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Painting pick guards

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassbully43, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I saw a thread where a guy said he painted his pickguard...I did a search found nothing so i posted here. has anyone done this? how do you prep them to paint. I would like to use a spray can of some cool color for my SX...i fear it will scratch off? Any help?
  2. justateenpoet

    justateenpoet Have you...killed the Venture brothers!?!?

    May 14, 2005
    I've done this with my de-fretted Strat. Hopefully you've got a white, plain pickguard, as it will produce the best results. To prep it, simply remove any dirt or whatever with a medium steel wool. I used a spray paint that I got from a hobby store, (but any outdoor specific paint should be fine). Apply several coats to get the maximum color benefit (I probably did three or four). After your final coat is dry, spray the pickguard with a marine-grade spray epoxy. Do at least two coats of that, letting it dry plenty between each coat.

    And please, take the pickguard off the bass before painting :)
  3. Unchain

    Unchain I've seen footage.

    Jun 20, 2005
    Tucson, AZ
    Wait there! Get plastic spray paint. That way your pickguard won't get eaten by the paint, and you won't need the epoxy. Plus, epoxy? That comes in a two part mix and is certainly not necessary. If you would like to apply a coat of poly, go on ahead.
  4. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    Thanks guys...yes another guy said use model spray paint since its used on plasic model parts...great advice.
  5. Not good advice at all because they don't know their plastics and their solvents :rolleyes:

    I have done this with spray cans and automotive grade 2 part catalyst hardened acrylic polyurethane with some of the most aggressive solvents you can imagine. The results can be very good if you select your materials correctly.

    Most modern pickguards are made of vinyl. The solvents used in model paints or even automotive paints for that matter, won't bond to vinyl in the way they think it will. In models made of styrene plastic, it actually "melts" the surface of the plastic and combines to stick. With vinyl, it just has to dry and achieve a tight "sealed" bond and then has to be clear coated to make sure it doesn't flake. The clear coats that are compatible with these paints are more flexible than the colors and that keeps them pliable and chip free. If spray cans are the only way to go, then I would make sure to stick with the type that is specified for use on LEXAN RC car bodies. Lexan isn't paint friendly at all but these special formulations are designed to be used inside the clear body shells and really take a beating. That will stick well to the vinyl PG. If you can spray with a gun, then the Acrylic Poly with a clear coat is the way to go. You can get a thicker harder finish with this than the spray can but it will require more $ for materials and application.

    Spray paint like the new Rustoleum product designed for plastics is OK for painting vinyl based products like this and it sticks well however it won't give you the glassy look you would want. I've used it and this stuff doesn't spray exactly like the solvent based paints. I think it has something to do with the liquids viscosity. You might have to do a little wet sanding with 1000 grit and then clearcoat to make it nice and smooth.
  6. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Here is what I would try. Lightly score the surface of the pickguard with steel wool. Then clean it off. Then, go down to a good hobby shop and get a can of Floquil hobby primer. Prime the surface. Let cure. Then you can use a variety of different paints, but Hambone may be right in going with the RC colors. Let cure thoroughly. Then, airbrush on several light coats of Future Floor Polish with ample time for each coat to cure. Future is an acrylic marvel and can be thinned with water and it makes for a hard, clear surface.
  7. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I went and bought a color in an auto touch up spray can that is used for plastic car trim. I first primed the pickguard and then sprayed on several coats. The problem was i thought the deep red metalic would look kinda like a tort guard.... WRONG loked like s@#t :spit: went back to store bought gloss black and sprayed it., Looks cool 3 tone sunburst SX with gold hardware. The gold screws going around the black pickguard are rad :D
  8. I agree with using the LEXAN RC paint, however that stuff ain't cheap considering how small the cans are. Especially from Hobby stores. I needed almost 3 cans to do an RC car.

    How much is a new pickguard anyways?
  9. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    New guards $20-30 and some need mods to fit ....some i hear never fit right need redrilled so i spent 6.00 on paint. One problem thou how long till the smell goes away? :spit:
  10. Keef


    Jul 3, 2003
    Hollywood, CA
    The obvious question: can one actually get respectable results by spray painting a pickguard? The idea doesn't sound too promising.

    Can one actually achieve results that don't elicit horrified cries of "oh man, what did you do to your bass??!?!?"

    ~ K