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Advice for doing a burst?

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Joined: 07 Oct 2012
Posts: 56
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Advice for doing a burst? Reply with quote

I'm working on doing a blue burst on my MIM strat. I know that a MIM strat is not really ideal for a burst but it's the finish I always wanted for it so I went for it. Plus it's a good guitar to learn on because if I ruin the existing body it's not the end of the world. I also know a burst is not the best first project but see above and also I'm stubborn, sorry. Sad

Anyways, I've had two attempts at it, the second being an improvement on the first but still not perfect so I've stripped the body back down and I'm going to give it one more shot but before I do, I wanted to ask you guys here for any advice and tips so that I can get it perfect this time.

I've had two main problems. First, the blue has turned into more of a purple which I believe is due to overspray from the black. I was not properly masking the burst portion of the work when I sprayed the black edges and I didn't have the sense to do the sides before I did the burst and then do the black band last. Second, the black band has turned out wider than intended. This is because when I made additional passes on it, I moved further inward on the body when I think I should have maintained only half the spray pattern hitting the body.

So, with those two things in mind, I'm hoping that I can lay out my plan, assuming all sanding prep is completed, and if anything seems really stupid people can give me some advice on it.

  1. Apply mixture of blue dye and laquer thinner to stain the exposed wood of the guitar, let sit for 30 minutes to a half hour, and then sand back stain leaving behind a hopefully more prominent grain pattern. I'm not sure how well this will work on a MIM strat but I'm assuming it won't hurt and might improve the final appearance.

  2. Spray two to three coats of sanding sealer.

  3. Lay body flat on bench, mask the exposed surface (front or back depending on which side is down on the bench) and spray the black edges all the way around the body.

  4. Spray two to four coats of clear to seal the black edges to allow for light sanding of any overspray from the blue in the next step onto the existing black.

  5. Spray the blue burst section of the guitar to desired tint of blue.

  6. Spray two to four coats of clear to seal the blue burst region to allow for light sanding of overspray from black band which will be sprayed next.

  7. Spray black band around edge, using a tighter spray pattern, spraying outward from the center of the body and hitting it with only half the spray pattern to get desired transition band.

  8. Spray six to ten coats of clear as the final top coat.

  9. Do final sanding, buffing, and polishing.

I plan to sand only where absolutely needed to remove debris and limit it to very light sanding to try to prevent uneven coloring. I plan to do all the leveling sanding to get a nice flat finish at the last step.

A couple questions:

  1. Should I sand more frequently or is it best to limit sanding as much as possible until you do the final sanding?

  2. I've seen sites mention that staining the wood using the burst color prior to applying the sealer can be done to simplify the process and that this is in fact what Fender did early on and continues to do even now that they spray the burst color over the sealer as well. Would this work with a blue burst or is that particular to a standard sunburst finish? Any benefits of doing this instead of the plan I laid out above? Any concerns?

  3. My main concern is the blue turning out purple. I've had it happen twice but I think it's because I was not masking the burst portions when I sprayed the black edges and I did those after spraying the blue. This time around, I play to spray the black edges first so that I can sand out the areas which will be blue if there is overspray and then spray the blue. Could there be some other cause of the purplish tint? For instance, could it be that the sanding sealer is interacting with the blue to make it purple? When I stripped the guitar back this most recent time, I noticed that it seemed like the back stayed purple all the way through as I removed the burst but the front seemed to change back to a blue as I removed layers. The only difference that I can figure is that I had to redo the front because I messed it up and I may not have put down sanding sealer before I started spraying the blue. I still think my plan above is the best bet based on what I've read about doing bursts so far but if anyone has any experience on this, I'd really appreciate advice. I still think ultimately it's the black lacquer overspray turning the blue into a purple. I'm using black pigment, by the way, not dye.

Apologies for the long and dense post but there seems to be a lot of great people here with tons of experience so now that I've learned some things the hard way and done some more research I'm really hoping to get some experienced advice so that I can get the job done right.

Here are some links that I've been referencing for information in case anyone is interested. Let me know if any of this information is garbage

By the way, I'm also planning on being a lot more methodical and patient with the process to make sure I'm getting it right each step of the way this time around and I will also be doing my best to do tests for each step on scrap wood before I commit to the actual guitar and I will always start on the back so if I completely screw it up it's a little less noticeable.

Anyways, thanks in advance for any tips and advice that you guys can share. This has been a really great resource and I appreciate all the help I can get.

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