So...I learned a lot when I painted the EVH clown puke monstrosity a few years back. I decided to take a stab at painting again. I came across an ESP LTD M-307 in good condition for a killer price on CL. It was a boring, gloss black & it made for a great killer to get a facelift.
This thread will document both my victories and failures in painting this guitar. It's a learning experience, but it is fun as can be for me!
It's no secret that I've been a ridiculous fan of Eddie Van Halen for my entire life, so it's no surprise that I wanted to do a re-creation of the famous red, white and black Frankenstrat....but with 7 strings. Obviously, I'm using a way different guitar than a standard Strat, but that's half the fun! So, let's get to it!
I did a bunch of research of stripping paint. I've always used gel stripper in the past, but I was reading that a good heat gun will work wonders on a poly finish. Enter the Wagner heat gun with 12 heat presets. This thing rules! With a flexible putty knife, I got the gloss black off the body & headstock (all flat surfaces) in about an hour.
For the neck, I busted out the orbital sander & plenty of elbow grease.
Here's the guitar sanded down to the wood.
I decided to mod the lower horn for better upper fret access. It took a while, but it was well worth it. Totally unrestricted.
After a ton of hand sanding & tape prep in the cavities, the binding & fretboard, it's time to shoot the primer.
After shooting 4 light coats of primer & sanding, it was time to do the black paint base coat.
After shooting 4 light coats of black, it was time to tape up the pattern. Since I have a neck through guitar, I took some creative liberties on the back of the neck & the headstock. The body stayed true to the original design (well, more on that later).
Let's shoot the white!
I didn't want a big difference in paint thickness, so I only shot 2 light coats of white. The paint I was using covered very well & didn't take much. After a couple hours of curing, I pulled the tape off. VOILA!
Note that I used the tape to make built-in fret markers for 3, 5, 7, 9, 12 & 15th frets! The forward edge of the tape meets up to the corresponding fret.
Snag#1: The fretboard and headstock has binding that I had masked off while I was painting the black and white. Therefore, when I got done with the black and white, the paint buildup was taller than the binding. My solution was to mask off the binding and shoot clearcoat so I can match the heights of the black and white. Oh well, it's a learning experience. But, that solution worked out great!
I took all the tape off, then wet sanded where the paint met the binding. Smooth finish. In addition, I sanded every line where the black and white paint met to bust down the tape lines.
Snag#2: I went to tape the pattern for the red paint & realized that something was off. All of a sudden, it hit me. I used the 1" tape on the black/white pattern when it should've been 3/4". FUCK....ME.
I swore I was using the correct 3/4", but nope.
I tried to tape the red pattern, but my fuck up threw off the entire red pattern. So reluctantly after several hours trying to come up with a solution, I had to make the decision to save the red for another project & keep this one like the original frankentstrat in black/white. While the stripes are a 1/4" bigger, I still think the black/white looks great! So, let's make the best of it.
Honestly, I had struggled on whether or not to leave it black/white or move onto the red. I really dug the black/white. So yeah, the snag sucked, but I still REALLY dig it as it is. Lesson learned, pay close attention to the tape size!
So now, let's add the ESP logo.
Side note: Yeah, I know some of you are going to bitch about this since it's an LTD guitar. Good luck finding an aftermarket LTD logo though. LTDs are just mass produced ESPs anyway, so I went with an ESP logo. Looks great!
After that, let's shoot several coats of clear gloss. At this point, I waiting for it to cure.
So, what to do now? Well, I do have my 5150iii amp sitting here.
Why have an all-black faceplate....
...when I can have a black & white faceplate?! VOILA!
In this photo, I have the back faceplate off and it was being painted white as well. Overall, I love the look.
So, I'm still bored. What to do now?
Let's make those covers match the stripe design of the guitar!
Tape up, sand the black exposed areas & shoot the white.
An hour later....BAM!
I've now shots a couple coats of clear on them.
For now, this is where I'm at. Waiting sucks.
Also, the guitar came with EMG pickups. I will be adding Duncan Distortions in the active mount housing. 7 string - Duncan Distortion™ SH-6 - Seymour Duncan 7/8 String
Also, I will also be installing a Tremol-No, a D-Tuna & new Schaller Locking Tuners.
Now, the waiting game.....
Following this on FB. It's looking badass!