Painting a bridge

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Chaser1, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. Chaser1


    Aug 24, 2010
    Hey I am just wondering if anyone has tried painting a bridge? I have a gold hardware bass, and I am not the hugest fan of gold. I have a set of black control knobs and black hip shot ultra lite tuners I was thinking I could toss on, but I was wondering about the bridge. It's an 80's Ibanez Roadstar, so parts in other colours are hard to comeby if I don't want to fill and re-drill. Can I paint the bridge plate black (thinking of leaving the screws and saddles gold, as well as a spacer on the tuners, give it a black with gold highlight look). My worry is if I decided to return it to it stock some day how difficult would it be to strip the paint off and could I do that without stripping off the gold on the bridge in the process?
  2. You can paint the bridge, but for the paint to stick you really need to sand the bridge down. What you could do is pick up some plasti dip and use that. I picked up a big bird yellow motorcycle at the end of the season and didn't want to repaint it right away. I sprayed 95% of the bike in that (flat black) chrome and all. It worked well if your looking for something reversible..
  3. Chaser1


    Aug 24, 2010
    Plastidip looked like the perfect option. I went to the website and under uses it states "deadens sound and reduces vibration", which would be great for use in automotive, but on a bass bridge would defeat the purpose.
  4. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Gold Supporting Member

    I spray painted a chrome Badass bridge once - be sure to lightly sand the glossy areas until dull, and be sure the first coat is a spray primer - Zinc Chromate works great, a yellow-ish primer, designed for metal. I sprayed a few coats of Krylon Ultra-Flat Black. Looks great, and is very durable.
  5. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    You'll probably want a self-etching primer.
  6. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    I'd strongly suggest leaving it alone, or looking for the elusive "right bridge in another color to swap" - painting plated things rarely works well, usually chips and look bad, and if you try to make a better prep, it's not remotely reversible, and it's still paint in an application where it will probably chip. If you really wanted to change it "right" I think you'd be looking at having it black chrome plated, and I suspect that you can live with the look of gold until you find your elusive replacement at the price that will probably run you...
    iiipopes likes this.
  7. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    Painting metal is not hard, even plated meta. There are however some decisions you will need to make. Like all painting, prep is everything.

    First, painting plated metal is a one way trip as you must pretty much ruin the plating to get your paint to stick, so you need to decide if you want it gold or painted before you go any further.

    If you decide you want it painted you have two options, sanding to roughen up the surface, or a mild chemical etch to do the same thing. Etch is more consistent and will yield a much more consistent look when painted, but sanding is not that tough, just make sure it all looks uniform before you proceed to the next step. There is a third option but it is not so easy to come by. If you know any reloader that have a vibrating brass cleaner, you could see if they will throw your parts in with their cleaning media. I've used this to dull polished surfaces on small items and it works pretty good, but it's just not something you want to go out and buy for the occasional DIY metal painting project.

    Next, paint. Your best best would be some of the current crop of firearms paints like Duracote. It's tough as hell, available in a multitude of colors and not so hard to apply correctly. You may in fact want to just take your parts to a reputable local gunsmith and have them do the whole job for you if you decide on a firearms coating. If you are the serious DIY type and want to do it yourself, take a look at the many different automotive wheel, brake calliper, engine block, and header paints. They range from good enamel to epoxy and some are extremely tough if applied correctly. They are also available in spray bombs so you need not have a compressor and spray rig to use them.

    Once you've done your prep and selected your paint, it's time to spray. With metal, WARM YOUR PARTS PRIOR TO APPLICATION OF PAINT. This is the single most important thing when painting metal parts, especially with a spray bomb. Failure to warm your parts will result in a flaky finish that will come off with a hard look. If you want your paint to stay put, warm your parts. I usually reserve this type of painting for a nice hot sunny day, then put my parts out on top of my black BBQ grill for a while before painting. THe trick is to get them warm but not too hot. Too much heat will cause orange peel when the paint dries too quickly.

    After you get your stuff painted, give it ample time to fully cure, then reassemble everything.

    All that said, if I was seriously considering changing the color of my bass hardware, I'd just take it all off, break it down and send it to these guys.
  8. Why paint when you can do the job right and re-plate it?