Putting stickers on your acoustic or electric guitar will not change any sound or tone – there’s absolutely no impact and they will not damage the guitar finish if you leave them alone.
The stickers should not be significant enough to hinder sound vibrations – no matter the placement.
You can put stickers anywhere on the guitar – body, back, headstock or even the pickups (for electric guitars).
I personally have put stickers and decals on my acoustic and electric guitars. I love how they look – especially if they are minimal and clean. No sticker bombs or anything crazy for me though.
I have not observed any change in sound or tone. Although, stickers are not easy to take off once you don’t want them anymore.
In this article, I discuss stickers and guitars in detail. It should cover everything you need to know and what you are worrying about. The content we will cover:
- Are Stickers Safe On Guitar?
- Do Stickers Affect Guitar Sound / Tone?
- Can You Put Sticker On Guitar Pickups?
- Best Place To Put Guitar Stickers
- How To Seal Guitar Stickers
Are Stickers Safe On Guitar?
Putting stickers or decals on your guitar is safe for the finish – you will not damage the guitar and won’t change any tone.
However, removing stickers from guitars is difficult and can leave stains on your guitar.
At the best scenario, you can completely remove the guitar stickers but there will be a lighter silhouette on your guitar because stickers prevent even wearing. The part covered by stickers will not yellow and is protected by dust and sun.
I recommend removing guitar stickers by peeling it slowly with your fingers and rubbing off the sticky stains with damp cloth – this way, you are sure the guitar finish is not accidentally scratched or damaged.
Definitely don’t use a knife when removing guitar stickers – because a knife is harder to control than your fingernails and accidental scratch is inevitable.
Overall, putting stickers on your guitar is completely safe if you decide to leave it on forever. This is great if you have no plans on selling the guitar. However, If you plan to resell your guitar – stickers will bring down its value.
Stickers on a guitar are great to make the guitar unique – but not everybody has the same taste as you. Thus, lowering resale value.
Do Stickers Affect Guitar Sound / Tone?
Guitar stickers do not affect guitar sound / tone. This applies for all acoustic and electric guitars (including bass). Stickers do not have any significant impact on vibrations on the guitar.
You can even place stickers on your electric guitar pickups and even then, the tone shouldn’t be impacted. Guitar pickups work using magnets and stickers on top will not hinder their work.
If you notice a tone change from your guitar, then you should inspect other parts like worn out strings or your tuning. For electric guitars, worn out pickups or incorrect amp settings could also be a culprit.
Related Article: Does Guitar Amp Matter: Will Upgrading Make Any Difference?
4 Best Places To Put Guitar Stickers
1. Back of guitar
Putting stickers on the back of a guitar is great if you think the guitar finish on the front already looks great and you don’t want to ruin it.
You can generally place it anywhere if it’s at the back. Not many people will see it while you perform – only when you rest the guitar down.
With the back, you also don’t have to be too careful. There’s no need to worry about sealing the stickers or the lighter silhouette when you remove the stickers.
2. Body of a guitar (corner)
Putting stickers on the body (front) of a guitar is very popular. I suggest applying the stickers in the corner of your guitar body – top corner or bottom corner alike.
You should also keep it menial – just one sticker in the front is generally enough to add character and make your guitar unique to you.
Remember, regular stickers are too thick for you to seal it. So you have to be careful in making sure that sweat doesn’t get into the stickers.
Putting decals on a headstock is extremely popular. There are services to print your logo as a decal – where you can stick it on the head stock.
Using decals on a headstock is great because you can seal it. Decals are very thin and you can secure it by spraying a layer of clear coating on top.
By sealing the decals, you can ensure it lasts long and will not wear out. In my opinion decals on a headstock is the best placement.
Putting stickers on a fretboard is also a great option – this way, you can simulate great looking guitars that have inlays on their fretboards (like PRS guitars).
However, placing stickers on a fretboard is challenging. You need to loosen up the strings and put them aside first.
If you can get it centered and placed correctly, stickers on a fretboard can definitely elevate the look of your guitar. I am not surprised if people start asking where you get the guitar from!
Though generally, stickers on a fretboard are only suitable for acoustic guitars where you don’t play as much slides and bends – because the stickers will get in the way and can scratch off as time passes.
Here’s a great YouTube video that shows you how to put stickers on a guitar fretboard. I personally learned from him as well.
How To Seal Guitar Stickers Or Decals
You can seal guitar decals using a clear coating like a nitro lacquer and then use sandpaper to smooth out the surface evenly. This should protect the decals and make it permanent.
Sealing only works for decals because they use very thin film that can be made even with an additional coating layer.
Applying decals on headstock is very common because spraying a clear coat over a headstock is easy – there’s a limited surface area to work with.
It’s much harder to seal decals on a guitar body because you will need a more clear coat to even out the entire body.
Sealing guitar stickers is also challenging. A regular sticker is much too thick for a spray of clear coating to make even.
You will need a lot of it and it’s just not worth it – the finished product will never look professional if you do it by yourself.
Should You Use Stickers On Your Guitar?
You can place stickers literally anywhere on your guitar. That said, I personally think stickers should be used moderately and stickers only look good on minimally designed guitars like a Fender Strat.
If you have fancier guitars from PRS or Gibsons, then stickers may not be suitable. Especially if your guitars are designed for the Jazz look like the Les Pauls.
Generally, you should stickers only on cheaper guitars ($800 and below). Guitars in this price range don’t have sophisticated design and should not have much resale value to begin with.
The more expensive guitars in the range of thousands have great finishes and already look absolutely great. I don’t recommend putting stickers on these. Not only will you get frowned upon, you will also damage the resale value.