Handmade Fender style 'casters

The Copper Frankenstein

This guitar was going to be another painting experiment. I started with an unfinished HH Telecaster body applied the base primer/sealer, followed by a white/black stripe pattern.


Originally, our plan was to use something thick and goopy like toothpaste as a mask, and to paint it on with brushes, or perhaps a stencil, then put color on top of that. After the color dried, we wiped off the toothpaste. A test run with toothpaste, paintbrushes, and some cardboard quickly relieved us of that notion. Toothpaste does not make a paint substitute and it flat out doesn’t work. It is thin, it does not cover, and it is hard to use.

Not to be discouraged, we changed plans and my daughter suggested painting something like Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein but with different colors and she decided she like copper paint 🙂  Eventually we got here:


From this point, it was a quick effort to spray the guitar with a bright copper colored paint and then to remove the tape.


Yes it looks odd.


The next step is a clear coat, to protect the paint and keep it from chipping. Having been clear coated with a satin cover and assembled, set up, and tuned.

One very interesting puzzle: we used this paint for the copper top coat.


This is relevant because once the satin nitro finish was sprayed on, the nitro seemed to shrink/dry in an eggshell pattern on the guitar, which you can see if you look closely at some of the photos below. I’m not sure if that was paint/nitro mis-match or what.

Anyway, here is the finished guitar. Note the eggshell pattern I mentioned, as the nitro dried in a strange way on the copper paint. These lines are not etched by me.


This is the first guitar in which I needed to reverse-shim the neck. Adjusting the bridge, the strings could not be made high enough to clear the frets on the neck. At first I suspected a neck problem but after measuring the neck width where it meets with the guitar body (25.0 mm) and measuring the depth of the guitar pocket (16.0 mm) I realize the measurements were perfect, which could only mean a geometry problem. So I straightened the neck (truss rod adjustment) and added shim plates at the front of the neck pocket, visible in the photo below, which solved my problem. The shim plates are made out of cut up business cards. Shimming the neck results in changing the angle at which the guitar meets the neck, in this case lowering the neck in relation to the strings, which fixed my problem.





Categories: guitar #5

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1 reply


  1. Guitar #5 – finished – guitarhacking

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