I started preparing the body for paint by first creating a layout for the various controls that I need on the body (1 volume, 1 Fishman Powerchip, 2 push/pull tones, 3-way switch, and ON-OFF-ON switch). I scanned in an outline of the body and control cavity and used AutoCAD to layout my controls.
Once the layout was set, I printed it out and taped it to the guitar body. I then used a nail-set to mark the control holes for drilling. I then removed the template and used a small drill-bit in my hand drill to make pilot holes. I setup my drill press with the appropriate sized bits for each control and proceeded to drill the holes for the controls.
I had a slight moment of panic when drilling the hole for the ON-OFF-ON switch. I was moving too fast and the wood started to tear out a bit on the face of the guitar. It did not create too much damage, but I had to stop the process to fix the tear out with some glue and later with some wood filler. Since I am painting the guitar, I wasn’t too worried.
Due to the thickness of the face of the body, I needed to provide some recesses in the control cavity to accommodate the controls so that they set through the guitar body properly. I used a 7/8″ foster bit in my drill press to create the needed control recesses. Once this was done, I did a test-fit of all the controls in the body.
The use of the Fishman Powerbridge required me to make some slight modifications to the tremolo bridge opening and the input jack. The tremolo opening on the face had to be opened slightly wider to accommodate the tremolo. I also had to square off the jack hole a bit to accommodate the stereo jack.
I then moved on to doing some preparatory sanding before I sprayed the sanding sealer using Abralon Sanding discs in my random orbit sander.
To ensure that the neck fit properly after the paint had been applied, I masked off the guitar neck cavity. Before I did this, I sprayed one coat of sanding sealer on the cavity to protect the wood. I then installed a piece of wood to the body to use to hang the body during the finish process.
I ordered the neck with a satin finish. But since I wanted the face of the neck headstock to match the body finish, I sanded the finish off of the headstock face and then masked the rest of the neck.
I picked up some aerosol spray sanding sealer from my local Hobby Lobby to use to seal the grain of the guitar. In hindsight, I should of used a better product (see progress in next entry). I sprayed 3 coats of the sanding sealer on the guitar body and neck, letting each coat dry in between application.
Once the sanding sealer coats were finished, I moved onto spraying the primer. As you can see from my picture, I am using a John Deere product. Yes, the same John Deere that makes the tractors!! When I first explored the idea of a new guitar, I decided I wanted a flat or satin black finish. After some research, I found out that several auto hot-rodders use the John Deere Blitz Black paint to get a nice, durable satin black finish on their cars. So I ordered the paint and companion primer from my local John Deere dealer.
I sprayed three coats of primer on both the neck face and body with about 15-20 minutes between coats per the paints directions and let the guitar set overnight after the final coat.