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Painting picture on parts of bass at a time.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by john keates, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. john keates

    john keates

    May 20, 2004
    I am an artist and I play an old beaten up Yamaha TRB5. I like the aged and battered look of it but I have never been keen on the orange finish. I am thinking that it would be nice to paint the thing with doodles. I expect that such a painting would take a time but it is my only bass and I can't go without playing it for long.

    How long would it take to sand the finish off?

    Would a base cote of white acrylic paint be enough for a temporary cote whilst I paint it or would it let moisture in?

    Would it be possible to sand and then paint it section by section? I don't mind it looking a little patchy. Actully, I was thinking of leaving the orange on in places. As I say, I don't mind it looking a bit crap - I am going for character here.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. Taking off the finish shouldn't take too long. Refinishing is what will eat up your time.
  3. Rvl


    Dec 23, 2003
    Aomori Japan
    I would recommend using paint pens or model paint or airbrush and then putting a clear polyester top coat on
    Prepare the bass first by roughing up the paint with sandpaper

    Attached Files:

  4. I would use automotive fiinish techniques to get the best results here. Start with removing ALL of the finish and re-establishing a good smooth base - white if that's what's needed for the top graphics. I would clear coat this with polyurethane. Then, by working in acrylic paint pens, you can achieve the doodles. I would then use a light spray fixative over the finished work until I could get a new top coat of poly on it. You can remove the fixative without damaging the graphics with a little naptha. When I break up a body in sections, I usually work in quarters but you could break it up any way you wanted. Just top off your new art with the temporary fixative until you've got enough done to warrant putting the permanent clear on.

    Hope this helps
  5. john keates

    john keates

    May 20, 2004
    Thanks for the help guys.

    Rvl, that is a cool looking bass.

    Hambone, I have some questions for you:

    What should I use for the base cote? Would normal waterbased acrylic primer do the job?

    Do acrylic paint pens use a special type of acrylic? Couldn't I just use artitsts acrylic?

    When you say fixative, is that just normal artists fixative as is used for pastels etc?

    Again, thanks for the help.
  6. To achieve the durability that an automotive finish (and most factory guitars) have, you need to use the toughest coatings you can to begin with. If the primer is one of the waterbased primers designed for wood finishing and can be clearcoated with a solvent based clear, then that would be fine. I would lean towards a nice flat finish poly to put the art on.

    Your original post said "doodles". To me, that precludes the use of bulk paints and limits the application to small pens and markers of some sort. You can use artists acrylics but make sure they are thinned to the point of cream so they flow out and don't have any hint of the impasto body left in them. Are you using Liquitex? I think they've got some nice additives that will help thin and smooth the paint, while keeping it thick enough to draw lines.

    Yes, this is a technique that anyone can use when you are combining solvent and water based coatings. When you finish an area, use the artist fixative (Krylon?) to protect it. The fix's composition really breaks down with naptha and since the acrylic art underneath is impervious to the naptha, it can be used to protect it until you need to spray the clearcoat. If you use a flat finish basecoat, it may get dirty with handling. The fixative would probably help with keeping it cleaner too.
    BTW, if you need to remove acrylic paint from a mistake or damage, the best thing is straight ammonia - same as used as a stripper for acrylic floor coatings. It may have to soak a little but it will eventually soften enough to lift off.

    Hope this helps
  7. john keates

    john keates

    May 20, 2004
    Thanks sooooo much Hambone. I think I am just about ready to go ahead with it now. It's going to be fun. :D