venomous.

Hello world, meet Venom.

What can I say about my latest project? Well, to start, it was fun and it was also pretty hard. I had never taken a guitar apart before this. I have been playing since the winter of 2000 and I do the occasional restringing of my guitars but this was a whole new beast to me. I started this in a different way than I ended it but whatever, it came out nice. The mistakes from my first attempt show through in spots on the final product but I suppose that happens when dealing with paints and such.

By the way, if you click the photos on my blog you will be taken to a version with more saturation. This is the way the photos are supposed to look. For some reason WordPress likes to desaturate my photos. Don’t know why, it could be the theme but this fix works if you really care to see them how they are supposed to be.

My first attempt was pretty odd. I didn’t want to take it all apart because I was kind of afraid I wouldn’t know what to do to get it all back together. Well, as I attempted to tape off the guitar and paint away at certain things I quickly learned that I would have to strip it all down and go for broke. After my first couple spray sessions on the pickguard (while still attached to the body) I learned that the paint is going to just go where it wants because it was hanging at the time. Well, bad idea.

After I finished this first failed attempt I had to sand a bunch and begin the process of taking it all apart. I learned that the guitar innards are really not that complicated and soon after taking about 50% of it off I felt a lot more comfortable with what I was doing. Soon it was all apart, in pieces, taped off and ready to be painted for a second time.

This time I would do it right. I hung the body up with string on a nail. Probably not the BEST situation for it all but it works. It’s all I could do because I needed to be able to let it freely spin with nothing touching the body in any way. I started the painting by first working with the headstock. I painted it black and all was well until I took some tape off and decided I wanted more black on parts I was going to keep chrome. Well, I took the tape off and went back to the painting room. It was about 10am and pretty cold in the basement and I just covered the headstock with black paint. I will assume that the effect the paint gave me was because it was so cold in there. It came out somewhat like a snake skin and I loved it. Total accident but it was beautiful and I decided to go with it.

Now, I had already painted the pickguard and it was just a regular black but I couldn’t have that now. The pickguard had a few pits and bumps in it because of my previous sanding. I didn’t have any finely-granulated sandpaper at the time so I just went with it. I liked the snake look though and this was now going to be my first REAL attempt at creating that effect. I took the pickguard down to the paint room and just doused it with black. Hoping the cold would do it’s work I left the room for about 10 minutes or so. When I returned I found that it did work. It maybe didn’t look as good as the headstock’s texture but still I achieved the results I was looking for. The pits and bumps disappeared or just worked right into the texture and that was a total relief for me.

Next came the painting of the green pieces. The body I had sanded a few times by this point so I was fairly certain it would stick to it and cover it well. I began by painting the body a few coats and letting it dry for a while. In the spare time I began working on painting the smaller pieces like the tuners, strap buttons, whammy bar and tiny little string holders that attach to the headstock. Some pieces were green and some were black but it didn’t matter what color, they were all a pain because of their small or awkward size.

After I got all the small pieces done I went back to the body. After a while it was coating well pretty much everywhere except for on a few curves (to be expected) and some top parts (also to be expected because of how high the piece was hanging while painting it). I did a few more coats of paint and let it dry to inspect it. I decided I had better go back over it once or twice more to make sure it would look nice. I coated it especially well on those troubled spots and then brought it upstairs to dry by the fire.

Next came the construction of the guitar after drying. I checked it over before work began again and though everything was dry. I was wrong. The tall horn (left side of guitar) was not finished drying on the back because I had loaded it with paint and I accidentally placed it on my pant-leg. I quickly learned that it was not yet dry but nothing could be done. It now has a weird little smudge on the back but I can sand it and fix it later, if I decide to. It kind of gives it a little extra texture and flavor to it. No big deal for me since it’s really just an art piece at this point in my playing career. Anyway, after working for a bit to get the pickups and knobs attached to the pickguard again I noticed a few little scratches and dents to the paint. Easily fixable and have been cleaned up since that. I next attached the headstock and it was beginning to look like a guitar again. I then screwed the tuners in and attached all the small pieces like knobs, whammy bar and such.

In the end, I learned a lot about painting, guitar construction and learning to be more patient about letting things dry properly.

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