Finishing with Poly


So, I'm completely new to this and want to paint/finish my own guitar this summer.  I think I'm going to go with a Polyurethane finish for convenience.  I also hear that it doesn't wear easily which, in my opinion, is perfect.  I'm thinking about a color along the lines of Daphne Blue.  I'll be painting the body (alder) along with the neck (maple, rosewood fretboard) for this and would really appreciate advice on how to do this without destroying my investment.  For starters, steps I should be taking to paint and finish both neck at body would be fantastic.  Brands of paint and finish would help a great deal as well seeing as how I have no idea besides Reranch which is nitrocellulose and I would rather not use.  Any help whatsoever is greatly appreciated.

If you have your own spray equipment it would be easier to get a real nice finish, If not you can get the dupont paint # to match that daphne blue and go to a carquest. They can mix up whatever color you want in a spray can and they should have the clear in ready to spray cans too. personally I like the looks of just an enamal spray  too base clear, but I don't like a guitar to have that super glossy look. Make sure you spray a couple coats of primer first and let it dry real good. If you go with just the spray acrylic enamal, don't try to gloss it up the first couple of coats, the first coat should be just a tack coat, don't worry about covering up the primer until the second coat. after spraying a coat, test after apprx ten minutes, before applying another coat. I just use the back of my knuckle somewhere that will be covered up and lightly touch the paint, if your finger doesn't stick then you have waited too long. It should be tacky enough to stick your finger to it without pulling off any paint. Hope this helps!

Paul, that's by far the most helpful thing I've read all day.
I am a little curious however if I should take the stated precautions with both the paint and clear coating process or just the clear coating, and also where can I get the primer? Lowe's maybe?  I'd like everything to be in a spray can so that painting is cost effective and relatively convenient.  Also, should I be using wood filler?
Thank you very much.

Hey Wes, no need to be that cautious with a base coat, just the clear or if you use acrylic enamel. You can get spray primer at almost any hardware store, use the automotive stuff, it's better. I would just use 3 or 4 thin coats of primer over the body, should be no need for any kind of filler for alder just sand with a #320 or 400 grit paper first. You can also sand the primer if it gets a little rough on you, oh and that spray primer will run fairly easily so don't try to wet it up too much. If you can get a one coat primer in a can that would be great ! but I have never seen any. I was told from one of these very helpful people on this site to test on pine, it's similar too alder. Good luck!! oh and the neck and headstock would only need a thin coat of primer for the paint to stick too.