Sunday, November 6, 2011

Painting an Epiphone Les Paul

The original Epihpone Les Paul in picture #1. I love the way this guitar sounds and it plays beautifully, but I'm not a fan of sunburst. Maybe I'm just sick of it? I dunno. Too "Slash"? Yeah, a little. So I decided to take on the ambitious project of repainting it. This was a MUCH bigger project than I ever imagined! Patience was crucial here and there was a lot of waiting for paint to dry (literally). If you're the type who likes to sit for hours in a monk like meditation and sand wood, this is for you. Luckily I do love to sand and listen to music...

Inspiration: The BMW art cars. I like quite a few of them. This one was painted by Andy Warhol and I love the colors and the ripped tape effect. My friend Josh introduced me to these.

So since Josh is kinda the guy who know everything, I took him with to the hardware store on Metropolitan in Williamsburg. We picked out sandpaper.

The guy working at Crest Hardware casually told us about THE PIG WHO LIVES IN BACK. Just look at this!

Spray paint section. I got excited and perhaps a little ambitious buying 4 shades.

The guitar with the strings off.

Spent a great deal of time precisely putting tape over the pickups, knobs, and sides.

First round of sanding at my studio. The meditation begins. Also the slightly OCD part.

Testing colors. They look a little Alladin Sane in real life. Gorgeous shades.

First layer of Easter Yellow over everything with the goal of ripping tape and having it show through.

Several days later, after sanding twice and 2 coats later, I add painters tape down the center.

The trick with spray paint, I've learned, is to stay far away and do VERY LIGHT coats, one per day. Unlike acrylics, oils, or other paints I'm familiar with, this has an extremely light touch. I got excited and moved in an inch and....damn, a drip. Now I have to sand all over again, layer. Several more days go by.

I went with the Magenta spray.

Sand and spray.
Final coat. Or so I think.

Clear gloss. Several layers and days worth. How do I know when to stop?

The final guitar before putting strings on.

With strings! Completed except now I need to work on its set up since the bridge got a little buzzy in the process.

I left some scratches/paint accidents on the body I liked. Also some red spray paint went off in a bag and sprayed the bottom bridge. Looks good.

Bones and Django are happy I'm done.


  1. Nice work! Next time huff a little paint, wuss. ;)

  2. Looks very cool!

  3. haha sorry but thats disgraceful... good luck when that nasty spray paint starts chipping away