How to Repair & Refinish a Guitar Ding

Written by dan seitz
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How to Repair & Refinish a Guitar Ding
Fix your prized instrument yourself! (guitar image by cherie from

There's nothing worse for a guitarist than seeing his prized guitar suffer a ding--either one that dents the lacquer or goes all the way to the wood--especially if money is tight. Guitar repairs can be costly, so before you take your instrument to a professional, you might want to consider attempting to repair it yourself. The process will take some time and a lot of patience, but soon enough you might have your guitar looking like new.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper towels
  • Soldering iron
  • Sandpaper
  • Cork block
  • Lubricant
  • Superglue
  • Brass polish

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  1. 1

    Assess the damage caused by the ding. Is the lacquer damaged, or is it the wood as well? If the wood is damaged, soak a small square of paper towel in water and place it over the ding. Touch the soldering iron to the towel quickly and move it away. You should see a small puff of steam. Move the towel away and inspect the dent. Continue to do this, being careful of the finish, until the dent is raised as much as possible. The steam will soak into the wood fibres, and they will swell, filling in the ding.

  2. 2

    Examine what remains of the ding. You will have some imperfections that will result from the process that need to be sanded down. Wrap your cork block in sandpaper, and use the block to go carefully over the dent, sanding down any imperfections. Lubricate the area every few swipes to ensure the finish is not scratched around the dent. Sand until the area is level with the rest of the guitar's face.

  3. 3

    Fill in what remains of the dent with superglue. Leave the superglue to dry for 24 hours, and then examine the repair. Apply a small amount of brass polish to the repair if it appears hazy or cloudy. Rub in the polish and check the finish to make sure it is even.

Tips and warnings

  • Be very careful with the soldering iron, as it can damage the finish if left on too long.

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