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I meant just strip off the clear coat and rough up the poly finish, since as you've already found it's a bitch to remove. Rough it up with a few grits of paper, paint an undercoat (white in your case), sand it back, paint another undercoat, sand it back, paint your basecoat, sand it back, paint another basecoat, sand it back, swirl it, smooth it, and then the best bit - clearcoat, sand, clearcoat, sand, continue ad nauseum until you're hands fall off and you cough up a lung from exposure.
Honestly, I wouldn't want to leave that much paint on the guitar, only to layer up more. I feel it is worth the work to take it back down to the sealer, and then paint it up from there. Other than that, yeah, taking it down to bare wood is a bad idea, since then you have to seal it again. Paint alone just doesn't cut it.
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