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Sunburst Guitars

Sunburst means "outbreak of sun" and describes the type of paintwork on an electric guitar, bass guitar or acoustic guitar. The best known examples of a sunburst finish include the Gibson Les Paul guitars and the Fender Stratocaster. The sunburst finish is used to imitate an old, noble and sun-faded look of the guitar.


Sunburst paint | Gradient guitar
The classic sunburst finish consists of a gradient. In the center of a sunburst surface there is an area with a lighter color (often with the wood grain underneath) that gradually darkens before it meets a dark body edge. There are finishes with a gradient of two colors, the so-called two-tone sunburst, but also coatings of three colors, the three-tone sunburst. The sunburst finish is often transparent to reveal and highlight attractively patterned wood such as flame maple, cloud maple, bird's eye maple, or spalted maple.

What are the most common sunburst finishes?

  • Vintage Sunburst (Center golden yellow - edge black)
  • Cherry Sunburst (Middle golden yellow - edge cherry red)
  • Tabak Sunburst (Center golden yellow - edge brown)
  • Dreifarbiger Sunburst (from golden yellow through red to black)

"Aged" sunburst surfaces mostly on high-end boutique guitars:

  • Aged Cherry Burst
  • Fireburst
  • Lightburst
  • Antique Tobacco Sunburst