against lawsuits, kit guitars often ship with
large, blocky headstocks that kit builders
must shape themselves. On the plus side,
an unshaped headstock allows you to come
up with your own signature design.
Use a coping saw or bandsaw to cut the
headstock to your liking, then sand out the
cut marks with 100-grit sandpaper. Follow
up with 180, 220, and 400 grits.
Then mask the fretboard, edge binding (if
any), or other areas you don’t wish to paint,
before moving on to the finish work.
2. Apply the sunburst finish.
2a. Spray the lighter color onto the guitar
body (Figure A). Paint a couple pieces of
scrap, too, for testing purposes.
2b. Make the mask. Trace the guitar body
onto a sheet of cardboard. Cut the mask out
a few inches inside your traced line.
2c. Test the mask. Position the mask an inch
or so above a piece of scrap and spray the
darker color around the edges. The overspray
will find its way under the mask, creating a
smooth gradient. Adjust the mask height until
you get the burst effect you’re after. B
2d. Spray the darker color on the guitar top.
Once you’ve got your technique down, position the mask over the guitar top and spray
around the edges as you practiced (Figures
B–C, and Figure D, following page). Repeat for
the back of the guitar, if desired. Give it plenty
of time to dry before going on.
2e. Apply the top coat. To get that smooth,
glossy shop-window finish, expect to spray
on about 10 coats of clear. Once the top coat
has thoroughly dried, wet-sand the surface
to 1500 grit, rub with polishing compound,
and give it a final wax and buff (Figure E).
3. Assemble the parts.
First, attach the neck to the body. With
Fender-style guitars, this means drilling holes,
then using wood screws and a backing plate C
153 Follow us @make