Guitar finishes typically are nitrocellulose lacquer, which is a hard, almost bulletproof finish that protects the guitar for the lifetime of the instrument. Occasionally, you bump your guitar, accidentally drop it or bang it into something and get a ding in the finish. You don't need to sand off the finish to remove small dents. You can spot-finish them by filling in the dent with regular lacquer.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Masking tape
- Cotton swabs
- Sandpaper, 400-grit
- Polishing compound
Tape around the ding with masking tape. Lay the tape as close to the perimeter of the ding as possible.
Dip a cotton swab into the lacquer. Touch the lacquered swab to the ding, leaving a small drop of lacquer in the ding. Wait 30 minutes for the lacquer to dry. Apply more lacquer, one drop at a time. Let it dry, and continue to apply more lacquer until the dried lacquer is slightly higher than the surface of the guitar body.
Sand the lacquer down with 400-grit sandpaper until it is flush with the guitar body. Remove the tape. Spot sand around the ding. Sand a circle around the ding, just barely wider in circumference than the ding.
Dip the end of a cotton swab in polishing compound, and apply a drop of it to the ding. Use a cotton cloth to polish the sanded area. Use a circular motion with the tip of your finger for 5 minutes.
Wipe the area clean with a dry cloth, and polish over the area with another clean, dry cloth until the area is shiny and the ding is blended into the finish.
Tips and warnings
- If your guitar is finished satin, buy satin lacquer. If it is finished glossy, buy glossy. Buy standard lacquer; you don't need to use nitrocellulose lacquer. You can buy polishing compound at any guitar supply company online or at a local auto parts store.
- Always wear breathing protection when sanding or working with wood or finishing products.