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Thread: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

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    KatyPerryologist astrozombie's Avatar
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    Default is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?









    is this safe? I don't see how it could hurt the guitar, I severely thinned the finish on this tele I used to have, to get it to this level, what did I have to do? Keep sanding?
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker AniML's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Safe? sure. Just don't do lines with the dust

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    John Mayer's Mankini ImmortalSix's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    [RELIC FLAMESUIT]

    The most realistic way to do any relicking is to use exactly what would cause the wear in real life.

    If you want to do buckle wear on the back, use your belt buckle. Not something like a belt buckle; A BELT BUCKLE.

    If you want to do forearm wear, however, you may not have the time or skin for it. In these cases, you want to use the closest thing you can find. You can cheat by sanding an area SMALLER THAN THE AREA YOU WANT TO BE AFFECTED, then finishing it by rubbing your arm or something like it against the guitar. Commonly used finishers are old blue jeans and leather.

    A legit guitar takes decades.

    A bad relic takes a day.

    A good relic takes an amount of time somewhere in between.

    Plan old work, elbow grease, time, exposure, etc. - there's not a quick way to get around it, only quicker ways.
    Last edited by ImmortalSix; 12-28-2011 at 10:07 AM.

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    Toneologist
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    I would let the war wounds form on their own.

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    Shaftologist Kam's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Why wouldn't it be safe?

    If you're taking all the paint off, then you should probably protect the wood somehow, be it with sealer or tru-oil or something. If you're doing a ****ty relic job, I probably wouldn't bother.

    If you're working in an enclosed space then you should probably wear a mask.

    Other than that, it's not going to spontaneously explode or something.
    Last edited by Kam; 12-28-2011 at 03:35 PM.
    Every love that made me lose my reasoning. Every chord that made my conscience ache. Every day spent counting hours. Well, none of them comes close to singing back a song inside my head.

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    Dawn Of The Shred TheLivingDead's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Pretty much what I6 said.

    You're not going to get those results with just sanding.

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    Mojo's Minions Powdered Toast Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Just to note, you need to have a nitro finish if you're going to get results like those in the photos. If it's poly, it's just going to look fake. There's plenty of "relic" jobs out there that look like someone took a belt sander to it.

    Another good way to achieve those results without doing anything is just to treat your guitar like crap. Seriously. Don't even use a case - just throw the guitar in your trunk, don't use a guitar stand - just leave it lying around. It'll get beat up pretty bad. This is along the same line as what I6 said - the only way to relic a guitar authentically is to authentically beat it up.

    IMHO, even those Custom Shop relic jobs look extreme. The only guitars I've seen that look THAT beat up for real are 50's and early 60's guitars that have been played by famous musicians every single gig and studio session they've done for the last 30 years. For example, Keith Richards has had that "Micawber" Tele since about 1970 and he's played it every single show and on every record they've done for the past 40 years.
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    Slam Dunk da Funk Funkfingers's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    It is only safe if you do it on YOUR OWN guitar!

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    Junior Member Hamstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Best thing to do with a guitar like that is give it a nice fresh coat of paint!

    Not into the relic'ed thing, - why make a perfectly good instrument look artificially knackered when you can do it for real by simply playing the thing for years! (until it's genuinely knackered) - time for a respray..... oh, hang on, that's where i came in!

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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    I agree, why make a guitar look worn on purpose without having played the living hell out of it? I have some guitars and they are really beaten up, look wise, but that was just by PLAYING them.

    ps: acrylic laquers also age well. I speak from experience...especially if it's super superthin.

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    Mojo's Minions Quencho092's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    astro, you have similar american strat body to mine. The poly chips off very nicely, it's aesthetically pleasing and very thin so it's easy to chip some off once it is wounded even with your fingers or a pick. So don't be swayed, this isn't a mega thick plastic toy type finish like other guitars have, it actually ages nicely and the alder looks cool underneath.

    I have a nice looking chipped off area by where right arm goes, if it opens up more I would be alright with it. This is that nice american red strat that you scored right? If I were you, just open up a little spot by the right forearm area, don't do a full butcher job on purpose just to make it look cool.

    BTW this is natural damage, I've had this strat since 04 and the chipped forearm area occurred because I picked up my hardcase with guitar in it without latching it shut and the corner got chipped.
    Last edited by Quencho092; 12-28-2011 at 05:26 PM.
    2004 50th Anniversary Deluxe American Strat, SETH-N BRIDGE, ANT 2 SURFER MIDDLE, ANT 2 DLX MINI HUM NECK

    280K RS guitarworks volume pot, 250k cts tone pots, .047uf paper in oil Jensen aluminum capacitor, running D'addario Chromes 13's with wound g > Analogman Orange Juicer>Acoustic 200H Bass head> Alesis Picoverb> unknown 12'' JBL Orange car speaker

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Wear eye and lung protection, and wash your hands well before smoking or eating, and it will be perfectly safe.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
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    Mojo's Minions Hellion's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Oh, drag the thing down a gravel road behind a truck for a couple of miles. That'll ding it up real good! LOL

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    Mojo's Minions Edgecrusher's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    A guitar thats been sanded looks like a guitar thats well... been sanded. If you want it to look like wear then you need to do a different approach. Playing it while wearing your leather jacket can have good results. Not over night but it might cut down 20 years of wear to 2 or 3.
    "It keeps you fit - the alcohol, nasty women, sweat on stage, bad food - it's all very good for you." -Bon Scott

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    Uptonogood
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?


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    Slam Dunk da Funk Funkfingers's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaBass View Post
    smoking
    One thing to be said in favour of this filthy habit. The tar from cigarettes is great for discolouring Stratocaster pickup covers, control knobs, selector switch caps and vibrato arm tips.

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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    I have to admit up front that I just don't get the urge to relic. On the other hand I have nothing against it. If it floats your boat great. The one thing I do see all to often is that the relics end up being way over done. The reality of it is that most guitars, unless they spent their life on the road with some acid dropping, party maniac Rocker from the 60's, just don't get that trashed even in 40 or 50 years. I've got a 39 year old Guild (nitro) that has been gigged in bar bands and went with me to uncountable drunken parties for most of those years. Other than a small area around the sound hole that has the finish worn through from pick attack there is no other visible finish wear. That's the problem I see with most relic jobs including Fenders. They simply suffer from overkill.
    Last edited by BEACHBUM; 12-29-2011 at 11:29 AM.

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    firstlessonologist guitfiddle's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    The thing that irritates me about relicing is that now, I'm seeing used guitars that have been mangled by some guy in his garage going for MORE money than the same used guitar with good paint. That just ain't right.
    - Tom

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    Mojo's Minions Quencho092's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    relic'ing on purpose could be the most poser-esque thing a guitar player can do to seem like an 'old pro guitarist' who has been around the block.......

    sand the whole guitar down and give it a badass translucent finish or burst to your liking, or tru oil it after all the poly is neatly chipped off.

    If somebody asked me how my guitar ended up getting so trashed, I wouldn't be able to say 'yea I took it on the road for 6 years and somehow it got sanded it down by accident/dinged it up'....the person asking will KNOW the guitar was effed up on purpose for poser reasons.

    I adore my '04 strat because of the countless jam sessions with close friends, sh!t eating, and local shows I've played for the past 7 years, definitely NOT because it has a few dings on it.
    2004 50th Anniversary Deluxe American Strat, SETH-N BRIDGE, ANT 2 SURFER MIDDLE, ANT 2 DLX MINI HUM NECK

    280K RS guitarworks volume pot, 250k cts tone pots, .047uf paper in oil Jensen aluminum capacitor, running D'addario Chromes 13's with wound g > Analogman Orange Juicer>Acoustic 200H Bass head> Alesis Picoverb> unknown 12'' JBL Orange car speaker

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    KatyPerryologist astrozombie's Avatar
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    Default Re: is it safe to sand off a guitar's finish?

    promo
    Quote Originally Posted by Little Pigbacon View Post
    It's a federal crime to transport A Minor across state lines for purposes of blues.

    http://www.facebook.com/gegjm

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