How To Paint Bass Guitar

man painting a bass guitar in workshop

How To Paint Bass Guitar

Painting Your Bass Guitar


  • You need to remove the guitar body from the neck and remove the electrical components from the guitar.
  • Experts recommend replacing any cheap factory components while you have the bass disassembled for the paint job.
  • Ensure that you let your guitar dry after every coat of paint to mitigate the risk of dust particles or fingerprints dirtying the color.

Though you can buy one in virtually any color and style, eventually, you may want to know how to paint your bass guitar if you want to give it a new look. Whether it’s a custom paint job you’re after or just need to touch up rough spots on your bass guitar’s factory finish, the painting process isn’t as simple as slapping a coat of paint on the electric guitar body. 

Painting these instruments requires a lengthy process if you want a smooth finish with guitar shop quality. So, read on to learn how to repaint your bass guitar.

How to Repaint a Bass Guitar

Just like making a bass guitar neck, the painting process works in multiple stages. We recommend changing your bass strings for a new tone to match your bass’ new look.

The most time-consuming part of the painting process is getting to the raw wood of the guitar body before applying any paint. Also, the process will be slightly different for bolt-on vs neck-through basses. In addition, you’ll need to apply multiple coats of paint and let each one dry before the process is done. 

So grab your dust mask and some dry sandpaper, even if you have a well-ventilated area that allows for efficient dust removal, and let’s get started. Also, remove any music equipment from your workspace, like bass effects pedals, to keep them safe from paint and dust.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Time Required: 1 week
  • Total Steps: 11
  • Tools Needed: dust mask, wood filler, sandpaper, string clipper, screwdriver, mineral spirits

Step 1 – Remove the guitar strings with a string clipper or wire cutter.

Step 2 – Remove the guitar neck from the body using a screwdriver. If your guitar neck is glued on, you’ll have to leave it connected while you apply your new color coat.

Step 3 – Use a screwdriver to remove the bridge, knobs, pickups, and output jack from the guitar body. 

Step 4 – Use sandpaper and an orbital sander to remove the factory paint job from the guitar body. Keep sanding until you reach the raw wood, and use wood filler to fill in any marks or dents to ensure a smooth body.

Step 5 – Vacuum your workspace and wipe off the guitar body to remove any dust particles.

Step 6 – Apply mineral spirits to remove the oils on your bass guitar’s body. Wait for the mineral spirits to dry before moving on.

Step 7 – Use a primer that matches the type of paint you’ll be using on the bass body, and apply it in two or three thin coats, letting it dry in between.

Step 8 – Start painting your bass using thin layers to ensure a smooth finish, waiting one hour between thin coats. Once you have enough coats, let your bass dry for a week.

Step 9 – Apply thin clear coats to your freshly-painted bass guitar. You’ll need to do a dozen or more clear coats, and then you need to let these coats dry for up to a month.

Step 10 – Polish the finish with a wet sanding technique, and try not to sand too hard.

Step 11 – Reassemble your bass hardware and reattach the neck to the body (if you could remove it). Lastly, restring the bass.

How to Paint Your Bass Guitar FAQs

Can you spray paint an acoustic guitar?

You can use acrylic paint on acoustic and electric wood guitars, but you’ll have to remove the guitar strings and neck joint. Also, you’ll need to protect any electrical components that might be present, and you should not paint the inside of the guitar. 

Can you paint a guitar without sanding?

Unfortunately, paint stripper doesn’t typically work on the type of paint used on guitars. You’ll need to sand down to the raw wood to ensure that the paint adheres to the guitar body. Without sanding, you may wind up with a bad paint job.

How much does it cost to repaint a bass guitar?

The price of painting a bass guitar largely depends on how good you want it to look. Anyone can grab some aerosol paint for $20 and have a new color of paint, but it probably won’t have a smooth finish. A professional job from a guitar repair shop can cost upwards of $800, but it will save you on elbow grease.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 5,700 professional musical instrument repairers and tuners in the U.S. as of May 2021. (Source)

Tips & Warnings


Do not hesitate to contact a guitar repair shop if you feel unsure during the painting process. You do not want to damage your bass or the electrical components.


Applying a custom guitar color to your bass might ruin its resale value, depending on how collectible that model is.


Coby McKinley
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