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The Art of Guitar Body Paint Swirling

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Love it or hate it, the paint-swirl effect (often seen displayed on an Ibanez Jem) will catch your eye and ultimately cause you to blurt an opinion of sorts.

If you’re a fan of paint swirling and fancy trying it yourself, I thoroughly recommend drawing upon the experience of DIY guitar paint-swirler-extraordinaire, Tony Gayter (TheSwirling.com).

…hopefully I’ll be doing some more swirls soon and they will be up for sale…

Tony has caused quite a stir (no pun intended!) with his efforts of DIY paint-swirling. Despite only having a select few videos on YouTube, they’ve 1000’s of hits and he’s received encouragement from the guitar playing community from across the globe. In addition, he’s added some excellent “how to tutorials” on his website, http://theswirling.com.

Guitar Body Paint Swirl - TheSwirling.comIn true Guitar Jar fashion, we fire Tony a few questions asking him why and how he goes about his paint swirling technique:

  1. Tony, why did you first start the paint swirling website?
    I always had the intention of starting a swirling website after I had completed my first swirl and posted it up on projectguitar.com. I had so many questions thrown at me on the forums about it (as there was virtually no information out there about it), that I thought I would put it on the Net.Unfortunately, as I was at university it was put on the back burner for a few years. That was until I showed the video to a friend of mine and he told me to post it on YouTube. After an immense response I decided to bring the website back to life; it has gone through a number of iterations before settling down to what is currently there.
  2. How many attempts did you make until you were happy with your abilities to produce good results with the paint swirling?
    Due to the limited and misleading information which had been posted before, it took about one month of testing before I got a reasonable result. Another month before I got good results, and another month before taking the plunge with my guitar body. Bear in mind that I was only doing this in the evenings when it wasn’t too dark and on weekends; so that is why it took so long.
  3. How long has your website been running?
    The website has been up since July 2010 and has seen a steady increase of traffic over the years.
  4. Do you offer your services to paying customers?
    Currently I don’t, but hopefully I’ll be doing some more swirls soon and they will be up for sale. After that who knows.
  5. How long does it take to create the paint mix and apply to the guitar body?
    Not long at all (as you can see in the videos). The biggest chunk of time is preparing the guitar for immersing in water and taking on the paint.
  6. Have you had any weird requests?
    Yes, but that’s not for this site ;)
  7. What mix are you most proud of?
    The swirl I like the most is my fire swirl, it was my first swirl which I did with the new paints I now use. It came out better than I could have imagined.However; the one I’m most proud of is my first green/black swirl which is the one in the video posted all over the net. It was my very first full guitar swirl and although it is far from perfect it has to be my favourite. It is on a mahogany Jem body with a H-H configuration.

So there you have it – if you fancy creating your own swirl creations, expect to take a lesson in patience and determination. Happy swirling!

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About the author:

Sam is passionate about talking all things guitar related and started GuitarJar.co.uk to help encourage all guitarists in their guitar playing journey.

4 Comments

  • Great swirls! I order a kit guitar which I am planning to try swirling with for the first time. Guitar comes unpainted so should cut out a lot of the prep work, just have to primer it. Looking to do a grey primer coat with blue and black humbrol paints. Still need to sort out a container. Looking forward to how it turns out.

  • This is killer. I don’t really like Ibanezes and the effect on an Ibanez body shape is a bit too Steve Vai for me, but I’d be into it on a Fender, the right Gibson, or even a PRS. Or a Charvel, obviously!

  • looks really good! :) was just wondering, what primer did you use, what paints and did you use borax? i plan on doing my metal X within the next few days but im putting the final pieces together =]

  • Hi Go to MrDean2005 on youtube you will see better swirls one vid in particular has had nearly 300,000 hits in only 7 months. Lots more to come Even Metalic swirls which nobody has really done successfully!!!

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