Do I need to use primer in this circumstance?

V Silly

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Hello folks, I have a peru walnut neck that I was going to paint with clear nitro, so I have done pore filling and a sealer coat. However when I started to spray lacquer I did not like the color that the Peruvian walnut turned, it's very dark and red, almost maroon. I have decided to paint the neck white instead. My question is, do I need to use a white primer under the white nitrocellulose lacquer?

I don't have a ton of painting experience so before I make a horrible mistake I thought I'd ask. Also if I do need primer what product would be universal/compatible? Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

gb Custom Shop

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You don't really need to apply primer in this case. As long as your sealer (and in this case clear) coats are level sanded, you should be OK going straight to your colour coat.

For future reference, you can simulate what your wood would look like with clear on it, with the use of naptha.

I'd also love to see pictures of this Peruvian walnut neck before you apply any colour to it (and maybe the body too!). I will say though, while I generally prefer to see the natural wood grain on projects, it pains me to see an opaque finish covering up some beautiful wood grain. Just saying, maybe you want to sleep on this decision.
 

V Silly

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Sorry not very good lighting here right now, but photos are attached. Now I'm outed, this isn't a tele! One side benefit of painting a solid color is that I made a mistake in construction at the top of the headstock which will be covered if I paint solid. Thank you for the reply!
 

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V Silly

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It's on the top of the headstock, because of a miscalculation I had put on a second head plate so the center stripe doesn't go all the way around the top of the headstock, not shown in the photos. Thank you though for the kind words.
 

stratisfied

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Please don't paint that beautiful wood white. You can always mask the contrasting piece (Do one side at a time) and overspray with a dark walnut (Encore Brown by Mohawk) for a less red coloration.
 

V Silly

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Here is a photo of the end of the headstock, I had to put a second layer on the head plate so the back stripe doesn't go all the way around. I am concerned that this looks like a mistake. Am I overthinking it? Thank you all for the comments.
 

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Freeman Keller

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If you do decide to paint it white you should follow the manufacturer's directions on the can of finish that you plan to put on it. If it is a nitrocellulose lacquer designed for guitar finishing (StewMac, Rerance, etc) they will recommend a sealer/primer - use their stuff. If it is an automotive acrylic lacquer then there will be a recommended primer. Note that StewMac publishes the exact schedule for different kinds of woods and desired effects.

Sealers and primers have two main functions - the promote adhesion between the various layers and the build thickness which allows you to level sand your work. In some cases they provide a background of the same color that you will be spraying (or a contrast) - that is particularly true with white - it should be sprayed over a white or light grey primer.

If you are trying to duplicate one of the old Fender white finishes get Dan Erlewine's book on guitar finishing - he has step by step recipes for many of the old ones using modern products.

And as always, follow the cardinal rule of finishing and practice everything on scraps of the same wood.
 
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Boreas

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Here is a photo of the end of the headstock, I had to put a second layer on the head plate so the back stripe doesn't go all the way around. I am concerned that this looks like a mistake. Am I overthinking it? Thank you all for the comments.

Yes, you are overthinking it. Looks fine. Embrace the anomaly. Don't cover it up. Plenty of ways to mess up a cover-up as well!😁 Don't step near that rabbit hole!!
 
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gb Custom Shop

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Here is a photo of the end of the headstock, I had to put a second layer on the head plate so the back stripe doesn't go all the way around. I am concerned that this looks like a mistake. Am I overthinking it? Thank you all for the comments.
I see nothing wrong with that 🙂
I still would encourage you to leave it as is. That's some beautiful wood!
 

Freeman Keller

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Here is a photo of the end of the headstock, I had to put a second layer on the head plate so the back stripe doesn't go all the way around. I am concerned that this looks like a mistake. Am I overthinking it? Thank you all for the comments.
Only you can decide if that is not acceptable, frankly the whole idea of painting it white is not acceptable to me. Some time back I did a multipiece neck with a contrasting head plate. I bound the head (and reset of the guitar) to match the center piece of the neck. Does it look OK? I think so

IMG_0025.JPG


IMG_5935.JPG
 

Steve Holt

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I think we're all too critical of our own work. Something that makes me want to start over and scrap the whole guitar is probably inconsequential to someone that didn't suffer that mistake when building it.

The wood looks good, I see no issue with the headstock.

Just curious...why white? What kind of body you got for this thing?
 
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V Silly

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It's a series of mini guitars inspired by early 1950s small body guitars such as Kay K-125 or Harmony Stratotone. They are designed to be ultralight and for players with small hands.
 

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