painting/decaling my pickguard.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by spambot772, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. spambot772


    Aug 31, 2007
    hey guys, i recently got a lakland skyline jobo 5 in natural ash, and while its a beautiful bass, i thought id step it up and customize the pickguard.

    i have a friend who is wicked at art and he's gonna make a design, but i have no idea how to get the design onto my PG. (without it chipping/rubbing off, hoping to have to last 30-40 years)

    is there a way to do it then add a clear coat of something to protect it?

    any ideas?

    thanks a ton!
  2. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Yes. Spray a clear coat over the art.
  3. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I'm a professional painter and I also have experience clear-coating my own basses as well as the basses and guitars of others. Some information you should know to before you decide how best to proceed:

    First, you will definitely need to apply the artwork and then clear over it, but there are multiple ways of doing this. Just using a spray can (the kind you shake with the rattling ball inside) is not the best way to do this although it's the cheapest and easiest. It's not likely to adhere to the pickguard material very well and will also not be flexible so that over time it will crack and peel and look like crap. It also won't look all that great to start with because the finish from the rattle cans usually "orange peels" and looks uneven.

    There are automotive paints that look fantastic and many of them are designed to be sprayed on plastic or other non-metallic parts. They are also expensive and require the proper equipment to spray them - and someone with experience to know how to prepare them (add activators and reducers) and how to actually spray them. These paints are almost always EXTREMELY dangerous to inhale and can and do kill people. They CANNOT be sprayed without using properly fitted respirators.

    If you want this to look the best, you should have a local automotive body shop do it for you. They are always spraying clear paint and I'm sure you can talk one of them into shooting a small job like this in among their regular work for pretty cheap.

    Once the painting is done, it will need to have the finish work done, which you could also get commissioned by the same body shop. This is usually just a small amount of buffing and polishing. Just a guess, but I wouldn't expect to pay more than $40 for a shop to blow on some paint and then run the piece under the polisher for a few minutes a couple of days later.

    If you decide to use the rattle cans, you can expect results that might look okay to you, but it won't last very long and once the paint goes bad, there is no way to save the artwork underneath.
  4. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    Buy you a clear pickguard, paint from the backside, then clear to protect. The top side will only get minor scratches, the art qwork will not be harmed.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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