The owner wanted the neck of his Ibanez painted to match the rest of the design on ‘Luna’. In this case that meant a solid colour being applied to the neck, so the process for ‘prepping’, priming, painting and finishing the neck was very similar to that of guitar body itself.
First of all the neck is removed from the guitar and all the hardware (machine heads, nut, etc.) removed. Then the neck is rubbed down with 800 grit wet and dry, filled where necessary, rubbed down again and primed. This all done, the neck is now perfectly smooth and ready for painting. Never start painting until your surface is perfectly smooth. If you start painting with even the smallest imperfections in your surface, no matter how much you rub down during later stages you’ll be struggling to get that perfect finish.
Although this particular Ibanez will be a bit different to the ‘norm’, it is still an Ibanez…….so it needs to be logo-ed up accordingly……………albeit with a slight difference. The ‘Ibanez’ logo is ‘lifted’ off the ‘net, printed out at the right size and then transferred onto the headstock…………..
Once the design is traced onto the masking, this is then laid onto the headstock and cut around with a scalpel. The excess film is then removed leaving only the lettering masked out. The headstock is now masked and ready for paint……….
Obviously the fingerboard is masked. The trick here is to try and keep the paint as thin as possible along the neck/fingerboard edge to keep the ridge formed by the hard-masking as small as possible. Also, when lacquering after painting, with each lacquer coat the masking is ‘staggered’ towards the frets, effectively feathering the edge of the lacquer towards the fingerboard. This (with lots of careful rubbing down of course) gives a perfectly smooth transition from painted neck to the ‘working face’ of the fingerboard.
Okay, all masked up and ready for some paint…..
The first lighter midnight blue is applied……..
Not a great picture this one, but here you can see a much darker blue is then painted along the outer edges of the neck and headstock, giving a dark blue sunburst effect.
The same process starts on the front of the headstock…..
This is then worked on, to match the main theme of the guitar……
Once the masking is removed a clear pattern for the headstock lettering design is left. The lettering will probably be painted or silver/gold leafed in after after the neck is lacquered for the first time. The star detail will be silver leafed and halo-ed. There is already metallic silver in the detail here which should show out under a lacquer coat………..should look ‘kinda purdy’!
Decided to airbrush in a couple of halo’s around the stars and applied a bit of white paint to the star centres before lacquering. Have been struggling to use metallic silver for these halo’s, as the metallic silver paints aren’t keen on working smoothly through the airbrush for fine work.
Anyway…….back to the neck. Slight change of plan here – as I was applying silver leaf to the ‘Custom’ lettering, it made sense to apply it to the stars as well before the first ‘base’ lacquer coat…………..
And the end result. The neck is now ready for it’s first ‘base’ lacquering. Once the lacquer is hardened and rubbed down the main ‘Ibanez’ lettering will be masked and painted in.
This is the headstock after the white lettering was applied and the neck lacquered twice.
The neck was then given a third coat of lacquer, two coats had the neck to a really nice finish, the third was purely for getting a really smooth transition between the neck and the fingerboard.
After much rubbing down between the two previous finish coats with 1000/1200 grade wet and dry – the final coat of lacquer was applied. Once the lacquer had been baked on, the neck was then treated to a session under a Ultra Violet lamp (this seems to cure the lacquer far more quickly) and lightly rubbed down – firstly with an old piece of 1200 wet and dry to remove any minor ‘specs’ in the lacquer, then with 2000 wet and dry to get it really smooth. It was then cut back again with a very fine polishing compound and finally given seven or eight coats of TurtleWax and polished to seal the whole finish.
Other stages of the guitars ‘make-over’ can be seen by clicking on the links below.