Did you know Fender has 8 white guitar body color options?
When it comes to guitars, white is not white. In fact, it's usually anything but white.
Fender and Squier typically will not produce guitars in a stark, bright white. There are a few exceptions as I'll note below, but generally speaking you almost never see bright white Fender guitars.
Above is a Fender American Professional Stratocaster in Olympic White. This is 1 of 8 whites Fender currently has on their color chart.
These are all 8 of the Fender white guitar body colors by name:
- White Blonde
- Olympic White
- Flat White
- Pearl White
- Olympic Pearl
- Vintage White
- Arctic White
Now as for the differences between each, this is how it works:
White Blonde: Semi-transparent finish. Very light yellowing with wood grain showing through.
Olympic White: Yellowed white, solid color, no transparency.
Flat White: Only seen on the Jim Root Telecaster as far as I'm aware. This is as white as a Fender gets and there is no whiter.
Pearl White: Like flat white but brighter and with more gold hue to it. I know of no models currently offered in this color even though it is listed as a Fender color option.
Olympic Pearl: Like White Blonde but solid and with no transparency.
Vintage White: This has the most yellow of all the whites. Almost a canary yellow-like color. The Yngwie Malmsteen Strat is in this color.
Arctic White: The second whitest white Fender currently has. Very slight yellowing.
Antigua: The darkest white Fender currently has. White, but just barely because it's aged to a brown. Some love this finish while others hate it.
When Squier does white...
...they usually don't match up with the Fender versions at all.
As far as I know, Squier only offers 5 whites across their solid-body electric guitar line.
Squier Olympic White: Typically several shades whiter than Fender Olympic White. This is the whitest white Squier has.
Squier Arctic White: Much closer to Fender's Vintage White. You can easily see the yellow in this finish.
Squier Pearl White Metallic: Only offered on the Squier Deluxe Stratocaster and unique to Squier Strats as Fender doesn't even offer it. Yes, it does have metallic flake in it, but it's a mild sparkle, which in this case is a good thing. The Squier Deluxe Strat is one of the best looking Strats Squier makes.
Squier Vintage Blonde: A few shades lighter than Squier Arctic White, and like Fender White Blonde, you can see wood grain through the finish (or at least you should, depending on model of guitar). Definitely not as yellow as Fender's White Blonde.
Squier Vintage White: Basically the same color as Squier Vintage Blonde, but a solid color with no transparency.
What are the best Fender whites?
If you want the "Hendrix white", that's Olympic White as shown above. Vintage White on the Malmsteen Strat and White Blonde are also great.
What are the best Squier whites?
Arctic White and Vintage Blonde are the two best whites Squier has.
What about Fender yellows?
There are currently 9 of those:
- Vintage Blonde (Alder)
- Vintage Blonde (Ash)
- Butterscotch Blonde
- Graffiti Yellow
- Honey Blonde
- Blackguard Blonde
- Maize Yellow
- Desert Sand
Several of Fender's yellows directly depend on the body wood used to bring out a specific color. This is why Vintage Blonde Alder is different than Vintage Blonde Ash. Alder will have somewhat more of a muted color while Ash will bring out something brighter in hue. Basically it's the same semi-transparent yellow applied to different a different wood to get a different final color.
Most Fender yellows are transparent. In fact, only Graffiti Yellow and Maize Yellow are true solid yellow colors.
I mention Fender yellows because some players see an aged-to-yellow white and think the color is a yellow when it fact it's a white.
Chances are if you like the yellow (I know I do) and want it on your next guitar, what you're actually looking for is probably an aged white, such as Fender Vintage White.
On a final note, if you've never seen Fender Graffiti Yellow or Maize Yellow, don't be surprised because most people haven't. I've only seen a Fender guitar of that color in person once or maybe twice. You can find Strats in Graffiti Yellow fairly easily. And I don't think I've ever seen a Fender guitar of Maize Yellow in person, which is a yellow like Graffiti but a bit more on the muted side.