I want to have a design painted on my acoustic guitar. Could I have it painted right over the finish, or would it have to be removed? Also, would this affect the sound?
Guitars with a natural finish...
If you have decided that you want to add airbrush work or something to a guitar try to do to one with a chemical reactive finish. All imports and most USA guitars use one these days. The finish can be sanded down so the new work can attach to it and airbrush work should only be done, then you can clear coat the project and buff it out leaving a factory look.
If you are brushing paint or anything like that you will never be able to get the finish level and flat without building up so much finish that the instrument will suffer greatly in tone. I had a friend that was a great artist and used automotive colors (esp. House of Colour) and did his art work and used the same clear to top coat the final work. His art work was on most helmets on ESPN motor cross racing at one time. If you sand and apply this way, the finish will stay very thin and work nicely. If you are doing this over Nitrocellulose Lacquer, then make sure the artist is using compatible paints to later blend in with the existing materials or you may have a non drying chemical reaction problem.
And best rule of thumb-- If your instrument is finished in Nitrocellulose Lacquer, it probably is a very high quality guitar that you should think 3 times about before ruining the value of the instrument.
Guitars with a painted finish...
Assuming that you need a light color to do artwork on I would still try to sand down carefully , apply a white under coat to do graphics. Now if you are wanting to attempt to strip the paint, the guitar must be solid wood materials if not, trying to sand a painted import guitars finish and attempt a clear natural finish is nearly impossible. The veneers are too thin.
Air brush painting directly on a painted guitar surface should be okay.
Donated by: Tim Lawson http://www.timsguitar.com
As with most of these ideas, unless you really know what you're doing, take it to a pro.
Bob, Gman ( o )==#
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