How to Remove Spray Paint from A Guitar Without Damaging the Finish

How To Remove Spray Paint From A Guitar

Since good-quality guitars are pretty expensive, many of us buy second-hand guitars. They may have lost their natural appearance over time. You should aim at giving them a new look they deserve.

So, you will first remove the old spray paint and give it a shiny topcoat to make it a brand-new guitar. But knowing how to remove spray paint from a guitar is important to get the job done perfectly.

I will help you get rid of unwanted or old spray paint from your guitar in this post. Read until we finish to find the top technique to eliminate spray paint.

Can You Easily Remove Spray Paint from A Guitar?

Some spray paints are easy to get off, while a few may take some time and elbow greases to remove paint from guitar body.

The difficulty or easiness you will face to get rid of spray paint depends on multiple factors. Here are a few of them:

  • How thick is the paint?
  • How hard has the paint become?
  • What tools/materials do you use?
  • Which method do you follow to remove it?
  • What type of surface your guitar has?

So, choosing handy tools and following the right method is important to remove spray paint from the guitar successfully. In addition, when you use the best spray paint for guitar body, the removal process should not be hard.

How Do You Get Spray Paint Off A Guitar?

Multiple options are there, but choosing the best option at your convenience is crucial. We will help you to provide details about all information.

Heat Gun & Putty Knife

Heat guns can work effectively to strip off the hard spray paint of the guitar. First, you will keep the heat gun close to the guitar surface and let it weaken the paint coat. Once it becomes soft enough, use the putty knife to remove the paint.

A Wide Chisel

If your guitar has a fully flat surface, you can use a wide chisel to take the spray paint off guitar. This approach is generally suitable when the guitar paint is pretty soft and thin. But be cautious; you may damage the wood surface otherwise.

Orbital Sander

Another handy solution can be a typical orbital sander. But you must use it for only flat surfaces. Or, you may damage the guitar surface. Plus, avoid pressing excessive pressure while using the machine. Don’t keep it too close.

Hand Sand with Sandpapers

If you are looking for a safe and affordable option, you can manually remove spray paint using sandpapers. But the process is time-consuming since you will need to sand the surface for several hours to get a perfect result.

Strong Hairdryer & Putty Knife

Another alternative solution you can use a hairdryer to get spray paint off guitar easily. Blow a suitable hot air on the guitar finish and make it soft enough. Then finally, use the putty knife to scrape the spray paint substances from the surface.

The Tools You’ll Need to Get The Job Done Quick!

how to take spray paint off guitar

When it comes to removing finish from guitar, some handy tools or materials are necessary to make the job easier. Check out this table to learn about them.

NO.Items Name
1Sandpapers (in Different Grits)
2Masking Tape Or Painters Tape
3Lighter Fluid Or Thinner
4Tools To Remove Screws (Like: Screwdriver or Fretting Tool Set)
5Old Fresh Fabric

Tell Me The Easiest Way To Remove Spray Paint?

Though you have several options to remove spray paint, not all of them are easy-going. For example, it might be tricky to maintain a precise hot temperature while using a hairdryer or heat gun.

The surface quality may degrade. This will prevent the new paint from sitting and adhering perfectly. But be cautious while using it.

One simple way is to remove the spray paint by using sandpaper manually. Though the approach is slightly tedious, it worth the investment.

You can monitor and closely look at how much paints are removed. This will prevent you from overdoing and harming the guitar body.

But if you are in a little bit hurry, you can initially use a hairdryer or heat gun and start sanding with various grits sandpaper.

What Is The Best Way To Remove Paint From A Guitar?

Are you keen to learn how to take paint off guitar using the easiest approach? Here is the best approach to follow. I am mentioning it step-by-step.

Step: 1 —Preparing the Guitar

Firstly, you should remove the strings and then disassemble your guitar. To make this job easy you can use the fretting tool set or screwdriver.

Disconnecting some wires is also necessary, such as jack wires, ground wires.

best way to remove guitar paint

If you don’t want to take them off or face difficult to remove due to their route, you can cover up them using masking tape or painter’s tape.

Don’t forget to safeguard all guitar parts, especially the pickups. Also, unscrew any screws or nuts if your guitar has any of them.

Apart from that, cover the fretboard and neck to a feasible extent using tape. Damage to these parts can degrade the sound quality of a guitar.

Step: 2 —Applying Some Lighter Fluid or Thinner

Start by applying some lighter fluid or thinner to the guitar in order to remove the spray paint. This will remove the finish.

Get an old fresh fabric and put it inside the container of the lighter fluid or thinner. Then give several wipes on the flat surface using the drenched towel.

Step: 3 —Sanding with 400 Grit Sandpaper

Now, grab a 400 grit sandpaper and start sanding the guitar surface by following a consistent direction.

Keep sanding until you achieve a dull appearance. When the finish or coating is removed, it will look pretty matte.

Step: 4 —Applying an All-purpose Thinner

Now get an all-purpose thinner, dip a fresh towel inside the container and wipe the guitar surface several times. This will make the paint softer.

Your job is to remove the soft or runny paint by mopping as much as possible. You can use paper towels to get off the paint.

Step: 5 — Sanding with 800 Grit Sandpaper

Now, you want to use regular sandpaper that has an 800 grit rating. Choose a particular option that is purposely made for removing paint.

how to remove paint from a guitar with sandpaper

Keep sanding the paint until all the remaining paint is removed. Repeating the process several times might be necessary if the coat is thick.

Step: 6 — Sanding Further

If you want to remove the old coating under the topcoat, you need to sand further. But apply some diluted thinner using a rag to get rid of the remaining topcoat.

Then, sand the undercoat using 1200 grit sandpaper initially followed by 2000 grit sandpaper. Spend a decent amount of time to make it super smooth.

Step: 7 — Finishing the Removal Task

Once you think you have removed both coatings perfectly, apply the diluted thinner in a tiny amount to get rid of the sanding residue.

removing finish from guitar

Keep it in partial sunlight to recover its natural appearance. Now, you can paint it. Check how to spray paint a guitar step-by-step easily. Clean your guitar properly with a damp paper towel or microfiber cloth before you begin painting.

Effective Products to Remove Spray Paint for Guitar Body

Though you can use the approach mentioned above to take off spray paint from your guitar, some quick solutions are there.

For example, you can use the Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripper to soften your guitar’s topcoat. It has professional strength to be effective and is safe for most guitar surfaces.

Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Another simple yet effective solution can be using Nail Polish Remover. A nail polish remover contains solvent acetone. The active ingredient effectively removes latex-based and oil-based paints from your guitar surface.

Pronto Nail Polish Remover

Challenge To Remove Paint From Guitar

Though removing spray paint overspray from your guitar surface is not rocket science, you may face some challenges when applying it for the first time.

  • You may slightly or moderately damage the wood surface if not extra cautious.
  • You may ruin the original paint beneath the spray paint while a heat gun or hairdryer for using excessive heat.
  • Patience is the key while removing paint because while needs several hours of sanding when the spray paint coat is excessively thick.
  • Your hands may feel tired from continuous sanding and cleaning the guitar surface.

Does Removing Paint Damage Guitar Body?

Removing spraypaint won’t cause any damage to the guitar body if you do it slowly, cautiously, and precisely.

At first, give yourself enough to prepare the necessary to successfully get rid of spray paint.

In addition, use all the safer tools to make the removal journey smoother. You should not mind spending a few bucks for effective paint removal.

What Should Extra Care Be Taken When Removing Paint from Guitar

Though we have already discussed all the important things you should note down while removing paint from guitar, here are some extra cautions you can consider.

  • Avoid sanding on the dirt surface. Clean sanding residues between sanding.
  • Don’t put excessive pressure while sanding the guitar surface.
  • Aim at using high-quality lighter fluid or thinner to ensure optimal safety.
  • Don’t keep the hairdryer too close when using it.
  • Make sure to remove all the possible parts before removing paint.
  • Keep all important parts covered using high-quality tape.


Can I Use Paint Stripper on Guitar to Remove Paint?

You could use paint stripper on guitar to remove paint, but you would need to be very careful not to damage the finish or the wood.

Can You Take Paint Off An Acoustic Guitar?

You can take paint off an acoustic guitar with a little bit of effort. First, you’ll need to remove the strings and hardware from the guitar. Next, you’ll need to sand down the paint until it’s completely gone or you can use denatured alcohol or paint thinner.

Can You Remove Guitar Paint with Hair Dryer?

Yes, you can remove guitar paint with a hair dryer. The heat from the hair dryer will soften the paint and make it easier to remove. Be careful not to apply too much heat, or you could damage the guitar.

How Long Does It Take to Remove Spray Paint From My Guitar?

It depends on the type of paint and the guitar. Lacquer-based paints can be removed with lacquer thinner in a matter of minutes, but oil-based paints can take hours or even days to remove completely.

How Do You Remove Dried Spray Paint from Guitar?

Removing dried spray paint from the guitar requires a hairdryer or heat gun to soften the coat. Then, use some lighter fluid or thinner to take off the paint layer easily.


Hopefully, you have learned some precise details on how to remove spray paint from a guitar. Make sure to apply the procedure sequentially and correctly to get the most out of it.

Thanks for reading!