Vintage guitars are extremely popular with musicians, so manufacturers design many with a vintage or aged finish, which usually means a higher price tag. While plastic guitars are typically more difficult to age than their wooden counterparts, a professional can age the plastic instrument but the cost can be greater than the guitar's overall value. You can use a few household items and simple techniques to age a white plastic guitar, saving the cost of having a professional do the job.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Painter's masking tape
- Electric palm sander
- Cotton rag
- UV lamp
Remove the strings and all hardware.
Place painter's masking tape along the surface of the fretboard and the binding that runs the length of the fretboard to protect against accidental sanding.
Use 1000-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the body and neck of the guitar. Let the sander's weight provide the necessary pressure. Sand in a circular motion until the gloss is removed from the finish. Lightly sand the edges of the guitar to simulate the wear and tear associated with long-term use. Wipe the guitar's body and neck with a clean cotton rag. Do not sand the headstock.
Apply bleach to the guitar's surface with a clean cotton rag. Wipe the body and neck with the bleach-dampened rag. The bleach will destabilise the plastic's pigmentation, allowing it to lose its brightness and look aged. Over time, white plastic turns yellow.
Place the guitar under an ultraviolet (UV) lamp, which will yellow the plastic. By sanding and bleaching the plastic, the effects of UV exposure will be accelerated. Place the lamp at least five feet above the guitar to avoid melting the plastic. Let the guitar sit under the lamp for about 24 hours. Check the surface for yellowing or fading. Flip the guitar over and treat the backside with UV light. Repeat the process until the guitar acquires the desired look.
Tips and warnings
- The guitar body and neck can be left outside in the sun to achieve the effect of the UV lamp. However, this natural process takes much more time.
- Always apply bleach in a well-ventilated area. Do not use bleach if respiratory issues are a problem.
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