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How do you paint a bass and make it look like it was factory done?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by addylewis, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. I've seen this bass which may need a refinish, how would I refinish it myself and have it look like a Fender factory refinish job? (with the right look/feel)

    (Just it'd probably cost me around £500 extra to get it done...)
  2. Fender uses a polyester finish on their basses. This is a pretty technical application and requires special equipment and skills to do correctly. Since you specified the "right look and feel", nothing will give you that exact sense other than the polyester or a polyurethane. These are catalyst hardened polymer film coatings and pigments that have 2 parts that are mixed together to start a chemical chain reaction that causes the mixture to cure. That process gives a limited amount of time to spray the material and, once on the substrate, will cure without (much) regard to humidity and temperature conditions. Curing time, to the handling state, can take as little as 1 hour depending on the product used. The resulting finish is very, very tough, durable, glossy, and easy to maintain. This is why one reason these types of coatings are employed in high volume production systems - The painted subjects are quickly ready for the next step in their manufacture.

    The bad news is that I doubt seriously that you could acquire anything like that in your country. Your government seems hellbent to protect you from your own hobbies and that includes the potent fumes and carcinogenics that these coatings contain. You, of course, are smart enough to do your own protecting but... :rolleyes:
  3. would a spray painted bass look/feel like total crap?
  4. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    It sure can, but it doesn't have to. You can get some pretty remarkable results with the ol' rattle can, but it takes quite a time investment. You have to be sure that the surface you're looking to paint is perfectly level since every little imperfection will show up in the final coats. Personally I say go for it. If you screw it up, sand it off and try again.

  5. I like Nate's approach - nothing written in stone here...

    Two things will improve your rattle can spray jobs immensely...

    - Warm your cans in hot water before spraying. Hot water that you can stand to put your hand in. That does several things - it naturally thins the paint for better mixing when you shake it up. It flows through the nozzle better and atomizes better, and it levels out better on the subject.

    - Learn how to wet sand. After you "think" you've got the body right, let it alone for several days and cure. Then come back and wet sand the body with 1000 or 1500 grit paper. Then spray your clear on top of that. Ultru smooth finishes can only come with a color sanding.
  6. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    do automotive techniques also apply to painting an instrument... primer, sand, thiner coat of primer, couple higher grits of sand, shoot paint, wet sand, color sand, buff?
  7. Absolutely - you can't go wrong with those steps, doesn't matter if it's polyurethane, polyester, or lacquer.