How to Strip a Guitar with a Heat Gun in 5 Easy Steps

If you have an old, ugly guitar laying around your house and you either A) want to spice up its body and impress your friends, or B) want to sell it on Craigslist, then you’ll want to know how to strip a guitar with a heat gun. This method is easy and fool-proof, as long as you have patience and are courteous to your guitar.

Please note: Before your begin, if your guitar has solid paint job; one that is not opaque in any way; or is just a clear coat, guitar manufacturers often use scrap pieces of wood to assemble bodies of solidly-painted instruments. So be prepared to re-paint it when you are done, or it might look like a Frankenstein guitar… wait, that sounds pretty cool.

What you’ll need: Heat gun (duh), guitar, mask, goggles, gloves, a well-ventilated area.

Step 1: Remove all the hardware from the guitar — you will not be stripping them. Hardware includes pick-ups, strings, knobs and anything fancy you may have attached. Flip guitar over and remove back plate, proceed to gut sensitive electrical components carefully.

Step 2: Apply even heat to an area of the body of the guitar. You’ll want to see the paint begin to begin to raise as a sign that you are doing it right.

Step 3: Use a seam separation knife or putty knife to scrape paint away. Be aware, sometimes under the topcoat is a metallic, conductive-shielding paint, try your best not to strip it.

Step 4: Continue around the guitar (in sections) until you have removed all of the paint. Don’t be afraid if you burn a bit here and there, it’ll still be paintable. And if you decide not to paint it, it’ll look rugged and cool.

Step 5: Look and admire your handiwork. Then, sand it down to remove any discoloration and add a smooth finish. All-in-all, the process should take a total of about 2-4 hours. Remember to keep your heat gun nimble and not too close to the body, and if you need to take a break, do it. It’ll be waiting for you when you get back. Please feel free to contact us here at Master Appliance for all of your heat gun needs.

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