With a multitude of guitar colors to choose from, certain hues win the mark of merit for many guitar players. These guitar colors are black, white, yellow, red, and the timeless sunburst with different intensities, saturation, and even color combinations.
Jimi Hendrix, the most influential electric guitarist of all time, is wildly known for his white Fender Stratocaster. But did you know, from the year 1967 to 1969, Hendrix played this beautifully customized Gibson Flying V?
The “Love Drops” Flying V, at first, is just your standard v-shaped black and white guitar – not until Hendrix, himself, decided to use an array of colors (nail polish) to paint psychedelic patterns. And the final output is a masterpiece.
With this said, did you ever wonder about adding a bit more personality to your guitar? Or simply buying a new one, but wondered on what color to get?
Well, we have all the right goods for you.
How Color Matters in Guitar
On the surface level, guitar color doesn’t necessarily feel like an important point to spend time pondering on. With so much to consider (guitar type, strings, genre, price, and pickups), this may just end up at the bottom of your lists.
But to an extent, the color of your guitar matters.
If you’ve been in the guitar-playing game for a while, you’ll definitely agree that your guitar is more than just an instrument. For many exceptional guitarists, it’s an extension of oneself – much like how we like to dress up ourselves (and we don’t like wearing clothes that don’t fit).
A well-thought-of guitar can effectively exude your personality.
Before everything, let’s have a short trip down memory lane with your guitar types. Why? If you’re considering color, guitar types can greatly expand or limit your choices.
Let’s say wood-based guitars (this would be your acoustic and classic ones!). Many of these guitars retain their natural wooden texture in earthly tones of varying intensity. Conversely, choices are vast for electric guitars.
With these said, what are the (arguably) best colors for your guitar?
The Can’t-Go-Wrong Black Guitar
Let’s get the big one out of the way: you can never really go wrong with black.
A hue that absorbs all visible light across the spectrum. But what is it about this color that enables it to compliment anything? Black is associated with either strength or mystery. It’s a hue that inspires introspection and neutrality.
A gloss finish may accentuate this color, resulting in a cleaner, more sophisticated, and sexier guitar.
However, it’s never all sunshine-and-rainbows for this guitar color. Manufacturing black guitars can be significantly tricky. When not done right, missed spots, bleaching, damage, and scratches can be annoyingly obvious.
Not to mention, black guitars do not necessarily pop out on stage (especially when everything is dully set). Unless that black guitar is a fancy Squier Black, you might end up blending into the background.
Some prominent black guitar owners include Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and B.B. King.
The Winsome White Guitar
Sure, we can consider black as a neutral color (as it goes well with anything). But nothing can be as neutral as white.
Though color association may not be as universal as we hope, white can be astonishingly transcending. It is often associated with purity and cleanliness (as cliché as this sounds). But on a visual level, white adds more space and dimension to things. In fact, designers would gravitate towards this color if they want something to appear bigger.
It can also evoke feelings of focus and concentration – pretty useful during practice sessions! White guitars are not difficult to spot as well. And unlike black, white would definitely stand out on a dark stage. But, it may not be as memorable.
Jimi Hendrix is also known for having a white Stratocaster.
The Warm and Cheerful Yellow
Take a quick glance at this butterscotch blonde Squier.
After looking at such marvel, it is undoubted that nothing screams joy and warmth like yellow.
People will remember you if you play a brightly colored yellow guitar at any gig – talk about making a lasting impression! Yellow is a vibrant and vivid hue, which may explain why it evokes such powerful emotions.
Yellow has the ability to attract attention instantly. Excessive usage of this color, however, can be harsh and cause feelings of fatigue.
A yellow guitar will most likely suit any genre you play, which is a significant bonus. Yellow also looks great on any electric guitar (if you happen to play one). It makes little difference if the yellow is faded, brilliant, or even burned.
The Fiery Red/Maroon/Cherry Guitar
If a color can be at par with yellow in terms of evoking strong feelings and making bigtime impressions (as well as standing out on live sessions) it would be red – and all of its shades.
One of the greatest things about this is that you would never run out of options for this color! Take for example the Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster in Torino red.
The color red is connected with strong emotions like love and rage, as well as enthusiasm. It draws the greatest attention, is engaging and exciting, and has a significant relationship to heightened cravings and sensuality.
However, just a little of this color can go for miles. And hence, too much can also induce visual strain. This is something that is almost always linked with bright and warm colors.
Red guitar has a distinct edge over yellow guitars in terms of masculine perception (if that’s important to you!). Finally, as previously said, red exudes energy and dominance – Pete Townshend’s #5 Gibson Les Paul in wide red is a testimony to these.
The Classic Sunburst
Probably, the most reliable option out there (especially for those fond of acoustics) – the everlasting sunburst.
To say that this classic is “boring” or “plain” is surely a bluff. Sunburst isn’t a single hue. If you have any experience with guitars, you’ll probably know that there are probably thousands of sunburst finishes – ranging from different intensities, saturation, and even combinations (the typical shades used for this style are also the same colors listed here!).
The smoky Epiphone Songmaker DR-100, Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar would surely bring in the luxury in sunburst guitars.
Despite being extremely reliable, a major downfall is that there are probably multitudes of guitarists with the same guitar color. Hence, you’ll probably need to do more to make a lasting impression!
In case you’re curious, here is how they do a two-tone sunburst:
Final Words: A Guitar Color That Says YOU!
There’s a lot to go about when choosing a guitar color. Maybe you might even be thinking of painting an old reliable one just to add a spec of personality. Probably this article can help you figure out if that’ll affect how your guitar sounds.
In this article, we delved deep into the importance of choosing a guitar color that matches you and the music that you play. Much like acoustics, visuals are a universal language that sends out a message.
We also listed down some of the best guitar colors (in our humble opinion) to help you out on deciding.
But do note that in personalizing your guitar, there’s a canvas way beyond colors. An important first step is introspection – know what you want and how you want your listeners to see and hear you.
Joyce Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies at New Era University. She especially enjoyed her journalism class and was nominated for Photojournalist of the Year. Joyce Anne loves music; she is a self-taught piano player. When she's not writing (or baking or watching documentaries), she's probably playing songs on the piano, mostly by ear.