Author Options:

can i use permanent markers to decorate my acoustic guitar? Answered

i have an old acoustic guitar hanging around which is probably 20 years old or something like that.
i was already thinking a long time about painting it, but i never had the time. now i have vacation and some spare time. 
so what i did until this point is: 
1 i took of the strings (don't worry about the neck bending because there wasn't much tension :P)
2 i sanded the entire body down
i am planning of getting some white car paint or something like that and put on 2 or 3 layers, then when that's dried i want to draw some awesome drawings on it with the permanent markers (probably all black and white drawings) and maybe some stencil art.
i hope you can help me with this question, all answers will be appreciated
ps. sorry if my English isn't perfect because i'm from the Netherlands and i'm only 14..



Best Answer 7 years ago

From an acoustic point of view I must admit that the answers already given are correct. So painting is not that good for the sound.
On the other side, it sounds as if it's a cheap guitar which you already sanded anyways.
So yes, go ahead and use permanent marker once you put on some clear or colored paint.

Don't use the markers directly on the sanded wood though. The ink will blur out due to the woods nature of surface.

I went to a music store some years ago and asked whether a more expensive guitar will sound better than a cheaper one.
The sales person told me that the sound mostly depends on your personal taste, meaning that a cheaper guitar may sound better for one person than a more expensive one or vise versa.

The next fing he said was: "it's all in your fingers!" (I personally liked this statement the most)

A guitar played by Jimi Hendrix will always sound like Hendrix. While Jimi Hendrix guitar played by me will not sound like Hendrix when played by me.

So, go ahead, make some awesome drawings and make sure to post the pictures (maybe even an instructable on how to do it).
I'm really curious about the outcome.

By the way, my English may not be any better than yours, but that's due to the fact that I'm German ;-)

+1. Do it, then post the results. Tell us if you think it sounds good.

Re Mike's answer: In general, the big differences between a low-end instrument and a high-end one tend to be:

1) High-end instruments usually sound better -- depending on what sound you want.

2) High-end instruments are usually more responsive and easier to play. A beginner may not notice the difference, but the low-end instrument may limit how much you can develop as a performer.

3) High-end instruments tend to gain value over time; they become "classics". Low-end instruments lose value over time; they just become "used".

For those reasons, my advice is usually to get the best instrument you can reasonably afford. That isn't necessarily the most expensive, but it probably isn't the cheapest.

you're right and i can assure you that this guitar isn't a high end guitar, the varnish was almost gone, and only the front was made from some nice wood, the rest was cheap wood. and i played my father's washburn guitar, and that one plays so much better

*others are correct, just remember:

When it comes time to CLEAR COAT varnish the top coat, spray it, don't brush it. Reason: Varnish will dissolve some of the marker, and the brush strokes may bleed the ink underneath. Test on a sample piece to make sure your varnish won't wreck the art.

yeah i just bought some spray varnish so that shouldn't be a problem

I could never recommend painting a guitar, especially acoustic, to anyone.
But you've already sanded down the finish...

I guess it couldn't hurt it any worse.

Don't use markers of any sort, perhaps an airbrush?

yeah good point.. but i don't have an airbrush and i don't know anyone i can borrow it from,..

This all strikes me as a Bad Thing to do to an instrument. Remember, the wood in an acoustic instrument wants to be able to resonate. Paint is heavier than varnish, and I would worry that it would reduce that resonance.

but would it be a good idea to paint the guitar with some good quality spray cans,
(only 2 layers maybe)? and then decorating it with some markers? or will it affect the tone of the guitar too much.
it already sounded pretty bad when i started on it, and it's the cheapest guitar i own.