You Ask: What’s the best way to have your electric guitar autographed?

You're at a meet-and-greet with your favourite guitarist, and you want your six-string autographed. What do you use?

chapman ml1 cap10

This week, we have Paul from Cambridge who’s looking for the most ‘permanent’ way to have his electric guitar autographed – and it may require an irreversible method.

Paul asks: “I was intrigued to read the recent letter from a reader who was lucky enough to be able to get Joe Bonamassa to sign his guitar. My question is: if you find yourself in a similar situation, do you have any recommendations of what to use for the signature? I expect a pencil or biro would probably just slip across the varnished surface of guitar and felt-tip pen would just wipe off.

“And if you are able to obtain a successful signature, what can you do to preserve it? Just playing the guitar could risk wearing it off. Perhaps your panel of industry experts have some thoughts on this?”

bernie marsden les paul signature autograph
Image: © Melvyn May from Tales Of Tone And Volume by Bernie Marsden

Hi Paul, perhaps you could take a leaf out of Les Paul’s book and carry around a nail specifically for this purpose? He would scratch his name onto guitars or plastic parts such as pickguards – see Bernie Marsden’s 1952 Les Paul in the picture above for an example.

On a serious note, a permanent marker pen might work, but don’t try to spray protective nitrocellulose lacquer over it afterwards, because the ink may well run into the lacquer and end up looking messy. If you do manage to get a conventional signature onto your guitar, it would be preferable for it to be signed in a position which doesn’t get a lot of physical contact, such as the back of the headstock.

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