Shopping for a guitar, or even better ordering exactly what you want, can be a lot of fun. Considering that G&L offers a myriad of potential options, there are a lot of choices to make. One of the big decisions is what color for the body. While this is a totally subjective decision, we do have the benefit of seeing a lot of guitars pass through our hands. Some colors just look good no matter what they are on, while others are an acquired tasted. So without trying to fan any particular flames of passion, here is an unofficial subjective list. You can usually find examples of all of these colors on the UpFront Guitars site:
Good looking “safe” colors that I like:
- Gloss Black – Hard to argue with black, except for the fingerprints, and it’s propensity to highlight any scuff or scratch.
- Cherry Burst – Very attractive, and looks super on Legacy guitars. THE color for a flame maple top.
- Tobacco Sunburst – Classic, looks good on anything. Also super with flame maple.
- Three color Sunburst – You’ll never get grief for having sunburst, but if you’re going to special order a guitar, why?
- Sonic Blue – Pale blue, looks almost white at a distance. Very attractive.
- Belair Green – Greens are the hardest to photograph accurately, so I fret about getting it right. But people love it. It’s a 50’s color but not dated or tacky looking.
- Blonde – The later 50’s style whiter translucent creamy blonde
- Butterscotch Blonde – Way too many out there, but a classic finish of the early 50’s telecasters. Looks out of place on anything else.
- Fullerton Red – A nice classic medium red. Not burgundy, not pale, and their most popular red. See my comments on satin frost option.
- Honey/Honey Burst – Tasteful light amber, or as a burst finish with a slightly darker edge fade. Shows the most grain of any burst finish. Works with tinted maple or rosewood fingerboards.
Some interesting more adventurous colors:
- Clear orange – A great shade that highlights the grain. Lovely with creme guard and tinted maple neck
- Spanish Copper Metallic – A deep bronze, looks good with tinted necks, and creme or tortoiseshell pickguards.
- Black burst – When you want black, but don’t want just black. Fades to a light black “wash” in the center. Kinda cool, and not as fragile in terms of fingerprints and scuffs.
- Tangerine Metallic – Yes, orange does work. Good with rosewood, or tinted maple, and also with their satin frost topcoat option
- Clear blue – Very classy and really shows the swamp ash grain well
- Midnight blue metallic – Deep blue with a subtle sparkle, good with rosewood
- Shoreline gold – More like a pewter, with a very subtle metallic sheen.
- Emerald Blue – A nice blue/green metallic that is kind of 60’s looking. Goes well with white pickguard, rosewood or maple.
- Two color Sunburst – Huh? The original Fender ‘bursts were two color, and the G&L two color burst is a black – to – yellowish brown that sometimes has almost a slight greenish tint. It’s hard to photograph and get the color right. It’s a complex and interesting shade, but not what you’d might expect. It’s so “period” in look it should only be on a Legacy or SB bass.
Colors that I find less attractive:
- Blue burst, Green burst and Red burst – The black fade covers up too much of the grain and makes the overall finish too dark. Shows fingerprints like crazy too. Clear green is not bad, but risky stocking a green guitar. These colors all look better to me as just clear finishes with no burst.
- Yukon gold – Brash, and winds up looking a bit too Vegas.
- Candy Apple Red – Actually not a bad color, but someone once said to me, “people don’t buy red guitars.” I have actually found that to be somewhat true, and I don’t order red guitars unless it’s a customer order. Something to consider if resale is a concern.
- Ruby red metallic – Deep rep with a tasteful metallic sparkle. Same problem as Candy Apple. If you like it, buy it. But I do have my Red Guitar Phobia.
Satin Frost Topcoat – G&L also has a satin frost option that can be applied to any finish. It kills the shine giving a traditional finish a low-sheen look. It’s sort of “vintage” without being aged. On metallic finishes it really changes the whole character of the finish. I have a Tangerine metallic bass with a satin topcoat. It’s kind of sexy and does not show any grime. If you want a guitar to look “older” without physically abusing it, the satin frost topcoat is a good option.
Neck Tints – G&L’s light tint and vintage tint are now available in both gloss and satin finishes. This is really nice because the feel of a satin neck is very smooth and dry, but looks “naked” without some type of tint or a rosewood fingerboard on top. Many customers opt for the vintage tint, but it’s deeper hue has a little orange tint to it, and it does not work with everything. So to me, it’s a matter of getting the best match with the body color. In general the light tint is the most adaptable, but the vintage tint looks dynamite with certain shades.
Satin or Gloss Light Tint – Best with Greens, Spanish Copper, Yellows, Cherry Burst, Blacks, Blues and Blonde. A lighter alternate for Oranges and traditional bursts too.
Satin or Gloss Vintage Tint – Butterscotch, Sunburst, Tobacco Burst, Two color Burst, Reds, Honey, and Oranges. Also a good alternate with Cherry Burst, and Blues.
Plain satin or Gloss – Best on natural finishes and Blonde. If a guitar has a rosewood or ebony fingerboard, plain satin is a very good and economical playing surface. It’s a good way to keep the cost down, as gloss and tint both add cost.
To see how color plays on G&L guitars from Upfront Guitars: www.upfrontguitars.com