Here we have a LAG Arcane guitar thats in for a bit of a makeover.
Mark wanted a ‘dragon’ theme, and decided that something along the lines of the ‘Dragon Dean’ would be good. So lets see what we can do…………
This is how the guitar looks to start with.
It’s got more hair than me at this stage!
And the usual (and expected) chips and marks…………………
Any used guitar is bound to have some marks……………..though some of the marks evident here were in the original finish.
Interesting headstock. Mark wants to keep the LAG Arcane name plate pretty much as is, though it’ll probably be tinted slightly to match the rest of the guitar before we’re done with it.
Stripped of all it’s hardware the preparation work can begin……………
First job is to rub down the existing paint………….
This guitar actually has quite a nice feel to it and will look really good with some decent paintwork and finishing on it. The only part of the guitar that doesn’t look well done in it’s original spec is the paintwork, which is very thin with next to no lacquer in evidence.
Anyway, here the original paintwork is rubbed down and some of the minor blemishes and ‘dints’ almost rubbed out.
Then the guitar body and neck where given a first coat of primer. Here the first primer coat is in the process of being rubbed down with 1000 grade wet and dry.
As is usually the case, after the first primer coat and rubbing down, any little marks in the guitar surface become readily visible. Here those marks have been filled and are ready for rubbing down smooth.
The neck has also gone through the process of rubbing down, priming and rubbing down again. Care is taken through all the painting stages to keep the paint as thin as possible where the fingerboard and neck are glued together. I have made the mistake before of leaving the fingerboard masking on through a couple of primer and paint coats. Great, until you remove the masking and you’re left with a step in your paint – right where you want it to be really smooth! So these days I take great care to keep this area nice and neat and tidy. Then once the final paintcoat has gone on, the lacquer is stepped over the paint onto the edge of the fingerboard and the result is a beautifully smooth neck/fingerboard transition
The LAG nameplate (unfortunate name!) is masked off to be revealed again later. Here you can see that the headstock, having been primed, has also been rubbed down ready for the second coat of primer to be applied.
Likewise the back of the headstock………
The guitar and the guitar neck is now re- primed ready for rubbing down all over again tomorrow. That will probably be all the preparation work necessary on this guitar and she should then be ready for paint……………………….thats the fun bit!
Okay, unfortunately for me, the guitar body needed another three coats of primer and rubbing down sessions before it was ready for this next stage – that happens sometimes, but there is absolutely no point continuing onto the next stage until the body is perfectly smooth as it will only show out later. Anyway, after discussing the project further with Mark he kindly agreed to let me experiment slightly with his guitar – so this will be the first guitar body that I’m trying this particular new technique of mine out on. The first step of the process is to apply silver leaf all over the front of the body of the guitar. Here you can see that the first layer has already been applied and more silver leaf sheets have since been applied to cover any holes in the original layer.
When the whole guitar is covered it looks like this. Notice that here the sides, the bridge area and the neck pocket are masked out.
Then with the masking round the edges of the guitar removed, it’s into the spraybooth for a lacquer coat to seal the silver leaf in………….
………and here the body is lacquered and ready for the next stage.
The technique I’m now going to use on this guitar is as far as I know unique to me in guitar finishing and so the next couple of stages will not be posted on the site……………well, I have to keep some things secret!
Okay, the edges of the guitar where the lacquer coat finished were rubbed down………….and in doing so I found another small mark which was duly removed. So the silver gilded front was then masked off and the sides were reprimed and lightly rubbed down.
The back of the guitar ready for the basecoat………….
………..and after the basecoat.
I quite like this green colour…………
The neck is basecoated too, ready for the blue into gold into mica flip-flop paint.
Here the back of the guitar is flip-flopped…………
Difficult to show the paint at this stage……………
………..but here you can see the effect on the back of the headstock and into the neck. These paints don’t really work until they are lacquered in, but even at this stage it’s looking good here. The flip-flop will probably need re-coating and then lacquering.
Okay, not really too much that can be shown on the diary for this guitar today, but having lacquered in the flip-flop basecoat I thought you might be interested to see the difference a lacquer coat makes to this paint.
This is a really nice looking paint which the camera doesn’t really capture terribly well – but this is just the basic colour of this guitar…………….wait ’til the detail starts going in!
Here is a rough of the design thats going to be applied to this LAG Guitar.
And here is the design after a bit of work applied and filled out slightly ‘detail wise’ on the guitar body.
This technique allows me to apply really fine detail onto the guitar. Here the first yellow tinted lacquers are applied to the design.
After a bit more work some other coloured lacquers are also applied to the design.
Here our fiery friend is starting to take shape. The beauty of this technique is that the silver leaf that is left showing shines through the tinted laquers to give a really bright, crisp almost luminous detail.
After a bit more tweaking the mother-in-law would be proud of her (she kindly modelled for this guitar)
Difficult to get good pictures of the guitar at this stage and it’s all looking pretty messy, but the overall effect can be seen here.
Our ‘Hero’ is getting a bit hot under the collar here! Serves him right……………..all that hair!
And here the guitar is ready for the first main lacquering coat. Still bits to be tweaked as this goes through the lacquering process, but once the first lacquer coat is applied this should start to look something like it’s meant to.
Okay, just a really quick update after the first proper lacquer coat has been applied. The colour of the back and edge of the guitar didn’t really sit that well against the predominantly black front colour, so as a compromise I mixed a black with some metallic green flip-flop and sprayed the edges of the guitar – as well as airbrushing into the design on the front and sunbursting the back. Again, not great piccies here (there will be better to follow as the finish lacquering progresses), but the idea of the design is starting to work here.
This is probably a better picture to show how it works………………more to follow over the next few days.
Okay, just a quick update as the LAG has now had it’s final lacquer coats and is now ready for it’s final rub down and polishing. Just thought I’d whack on a couple of piccies of the back of the guitar and the neck after the final lacquer coat. This looks really good in the flesh, so to speak. Once this lacquer coat is rubbed down through the grades of wet and dry and polished up it will really shine……..
So tomorrow the final stages of the LAG will commence…………….I’m looking forward to seeing this one all polished up myself!
Here the guitar body was completely rubbed down through the grades of wet and dry down to 2000 grade. Next step the polishing compound.
It was at this stage that that this little anomaly showed itself on one section of the edge of the guitar body. After various attemps at re-rubbing down, polishing compounds and even final polishing to see if the mark disappeared – it could still just be seen if you looked really carefully.
So only one course of action open to me………………re-lacquer the body again. It would be easy to let it go as it didn’t show all that much at all if you weren’t looking for it – but when you know something isn’t right – and there is something you can do about it there is only one option. Do it as best as you can.
So here she is after another coat of lacquer in front of the U.V. lamp.
Here the body is ready for rubbing down again through the grades of wet and dry………….and then hopefully to the final polishing!
Just a couple of incidental snaps of the edge of the guitars neck. Peachy smooth feel to this neck/fingerboard transition………..
when this is polished up it will be seriously purdy.
Anyway, will be cracking on with the rubbing down and polishing this week, so………
Here she is all polished…………
Re-assembled, set up and ready to go. This has been a bit of an epic, lot’s of experimentation as it went, but it really has turned out better than I’d even hoped it would in the end. This guitar now looks as good as it sounds (a really great sounding guitar in the right hands, so worth a try of one if you get the chance)
So here she is as she was…………….
And here she is finished……………a real cracker of a guitar.
*New Project* The LAG Roxane ‘Predator’ Guitar.
Here is another LAG guitar currently in the process of being custom painted. Click on the image (below) to see how this LAG Roxane guitar is being transformed into a ‘Predator’ themed custom special.