this might be a somewhat naive question, but I am curious if using some type of permanent marker to draw on a classical guitar with an open pore finish will cause any issues? I'd like to give it a go, but I am somewhat concerned that it may affect the tone of the guitar. I mean to illustrate pretty much the entire body and possibly neck, but I just don't know if that would potentially ruin it. Searching online I am only finding things for electric and steel with glossy finish.

Which makes me also wonder, if it is possible, are there specific types of markers I should use for an open pore? And, would I have to put a glossy finish on it? I don't think I would want to do that if possible.

1 Answer 1


I'm skeptical that it would affect the sound, but it would almost certainly affect the value. (And if it has a tone worth worrying about, then perhaps its value is enough that it's a bad idea to ruin it!) If you do an extraordinarily good job of decoration (or become famous) it might increase the value, but otherwise it would probably drastically reduce it. Of course, if the guitar doesn't have much value to lose... why not. To anyone who wants to get verklempt about "defacing" an instrument by decorating it, I'd point to the long tradition of decorating the Norwegian "hardanger" fiddle with pen-and-ink patterns. And of course Woodie Guthrie famously personalized his guitar, and it's certainly worth something today.

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  • Thank you! Much appreciated! And, totally agree with the value, in my case it is a cheap $500 classical. Good tone, but not anything to be concerned about. Aug 24, 2021 at 17:25
  • @RobProctor If it were me, I'd definitely want to practice on some pieces of scrap wood first! Also, rickertmusicalinstruments.com/2011/03/… suggests that sometimes people use transfers or stencils. Though it also talks about putting a clear coat over the top, and that definitely might affect tone. Aug 24, 2021 at 20:55

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