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Using auto paint on a bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by BuffaloBass, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Folks, I have the color code for the color of my dreams - which I saw on a 71 Challenger. I have the paint codes ( 96 Honda black raspberry ) and can get the mix in an aerosol can.

    Can you create a gloss finish at some using aerosol cans, wet sanding and clear? Or should I pay a pro with a gun?

  2. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    If you're confident enough in doing so and believe that you could do an excellent job. Doing so with a "spray can" will be a hard thing to match to a paint gun, mainly because you can get a much finer mist through it, but i'm sure someone here could also come up with a few more good reasons too.
    However, If it's a good bass and you want it to be an extremely nice finish, have a pro do it.
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I have heard that warming the spray can helps with atomization. Putting the can in warm water for a while before spraying is supposed to make it all go more even.
  4. I might try it on my $300 MTD Kingston backup bass first. Trouble with using a pro is that they'll usually need $200 in paint/material alone.
  5. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Sounds like getting off easy, I'm paying a bit more steep than that right now, for my 6 (Though the guy is worth it, and also epoxy on the FB). Problem is, material just 1/4 of it, it's gonna more labor than anything.
  6. Mac


    Apr 14, 2004
    Denver Colorado
    all the color and flake we bought at an automotive paint supply house

    Attached Files:

  7. praisegig

    praisegig Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
    I've used ureathane or acrylic base auto paint on a few projects and used acrylic lacquer as the clear coats. Fender used acrylic lacquer in the early years for their color coats. Also have used the 2 part ureathane clears, but I don't recommend it for the first timer, without proper protection. The guys at ReRanch get some awesome projects finished in high gloss, using spray bombs.
  8. Leo Fender started with auto paint and used it for years. Much of the auto paint you see in touch-up cans is acrylic lacquer, and that's what I painted this bass with...with clear coats over the color coats. This bass won a grand prize at my county fair for the refinish work.


    All you need to do as good a job as a pro is:

    1) Homework
    2) Patience
    3) Careful work
    4) Patience
    5) Attention to detail
    6) Time and patience

    You can do this because you can afford to put more hours into the job than a pro can. There is good information at Reranch.com, and I strongly recommend Dan Erlewine's book on guitar repair (check Amazon).

    If you prep the body correctly, you can use rattle cans and do a superb job. Just make sure you know how to seal the wood, what base coat to use, what top coats to use, when and how to sand, and whether to use clear coats over the top of your color coats.

    When done, you will need to wet sand in successive sequence with the correct grits of wet & dry paper, then I recommend using 3-M Finesse-It II machine polish on a buffing wheel. I just bought a buffing wheel and used my 3/4" drive VSR drill to run the buffer (and threw polish all over my garage while buffing it out, but wotthehell).

    It's all well within your capability if you do your homework and take your time. I will say this: if you value your TIME at $10 per hour or more, then you will spend more time on the project than it would cost you to have it done. However - what you will learn in the process is highly valuable, and you'll know the components of your bass inside and out!! THAT also has great value.
  9. that finish is award winning!

    I usually get the polishing compound all over my shirt/pants/legs !
  10. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    ...and if you own a compressor, a small gravity fed spray gun can be had cheap, and will suffice for what you want to do. However, minimum quantities of things like reducers and clear can add up quickly, and you'll have some left over. Something to consider if you think you may do this more than once.
  11. Thanks. I owe it to successive wet sanding with (if memory serves) 800, 1200, 1500 and 2000 wet and dry paper, plus buffing with the Finesse-It II polish. Not bad for my first time ever refinishing a bass, innit?

    OH, yeah!!! You and me, we have discovered that technique!!

    I used my compressor and bought an auto detail gun, but to do this kind of spraying right I had to also buy a pressure reducer and a water filter/trap and put them into the line between the compressor and the gun. That adds more $$ to project, but you can't push a spray gun at 100 PSI and you don't want water getting into your finish.

    Further, adjusting the gun to get a good particle size takes some practice - and therefore uses up some of your finish material, increasing costs. All in all, using rattle cans would be a LOT easier, produce a more uniform particle size, and result in less cleanup. Unless you're gonna do a number of them I'd recommend the rattle can route.
  12. I do have a small compressor. It'll cost me as much in mmterials/equipt as paying someone, but at least I'll have the equiptment to show for it, and the expereince.

    Plus the EXACT deep DEEP purple I was looking for. I'll sacrifice my $300 Kingston for it. THe thing has a nice neck, but red dont do it for me.

    THNX guys. This is a " January in Buffalo " project, so it wont be until '09 I can show the results. I hope its " Valenti" quality! And then I might do my main J5, depending on how the Kingston turns out.
  13. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Just wanted to add to the thread, that I had my P-Bass refinished by a car painter who specialized in repainting vintage/historic cars and he did an amazing job. He only charged me $200 to do it too.

    If you're not feeling up to doing the repaint yourself, if you shop around with auto body painting places, I'm sure you'll find somewhere that will do it for a reasonable price.

    Still if you have a bass you're willing to try it on, I'd say it's a good idea to give it a go. Even if it doesn't work out, you'll at least walk away with some knowledgeable experience. :)
  14. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    One thing about doing paint jobs up north in the winter...
    you won't have to worry about moisture because the humidity is very low and in a heated space it will be lower than in the desert!

    Just have fun with it. If you get a little run, just stop and sand it off. Remember that anything you mess up can be fixed. There's tons of info online. Also, the boring prep work can make or break any job. Take your time and it'll be great.

    Good luck.
  15. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    i use an airbrush for the detail stuff and finish with a big gun then i'll flat and polish if required
    i use waterbased auto paints for the airbrush as there easy to clean and use and i finish with two pack epoxy

    spraycans aint the best for a great finish as there's not a great deal of paint in a can (about 15% is paint the rest is propellant or there abouts)
    so the finish is thin and flatting and polishing usually leads to going straight through the paint (if your not carefull)

    buy a few cans remember to put a thin coat on 1st to get your subsequent coats to stick put plenty of layers on remember spray cans spray a dot as opposed to spray guns which spray a slot shape which means runs are more common for spraycans so take your time and build the paint up slowly

    i'd say save up and pay an auto painter to do it for you they have the right gear and the know how to get your bass lookin kewl


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