Greetings, I am a newbie at least in the world of guitars. I am in process of building a semi hollow body electric from a kit(I can hear groans already) but I need to start somewhere so I have a better understanding. I am at the finishing stage and I have finished anything from classic cars to grand pianos. I'm curious when I spray clear nitro lacquer, at what point do I mask off at the neck bindings? In other words, should I mask off the top edge of the fingerboard leaving the fret ends exposed? I assume that I'm lacquering over the bindings as if I mask them off I will have a hard line and I'm concerned about edge durability. I have examined my Gretsch Les Paul and cant tell how the factory did it.

I have found that masking bindings prior to staining and not having to scrape them later, using 1/8" vinyl automotive ( 3M) pinstripe tape works well and the stain does not bleed if well burnished down. Im referring to striping tape which is a bit pricey but automotive body pinstripe may also work as it is also vinyl and about 1/3 the cost but I haven't tried it.

Tags: bindings, electric, finishing, guitars, neck, on, over

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Hi Mark, your post sounds a little unclear. Your first paragraph sounds like your plan is to use clear finish, then the second mentions stain.  If you're plan is clear, you'll spray the binding and tape off only the fingerboard playing surface (w or w/o frets).  Don't build up finish on the area closest to the FB and the edge/mask line will be minimal and can be feathered in with sandpaper during leveling. 

Thanks Glen, My second paragraph was meant as a tip for others. I did a little research and a lot of guys seem to scrape excess stain from light color plastic bindings with a razor blade. As far as my guitar, I have grain filled the mahogany body/neck and stained them. The carved top is flamed maple which I will keep natural and clear the whole guitar multiple times with Behlens instrument lacquer. This is a set neck guitar which will have a vintage style polished gloss finish when its done. I appreciate your input.

Just mask the top surface of the board and spray the binding up to the corner.

Regarding masking bindings for stain, the edge you get with the best tape isn't nearly as clean as a scraped line; why manufacturers always scrape, as far as I know. It takes some skill and practice, but it's really faster to scrape than tediously apply tape trying to get a perfect margin. I learned to scrape binding when I worked at Dobro. We would tape only to minimize the amount of scraping needed, but shaded finishes always got a razor-clean scraped margin.


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