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Step 4.  Prep the Body for Graphics

How did we scale the graphics to fit the guitar?  Easy...we measured the bridge, and transferred those measurements to guide lines (the blue horizontal and vertical lines) in CorelDraw.  Once the guides were set, we dragged the picture until the bridge in the graphic was lined up with the guides.  This insured we had the graphic scaled 1:1.

By the way -- This is CorelDraw Version 7, and old school version, but it is really great and easy to use.  Please don't ask to us to send you the graphics!

Here is a screen shot of our CorelDraw graphics.  Click the photo to see it full size.


After about a week of drying time for the Fiesta Red paint, we decided it was time to paint the white "swath" on the Strat.  Using our templates from CorelDraw, we cut out the top and back patterns and aligned them to the guitar body.

The photo on the right shows the alignment.  Our concern was to get the proper angle for the white swath, and to avoid a bunch of overspray on the rest of the red paint.

You can see the blue tape on the upper left side of the pickguard.  This is generally where the white meets the red and it shows our angle.

Using a plain manila folder, we made a template for the white paint.  The position of the neck cavity is cut into the template, while the position of the upper pickguard screw is marked with a pencil.

We don't want an airbrushed, precision transition zone on this guitar.  We want the transition to be made with a paint can, just like Mr. Hendrix did.

The plan is to loft the template up about 1/4" so that the line along the transition is not to clean.  If it is too clean, it will look like it was masked with tape.  Use some stacks of cardboard box material to lift the template up.

Out to the driveway we go with our paint cans!

First, we wiped the body with naphtha to insure our fingerprints wouldn't lift the paint.  Then, using our trusty Rustoleum white Specialty Lacquer (bought when we got the original red), we sprayed a thin layer along the top to double ensure that the red paint wouldn't lift (we'd already tested on scrap).

We worked our way down, then put the template on the guitar.  Once the template was in place, we sprayed the rest of the transition zone.

There is really no way to describe this process.  It is much like spraying a sunburst with a Home Depot-level spray can.  We always recommend practicing on scrap if you want to give this a try!

That white is bright!  Here is the finished body with the hanging stick in place.  We sprayed the edges and got some cool overspray on the "comfort contour" on the back of the guitar.

Overall, it looks pretty cool.  We may have to clean up the transition with a little rubbing compound, but overall we are ready to go with the art.

Safety Tip:  Take your time here.  Some sloppy spray work will ruin that cool Fiesta Red paint!  Always practice!


Step 5.  Transfer the graphics to the body.

Using the same upper and lower templates, we aligned them to the guitar using the pickguard.  Note the toothpicks holding the pickguard in place -- very high tech.

Also note that the jack plate is in place.  This is very important because Mr. Hendrix painted some lines around the plate.



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