Fender, Stratocaster, 'Pinky', 1963 - Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)


Serial Number: 
Fiesta Red
The Story Behind

Cult are also the colours used for the guitars. Fender offered a range of custom colours which were standardised in the 1960's, many of which were originally automobile lacquer colours from DuPont and associated with different US car brands like Cadillac, Oldsmobile, …. In 1963, Fender offered 14 different colours.


Fender's only in-house paint mixes during the 50's and 60's were Sunburst and Blond (and Candy Apple Red to a point). All other colours originated directly from the cars of the time, and most of these colours were from General Motor's cars. Car colours are acrylic. Fender used both acrylic and nitrocellulose lacquer in the colour coat. What Fender did was use the colours as available from DuPont, be it acrylic or nitrocellulose. But they always used clear lacquer that was nitrocellulose based. Unfortunately the clear nitrocellulose lacquer yellowed significantly over time. This distorts the shade of many colours, especially blue, silver, green and white. On the positive side, the nitrocellulose clear coat softens the colour, making it look warmer and less sharp.

Colours that were not so much effected from the yellowing clear coat are the reds (in the 1960 those colours are often not clear coated anyway). Unfortunately, those colours are highly reactive to sunlight (photo reactive). This helps to explain the ‘Coral Pink’ or ‘Salmon Pink’ syndrome. Looking at Fender's custom color charts from 1960 to present, it can be seen that Fender never offered a color called ‘Coral Pink’ or ‘Salmon Pink’. The only official pink Fender used was Shell Pink from 1960 to 1963, which is a very flesh-toned pink color. The ‘Coral Pink’ and ‘Salmon Pink’ guitars are probably Fiesta Red in which the red pigment may had faded. Since Fiesta Red has a large amount of white in it, if the red fades the white would bleed through thus creating a pink.

The Fiesta Red colour was used in 1956 for the Ford Thunderbird model and used by Fender between 1960 and 1969.

This guitar, which belonged to Richie Sambora, is called ‘Pinky’ as the Fiesta Red Colour has somewhat faded over the time.

Richie about this guitar:


On the David Letterman show:

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