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Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:22 pm
by stewie
This seemed to be the most appropriate category for this. I bought a Les Paul Studio from someone and it's in really good shape, quite happy with it, but the guy I bought it from had got someone to paint a pin stripe around the body to sort of look like a binding. From a distance it looks OK, but up close it looks like crap. It was apparently supposed to be a professional job, and if so I'd have asked for my money back. Anyways, I'd like to remove it but I'm not sure what the best way is to do that without harming the finish. The stripe is NOT varnished over but rather on top of the finish so I think it should be possible to get it off. I don't know if the stripe is an oil or latex based paint. I know there are a few people on the board who do a lot of their own work on guitars - fixing up old guitars and modding guitars they've bought - so I thought someone might be able to give some suggestions. I think it would look much better without the stripe.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:01 am
by zhyla
Hmmm, well one thing going for you is that poly finishes are nearly indestructible. There may be something that dissolves paint but not your finish. I wouldn't put too much money on that though. May be best to just scrap the old finish and do your own.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:04 pm
by rustyslide
Zhyla, the Les Paul Studio models are finished with nitro, not poly (I think).

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:25 pm
by birddog
If it was a hand painted stripe by a professional hand pinstriper then sign painters "one shot" may have been used for the stripes. Its an oil base paint, thinable with mineral spirits.
Sometimes you can soften them up with that but we used to use auto body paint "prep solvent" sometimes called wax & grease remover. It wouldn't damage cars painted with laquer paint. It maybe would dull it but it could be buffed out with rubbing compound.

Might want to try an inconspicuious place if there is one to try a small area.
Worst case scenario is you get to strip it and do the whole thing yourself.

Good luck

Wally

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:31 am
by jaybee
or get someone who knows what he's doing to do a "second" striping on top of / hiding the first

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:55 pm
by The Saint
If One Shot paint was used, it is sitting on top of the finish coat. If the stripe was done with a urathane paint and hardened, it has penetrated that finish coat and will be difficult to remove. Try to just buff the stripe in a not noticiable place with just soft rag an see if the stripe begins to thin. If it thins you can buff it mechanically with a soft pad.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:00 pm
by ricochet
I once stripped the paint off of a whole porch with an old brass gasoline blowtorch...
(Both the paint and gasoline were leaded.)

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:52 pm
by maxx england
I've mentioned aircraft industry paint stripper before, but you must understand, this stuff (and this is not an exaggeration) damn near amounts to chemical warfare. Yes, it will take all the paint off, down to the wood; but if you get even a pinhead size splash on your skin, it will blister you. Smoking near it is prohibited, banned, verboten because as the fumes pass through the cigarette, it becomes phosgene. Our old friend mustard gas. This is not made up, folk myth, it is reality. It can kill or cripple you.

But it really is absolutely brilliant paint stripper.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:12 pm
by ricochet
The hazardous ingredient of which Maxx speaks is methylene chloride. Lovely stuff for removing paint.

Phosgene and mustard are different, but both are bad for you and have been used in gas warfare from WWI on.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:59 pm
by rockonpapa
Several years ago I used a stripper from the NAPA auto parts store.

It was for auto and aircraft paint.
I stripped off a Poly finish that some else had put on a piece of furniture.

I do not remember the name but you could neutralize it with water. It was very quick and easy to work with and not as dangerous as other strippers.

Other than that, sand, sand, sand.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:18 pm
by ricochet
rockonpapa wrote:It was very quick and easy to work with and not as dangerous as other strippers.

I expect several on here can attest to the danger of strippers.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:29 am
by jaybee
strippers aren't all that dangerous, provided you wear protective clothing 8)

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:57 am
by alvanorichie
Some songs and guitar wake up my inner stripper. :D

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:18 am
by Jakeblues
jaybee wrote:strippers aren't all that dangerous, provided you wear protective clothing 8)


Kinda takes the fun out of it.

Re: Removing paint from a guitar body?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:41 am
by NEONMOONY
Strippers can get you in a LOT of trouble. Uh, or so I hear.