Classic 1950s guitar colors in easy aerosols
Genuine nitrocellulose guitar lacquer—no spray equipment needed! Fast-drying, durable finish resists water and alcohol.
Colors based on aged original guitars
Vintage finishes vary a lot. Two guitars sprayed together in 1960 look very different today, depending on where they've been all these years. And neither one looks like the day it left the factory.
To get an authentic look for our finishes, Erick Coleman color-matched these original guitars:
TV Yellow is formulated to match a prime 1958 Les Paul Special. It's semi-opaque, allowing grain to read through.
Blond matches a vintage 1955 Fender Esquire. Semi-opaque, allowing grain to read through.
Sonic Blue is based a 1960s Stratocaster. This finish is opaque, like the auto paint Fender used in the '50s.
Aged Clear lacquer replicates a 1964 Tele neck. It's a clear coat aged with a tinge of brown (not yellow/amber).
"I see a lot of vintage guitars in my shop. Most aerosols don't really come close to looking like the colors they are intended to. These new ColorTone finishes nail the look of vintage beauties I've had on my bench."
—Erick Coleman, guitar repairman and StewMac tech advisor
ColorTone® Classic Colors Aerosols can be sprayed over smooth unfinished wood; over sanded grain filler; over sanding sealer, and over ColorTone Stains. We recommend White Vinyl Sealer as the basecoat for Sonic Blue. Add topcoats of ColorTone Clear Aerosol Guitar Lacquer for a deep hard gloss.
A complete guitar typically requires 1 can of sealer, 1 can of color, and 4-6 cans of clear topcoat.
13-ounce aerosol cans.
Tips for aerosol finishing
- Use warm lacquer, not cold. Professionals spray warm lacquer to reduce spatters which require sanding. Warm your aerosol cans in a sink of warm tap water.
- Spray multiple thin coats instead of one heavy coat.
- Use sanding sealer to seal the wood and build up the finish before applying your color coats or clear topcoats. Sanding sealer is heavy-bodied; one coat equals two coats of lacquer. One or two cans of sealer is usually enough for an entire guitar. After building up the sealer coats, level sand with 320-grit paper to create a thin, flat surface for your color or clear coats.
- Compared to professional spray guns, aerosols create a slightly rougher surface, so they require more sanding of the clear topcoats to achieve a level surface.
- Tints and transparent colors should not be sanded. Spray clear coats over tints to build a topcoat which can be sanded for a final, level surface.
- Choose low humidity days for spraying. Dan Erlewine often recommends spraying outdoors on a clear dry day.
Our ColorTone Aerosol Finishing Kit is great for the first-time finisher. It includes sealer, gloss lacquer, polishing compounds and our Guitar Finishing Step-by-Step book.