tape from the neck pocket. 
  • Buff your guitar body by hand with a glossy polish, and your guitar body should be finished.

Please consult a guitar technician in your area if your unsure about any guitar assembly or maintenance techniques.

  1. Sanding an Electric Guitar Body (Unfinished)
  2. Sanding a Guitar Neck
  3. How To Finish a Guitar Neck