Fender Stratocaster Guitar Body

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Blog entry by woodbug posted 03-05-2009 01:56 AM 3078 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Does anyone have any tips for getting the paint off of an electric guitar body besides sanding. I have tried many chemical strippers and none of them even break the surface. Please help…...........

8 comments so far

View shack's profile


114 posts in 4075 days

#1 posted 03-05-2009 02:14 AM

You can try rough sanding it so the chemicals can penetrate the finish, are mayby a heat gun,

-- JohnShackleford,North Carolina

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2791 posts in 3437 days

#2 posted 03-05-2009 02:29 AM

The finish is probably multiple lacquer coats. I used to make guitars and know that the wood under glass look on comercial guitars is lacquer. Now, I’m no finish expert but I think lacquer requires lacquer thinner to thin when using it and nothing else will really work. Maybe that will give you a lead as to what to do. I believe that automotive supply stores carry lacquer supplies.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View renewedbydesign's profile


9 posts in 3507 days

#3 posted 03-05-2009 02:38 AM

When stripping guitars, always try the most forgiving stripping medium first. Lacquer reducer will remove many finishes, is less of a danger to you ( provided that your work area is well ventilated and there are no open flames in the area), it is also less likely to attack the bindings. Although I suggest getting more personal around any bindings and would only consider sanding as to prevent accidental damage. Lacquer reducer is however, slower to work than the “Strip Ease” paste type of remover. Therefore, a combination method, while not the fastest, may be the best.

When stripping a polyurethane finish, I have found only one chemical stripper which will remove poly; AirCraft Remover by Kleen Strip. It can be found at most automotive paint supply stores.

Sometimes when chemically stripping, the old finish will melt and act as a dye. Black paint is the worst followed by red. If your plan is to recolor with the same color as the color that was removed there should no problem. But if a different color or natural finish is desired and the old color still partially remains bleaching may be needed.

In my experience colors can be removed with two or three applications of chlorine laundry bleach. Some color may remain in the grain but usually not enough to affect the final finish

Good Luck and maybe more importantly, Have Fun

-- Renewed By Design is a registered ™ Designs are Copyright Protected © / All Rights Reserved ®

View NickTobis's profile


25 posts in 3396 days

#4 posted 03-05-2009 02:43 AM

the most powerful stripper Ive encountered is aircraft stripper, its methane based, if it cant cut the finish then sanding is pretty much your final option. Be careful if you use that stuff, the fumes will kill you, and it’ll absolutely murder your hands.

-- T&G, West Palm Beach

View RichClark's profile


157 posts in 3430 days

#5 posted 03-05-2009 03:44 AM

my question would be why? is the finish messed up and you want to redo it from scratch? If its old just level it out and refinish it maybe?

-- Duct Tape is the Force! It has a light side and a dark side and it Binds the Universe together!

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3481 days

#6 posted 03-05-2009 06:04 PM

Get some heavy duty plastic and put a big pile of saw dust on it, soak it with lacquer thinner and place the body in the wet pile. Cover the top of the body with the wet saw dust and wrap it in the plastic and let it sit for a while. The saw dust will keep the thinner from evaporating to fast and will hold the thinner against the finish. After a while (can’t say exactly how long, depends on the amount of finish on the body) you should be able to scrape the softened finish off with a putty knife. And if you need to, repeat the process until all the finish is off. I’ve used this technique to remove lacquers before with great success.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3892 days

#7 posted 03-05-2009 06:10 PM

Be careful when sanding. If it’s a cheap guitar, it will be plywood layers. If you are going to paint it again, then this is not a problem. I usually run the body through my drum sander which gets about 75% of the finish off real quick, then I use an oscillating sander and ROS to get the rest of it.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View woodyoda's profile


117 posts in 3457 days

#8 posted 03-05-2009 07:06 PM

I’d use the same technique I use to clean glass….....the paint isn’t under the lacquer surface, so get it wet, try using some furniture oil….take a single edge razor blade (new) lay the blade way over on it’s side and slide it across the surface…the oil will help it to not scratch….if it does scratch, you can sand it out with super fine sandpaper….....yoda

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