How to paint a guitar neck

Written by darla ferrara
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How to paint a guitar neck
You can airbrush a design, paint a logo or add an easy wood finish. (guitar image by Darren Nickerson from

Painting the neck of your guitar is not complicated. First, decide what style you want for your guitar. The options are limitless. Your selection will depend on the material used to build your guitar. A solid mahogany guitar would require a different approach than other materials. You can airbrush a design, paint a logo or add an easy wood finish. Once you come up with a plan for the project, you will know how to proceed. The basic steps will remain the same regardless of style or form.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • Paint
  • Varnish or gloss

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the guitar strings.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the tuning pegs and tuners for the headstock.

  3. 3

    Remove the neck if possible. This may not always be an option, but some guitars do come apart. Turn your guitar over and look at the backside. If you see screws that secure the neck to the body, remove them and separate the neck. If you cannot remove the neck, cover the body with newspaper unless you plan to paint it too.

  4. 4

    Cover the fretboard with several layers of masking tape to protect the board.

  5. 5

    Paint the back of the neck and the headstock. For a wood guitar, a straightforward wood finish will do the trick. An option for an electric guitar might include a spray-on lacquer. Just concentrate on the base layer for now. You can add detailing once the base is dry. Allow the paint to dry based on directions provided with the product.

  6. 6

    Add a second coat if necessary.

  7. 7

    Varnish or gloss the neck if desired. If detailing with an airbrush or stencil, add the detail before the finishing varnish.

  8. 8

    Let the neck sit for several days to ensure the surface is dry before putting the guitar back together.

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