Which Guitar Strings Have Colored Ends?

Which Guitar Strings Have Colored Ends?

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While color coding is nothing new for those of you who play acoustic orchestral stringed instruments like violin, cello, and violas, it’s not as common when it comes to guitars and bass strings.

So, plenty of guitarists can be taken aback when they find their new set from a different brand sporting colored ends.

But if color coding is not as common, which guitar strings have colored ends?

D’Addario is the most popular guitar brand that is known for color coding the ball end of their strings, but you can also find other manufacturers that use colored ends on their strings like Fender, LaBella, Rotosound, Cleartone, Dunlop, and other less known brands. Most string companies use their own unique color coding.

If you’re still confused by the colored ends of your guitar string set then don’t worry! I’ll show you how to identify your strings, and tell you more about the companies that use colored end strings!

Are There Colored Guitar Strings?

Colored guitar strings and strings with colored ball ends are two separate things, and while we’re going to focus on the latter I do want to take a moment to talk about colored/multicolored strings.

Colored and Multicolored Strings

The purpose of colored or multicolored strings, where each string is coated with one or different colors is to basically make your strings look cool. There are a few brands that do this and the most well-known company is the DR with their DR Neon Multi-Color strings.

I’ve tried these strings on my electric a while back I can honestly say that these do look great especially if you play at a gig where UV lights are present.

If you don’t believe me then can check the groovy vibe of these neon green strings!

It’s quite unfortunate that the colored coating doesn’t last long and it will noticeably wear off because of the friction created by your fingers, or pick.

While the coating does give them a different feel I think colored strings can be a great option for guitarists that are trying to learn to play scales. Since each string has a different color it allows you to be more aware of which strings you are on.

Strings With Colored Ends

If you’ve ever strung your own guitar or watched your teacher do it for you then you’ve probably noticed that one end of the strings ends with a ball, the purpose of a ball end is to anchor the string to the bridge of the guitar.

Most of the time these ball ends are the same color as the rest of the string, silver or copper, depending on the type of strings you’re using, but some brands produce strings with colored ball ends.

Color-coded strings as they are also called are not that common, and there are two reasons why they are being manufactured. First of all the colored ends make it easier for you to identify each string and change your strings.

As a new guitarist, it’s not unusual to make mistakes when stringing a guitar and accidentally swapping guitar strings. Thin strings can be especially deceiving to the untrained eye or if you’re not focused enough.

Being environmentally conscious is another reason some companies use colored ends. Some string brands put each string in an envelope that is labeled with the string it contains so you can know which one is which.

With color-coded strings brands can also save money on extra packaging. However not all companies use separate packages for each string, there are companies that use paper tags to indicate which strings are which and they can be removed once the strings are installed.

At this point in my guitar career, I don’t feel like I need color-coded strings, but I can’t deny the fact that they can be extremely helpful for new guitarists that can avoid putting the wrong string in the wrong place.

Which Guitar Strings Have Colored Ends?

Strings with colored ends are not common among manufacturers, but there are some big names in the industry that do produce color-coded strings.

So, let’s take a look at what they have to offer and if they share any similarities or differences.

D’Addario String Colored Ball End Strings

D’Addario is a string company that has a long history of string making that goes way back to the 1600s in Italy, and the small town of Salle.

Like many shepherds in that area at that time, the D’Addario family made strings for various musical instruments primarily from sheep and hog intestines.

In the early 1900s, an earthquake that destroyed their town made them move to New York where the family decided to continue their business of string making and they began to produce steel and nylon strings.

With the rise of rock and roll in the 60s, the family decided to produce the first electric guitar strings to have nickel-plated steel alloy.

As you can imagine D’Addario is still an innovative brand so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are the most famous company that produces color-coded strings for acoustic, electric, classical, and bass guitars. Each color code marks a different string, and it’s unique to the company.

The color code D’addario applies to their electric and acoustic guitar strings, starts with the thinnest gauge and ends with the heaviest gauge and it looks like this.

  1. Silver – High E
  2. Purple – B
  3. Green – G
  4. Black – D
  5. Red – A
  6. Gold – E

When it comes to D’Addario you can also find other color codes that indicated specialty strings that are not that common.

I also want to mention that while D’Addario’s color-coded strings are meant to make the process of stringing a guitar more straightforward and easy, it’s also part of their sustainability campaign, to reduce waste.

Fender String Colored Ball End Strings

Fender is an incredible company that has been around for over 70 years, and it has given us amazing guitars like the Stratocaster, and Telecaster among others. But Fender is not just a guitar company they also produce high-quality guitar strings.

Just like D’Addario, Fender is also known for producing electric guitar strings that have colored ball ends using color names that were previously used on their guitars.

The color code for the Fender Super 250 set is:

  1. Lake Placid Blue – High E
  2. Graffiti Yellow – B
  3. Sea Foam Green – G
  4. Nickle (Silver) – D
  5. Candy Apple Red – A
  6. Brass (Gold) – E

These strings don’t have their own separate packet, instead, they are coiled and packaged together.

Other Brands With Colored Ends

While D’Addario and Fender are the most well-known brands that produce color-coded strings, you can find other companies that do the same or something similar, like Cleartone, Rotosound, LaBella, and Dunlop.

As you can imagine all of these companies have their own unique way of color coding their strings.

A few years back Rotosound for example began to use the color red, white, and blue to reflect the British origin of their electric, acoustic, orchestral, and traditional strings.

The Rotosound color code:

  1. Red – High E
  2. White – B
  3. Blue – G
  4. Red – D
  5. White – A
  6. Blue – E

Dunlop is another brand that began using a color code system and like Rotosound they also use three colors in a similar manner, rotating between them:

  1. Gold – High E
  2. Black – B
  3. Silver – G
  4. Gold – D
  5. Black – A
  6. Silver – E

Then we have a less straightforward color code from LaBella, a company that decided to move towards a more environmentally friendly solution:

  1. Gold – High E
  2. Silver – B
  3. Black – G
  4. White – D
  5. Red – A
  6. Blue – E

Finally, we have a very affordable string company, Clearone and their color code for their strings are:

  1. Brass – High E
  2. Purple – B
  3. Green – G
  4. Red – D
  5. Silver – A
  6. Black – E

How To Identify Guitar Strings By Color Code?

The color code system that string companies use is not universal and each brand has its own method of marking its strings. More so, the same company can use different color codings between different types of strings.

Let’s take a look at D’Addario for instance, they have the same method of marking their acoustic and electric guitar strings which are:

  1. Silver – High E
  2. Purple – B
  3. Green – G
  4. Black – D
  5. Red – A
  6. Gold – E

When it comes to D’addario nylon strings, most of them don’t have ball ends, but when they do the colored ball ends are marked completely differently like so:

  1. Yellow – High E
  2. Purple – B
  3. Green – G
  4. Black – D
  5. Red – A
  6. Silver – E

If you are a bass player and you’re thinking of getting a D’Addario set with colored ends then the color code, in this case, is quite similar to electric and acoustic guitars.

Bass guitar strings color code:

  1. Green – G
  2. Black – D
  3. Red – A
  4. Brass – E
  5. Purple – B
  6. Copper – C

Identifying guitar strings by color code is easy as long as you have the package with the instructions, or from an article like this one. But even if you do lose the package you can still figure out which brand of strings you are using since each brand uses its own unique colors and color combinations.

Can You Mix And Match Guitar Strings With Colored Ends?

As we’ve already established each guitar string company uses its own unique color coding method.

The colors each company uses are different and even if we take a string from  D’Addario with a red-colored end and swap it with a red-colored string from Rotosound, one will be a red- A note and the other one red – D note.

So, whether we’re talking about guitar strings with colored ends or not it’s best not to mix strings from different sets, and if one of your strings breaks it’s better to change the whole set or buy an individual string instead.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re having a hard time identifying your strings, and you just don’t want the hassle of restringing your guitar in case you make a mistake then you might want to check out brands like D’Addario and Fender that make high-quality strings with colored ends.

Even as an experienced guitarist I still find color-coded strings useful, especially when I’m short on time or if I need to string my guitar before a gig in a badly lit pub.

To put it simply, I’m a firm believer that if something can make your life easier as a guitarist, in this case, the colored ends of a string set, then you need to at least give it a try!