What makes a good Sunburst?

joebtone

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Jan 26, 2022
2,163
Northwest US
I have a PRS SE with a poor burst. You can see the unevenness on the edges. The body unevenness can be the grain, maybe, but whoever did this was not experience. It plays great though, so I kept it. It was a Sweetwater order-and-wait so I didn’t see it until they shipped it and emailed me pictures. I’m glad they didn’t send me pictures until after it shipped. I love this guitar .

But that is a lousy burst. I call her Fug.
View attachment 582772
That is very pretty IMO.
 

JohnMac

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 5, 2018
1,043
Front Range, Colorado
There are some real beauties posted here. I love all of the variations.

I like a subtle color transition and nice grain too.

011.JPG 003.JPG 006.JPG

This one's a little more vivid than I like but it works on that guitar.

002.JPG
 
Last edited:

Handsome McClane

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 6, 2020
1,995
Sacramento
Looking through these posts I like the darker ones with more black and with a faded transition to the middle rather than the light ones with a hard transition.

Good:

am-pro-3tsb-2__61232.1651849596.jpg


Not good:

qv7is5pg8d0swuvt2qxg.jpg
 

ZZDoc

Strat-Talker
Jan 29, 2013
170
Florida
Sunbursts are like women. It's what turns one on, and Fender's had many different interpretations across the decades.[See link] For me its pretty much the guitar Red Bread or Handsome McClane posted a photo of. A dark SB3 with a very subtle watercolor bleed of red into the yellow.

 

stratblast

Strat-O-Master
Jan 17, 2015
559
OMAHA, NEBRASKA
I've always thought of bursts as old-man guitars, but hey- I'm not as young anymore and and have slowly come around to the notion. So, what makes for a good sunburst? Wide, red, deep yellow, grain; the variations seem endless.
Thought I would add my 2 cents worth.
 

Attachments

  • FA142921-BFC9-4D70-AFDC-A9316D1E823F.jpeg
    FA142921-BFC9-4D70-AFDC-A9316D1E823F.jpeg
    117.7 KB · Views: 14
  • F0D8839A-4953-490C-AE44-F2B199B17DD6.jpeg
    F0D8839A-4953-490C-AE44-F2B199B17DD6.jpeg
    155.1 KB · Views: 14

RNBQ

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 26, 2010
61
Bay Area
A 2-tone on a Swamp Ash body. I like it moreso than a 3-tone…

‘54 40th Annv Ltd Ed (1994)
Warmoth Alder 3-tone ACE9074E-E902-4B24-B7B6-8481B174C90D.png 919322E3-5952-47DC-9A90-51236D97F7F9.jpeg
 

Belfegore

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 11, 2016
10
London
I've always thought of bursts as old-man guitars, but hey- I'm not as young anymore and and have slowly come around to the notion. So, what makes for a good sunburst? Wide, red, deep yellow, grain; the variations seem endless.
I always loved sunburst guitars with pearloid scratch boards, I always associated them with the bands on ferries and dancehalls, it just seems to signify showmanship and dedication to me. “Yes, you may play to only five people but my guitar adds some glamour to the occasion”. It started partly as an “ironic” statement for me, but nowadays I find it hard to consider anything else. 😏
 

Attachments

  • 3968D36C-119E-4614-9519-67050FD8AA10.jpeg
    3968D36C-119E-4614-9519-67050FD8AA10.jpeg
    180.7 KB · Views: 5

Nokie

Strat-O-Master
Jul 31, 2018
672
91325
I'm partial to the tobacco bursts, '54-'57, as well BUT for a '58 Strat and beyond, I really want to see the red and well-blended.

The biggest crime in sunbursts is a teardrop pattern on the back. I don't believe I've seen it on a Strat but some Gibsons have had it and many inexpensive guitars have as well. It seems lazy to me as it avoids the body contours.
 

kelia

Strat-Talk Member
Nov 27, 2020
28
Canada
I really love this guy videos where you can see him spray bodies for Fender Custom Shop.
He normally always sprays the amber , the outer dark bvrown and the red over the dark brown but
for the Rory Gallagher , he does the opposite spraying the red before the brown which I really like .
A few weeks after , it gets destroyed by the Custom Shop ! lol
He does a lot of custom colors over sunburst , interesting to watch.

 

Joe R

Strat-Talker
Nov 3, 2015
105
Vermont
I've always thought of bursts as old-man guitars, but hey- I'm not as young anymore and and have slowly come around to the notion. So, what makes for a good sunburst? Wide, red, deep yellow, grain; the variations seem endless.
Uncle Daddy, there is no "right" answer here. What one player's ideal sunburst look may be disliked by other players. There are two basic types, two-color, and three-color. I've seen four color, but they are mostly custom guitars. No matter what the color choices are (tobacco, red, orange, yellow, etc.) they are applied in one of two basic ways. The first being a solid break between each color. The red around a brown color will be somewhat narrow and clearly defined. The other way is for a more gradual blending where the colors bleed smoothly into each other in a much wider band. I prefer this method of painting. The neat thing about sunburst guitars is that there is tremendous variation. I'm absolutely fond of my Gibson sunbursts. Here are two photos of Gibsons. Both have very basic sunburst patterns. I like the solid color around the cut-a-ways. I also added a Duesenberg Les Trem tremolo, and a roller bridge to both. The first is a Les Paul, and the second a Midtown Custom. They both have solid maple tops, and the bodies are cut out of solid pieces of mahogany. DSC01933.JPG
DSC01708 (2).JPG
 

johntrem

Strat-Talker
Jun 2, 2012
258
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
I've always thought of bursts as old-man guitars, but hey- I'm not as young anymore and and have slowly come around to the notion. So, what makes for a good sunburst? Wide, red, deep yellow, grain; the variations seem endless.
I felt the same way in the 70's when I was in my 20's. Sunburst = old man. Now that I'm in my 70's I love them.
 


Top