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Spraying a Sunburst Stratocaster Body

I’m often asked to demo spraying a sunburst so here it is.

My starting point is a GuitarBuild body. It’s two piece swamp ash and very light at 3lb 4oz (<1.5kg).

My first step was to sand the body well to eliminate any scratches then grain fill thoroughly. There is more on grain filling in this post.

Grain filling a Stratocaster body
Grain filling a Stratocaster body

I was careful to pack the grain filler into the pores and wipe as much as possible off the surface of the body. I applied the filler using an old credit card in the direction of the grain and scraped off across the grain. Additionally I wiped the surface with hession. This is how the wood looked before sanding:

How it should look after grain filling but before sanding
How it should look after grain filling but before sanding

Inevitably I missed a few areas with my first application such as this, so I fixed them with another application of filler before continuing.

If you miss any areas, fill again
If you miss any areas, fill again

I carefully sanded off any grain filler residue on the body using 320 grit paper.

Once I was sure that all pores were filled, it was time for sanding sealer. There is a sanding sealer demo here.

Once sealer coat was nice and level, I applied the amber base coat. I used my Tinted Gloss/Vintage Amber lacquer.

Tinted Base Coat Applied
Tinted Base Coat Applied

Once I was happy with the colour of the base coat, I started on the sunburst using my Tobacco Brown aerosol. I’ve recorded some video to show just how straightforward it is:

I’m using one of the round pattern spray heads which gives a nice tight band. I’m probably rushing it here for the purposes of the demo. To avoid runs, I recommend that you allow one pass to dry before going over it again.

Once I’d done the band on front and back I sprayed the edges where the brown had not reached.

The completed sunburst
The completed sunburst
Closeup showing the fine transition
Closeup showing the fine transition

Once I’d sprayed the sunburst I locked it in with several coats of clear gloss lacquer.

Here’s the final result drying in my workshop. The colour is a better representation than the outside shots.

The finished body
The finished body

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