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how do you remove acrylic paint from a guitar?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by quadrogong, Sep 30, 2009.


  1. quadrogong

    quadrogong

    Jul 6, 2006
    NYC
    get this..My wife and I were leaving for work,she goes down the basement steps to toss the morning trash,and there's an Ibanez GSR200 leaned up against the wall of the trash area,with a checkerboard strap,
    ..but it's covered with acrylic paint,polka dots,japanese letters,smiley faces..just gloppy,crappily painted acrylic..done with a brush,like from the art supply store.

    I thought it was f***ed,but when I put on nice strings,the tone is beautiful,just fantastic.The volume pot isn't working,but that's a quick fix.

    How do I get this stuff off without hurting the finish beneath?
    from my experience,acrylic peels right off,and isn't very tough.
    Anyone ever done this before?
     
  2. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    You might be successful if the finish underneath hasn't been screwed up by whoever "refinished" it. If he had any brains he would have at least sanded the original finish.

    So, once you get the acrylic off you may have a really screwed up original finish, so be prepared.

    I'd use a chemical stripper to get the acrylic off. You may have to apply a number of coats to get it all off. The GSR uses a tough factory finish that most strippers won't even dull so it shouldn't harm what's underneath. If it does, who cares? The original finish probably isn't worth babying.

    I use the gelled type strippers sold at most paint stores. Polystrippa is one brand.

    The fumes are deadly so you need to allow lots of ventilation. It also will eat through your skin so wear nitrile gloves which you should be able to find at a good paint store. They won't dissolve as fast as the other cheap gloves sold for stripping. Wear safety glasses. The stuff can burn your eyes and cause permanent damage. Prolonged exposure can damage your liver.

    There are other gentler strippers on the market. Some of them work to some extent on some finishes. You can try the Citrus Strip. It won't kill you as quickly. They are very slow. But if you're lucky the acrylic will strip off easily.

    It's probably worth the work. The GSR is a nice sounding and playing bass when set up properly and with a good set of strings. Can't beat the price either.
     
  3. quadrogong

    quadrogong

    Jul 6, 2006
    NYC
    yeah! i expected it to really suck, but it's growly,and sounds pure and rich..
    geez, i really am surprised. Now i feel like an idiot spending $1-2K on basses!

    I'd think the guy just painted over the orig finish,it was a japanese student who lived upstairs,he was only in town a short while on a visa i'd guess, and he just left it behind.

    it's a backup for emergencys,couch playing..or i could cover her with like 15 labels from pepto bismol bottles or something odd like that..but i don't think they use paper labels on "the pink stuff" anymore
     
  4. dog1

    dog1

    Dec 30, 2008
    Indiana
    I have a GSR200 as a beater bass. Thinest neck in the business. great sound. Very respectable
     
  5. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    Acetone. Slop it on there, let it sit. It evaporates quickly, and you can use a plastic putty knife to gently scrape it off.
     
  6. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Yeah, acetone or lacquer thinner would both work. They evaporate very quickly, are toxic and a real explosion hazard though, so take precautions. You could blow your house up. I'd only use it outdoors for any larger pieces where you have to use a lot of it.

    They will soften the acrylic quickly and not affect the factory finish.

    This is sort of off topic, but about 30 years ago I was hired to do a kite making workshop for about 100 kids in a school gymnasium. I decided to have them decorate the kites with artists acrylic paints because at the time I was under the delusion that alcohol would remove any spills easily. Well, the gym floor had just been refinished and you could still smell the fresh varnish. It had a mirror shine. The inevitable happened and one of the kids knocked over a bowl of blue acrylic and the rest of the kids quickly spread it all over the floor with their stockinged feet. I thought, no problem. I'll quickly wipe it up later with some denatured alcohol which I had with me. By the time the workshop was over the paint had dried hard. Alcohol wouldn't touch it. I had to use a plastic scrubby and soap and water. Dulled the gym floor real good. They weren't too happy with me. I gave back my $150 fee to make amends. It didn't come close to what it cost to have the floor repaired. I guess insurance picked up the rest. The kites all flew though.
     
  7. RedsFan75

    RedsFan75

    Apr 26, 2007
    Cincinnati
    Citrusstrip might be good too, much more gentle, should take the acrylic without taking the base off... hopefully.

    Congrats on a great find.
     
  8. throbgod13

    throbgod13

    Mar 26, 2005
    Texas
    +1 citrusstrip.. slop it on, cover it with a thick trash bag to prevent the gel from drying out, and wipe the crap off it..

    nothing wrong with a free bass.. :)
     
  9. DanRJBrasil

    DanRJBrasil

    Jun 10, 2007
    you can always scrap it off , it will not do any harm but is a tough job :O
     
  10. quadrogong

    quadrogong

    Jul 6, 2006
    NYC
    Yeah I'm almost wishing it will peel off,
    I love new zingy strings on a new bass, such pure joy just playing an open E note and letting it sustain. This bass sounds too good to neglect. Maybe I'll try a test patch first, if it dissolves the acrylic nicely, I'll do the rest.
    I was thinking of asking the guy in the Art supply shop, Pearl Paint, or whatever..
    Artists know their solvents, I'd bet.
    Best to be careful.
    "oh honey?..Remember the bass we found in the trash? Well, It blew up the house!"

    ..
     
  11. rogueman

    rogueman

    Sep 29, 2006
    Austin, TX.
    I've painted and stripped houses for 39 yrs. Use acetone, lacquer thinner, or a heat gun. Take all the knobs and electronics off first.
     
  12. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    Artists don't know much. Nether do guys who work in stores. It's amazing how hard it is to get any good advice or help in most paint stores.

    The city of over 500,000 I'm in is particularly backwards and out of touch with what's available. Can't find one place that stocks Japan Dryer for example or even knows the difference between a gelled paint stripper and a liquid one or how to use them. Only one store that has dewaxed shellac in pre mixed form in stock (sometimes). Not one that carries a high quality bristle brush with a square cut end rather than those silly angled sash brushes. Not one store that knows what real alkyd varnish is. They think varnish means polyurethane.

    Not one place that knows about rubbing out a finish to a high gloss or carries the necessary materials (except for a few car restorers and motorcycle guys)

    Anyhow, enough of my rant. If you live in a big city in the USA you might be luckier.

    Thankfully acrylic paint isn't all that hard to remove.
     

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