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Wed Mar 28, 2012, 03:27 PM

Refinishing a solid body electric

Hi all...I recently bought a fantastic guitar, a Fender Nashville Tele, honey blonde (bought new). The finish is thin enough that the wood grain shows through faintly, and I would love to strip the honey blonde finish to the natural wood and just have a gloss applied to it. I wouldn't even remotely think about doing it myself, but was wondering what the musician community here thought about that--is it expensive? If I have a good guitar guy, is it a relatively painless procedure? Can it be done to an alder body? The current finish is polyester.

Thanks, and I'll hang up and listen.

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply Refinishing a solid body electric (Original post)
KatyMan Mar 2012 OP
Scuba Mar 2012 #1
jeepnstein Apr 2012 #2
paulk Apr 2012 #3
KatyMan Apr 2012 #4
ProfessorGAC Apr 2012 #5
KatyMan Apr 2012 #6
ProfessorGAC Apr 2012 #7

Response to KatyMan (Original post)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 09:15 AM

1. I was watching thread hoping to learn something. Please let me know if you have something to share.

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Response to KatyMan (Original post)

Tue Apr 3, 2012, 04:11 PM

2. Go here...

The Telecaster Forums at TDPRI

They speak Telecaster there.

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Response to KatyMan (Original post)

Sat Apr 7, 2012, 09:36 PM

3. if you can afford it

go with a nitrocellulose finish

actually, I don't think it's relatively painless, but the classic teles (and strats) used that finish rather than polyurethane...

I have an old tele with that finish and much prefer the feel of it to poly...

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Response to KatyMan (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:55 AM

4. I contacted a local guy

who, judging by his website, does really nice work. Unfortunately it's at a really not nice price: $350. That may be cheap for all I know, but since I just paid $600 for the guitar, I think justifying that further cost right now would be pretty difficult!

The Tele site mentioned above is a great resource too, thanks!

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Response to KatyMan (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:47 AM

5. And, No I'm Not Kidding

I've had 3 guitars refinished. I had both of them done by a car guy. Someone who does car painting. Doesn't even have to be a pinstriper or flame guy. Just someone who knows who to get the old finish off, light sand it very well, and do the spraying and rubout.

I had a Strat repainted about 25 years ago in the same silver paint they use on a Mercedes. Then rubbed out, then cleared, then rubbed out, recleared and polished. (I think DuPont makes that same paint now.) The finish is still perfect.

I had a 1962 Jazz Master redone. That one is black and the same process was used. Finish is still perfect, but i hardly ever play that guitar.

Then, i had a 1970 Harmony Ambassador (12 string) refinished. Threre was some cracking of the finishing coat on the top of the guitar, so i had that redone. Stripped the old coating off myself, and had the same guy that did the Jazzmaster tape and spray so the top was resurfaced. Thing is 42 years old and looks new. Because the original surface was a lacquer, the darkening (yellowing) of the wood remained pretty much the same, so the finish looks new but the guitar looks vintage. I couldn't have hoped for better.

Thing is, these experts in car painting have the same motivation as a guitar guy, because nobody wants to pay 2 grand for a paint job after an accident and have it be less than perfect on a twenty thousand dollar vehicle. But, to them, the guitar is a small, simple project, so they are usually way cheaper.

Although we'd have to adjust for inflation, i paid $80 for the Strat, $100 for the Jazzmaster, and $100 for the top of the Harmony. The Harmony was only a few years ago. The Jazzmaster about 15 and the Strat about 25. So, i'd say you could find someone who could do it for probably under $200 as a side job.
GAC

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:08 AM

6. wow that's interesting.

I guess a paint job is a paint job, right? Thanks for the tip, I'll keep my eyes open for something like that, maybe watch Craigslist?

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Response to KatyMan (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 09:24 AM

7. Good Idea

I just happened to know both of these guys. One was a friend of my cousin, and the other was a friend of mine. So, i didn't have to search much. But, CL might be the ticket.
GAC

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