Blue is my favorite color, the Stratocaster my favorite guitar, so it’s time to take a look at blue Stratocasters.
The original custom colors
Upon the Stratocaster’s introduction, the standard color was what is now known as Two-Tone Sunburst (black and yellow). In 1959, this was changed to three-tone sunburst with the addition of red. On request, you could get your Stratocaster in White Blonde (a slightly transparent off-white) that was the standard color for the Telecaster. Fender seems to have experimented with other colors early on, but the available of other colors does not seem to have been formalized until 1960 with the appearance of the Custom Color chart. Custom Colors could be ordered for 5% extra.
This chart shows three blues that remain the most iconic Fender blues. Funnily, all three appear to have been Cadillac colors:
- Sonic Blue, a pale pastel blue. The most famous Sonic Blue Stratocaster is, ironically, painted in wild colors: George Harrison’s Rocky. Another well-known example is Mick Taylor’s (of That Pedal Show fame) ’62 American Vintage Re-Issue.
- Daphne Blue, a brighter light blue.
- Lake Placid Blue, a darker metallic blue. It leans a bit towards green/turquoise, especially when the clear coat has yellowed.
Many versions of these colors have been used throughout the years. Together with aging effects, this may lead to noticeable differences. This may sometimes make it difficult to discern between Sonic and Daphne Blue. Lake Placid Blue especially has seen different hues, with e.g. the hue used on MIM Standard Strats being quite a bit lighter than what I would call Lake Placid Blue.
All three colors continue to be used by Fender, as guitarists like vintage stuff.
Current blue Stratocaster offerings
It’s no longer possible to order custom colors for regular production models. You can of course get them from them Custom Shop, but this appears to entail a hefty premium as you then end up in the build-to-order range instead of the regular Custom Shop range. Luckily, many models offer at least one blue.
Opal Spark (Player Plus)
A bright metallic blue, a bit lighter than Lake Placid Blue.
Belair Blue (Player Plus HSS)
A gradient from dark blue to white.
A very nice metallic petrol blue.
Miami Blue (American Professional II)
A bright light blue, more saturated than Daphne Blue.
Darkburst (American Professional II)
A reverse dark blue to black burst.
Cobra Blue (American Ultra)
A dark metallic blue, similar to colors like Electron Blue and Mystic Blue that have been used in the past.
Satin Lake Placid Blue (American Performer)
A satin version of Lake Placid Blue. I don’t really get this satin thing on lower-end guitars of both Fender and Gibson. Do they want people to spend more money on shiny guitars, or is there really a money saving effect in production? Less buffing I guess…
Ice Blue Metallic (Vintera ’60s)
A light metallic blue. I think it’s a bit of a pity that we don’t get one of the original Custom Color blues on this otherwise vintage-spec guitar.
Sonic Blue (Vintera ’50s)
The Vintera ’50s, on the other hand, is offered in two original Custom Colors, one of them Daphne Blue (no two-tone sunburst though).
Daphne Blue (Vintera Modified ’50s)
The Vintera Modified ’50s is available in the other non-metallic Custom Color blue. According to the pictures, there’s very little difference between these versions of Sonic and Daphne Blue. I’ve seen other Daphne Blue versions that were a lot more saturated.
Sapphire Blue Transparent (Cory Wong)
The only color choice for the Cory Wong signature model is this dark transparent blue.
Tropical Turquoise (Eric Johnson)
The Fender website shows this as a color being very close to Daphne Blue (and not turquoise at all), other images show indeed a slight green hue.
Lucerne Aqua Firemist (Eric Johnson)
Apparently Eric Johnson likes blue, as the second color choice for his rosewood-board signature model is this metallic petrol blue that appears close to Tidepool.
Out of production
Other models have seen long production runs with the availability of a blue color. Here are some examples:
- The Classic ’50s Stratocaster was available in Daphne Blue.
- The Classic ’60s Stratocaster was available in Lake Placid Blue.
- The Standard Stratocaster was also available in Lake Placid Blue, though a lighter shade (more Ice Blue than Lake Placid Blue).
- Before that, the Standard Stratocaster was available in Electron Blue, a darker metallic Blue similar to the Cobra Blue shown above.
- The Classic Player ’50s Stratocaster was available in Sonic Blue.
- The American Standard Stratocaster was available in Mystic Blue and Ocean Blue metallic, both darker metallic blues. Ocean Blue has a shade of purple in it.
There are of regular Factory Special Runs (FSRs) of special colors not available by default. I believe that these are rarely announced on the Fender website, so getting one of these probably requires a bit of luck (or a good connection to a dealer). For example, I’ve once seen an AVRI ’62 in Lake Placid Blue.