FINISHING REPAIRS from Guitar Works and Geo Dell


This section deals with repairs and or blending paints for repairs.

The photos below are of neck repairs to a Fender CD60 acoustic guitar.

The neck before the repair: There was wood and finish loss on the neck. The guitar was being built for a specific purpose and so there would be a reshaping and a color change to this instrument as well as the neck and other repairs to it.

Finish: Sand down the repair and apply your finish. For the Fender Acoustic I rounded the top of the headstock over sprayed it with primer, sanded it back and moved on to the next repair. I use basic lacquer primers. Gray, white, black, red, it dries fast and the colors can bring me back to a closer match to a painted surface fairly quickly. If I am working with wood I can use a clear lacquer primer, or sealer to achieve the same ends, sealing the wood and the area. The break areas were sanded with 220 grit wet or dry sandpaper and then primed or sealed. They were then sanded with 320, 400 and then 1000 grit and re-primed. If there are problem areas I will find them then. Pinholes, scratches that escaped my eye, an additional coat of primer or a small amount of lacquer spot putty will fix the larger pin holes or scratches. Sand that to 1000 grit and then re-prime. Although I use wet or dry sandpaper I do not use it wet on bare wood. I prefer it for its anti clogging properties.

I accomplished the repair on the neck and after a few coats of primer to catch the small imperfections I moved on to the bridge and body of the guitar to ready them for paint as well.

The repaint for this guitar was an unorthodox approach to refinishing. There were so many repaired areas and so much fade damage done from the sunlight exposure that I decided to paint this body a solid color.  The bridge and the neck near the headstock were the areas that received the most work as far as sanding them to remove imperfections and marks caused when the guitar was damaged. The rest of the body was simply scuffed, sealed and then shot with the chosen base color coat.

The headstock was reshaped; the body was primed and readied for artwork.

The body received a gray primer undercoat and then a white primer fogging. It gave it an aged look. The edges were then worked with a scuff pad and taken down to the original finish under the gray and white primer coats.

The paint scheme was something I had been thinking about for awhile. I entitled the project 62 Chevy in honor of my first car, a 62 Chevy that spent its entire life in gray primer.

The rosette area was hand painted to match the wood grain of the bridge and the fret board.

I accomplished the look with the scuff pad and about an hour of work. I just worked at the edges, scuffed the primer until the natural finish was revealed. I followed that to where I wanted to follow it, exposing defects in the body, and areas that were repaired and still others that looked as though they had been repaired. The idea was to have fun with the finish. In several places I scuffed through the white primer to the dark gray primer. I finally came to a finish that I was happy with. That is a matter of taste. What you like may not be what the next person likes. When I originally did this build I got overwhelming feedback on two clear avenues. The first was, I love that. It’s cool. The second was, I hate that. Why did you do that? The point is to please yourself with what you do. This guitar was purpose built as a studio recording guitar and I love it. It serves its purpose and it is pleasing to me.


As a point of fact I have done two similar builds for people who saw the build and wanted one similar. To each their own taste: My only goal is to get you to think outside of the box with your own projects and builds. Build something you like, with a finish you like.

You can see I have also done the bridge work. The bridge is temporarily mounted with screws at the center points the same as it was in its former life as an Ovation guitar bridge. I used two bone skull heads to cover the holes instead of the wood plugs that were there.

I next turned to some artwork for the top of the guitar. I took my time picking it, came very close to drawing a 62 Chevy for the face, but in the end I chose another piece of artwork instead.

I wanted something subtle. I didn’t want something that took away of the primer finish. I used standard pencils to sketch the drawing onto the top and then did the shading as I would have with the same pencils. It was a little harder to achieve the same depth of shading, primer does not hold the graphite as well as paper will, but a little experimentation and I was okay

After the drawing was done I wiped the entire guitar down with mineral spirits on a soft cloth, taped it up and shot two coats of clear.

I hope this gave you some ideas.

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