How to Disassemble a Guitar Hero SG Controller for Painting




This is a guide to help you take apart a PS2 SG Guitar Hero Controller so that you can paint or mod it. I know other instructables like this one exist, so I'm hoping to make this one really clear and well photographed.

This is my first instructable so please comment and criticize, it'll help me out a lot.

Step 1: Preparation

First sure you have everything you'll need to complete this project. The basics are a screwdriver that will fit into the holes on the back of the guitar, and maybe another for the smaller screws inside. You'll want a large clear workspace, and some way to organize all of the screws you remove during disassembly (nearly 40). They're not all universal, so a little organizer like the one I threw together should help you keep things together.

For painting, you'll want
-Fine-grained sandpaper
-Your choice of paints, I used some Rust-o-leum spray we had lying around, otherwise enamel works best, but is tough to clean up
-Optionally, gloss, graphics to apply, stencils, etc

There are much more detailed painting guides out there if you're really serious, but the basics come out with a good looking end result as long as you're careful and take your time.

Step 2: Taking the Back Off

This is pretty simple. Just unscrew everything you see on the back and neck of the guitar. Be sure to sort it into your organizer so you know where everything goes later.

Step 3: The Insides

Remove the back of the guitar body and neck once all the screws are removed. Now you'll have access to all of the electronics inside. All of the electronics seem pretty simple and durable, so you won't have to worry too much about breaking anything, but be careful anyway.

The five color keys are at the top of the neck and just held in by two screws, remove them.

The main board is attached by four screws, and the (Start) and (Select) button panel has two screws. Under the main board you'll find two black spacer pieces that hold the strum thing in place. Just slide these out.

The whammy assembly just slides out, but pay attention to how its put together in case you want to take it apart or it falls to pieces.

Once everything's unscrewed carefully remove the electronics and set them aside for later.

Step 4: Removing the Pick Guard/Faceplate

To get to the screws that hold in the pick guard/faceplate, you actually have to remove all of the electronics (kind of a pain if that's all you wanted to get out). Once you've gotten the electronics out you'll see a bunch of smaller screws that hold the faceplate on. Just remove these and then it pops right off the front

Step 5: Painting

Once you've completed all the previous steps you'll have a bunch of separate plastic pieces to paint. You won't have to worry about masking things off because it all separates in the end. I'm not paint expert, but I'd suggest spraying. The first time around I used purple enamel, which came out with a cool finish, but looked sloppy because it was hastily brushed on. The next time around I used some rust-o-leum spray paint that was specially formulated to create a "hammered metal" finish. The paint kinda dimples up while its drying and ends up looking pretty cool. Either spray or brushed, you're likely to have more luck if you put some time into sanding the plastic somewhat before painting.

Step 6: Reverse, Reassemble

Now you just have to turn it around and put it all back together. Make sure that the paint has dried and cured before you handle the parts again. I was a little bit too eager the first time with the purple and ended up with a few finger prints dried in. Also, depending on how many coats of paint you use, you may need to sand a little bit around the holes for the start and select buttons so they don't rub against the side. Good Luck and enjoy playing with your legit new custom guitar!



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    12 Discussions


    Hi, nice guide! 1 thing tho, will this be the same with a Kramer guitar? I got 1 free when i brought GHWT and i not really gunna use it so i thought id customize it, atleast if it went rong i will still have a GH3 and GHWT guitar.. Plz reply!!! I really wanna get started! Thanks again for the guide

    2 replies

    Hey, thanks for reading my guide, and for the complement. I'm not sure, I've never opened a Kramer guitar but im guessing its going to be about the same. Either way, there's no real risk in just cracking it open to take a peek! let me know how it goes

    The only thing is, im a bit concerned wether it will reck the guitar, Personally i dont think it will, but im not sure, and i thought seens youve done your guitar u should know ;)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Be very careful with removing the whammy bar. I had to re-solder one of the wires because I wasn't pay much attention when I was taking it out. Just my 2 cents. Also, I painted mine glittery purple. :-)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Woah, nice job. I'm adding this Instructable to my Guitar Hero Mods group. Wait up, it's already added. Hahaha! Great job, check out my Guitar Hero Mod Instructables if you want! (added to favorites)

    4 replies

    Hey thanks for the comment. I checked out some of your stuff and its all pretty cool too. I want to come up with some crazier stuff to do to the Guitar Hero controller too, cuz there's lots of room in there and plenty of potential


    Yeah, I really want to add in some insane/ wicked stuff to make your controller like no one has seen before... I can't come up with much though.


    yeahh... well i figure tons of LEDs and plexi to start with lol. Maybe I can figure out with lines from the PS2 provide power and juice those up. I really don't want to end up breaking it though


    Same thing here, I want to add LED's in places and do some really awesome stuff, not too much for it to not work though.. haha.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    omg! i just painted my sg the same color about a month ago.