Refinishing a bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bill Murray, Sep 11, 2021.

  1. Bill Murray

    Bill Murray

    Dec 12, 2019
    New Hampshire
    I’m aware the cost is $300-$500 typically, but a huge portion of that is labor. I’ve got the time, space, and patience but I’m wondering if anyone here has done there own refinish? How’d it go? Was it worth it or would you have rather paid a pro?

    This is mostly for fun, the paint would probably be a single color, maybe some sparkle, but nothing complicated.

    any insight, warnings, or advice is appreciated!

    Thanks for reading
     
    hbarcat likes this.
  2. I’m working through redoing some of my own, earlier, less then great finishes so it’s worth it to me.

    As far as advice, it sounds like you’re going to do a solid color so as long as the existing finish is in decent shape don’t try to strip it off. Use the existing as a base coat. The factory did at least as good of a job of sealing things as you can do at home. Just scuff things up with 320 grit or a coarse ScotchBrite pad.

    I’m guessing you’re contemplating spray cans so I’d recommend checking out the rattle can refinish club in the basses forum. To that end, if you’re using spray cans and planning a sparkle or metalflake finish be aware that it’s going to take a lot of clear from spray cans to bury the sparkles if you want a smooth clear. Spray cans don’t build up much.
     
    hbarcat, 202dy and Lukasonbass like this.
  3. Volker Kirstein

    Volker Kirstein Blippy the Wonder Slug

    Fair warning: it's going to take a lot more time than you thought. (Unless you're going for a matte orange peel finish, then it's a piece of cake.)
     
  4. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Georgia
    Since it's your first attempt, I'd stick to a single non-sparkle color. As mentioned above, sparkle finishes are tricky and require a lot of time and effort. There's a reason the pros charge more for them.

    I highly recommend the Krylon Fusion line of products. Paint and primer in one can, great colors, and they're easy to find at most big box stores. I've been using them with great results.
     
    ComeHomeShane and Lukasonbass like this.
  5. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I do all my own bass and guitar finishing, but only because I'm an industrial painter in my day job and I not only have the knowledge, but also the equipment required to produce quality finishes.

    Coming from almost 30 years of experience, I would say that it's a worthy ambition to want to paint your own guitars. However . . . there are about 1,000 techniques, methods, and processes that can only be learned by repeated trial and error, and these things collectively make the difference between an excellent paint job and a poor paint job. Having an experienced mentor is a huge advantage, as well.

    If you have the ambition, then I think you really should jump in and do your own finish.

    But definitely start as simply as possible (do not try a sparkle on your first attemt) and have realistic expectations about the quality of the final results.

    I'd be more than happy to answer any and all questions about guitar finishing, either in this thread, or through PM. I think it's great that there are beginners who are enthusiastic about learning how to paint guitars and basses.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
    Lukasonbass likes this.
  6. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    This is really good advice.
     
    Matt Liebenau and Lukasonbass like this.

  7. Thank you. I don’t have your experience but I have picked up a few things and learning more.
     
    hbarcat likes this.
  8. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    As one can imagine, there are numerous very experienced and talented bass and guitar builders on TB who are generous about sharing their advice with others regarding painting and finishing.

    It's interesting how there are nearly always some significant differences in techniques between different experts, yet they tend to achieve outstanding results, in various ways, regardless of the differences.

    I find it rather educational reading about how "X" is painting and finishing a bass compared to how "Y" does it, especially when I've never tried either of those methods.

    One crucial point to keep in mind is to really pay attention if everybody with experience is giving the exact same advice. That's a certain sign that it would be foolish to ignore that advice.
    :D
     
    Matt Liebenau and Lukasonbass like this.
  9. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Asking for generalized instructions and advice about how to finish a bass is an invitation to an entire library's worth of replies.

    I think the best way for you to go about this is to commit to a specific bass project, decide what color you want it to be, and then pick the brains of the TB experts to establish a step by step plan to achieve the results you want.
     
    Lukasonbass likes this.
  10. Bill Murray

    Bill Murray

    Dec 12, 2019
    New Hampshire
    Exactly what I needed to hear! Makes total sense haha… The more research I do the more paths and options I discover.

    The bass is currently blonde/white and I’m really starting to lean towards some sort of Sage Green.

    Thank you!
     
  11. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Georgia
    There are definitely a few Krylon Colormaxx colors that will get close to that. Check out the Matte Seaside Green and Satin Jade.

    COLORmaxx - | Krylon
     
    Lukasonbass likes this.
  12. Bill Murray

    Bill Murray

    Dec 12, 2019
    New Hampshire
    Oooohhh definitely digging the Matte Seaside Green!
     
  13. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Georgia
    Their matte colors are very easy to work with. I've used them several times. If you use matte clear, you won't have to do a final polish.

    Here's one I did in Matte Aqua with one can of satin clear. No polishing at all. I scuff sanded the original black, then sprayed the color and clear.

    IMG_1491 (1).JPG
     
  14. Bill Murray

    Bill Murray

    Dec 12, 2019
    New Hampshire
    That looks great!
     
    friskinator likes this.