January Guitar of the Month

January 26, 2018

Congratulations to Steve Urteaga from Starr Electric Guitars on being our January Guitar of the Month winner! Let's find out how he created this beautiful Jazzmaster style guitar. 

Guitar of the Month 1

"First off I would like to thank Mohawk Consumer Products for selecting me to share my guitar build. I am very inspired by Fender style offset guitars and the like. I chose to build a Jazzmaster style guitar as a project for a friend. I wanted the color to be different than common colors. I first started to experiment with pearl/metallic pigments to create custom colors. I use these pigments mixed with Mohawk's classic instrument nitrocellulose lacquer to create the base coat. All of my finishes are nitrocellulose lacquer based.

 Guitar of the Month 2

Next, I chose alder wood for this body. I routed the body to use p90 pickups but as the build progressed we decided to change the route to the standard jazzmaster pickups routing. Sanding the raw body smooth is essential for a great finish. I sanded the body from 80 grit thru 320 grit. Then, I also wanted a raised grain textured look which was achieved by spraying the body with Mohawk's lacquer reducer then I quickly sprayed Mohawk's vinyl sealer to lock the raised grain in. Although it's smooth to touch you can see the raised grain underneath the top coat in the end.

 Guitar of the Month 3

After I spray 4 coats of Mohawks vinyl sealer, (30 minutes in-between coats) I level sand to obtain a smooth surface. I then spray 2 white undercoats which is just white pigment mixed with Mohawk's instrument lacquer. I level sand if needed to prep the surface for the color base coat. I then sprayed 3 coats of the pearl metallic pigment for the guitars final color coat. I generally spray 1 coat every 30 minutes which allows the nitrocellulose time to flash off.

 Guitar of the Month 4

The final step for the finishing is the clear coat. After waiting 24 hrs for the color coat to have time to flash off and harden some, I proceed with the clear coat. I use Mohawk's blush resistant reducer which is a thinner and a retarder mix. I use 10-20% depending on the weather. It thins the lacquer well and minimizes orange peel. I sprayed 10 coats in total split up in 3 days. I like to spray 4 coats then let it flash off for 24 hours which allows the lacquer to shrink a bit. I lightly sand with 800 grit then spray 4 more coats and then repeat the same process. On the third day I level sand then spray 2 final wet coats with a 10% retarder mix. This allows the final 2 coats to flow out smooth and shiny. Then it's the waiting game.

 Guitar of the Month 5

After 3-4 weeks of letting the guitar body dry and harden, I wet sand to get a flat level and high gloss finish. I start with 1200 grit thru 2500 grit wet sand paper. I use a pink school eraser as it's easy to get into the small and tight areas. Then once the whole body is dull I start to buff it out with rubbing and polishing compounds followed by a swirl remover wax. It's worth all these steps to get a glass mirror finish.

 Guitar of the Month 6

I hope you can learn or get something new out of my process. I learned a lot from a local friend who has 20 years of experience in guitar building."

Thanks for sharing with us Steve! If you have any questions about the guitar, our products, or anything touch up related, feel free to reach out. If you would like to be considered for our Guitar of the Month for February, submit your before and after photos on our Facebook page or group, or tag us on Instagram. See you next week!

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