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Painting my bass with acrylics?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bluebard, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Hey bass dudes and painters,

    I'm planning on painting my bass guitar (a Peavey Foundation that I will never part with) with acrylic paints. Presently, it's got a solid coat of stock red paint on it. My plan is to sand this paint to rough up the surface before painting on it with acrylics.

    My only problem is this: I don't know what kind of acrylic paint to use - artist's acrylic paint (the kind you find in the fine arts section of an arts and crafts store) or multi-surface acrylic paint (the kind people use for painting furniture, crafts, flowerpots, etc)?

    I understand that the multi-surface paint is more likely to adhere to my guitar (there are specific kinds meant for wood, plastic, metal, glass, etc) but I am concerned that I will not be able to manipulate it and blend it in the same way as I would artist's acrylic paint (meant for a canvas). I need to be able to manipulate it as I would oil paint, since my plan is to create impressionistic artwork on my bass, painting it the same way I would paint a canvas.
    I'm going for something like this or this or this:


    or something like what Jack Bruce did with his psychedelic bass IV:
    Photo by iamthebassman

    I ended up buying a pack of ordinary artist's acrylic paint (meant for a canvas) rather than the multi-surface craft paint. Will this stick, or should I return it and exchange it for the multi-surface? Will I need any kind of lacquer coating?

    Thanks for your help! I will post photos when finished.
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    If you use artist paint, be sure to seal it with clear. Or your shirt may become a different color. It will also stick fine to BARE wood.

    General use acrylic sprays are usually self sealing. They will soak into the wood being much thinner. Sealing the wood and blocking the grain first is the plan.

    Other than that, go for it.
    NoiseNinja and Bluebard like this.
  3. I had a friend several years ago who had a Strat with an American flag pickguard who had another mutual friend of ours paint the body the extend the guard "picture" over the rest of the body. I believe he used artist oil paint. Don't remember what they cleared over it with but it looked very cool, kind of textured due to the oil paint.
    Bluebard and 96tbird like this.
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Definitely a bonus with arts paints: Texture. I doubt it was oil though, my sister has a fine arts degree :meh: and said oil of more than a couple mms thick can take years to harden. The outside hardens encasing the wet inner preventing the linseed from drying. Just a heads up.
    Matt Liebenau and Bluebard like this.
  5. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Thanks guys, I appreciate it!

    By clear, do you mean some kind polyurethane or lacquer? Would you happen to have any recommendations as to a particular type? Thanks 96tbird!
  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    With acrylic, any water based clear will do.
    Bluebard likes this.

  7. May have been acrylic. Don't know. I do remember that everyone wanted to touch the guitar because of the depth or texture to the flag painting.
    Bluebard likes this.
  8. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    So do you think it's definitely necessary to sand off all the paint that's on there now? Or just rough it up with some sandpaper? How much better would acrylic stick to bare wood than to roughed-up paint?
  9. grisezd


    Oct 14, 2009
    Just rough up the surface you've got and paint, I've used artist acrylics over house paint, straight on plexiglass, over spray paint, etc. you don't typically paint on raw canvas, there's always some primer on canvas or canvas board when you buy them.
    Bluebard likes this.

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