Rickenbacker Guitar Wrap

Challenge: To bring new life to a damaged Rickenbacker guitar, adding visual appeal and paying tribute to its namesake with a colorful, creative wrap.

Customer: Chip Ficyk                                    

Application: Electric Guitar  

Solution: Mactac® IMAGin® B-free® GRUV™ GVC929BFD and Mactac® PERMACOLOR® RAYZor™ LF3648G Laminate

Project Summary:                             

When a sudden temperature change after a show led to a cracked finish on Mactac technical marketing manager and musician Chip Ficyk’s prized Rickenbacker guitar, he feared it may be a permanent eyesore. The cost to refinish the instrument was high, and thus the damage remained for many years. When Ficyk finally considered selling the instrument, he was struck by an idea: “There are plenty of interesting and non-traditional objects that get wrapped besides vehicles,” he thought. “Why not a guitar?”

Ficyk dreamed up a design for a guitar wrap that would stand as a tribute to Eddie Rickenbacker, the guitar brand’s namesake World War I flying ace. The design featured Eddie’s “Hat in the Ring” fighter squadron insignia, and it preserved the propeller-like natural wood look of the guitar. Once the plan was in place, Ficyk excitedly approached a Mactac colleague and graphic products expert Jason Yard to discuss the feasibility of a guitar-wrapping job.

Most vinyl wrap jobs require some degree of conformability, but a guitar poses a couple of unique challenges. First, the guitar’s face is not flat; it features a “German carve” whereby areas of the sides of the body are lower than the top, as well as other surface variations that make for a challenging application. Because a guitar’s tone is derived from its resonance, a thin and conformable construction was necessary to avoid the lamination negatively affecting the instrument’s sound. When Yard told Ficyk the job could be done, however, it was music to Ficyk’s ears.

Yard and Ficyk chose Mactac® IMAGin® B-free® GRUV™ GVC929BFD facestock and Mactac® PERMACOLOR® RAYZor™ LF3648G laminate for the job. IMAGin B-free media offers fast, wrinkle-free installation for an ultra-smooth look that will last, and PERMACOLOR RAYzor overlaminates are the industry’s first ultra-thin cast, easy to apply overlaminates that protect finishes long term.

Given Yard’s level of expertise, it took around 30 minutes to wrap the face of the guitar, with removal and reinstallation of the guitar’s electronics and hardware taking longer. The outcome was a tribute guitar to a brave pilot and a “definite head-turner” that strikes a chord with music enthusiasts at local jam nights, according to Ficyk.

“I have always felt that guitars are for playing, not for show, and I can’t wait to use this newly star-spangled guitar in future shows with my band,” Ficyk stated. “Feedback has been positive from everyone on the design, concept, and general coolness factor so far. From the squadron logo to the red, white, and blue stars on the control knobs, the look has already inspired a few fellow musicians. I am looking forward to seeing others make decorative changes to their instruments as the guitar-wrapping trend catches on!”

IMAGin B-free GRUV GVC929BFD is a 2.1-mil gloss white vinyl designed for use on flat, curved, complex, and riveted surfaces. It features an opaque, bubble-free air-egress acrylic adhesive for easy installation and removal and a bright white face for accurate color reproduction.

PERMACOLOR RAYZor LF3648G is a 1.5-mil cast pressure-sensitive overlaminate film that provides fast, efficient processing without the need for heat, drying, or messy coating operations. Ideal for use with GRUV GVC929BFD, PERMACOLOR RAYZor LF3648G is a highly conformable laminate with a high-gloss finish that not only protects printed graphics but also adds body to the graphic for easier installation.

If you have completed a project using Mactac materials and would like it to be featured, submit your project to [email protected]. For more information regarding Mactac products or graphic solutions, call 866-622-8223, visit www.mactac.com/graphics