Miscellaneous Rumbles

What colors your buying decision?

1

I read that some of us search for a particular guitar in a certain color. Others seem to have the same type guitar in various colors. Some seek a stable of the same color (blue, for example).

Is color important to you? For me, as long as it isn’t a day-glow or crazy pattern, I don’t really care.

2

I'm not fond of blonde guitars. And I'm not talking about what Fender calls blonde, I mean a true natural clear finish. Except on the big prewar jazz boxes. Natural looks great on them. And I can maybe include a few later guitars, like an L-5CES or Super 400CES.

Other than that, my main personal hangup is that guitars have to have finishes that they're supposed to have. Fenders can be any color. LP Standards should only be gold, or sunburst. LP Customs should only be black. 6120s should only be orange. Country Gents should only be brown. Well, you get the idea.

3

I'm not fond of blonde guitars. And I'm not talking about what Fender calls blonde, I mean a true natural clear finish. Except on the big prewar jazz boxes. Natural looks great on them. And I can maybe include a few later guitars, like an L-5CES or Super 400CES.

Other than that, my main personal hangup is that guitars have to have finishes that they're supposed to have. Fenders can be any color. LP Standards should only be gold, or sunburst. LP Customs should only be black. 6120s should only be orange. Country Gents should only be brown. Well, you get the idea.

– Afire

Brown gents turn a lovely translucent orange in the sun, though...

4

Interesting question.

I'd like to say I'm completely color-blind, and buy a guitar strictly on its merits as an instrument, but that would be a pose, because color certainly plays a role in my buying decisions. I don't know that I would buy a guitar only because I was nuts about the way it looks - if I didn't like the guitar otherwise - but I certainly pay attention to color on a guitar model I've determined I want.

I'm not quite as doctrinaire about it as Afire - that certain guitars have to be a particular color, and can't be other colors. Some models do look better to me across a particular range of, or a few, colors - but I'll always take each individual guitar on its own merits. Combinations that I may have thought I wouldn't like may appeal to me when I actually see them (always depending on execution) - and vice versa.

At the moment I'm waffling over a 5422-TG, a tu-tone special run last year for one of the big-box etailers. The back and sides are the same candy red as the 5420s, so unquestionably gorgeous to me. The top and headstock are white with sparse metalflake - and the GRETSCH inlay on the headstock is red. The guitar made me giggle when I first saw it online; I considered the treatment almost comical. But, you know, quirky and distinctive. It reminds me of nothing so much as a snowglobe while the flakes are floating down.

I mean, it's silly. It has exactly 0-zero dignity. Gold hardware, no less. Goofy. I like the guitar as an instrument - action and playability are fabulously fabulous - but I'm getting less tolerant of the appearance. I've had it hanging on the wall for a couple of weeks where I get to (have to?) see it frequently, and I'm not loving it any more with time. If I hang it with the back showing, it's great!

Thing is, the model only comes in so many colors. I have the black 12-string version, which is either an argument for or against a black 6-string. (Actually, plainol' white white would be fine for balance.) I think I've seen the 5422 in poop brown, which is obviously OK on a doublecut Gretsch, but I have a Gent and brown on the 5422 would just seem like trying to compete. I think that leaves orange. Probably orange. Least objectionable.

Thinking of listing this on Reverb and trying to make the swap.


Edit: I see there is a "snowcrest white," which appears not to have the sno-globery. That works too.

Aaaaand there's this "Midnight Sappire", which looks mighty handsome - but it's in the Nethers, and good lord the price!

https://reverb.com/item/276...

5

For me it's a little of all of the above. Some guitars for me HAVE to be a certain color, even though I'm glad they are made in other colors. When I finally decided to get a Strat-type guitar, I was ONLY interested in a white one with maple neck . Can't explain why. Others I might appreciate in different colors, so it's whichever of those show up at a reasonable price. Still others I might settle for a different color than my preference, and then come to be glad I ended up with that color. I like having a veritable rainbow of colors to choose from, as well as different scale lengths, construcion and pickup types. When I was in the market for an acoustic steel string a few years ago, I had no set color preference (other than not especially wanting solid black), so the decision was made purely on feel, neck and tone --- although I did also happen to like the faded sunburst top and stained cherry back and sides of the one I ended up with.

Other color choices work for me on some guitars but not others. Tobacco or brown sunbursts to me look fine on big archtops, but not on Les Pauls. And red stain is great on SG's or 335's, but not on big archtops. ES-175's are best in natural, but L-5's look better to me in sunburst. Generally I prefer finishes that show woodgrain over solid colors, but my Epiphone Lucille looks elegant in solid black, and my aforementioned Strat is fine in solid white. And I love my Turquoise Epiphone Casino. I bought my Gretsch 5420 because the Ice Blue Metal Flake top and reddish-brown stained back and sides were too cool not to have --- even though I hadn't been in the market for one until I saw it online.

I have absolutely no use for camouflage or Van Halen striping, punk distressing, or stickers-as-wallpaper. George Harrison's "Rocky" doesn't appeal to me, iconic though it may be, but Eric Clapton/Todd Rundgren's "The Fool" SG is a masterpiece of guitar art. We likes what we likes, and the differences are part of the fun.

6

Aw Tim, I have that same metal flake white model. I dressed it up with a nice gold G arrow TRC and I have some TV Classics on the way. I think a black Gretsch inlay on the headstock would be nice though.

Gotta love "quirky and distinctive."

7

The color is part of the personality of the guitar. Same goes for the hardware. It should look like it plays and sounds. If I see it and it makes me want to play a certain thing then that's probably the first thing I'll try to play. If the guitar doesn't play that thing well (compensating for my own skills or lack thereof), it's a let down. Perceptions and expectations.

Strats don't make me want to play rockabilly and Falcons don't make me want to play Black Sabbath.

Sometimes certain colors have been associated with certain models for so long it's become nostalgia. Blonde Teles with black pickguards. Orange 6120s. Cherry SGs. Can't go wrong with a Ferrari in red.

But as long as it plays and sounds like it looks, I'm cool with it. Hot rods comes in lots of colors, are still very much 6120s, and play and sound like you'd think when you see them.

8

Color might draw me to a certain model to try, but usually won’t make me open the wallet unless there is something else about it. My first Gretsch, a 3140, grabbed me by it’s looks, but kept me by it’s feel and sound. The 400JV, 460 and 5570 Elliot Easton grabbed me by looks, but I never bonded with them.

9

Size and shape of the headstock has more influence over me than color, that said I won’t buy a white or 2 color sunburst guitar. I’m open to most all other colors. Except gray. Or pink. Or brown.

10

In general, I never liked natural or blond finish, or black. I like reds, mainly. I did have a red sparkle phase but less so now. Sunburst ok. Gibson cherry like SGs etc also good.

Sill if it's a guitar I really want, like a Gretsch Bikini doubleneck, that were only in black, then sure black is ok.

11

All of my guitars have to be black 'cause I'm a tough, hell-raising, bad-ass mother-effer. OR....I'm really a wuss and just a bad guitarist!

I do love the black on that Black Phoenix. It really matches the deep body and growl of the tone. I like other Gretsches in black too but the blueburst of the 6120-BS was sweet. I would say for a Gretsch, I like orange the least.....I know I'll get shot for saying this but it's true.

Has to be solid colors for a Strat but my favorite is a multi-color wood stain. I like black and red too.

Les Paul.....Hmmmm what can I afford? My favorite are the AAAA flame maple in Bourbon-burst and the R8s with the Lemon-burst. My Tokai honey-burst and LP Traditional in AA maple Tobacco Burst are sweet. Like gold tops too. My least favorite is cherry-burst unless it has one hell of a flame or quilt.

12

24.5" scale with a D shaped neck is the only consideration. Okay, maybe a 24.6" scale too.

13

You can’t play a color, or so I’ve been told. Not so sure I agree. It is not the primary factor, but color does figure into the decision. Who doesn’t feel good when someone tells you that you have a nice looking guitar?

I am very happy with my “regular” 6122-1959 but regretted not buying the orange HOF version when I had a chance. I liked both the appearance and the rarity of it. The color probably shouldn’t matter so much, but my history suggests that it sometimes does. More important is the tone of the guitar and the feel of the neck, but at least there is some variety in the palette.

@ Proteus: Some might say that I am not the best judge of taste, but I thought your 5422 looked pretty nice last year. And if Hoot Owl also has one, then you did right by it. I was lurking at the sapphire blue ones this morning and fell in love but don’t plan on taking action on this impulse. Blue would be my top choice if I was to be more color focused.

14

You can’t play a color, or so I’ve been told. Not so sure I agree. It is not the primary factor, but color does figure into the decision. Who doesn’t feel good when someone tells you that you have a nice looking guitar?

I am very happy with my “regular” 6122-1959 but regretted not buying the orange HOF version when I had a chance. I liked both the appearance and the rarity of it. The color probably shouldn’t matter so much, but my history suggests that it sometimes does. More important is the tone of the guitar and the feel of the neck, but at least there is some variety in the palette.

@ Proteus: Some might say that I am not the best judge of taste, but I thought your 5422 looked pretty nice last year. And if Hoot Owl also has one, then you did right by it. I was lurking at the sapphire blue ones this morning and fell in love but don’t plan on taking action on this impulse. Blue would be my top choice if I was to be more color focused.

– Baba Joe

...and, ahem...you’ve got a custom color 51XX that has me like a moth to a flame.

16

Guitars for me are as much a work of art as they are an instrument to play. Life is too short to play/own an ugly guitar and there sure are enough ugly guitars in the world. Color per se isn't the be all or end all for me although it does figure into my thinking when choosing a guitar. While I own a '98 6120 BS, it's more a blue guitar than a burst and I happen to like that shade of blue, I don't like bursts, especially on vintage archtops. The orange flavor in my Gretsch family is my '76 Super Axe....perfect shade of orange for me. I do like a natural finish but not a stark washed out one like on Norman guitars. The 3rd issue of Ovation's Folklore and Country Artist are washed out and to me, ugly. I have both these in later '90's versions and the finish is a warm honey amber and lovely looking. My '41 Syncho 100 seen here before has much the same color finish now that it's aged while it's quite light beneath the the bridge base.

While color of the finish does matter to me it plays an equal part in appeal of a given guitar.

17

Blue is a deal breaker for me.

18

Caddie Green on the Duo Jet probably influenced my purchase. I don't care for pastels on most any guitar, and when I was gigging, black was out - couldn't take the fingerprints. There are probably exceptions to each of those.

19

Our man in Black and Gold (tubwompus) is late to chime in...

Blondes and Naturals preferred around here, only the Super 400 stands apart being Golden Teardrop...still quite translucent. The CAR clear 20th Annie JC Bass is a one off.

EDIT: Just for clarity, Gretsch Orange in any shade or name is "Natural"...

20

Blue is a deal breaker for me.

But...didn't I trade you a blue Agile oncet upon a time?

21

Yes to black guitars and blonde guitars...both just have a regal appearance to me.

Even though I have three 6120s in the familiar orange finish, I prefer the two black 6120s I own.

To a degree, appearance is key.

22

I'm open to a lot of colors but I'm a plumb fool for figured maple.

23

If I am wanting a run of the mill model that comes in multiple colors, I won't compromise on the color I want. I'd rather wait and get the color I want. However, if I play a guitar for sale that just has outstanding playability and is priced right, I don't care what color it is.

24

The qualities of a guitar can sway me over a less than desirable colour, but only so far! I love Les Pauls with P90s but don't really care for gold tops - so you see the problem! I have owned a few Goldtops because they sound so good.

I have worked out that I don't like cold colours like blue or green or purple - but of course there are always exceptions. I really like surf Green Strats with a RW neck and I like Double Annies in green. But the PRS in trans blue, green or black? Yuck! I do like the warm colours though and like the ambers and yellows. I think I like colours which don't stray too far from being natural, and except for Strats I like to see the grain of the wood. Especially on the neck. I don't know why!

Like others here I really don't care for black, especially shiny. But then one of my favouritest guitars of all time is my '59 VS Duo Jet. In general I'm not a fan of shiny so love the finish on my VOS sunburst Gibsons. I'm also quite partial to the dark two-tone burst that Gibson use on things like the 225 and '59 335 - they look like relics unearthed from a peat bog. All warm and dark and mysterious.

And FWIW I love natural finishes. I don't have any though. Not a lot of rhyme or reason to what I like - except I don't like solids or cold colours - in general. I like white Strats with RW boards. Again, no idea why.

25

I don’t know about guitars, but this thing is gnawing at me. Never thought twice about buying a cheap import AC4 ... til they came out with this beauty. The deep red and black is perfect. Geez.


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