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  • Writer's pictureDan

Project guitar!

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

So, Agent J is turning 9 years bold on Monday! He started guitar lessons last year and has quite taken to it, passing his grade 1 a few months ago over Zoom -- ah, the modern world!

Since his teacher is running Zoom lessons 4 or 5 times a week I decided to get him a second guitar that can be at my house for when he is with me. His current nylon string 1/2 size is due an upgrade i think, so today I went into Belfast and came home with a 3/4 size with steel strings so that it sounds a bit brighter and generally a bit better.

The only problem was that Agent J absolutely loves electric blue and I couldn't find such a guitar (that wasn't £20 from Home Bargains!). So I have boldy/stupidly (delete as appropriate) taken the step of grabbing some sand paper, glow-in-the-dark blue spray paint, along with some black and white and a can of clear lacquer. Wish me luck as I turn a perfectly nice guitar into ...

The shop finish

Well here is the first coat drying.. I used a cardboard box to cut a template shape out and sprayed a white base coat on the sanded top. Then the first blue coat over it...

Next up, I sprayed the back and sided with a thin black first coat. You can see on the floor my cardboard template. I took the cardboard template and screwed 2 inch screws through it and set it on the blue painted top. Then sprayed black with the template masking/protecting the main blue area but allowing a gradient to black edges..

Adding the first coat of black

I don't think the 1 inch distance between template and guitar was quite enough as the gradient is more sudden than i hoped for... once it has dried I'm going to screw the screws out a bit to 2 inch spacing and spray another black coat which will hopefully make the blend more subtle. Fingers crossed..

Over did the black

In these two photos you can see that by respraying at 2 inch distance this created a step in the gradient that I could not get rid of.

Too much black

By the time I'd 'finished' I had applied too much black paint - I actually quite liked it, but I knew Agent J would prefer more blue so I had to sand the whole top surface and start again from scratch! The back was fine, except for a slight paint run on the neck which I was able to sand out quite easily...

Paint run on the neck

Having sanded the guitar top down and resprayed the whole thing blue once again I finally got the blue-black gradient I was hoping for.

Super shiny finish

The lacquer shine was too bright for my liking and so I added some additional lacquer layers WITHOUT sanding in-between coats and this achieved a slightly less 'plastic' look and a softer more satin-like sheen which was my personal preference as it doesn't show up every finger print. At this point I removed the masking tape protecting the bridge and neck, and rubbed some white shoe polish in to the patterning around the sound hole so that it would be trapped between the lacquer layers...

Preferred satin sheen

I was happy with the result and level of sheen and I had run out of time as Agent J's birthday was next day! Here's the finished guitar, restrung and tuned up and as presented...

Done and strung

The colour is more faithfully shown in this picture by the day light. The camera shots in the loft gave it a darker blue and lost the kind of aqua like blue quality that shows up much better in this image.

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