Saturday, March 19, 2011

Distressed Guitar

Here are pictures of the finished product from the  guitar that my brother gave to me to redo for him. 
Check out the process below!

**ORIGINAL POST**January 10, 2011**

In the December 2010 issue of Guitarist magazine my brother, Adam, spotted something he liked. He ripped out two pages and handed them to me and said, "Do this" (you have to know my brother). A while ago, he had given me a Harmony electric guitar he had gotten from a friend years ago. All the hardware was missing or broken and he had carved his and Eric Clapton's initials all over the guitar (once again, you have to know Adam). He had asked me to paint it, design it, do whatever I wanted to it. I put it in my craft area and left it untouched for over a year now - every once in a while I'd pick it up waiting for inspiration... and nothing. I didn't want to do anything too tacky or young. I wanted it to be something he could keep his whole life and it would never lose it's relevance. In other words, I wanted to do something timeless, and I think this idea of "relic-ing" the guitar is perfect for him.  Of course, Guitarist was displaying '60s Fenders and I'm working with a 1992 (?) Harmony. It's still turning out well so far...

This is one of the guitars featured in Guitarist magazine. This is the one my brother really liked, without the "extreme relic" on the back, so this is about what I'm going for.

First thing's first, gotta take the old one apart.  You can see the E C carving in the front and an A in the top left.  There were also some scratches and initials in the pickguard (the black part). I unscrewed it all to sand and paint. 

This is the beginning stages of sanding. I'm using a round power sander with 40-grit sand paper. I loved this half-way look - I was tempted to keep it like this.  I have to sand the pickguard a little bit with fine grit sandpaper so the spray paint sticks.  I'll then spray the paint on evenly for about 4 or 5 coats. 

I put the guitar together just to check it out.

Here's the guitar sanded down bare.  The pickguard is painted white - only 3 coats at this point.  I'll do another 2 coats probably.  Once again, I love this version. I really want to keep it bare with the white and silver accents.  I love the bare light wood. 

I put the pickguard on to really see the white with the bare wood.  I love this!! Next step is priming and painting though. Then I have to distress it a bit to give it the worn look. 

This project will take some time and be delayed a little bit because of the weather.  I don't have a heated space to spray paint so I have to wait until the weather warms up a bit in order to start priming and painting the body.  I've been working slowly at getting the pick guard painted.

Progress to come!!!

**March 19, 2011**

I started working on the guitar again and began with the painting stage. I got both white and blue paint (even though the blue paint had a primer in it) because I wanted to have the base of white so when I sanded down the blue layer the white would show through. 

This is the plain white on the back. The front and sides have already been painted. 

This is the finished blue guitar before any distressing. 

I put the pickguard on to check out how it looked. I love the contrast, and once I peeled the tape off the knobs I think the black is another great contrast. 

I screwed the neck back on because I wanted to be able to hold the guitar and see where the most wear and tear would happen naturally as the guitar would be held and played.  I wanted to make it look like this guitar had been on tour, or heavily used, for years. 

I started relic-ing, or distressing, the guitar by basically beating it up.  I smacked it with just about anything I could find, but mostly screwdrivers, wrenches, and a chain.  I started on the front. I began sanding down heavily rubbed areas (where the right forearm goes across to strum) with a fine-grit sandpaper, steel wool, and a wire brush. 

I then moved on to the back of the guitar.  I focused on the spots where the chest and hip rub against the back.  I used the same technique as I did on the front. I basically used anything I could find to start distressing and create nicks.  Then I followed up with wearing the areas down with sandpaper, steel wool and a wire brush.   

I did all the same things around the sides and edges.

And again, here are shots of the final product - front and back.

I love the guitar and my brother is very happy with it.  He's going to work on the hardware and electronics and get it back functioning.  I'm definitely on the look out to do another one in the future!

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