Some manufacturers of guitar strings like to make it easier for you to change your strings.
One way they help make it easier is by marking each string with it’s own color, so you can easily tell them apart.
But which guitar strings have colored ends? Do all ball ends have a color code you can follow?
What guitar string manufacturers have a color code and how do you follow it?
Not all brands have a guitar string color code, however, many do.
D’Addario is the most well known brand that color codes each string, so you know which string is which.
If you have guitar strings with color coded ball ends, they’re likely D’Addario, but there are other brands that use a similar codification.
If not using color codes on the ball end of the strings, brands like Elixir put little tags on each string that tells you all the info you need, without having to find the code of each color.
These tags are usually paper, and just indicate which string it is, the tag can be easily removed after the string is installed.
It isn’t uncommon to see strings without any indication as to which string it is, as many brands just put each string in an envelope that is labeled with which string it contains.
Once the string comes out of the envelope, it’s likely going straight onto the guitar, and you won’t need to know which string is which.
D’Addario String Color Code
We start with D’Addario because they are probably one of the most recognized and played brands of strings out there.
They’re also the most common
The color code D’Addario uses is thinnest gauge to largest gauge, as follows:
- Silver – High e
- Purple – B
- Green – G
- Black – D
- Red – A
- Gold – E
D’Addario also has some other color codes throughout their strings to indicate specialty strings, however, these are not as common, and often not pertinent to anyone but the owner of that guitar.
In other words, if you know, you know, otherwise you probably don’t care.
Fender String Color Code
Fender Strings are probably the second most common string brand that color codes the ball ends of their strings.
Fender does a nice little job of color coding the string as each color is one of their standard Fender colors like Sea Foam Green or Lake Placid Blue.
These colors are famously seen on their guitars, but now also on the ball ends of your strings (that you’ll never look at once you put the strings on).
Fender strings ball end color code:
- Lake Placid Blue – High e
- Graffiti Yellow – B
- Sea Foam Green – G
- Nickle (Silver) – D
- Candy Apple Red – A
- Brass (Gold) – E
Other Brands with colored ball end guitar strings
There are other brands that use a color code, much like Fender and D’Addario.
In fact, there’s dozens of brands that use this system of identification.
However, these brands are going to be lesser known or more uncommon brands and I won’t go into detail about them here.
If you have the strings but have lost the packaging with the color code on them, Google the brand of strings “ X brand string color code” and you should be able to find the code for your brand of strings.
Identifying Guitar strings by color code
If you’re trying to identify the strings on a guitar, by the color code, it can be tough.
Best case scenario you are able to match the color code to Fender’s or D’Addario’s code, however, that won’t tell you what type of strings they are, within the brand.
You can try Googling the color code you have on your guitar, but it may be more hassle than it is worth.
Basically, even if you identify the brand of guitar strings, the color code will not indicate the specific model of strings made by that brand.
One thing you can look for is “banding” along the base of the string, near the ball end.
D’Addario and other brands use banding to indicate certain gauges or specialization of strings for all instruments, not just guitar.
If you find banding on strings you want to identify, try comparing them to a guide like this one from D’Addario.
It may help narrow your search, however, it will still be a difficult one to complete.