StickerYou Blog

How to Remove Stickers From a Guitar

January 29, 2024  |  
Guides/Tutorials
A brown guitar with a lot of stickers on its body placed on top of a sofa.

Guitars are made with delicate materials. One wrong move can chip the paint or damage the wood, which makes sticker removal from guitars a challenging endeavor — but it’s not impossible.

Whether you riddled your beloved guitar with many custom printed stickers when you were young, or the manufacturer carelessly placed the price tag right on the guitar’s body, here’s how to remove stickers from a guitar safely. 

Materials Needed

First, you need to gather your materials. While there are some solutions you can use to remove personalized vinyl stickers from guitars, such as nail polish remover, lighter fluid, shoe polish, or camping fuel, our steps below limit the process to using heat to prevent damage. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Hair dryer
  • Plastic scraper or old credit card
  • Goo Gone or rubbing alcohol (optional) 
  • Mild soap and water
  • Microfiber cloth or any soft cloth
  • Guitar polish or oil 
A yellow sponge, two black metal scrappers, and two yellow sponge cloths left on top of a black table

Precautions When Removing Stickers From a Guitar

Removing stickers from a guitar isn’t as simple as peeling them off and hoping for the best. The job needs to be done with precision, care, and the right materials — otherwise, you’ll end up damaging your beloved instrument. 

The first step is understanding the process. Before starting, know what tools you need and follow our step-by-step guide to a T. If you’re unsure about anything, do your research or seek expert advice before you proceed. 

Never use metallic tools or those that are too sharp or overly harsh. You’ll want to stick with plastic scrapers, stiff cards, or other blunt objects. 

Lastly, make sure you’re not doing the sticker removal process hastily. The wrong pull or a scrape that’s too aggressive can end up scratching the guitar and causing irreparable damage. 

The most important thing to remember is to avoid rushing. Your goal is to slowly but surely remove the sticker — make patience a priority in this process. Now, you’re ready to get started. 

How to Remove Stickers From a Guitar: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Peel Off as Much as Possible

Before anything else, you’ll want to gauge the strength of the adhesive you’re working with. Try to peel off as much of the sticker as you can without damaging the guitar’s surface. Lift an edge and work very slowly, stopping when you encounter resistance. 

Step 2: Apply Heat

Get your hairdryer and set it to low to medium heat. Hold the nozzle a few inches away from the sticker and turn on the hairdryer. Apply heat evenly throughout the sticker for a couple of seconds. 

Step 3: Peel Off Sticker

After the sticker has heated up and the adhesive has melted, peel off the sticker with your fingernails. You can also use a plastic scraper or stiff card to help you lift the edges of the sticker. 

If you have a larger sticker, consider using an old CD to help you get underneath the sticker and peel it off the surface

Step 4: Remove Residue with Goo Gone or Rubbing Alcohol (Optional)

If, after removing the sticker, you find you’re left with some adhesive residue on the surface of the guitar, you can remove it with adhesive remover (Goo Gone) or rubbing alcohol. Apply the solution on a cloth or paper towel and rub it onto the residue in a gentle circular motion. 

Step 5: Clean with Mild Soap and Water

When the adhesive is removed, clean the surface with a mixture of mild soap and water. Dampen a clean cloth with the mixture and proceed to wipe your guitar. 

Step 6: Dry the Guitar

Get another clean cloth and wipe the guitar’s surface dry. If there is remaining adhesive, wipe it off with your cloth dampened with adhesive remover. 

Step 7: Apply Guitar Polish or Oil

To restore shine to your guitar, you can opt to apply guitar polish or oil onto the surface. Follow the instructions on the label of your chosen polish for the best results. 

Step 8: Inspect for Damage

Your guitar should look as good as new. But as an added precaution, take some time to inspect for any damage the sticker removal process might have caused. If you notice discoloration, scratches, or paint chips, you can take the guitar to a service for repair. 

Conclusion

Removing stickers from a guitar is not impossible, but it’s a delicate process that will require a lot of your time, care, and patience. While following the steps in this article, make sure your priority is not only getting the sticker off but also keeping your guitar in the best shape. 

How to Remove Stickers From a Guitar: FAQs

What can I use to get stickers off of a guitar?

To remove stickers from a guitar, we recommend sticking with mild solutions. The method in this article primarily uses heat to help loosen up the adhesive. If that’s not working, you can also try using chemicals like nail polish remover, lighter fluid, shoe polish, or camping fuel. 

Do stickers ruin guitar tone?

Stickers generally do not have a noticeable effect on the tone of a guitar. However, if you layer the guitar with multiple stickers, the thick layers can dull the vibrations and result in a noticeable change in sound. 

Can Goo Gone be used on guitar?

You can use Goo Gone to help loosen up adhesive residue on a guitar — but do so with caution. Never pour Goo Gone directly onto the guitar surface. Instead, lightly dampen a soft cloth with the solution and use that to apply it to the affected area. 

What happens when you put stickers on a guitar?

Putting stickers on a guitar can personalize your instrument and add to its aesthetic appeal. It’s worth noting, though, that anything added to the guitar can dull its vibrations and change its tone. However, the difference in sound is not noticeable in most cases.