The most iconic guitar finishes

The journey of finding your perfect guitar is challenging, we know that. Besides all the specifications, which include technical details about the structure of the guitar and its sound, we choose a guitar for its looks. 

When we refer to the look of a guitar, we speak not only about the color or shape but its finish. I advise you to continue reading this article if you want to learn about the most iconic finishes (according to us), so you can dream of your next electric guitar. 

Gibson Goldtop 1956
Steve Hackett, Duane Allman, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, and Robben Ford are the names that come to our mind when we think about a Goldtop 1956. This finish is so elegant that it can perfectly be the center of attention on stage. We are sure about the sound features that a good Gibson has, however, for a professional guitar player having a Golden good looking guitar that will look amazing in photos can be a game changer. 

Body Finish: Nitrocellulose VOS (Vintage Patina)

PRS 10 Top 
We know that in most guitar finishes, the painting technique can be the most visually appealing part. However, in the case of 10 Tops, the figured wood is the decisive factor to make it look stunning.  Not every maple top can give the 10 Top finish as it 'must have a clearly defined figure across its entire top with no dead spots'.

Body Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer

EVH Frankenstrat
We all know how iconic this guitar is, but in terms of finish, this legendary design came from the mind of a very young Eddie Van Halen, who just wanted something that ‘looks cool’. Back in 75’ he painted black the body of the guitar, placed strips of gaffer’s tape, and just repainted it white. This way he gave life to one of the most recognizable guitar finishes in history. 

Body Finish: Gaffer's tape and paint (the original idea) 

Buddy Guy Polka Dots Stratocaster
No one would believe that the idea of adding dots to a Stratocaster could come from a young man who promised his mother to buy a polka-dot Cadillac. Buddy Guy never bought the Cadillac, however, he asked Fender to add the dots on his strat to honor the memory of his mother and the never fulfilled promise. Sometime later, Fender had to make more models with the same design after the incredible success that this finish got. 

Body Finish: Popping black finish with big white polka dots

Jimmy Page Dragon Telecaster
The initial design of this colorful Tele came from the hands of Page himself. He got part of the inspiration from psychedelic posters to position the colors in the most vibrant way possible. The pickguard is made with transparent plastic that covers a film that reflects the light. How cool is that? 

Body Finish: Different colors of paint (original design) 

George Harrison Rocky Stratocaster 
George Harrison knew how to perfectly print part of his psychedelic imagination on his guitar. Different colors, dots, symbols, and figures jump to your eyes when you stare at this guitar. Even the knobs suffered the consequences of Harrison's inspiration. Whether you like colors or not, this magnificent piece of art just communicates peace and love without being too cheesy. Actually, it is cheesy but we love it. 

Body Finish: Different colors of paint (original design) 

Iconic in the future

Boutique brands are also doing their stuff and, we are sure that some of the guitars built by small brands in the last 20 years will be (or already are) iconic in the short future.

James Tyler Burning Water 
Even though its name comes from Michael Landau’s band ‘Burning Water’, this finish really looks like ‘burning volcano lava meets ocean water’. We can confirm that the first thing about this guitar that will catch your attention is, without a doubt, this full-of-personality finish. Of course, after playing it you will fall in love but that’s another story.

Body Finish: Burning water finish

James Tyler Psychedelic Vomit
If you ever witnessed someone vomit while you were on LSD (we hope you did not!), probably, this finish will look familiar to you. Although the history of this guitar is not related to any psychedelic substance - as it was just a coloring experiment on a guitar made for Michael Landau - this colorful finish will remind you of the popular graphics back in the 70’s when the hippie subculture was dominating the scene. 

Body Finish: Psychedelic Vomit

Tom Anderson Angel Fire In The Sky (Fire Sunset)
Starts with blue and ends with orange but in the way, some white and yellow make a perfect synergy. The colors of this guitar are not the most appealing feature although they are impressive. The shape given by quilted maple makes it look like fire on the orange side and sky on the blue side - no surprise why the name is ‘fire in the sky’.  

Body Finish: Fire Sunset

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