How to Paint Guitar Pickups

Tired of your guitar’s same old look? Want to add a personal touch? Unlock the power of painted pickups!

Enhancing appearance and allowing for customization, painting guitar pickups is the way to go. Discover the pros and cons, recommended materials, and a step-by-step process for achieving the perfect finish.

Learn how to maintain and care for painted pickups, and get extra tips on painting active pickups and pickup covers.

Get ready to revamp your guitar and unleash your creativity with painted pickups!

Key Takeaways

  • Painting pickups can improve the appearance of a guitar and allow for customization and personalization.
  • Using primer, paint specifically made for plastic pickups, and a clear coat can provide a better finish and added durability.
  • The step-by-step process for painting pickups includes preparing the pickup, sanding the surface, taping off areas, applying primer and paint, and optionally applying a clear coat.
  • Maintenance and upkeep of painted pickups involve regular cleaning, using a clear coat for protection, storing the guitar safely, and touching up any chips or scratches.

Benefits of Painting Guitar Pickups

Painting your guitar pickups can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your instrument. It allows for customization and personalization, giving you the opportunity to create a unique look that reflects your style.

However, there are both pros and cons to consider when it comes to DIY pickup painting.

On the positive side, painting pickups can be a cost-effective way to change the look of your guitar. It also provides the freedom to choose from a wide range of colors and finishes.

However, there are potential downsides. If not done properly, the paint job can turn out poorly, affecting the overall appearance of the instrument. Additionally, different types of pickups and paints may require different techniques, so it’s important to choose the right paint for guitar pickups and follow proper application methods.

Recommended Materials for Painting Guitar Pickups

To achieve the best results, you should use primer for a better surface for the paint to adhere to and choose paint specifically made for plastic pickups. Primer creates a smooth base and promotes better adhesion, ensuring that the paint adheres to the pickup surface properly.

Look for paint that’s specifically formulated for plastic materials, as it will provide the best coverage and durability. When choosing the right paint, consider factors such as color options, finish (matte, gloss, metallic, etc.), and compatibility with the primer.

Additionally, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times. By choosing the right paint and following proper application techniques, you can achieve a professional-looking finish on your painted guitar pickups.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Guitar Pickups

To begin painting your guitar pickups, gather the necessary materials and prepare the pickups for the painting process. Start by removing the pickups from the guitar and cleaning the surface to ensure proper adhesion. Use sandpaper to create a rough texture for better paint adhesion.

Next, tape off areas that shouldn’t be painted, such as screws and metal poles. Apply a primer to provide a better surface for the paint to adhere to. Follow this with multiple coats of paint for the desired finish.

To achieve a professional-looking finish, avoid common painting mistakes such as applying too much paint at once, not allowing sufficient drying time between coats, and not using a clear coat for added protection.

Following these tips will help you achieve a professional-looking finish for your painted guitar pickups.

Maintenance Tips for Painted Guitar Pickups

For optimal performance and longevity, you should regularly clean and protect your painted guitar pickups.

Cleaning techniques for painted pickups require a gentle approach to prevent paint damage. Avoid using abrasive cleaning products that can scratch or dull the paint. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or residue.

Be sure to dry the pickups thoroughly to prevent moisture from seeping into the paint and causing damage.

Additionally, consider applying a clear coat over the painted surface to provide an extra layer of protection against scratches and chips. This will help maintain the appearance of your painted pickups and ensure they continue to look their best over time.

Painting Active Pickups: Tips and Considerations

When painting active pickups, you should consider the type of paint and ensure that it isn’t electrically conductive or magnetic.

Active pickups, such as EMGs, have a smooth or flat cover that makes painting them easier. The plastic material of active pickups allows for easy painting compared to pickups with exposed pole pieces.

Choosing the right paint for active pickups is crucial to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with their electrical and magnetic properties. Common mistakes to avoid when painting active pickups include using paint that isn’t suitable for plastic, applying too many coats that can affect the pickup’s performance, and not properly protecting the electronic components during the painting process.

Painting Pickup Covers: Quick and Easy Customization

Painting pickup covers can give your guitar a fresh and personalized look in no time. It’s a quick and easy customization option that allows you to experiment with different colors and finishes to add a unique touch to your instrument.

To get started, you’ll need to remove the pickup covers from your guitar. This can usually be done by unscrewing the screws that hold them in place. Once removed, you can choose your desired paint colors for the pickup covers.

It’s important to select paint that isn’t electrically conductive or magnetic to avoid interfering with the pickup’s functionality. With the right paint and a steady hand, you can transform the appearance of your guitar by painting the pickup covers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Paint My Guitar Pickups Without Removing Them From the Guitar?

Yes, you can paint your guitar pickups without removing them from the guitar. However, it requires careful taping and covering of other parts, as well as using the right paint and technique for a successful outcome.

What Type of Paint Should I Use for Painting Metal Pickups?

For painting metal pickups, use a paint specifically designed for metal surfaces. Ensure it is non-conductive and won’t affect the pickup’s performance. Follow proper painting techniques to achieve the desired results.

How Long Does It Take for the Paint on Guitar Pickups to Dry?

To ensure proper drying of painted guitar pickups, allow them to air dry for at least 24 hours. Avoid touching or handling the pickups during this time to prevent smudging or damaging the paint.

Can I Use Regular Spray Paint for Painting Guitar Pickups?

Yes, you can use regular spray paint for painting guitar pickups. However, it is important to ensure compatibility and consider alternative painting methods that are specifically designed for plastic pickups to achieve better results.

Are There Any Specific Cleaning Products I Should Avoid When Cleaning Painted Guitar Pickups?

To clean your painted guitar pickups, avoid abrasive cleaning products and use a damp cloth instead. Consider applying a clear coat for added protection against scratches and chips. Proper maintenance ensures longevity.


In conclusion, painting guitar pickups is a fantastic way to enhance the appearance of your instrument while adding a personal touch. By following the recommended materials and step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can achieve a desired finish that reflects your creativity.

Additionally, proper maintenance and upkeep will ensure that your painted pickups continue to look their best over time. Whether you’re looking to revamp your guitar’s look or simply customize it, painted pickups are a powerful tool to unlock your artistic potential.

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