ColorTone Liquid Stains

  • 145 Reviews
  • Write a review

Spectacular sunbursts, vintage tints and head-turning modern colors: ColorTone concentrated stains mix with virtually any finish, and are formulated specifically for luthiers.

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ColorTone Liquid Stains Red mahogany

Red mahogany

Item # 5032
In stock, ready to ship!


ColorTone Liquid Stains Medium brown

Medium brown

Item # 5033
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Tobacco brown

Tobacco brown

Item # 5034
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Lemon yellow

Lemon yellow

Item # 5037
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Cherry red

Cherry red

Item # 5038
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Blue


Item # 5039
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Black


Item # 5040
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Bright green

Bright green

Item # 5041
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Orange


Item # 5042
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ColorTone Liquid Stains Vintage amber

Vintage amber

Item # 5030
In stock, ready to ship!


ColorTone Liquid Stains, Set of all 10 colors

ColorTone Liquid Stains, Set of all 10 colors

Item # 5029
In stock, ready to ship!

$206.90 $196.55

Total: $0.00
Quantity: 20


Spectacular sunbursts, vintage tints and head-turning modern colors: ColorTone concentrated stains mix with virtually any finish, and are formulated specifically for luthiers.

They're accurate and authentic stringed instrument colors, as researched and specified by our own guitar finishing experts—not the generic furniture colors you'll find at other suppliers.

These concentrated grain-enhancing stains are economical; a little goes a long way. Reduce them with alcohol or water to give bare wood beautiful fade-resistant color, without hiding the grain. They're versatile, too. For applying transparent color-tinted coats, ColorTone stains can be mixed directly into virtually any finish: nitrocellulose lacquer, shellac, waterbase finishes, and catalyzed varnishes or lacquers.

Available in 2-ounce bottles, in the most popular stringed instrument colors. SAVE when you order the set of all ten!

Make wood grain come alive!
ColorTone liquid stains are lightfast metal-complex dyes that can be mixed for practically any desired intensity. Unlike off-the-shelf hardware store stains, they're formulated for guitar finishing. One 2-ounce bottle makes two quarts of stain at normal concentration. Because they're liquids, they can be measured precisely for critical color matching—a plus for refinishing and touchup work. (See our handy stain mixing cups and pipettes.)

Questions about finishing? Look here first:
Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step

Trade Secrets! Newsletter

Coloring new binding to match the old stuff

We've watched Dan Erlewine repair this 1930s Kay over the previous 3 Trade Secrets. It's time to finish it up. Elliot John-Conry of EJC Guitars ages Dan's patch of new plastic binding so it blends in with the old binding around it. About the guitar in this video: This 1930s Kay Deluxe is a fixer-upper that Dan Erlewine repaired in order to sell. Now that it's in great shape again, maybe Dan'll keep it!

Trade Secrets! Newsletter

How to match color on vintage binding repairs

Working on an aged Les Paul, Erick Coleman has to sand part of the yellowed binding. The sanded spots are a glaring white mismatch. Erick makes turns the repair invisible with a little ColorTone spray and stain.

Product Instructions

ColorTone Liquid Stain Instructions

Directions for using ColorTone Liquid Stains.

Ratings & Reviews

ColorTone Liquid Stains

  • Based on 145 Reviews
Displaying 1 of 15 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Write a review

excellent dyes

By Beau Hannam Guitars from Grand Junction, CO 
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, December 08, 2014

I find these dyes very easy to use either straight from the bottle or diluted, hand rubbed or sprayed.
Pictured is a hand rubbed burst on Tasmanian blackwood- colours used are Tobacco Brown, Medium Brown and Vintage amber.

Great product, bad bottle

By Banjo980 from Noumea, New Caledonia
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, November 20, 2014

The tints are great, really easy to use... but the tips of the bottles are a pitty. You can't use it without leakings... Its better to unscrew the top of the bottle and use a pipette to take the tint.

Good product, bad packaging

By RichEss from Denver, Colorado USA
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, July 09, 2014

These stains are great, especially the cherry red and vintage amber, nice color tone that looks the way it should. Very easy to control color intensity and a little goes a long way. I like what's in the bottle. But I hate the bottle and cap.

Maybe I'm an idiot but I can't take the cap off without getting stain on my fingers. It's so concentrated you can really make a mess.

So I had to put on a stained glove to take the cap off, then get rid of that, and get on another clean glove so I don't put fingerprints all over my project, but it's hard to avoid.

A capped bottle fell over in my stain drawer and leaked everywhere, ruined a lot of things not to mention the drawer. The cap is inferior for the purpose it needs to serve and it's cost me a lot of time and heartache, ruining my hard work.

I finally did something smart and used glass eye-dropper bottles, that's the ticket. They seal tight and I can measure drops of stain accurately without getting it all over everything.

Great product though.

Perfect Every Time

By STOCK STEELS from Crowley, Texas
(Customer's Reviews) Sunday, June 01, 2014

I have used these stains on many builds. Always excellent results.

Vintage Amber

By Greg Woods from Tulsa, OK
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, May 22, 2014

Great color and tone, just be sure to use sparingly and build up to the color you desire. Best to stop and wait a day before applying another coat, or else you may end up with darker tone than you want. There's enough tint to last for at least a hundred necks, a drop or two in about 2 Tbsp of denatured alcohol is all you need.

Color Tone Stains

By M. McDonnell from Spicer, MN
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Do NOT hesitate to buy these. If you have been looking around, and trust me, these are the stains you have been looking for. My first attempt was a tobacco sunburst CB Gitty bass. Excellent results! Who know that I could do a sunburst on my first try? As an afterthought, I checked to see how much product I had used. Minimal! Glad I bought the whole set! Hundreds of guitars await me.

Stewmac color stains

By Ruguitar from nj
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The StewMac stains are outstanding. They are highly concentrated so a few drops go a long way. Deep beautiful hues and mix effortlessly with nitro lacquer which is my main finish of choice. One note of caution - use gloves! - this stuff is so concentrated you will be walking around with smurf hands for days and take heed with your clothing! The amber is perfect for that vintage fender neck tinting and as far as cherry or tobacco sunbursts this is the stain your lookin for. Thanx StewMac for your expediting. I have never had to wait more than 3 days for my orders and always right on the money. sincerely Rudy from south Jersey.

ColorTone Stain

By rico5082 from Cincinnati, OH
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, April 10, 2014

I couldn't be happier with this product. It was exactly as described. This was my first attempt at re-finishing a guitar and it turned out great!

Very intense and well penetrating stain

By M. Barlow from Prairie Village, KS
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, March 24, 2014

This was my first time ever refinishing one of my guitars at home. First went through Internet sites to find out how to do it all the right and professional way. Found that with any and all of the Stewart MacDonald instruction sites. Great guidance by the way. After I got all of the old black paint and finish stripped and sanded off of my Telecaster body, I went ahead and purchased the dye stain colors of my choosing. I purchased Lemon Yellow and Vintage Amber with the intent of mixing them together to get a nice medium yellow ochre tone. I didn't know if it would work at first, but after mixing the two together, testing the mixture on scrap wood, and wiping on the guitar body, the dye/ stain mixture penetrated the wood just dime and the two colors mixed well together for my liking. Be warned, though as I found out, do not put too much on at one time or the color can become too dark and intense, and don't sand too frequently between coats, or the stain maybe removed easily. I even like how it accidentally unevenly covered with more amber tones in some places and yellow tones in others.Great stuff!

Colors that can match old vintage or mix your own for new projects

By guitarwoodrat from Cumberland Gap, Tn
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, March 17, 2014

These are the easiest to use and best for getting that color match for an old vintage guitar. The only colors I will use in my lacquer finishes.

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Shown on page 39 of our latest catalog.