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Choosing a color for a guitar refinish


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So my latest obsession is to refinish an acoustic in an eye catching color. My goal was to find a 'good' guitar that had no collector value and go nuts with the color. I would never refinish a guitar just for the sake of refinishing it; I think we as a guitar society take matters a little more seriously now. In the 70s it was okay to strip a Lake Placid Blue Strat and redo it natural, because that was more in style and we didn't care about a cheap old Fender. I think we're past that now.


I wanted to find a guitar that had good utility value but also one that I could repaint as I pleased without committing a mortal sin. I bought a '79 Ovation Balladeer with hardshell case on ebay for $86. Excellent neck set, no fret wear, needs no repair other than a small gap behind the bridge (it's currently in clamps). There was what appeared to be a crack in the top, although I can't find any evidence of repair; maybe it was just a deep gouge and the guy tried to sand it away. He slathered epoxy all over the area, about an inch wide and 7 or 8 inches long. I sanded that mess off and filled the little gouges with a mixture of sanding sealer and spot putty. Not hi-tech but it filled the scratches.


The guitar otherwise has the original finish, which technically was white I guess, but has yellowed like an old SG, more yellow in spots, looks tobacco stained, vintage and cool. Except where it's been spot-sanded of course. Not much chance of airbrushing a matching color on there.


As bought:




One bonus is I would only need to refinish the top because of the black neck and bowl.


The more I try to decide on a color, the harder it gets. My original thought was Plum Crazy, a c.1970 Dodge/Plymouth color. Then I thought LP Gold. Then, on a more subdued note, the antique ivory seen on some newer Chrysler products. Then I made the mistake of walking into an auto parts store and scanning the rows of spray bombs. Too many choices.


So I then just started observing the colors on the cars I see every day.... cars I meet on the road, cars in dealer's lots, etc. I've concluded that there is a trend towards some pretty boring colors lately. On a side note, last weekend I bought my daughter a '95 Mercury Tracer, which is like if an Escort and a Mazda went to Mexico and had a baby. She's happy with the cheap little car and the lousy $600 I paid for it but commented on the bright teal/turquoise color, which stands out like a sore thumb nowadays. I told her, "it's a small car made in the Nineties, I think every third one was required by law to be painted that color. Be thankful it doesn't have the 'splash' graphics on it!"


Another choice would be the dark green metallic found on 50% of all 90's Ford Explorers. I've seen Ovations in that color and it looks sharp.


So I'm no closer to picking a color. I want it to stand out and be noticed but also not be a color I will be sick of in a week. You'd think picking a color would be easy and fun, but it's getting harder.

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Or you could do something completely different... I did an acoustic guitar project a couple years ago that came out pretty cool... I had the guitar built, selected the woods to be used and everything. When the guitar was built but before it was varnished I had an artist paint it. He painted it as if it had been wrapped in paper and tied up with rope. After it was painted I sent the guitar back to the factory for the final varnishing. Came out great. If you strip the guitar down to the wood maybe some sort of artist work might work? Brings to mind what Hendrix and Clapton did with their guitars too... Here is a couple pics of my acoustic.





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