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Is Colortone a good brand?

Is Colortone a good brand?

Colortone is a company that manufactures and distributes musical instruments and audio equipment. Some of their most popular products include electric guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers, and PA systems. Colortone has been around since the late 1950s and has established itself as a mid-range brand, offering decent quality gear at affordable prices. However, with so many brands on the market, it can be tough to determine if Colortone is considered a good, high-quality option. Here we will examine Colortone’s reputation, build quality, sound, and value to help you decide if their products are worth investing in.

Company Reputation and History

Colortone has been producing musical equipment since 1959 after being founded by Cooper R. Lovelace in Kansas City, Missouri. During the 1960s and 70s, the brand became known for making amplification gear used by notable artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. This helped establish Colortone as a reputable company during the early days of rock and roll.

Over the decades, Colortone has changed ownership a few times. Most recently in the 2000s, the brand was acquired by South Korean company Samick Musical Instruments. Under new management, Colortone shifted focus to producing entry level and mid-tier instruments and audio gear. Their catalog now includes guitars, basses, amps, PA systems, and other accessories that appeal to beginners and hobbyist musicians.

While not as iconic as brands like Fender or Marshall, Colortone has maintained a decent reputation for quality and value in the mid-range guitar market. Their classic vintage amps remain sought after, and the brand is associated with blues rock history. However, some feel that the newer products don’t quite live up to the vintage legacy.

Build Quality

When examining the tangible quality of Colortone’s instruments and gear, it’s important to note that their products primarily target budget-conscious consumers. While they may not meet the craftsmanship standards of premium brands, Colortone aims to offer decent quality at accessible price points.

Most Colortone guitars and basses are made with affordable wood like basswood, cheaper hardware like zinc alloy frets, and basic electronic components. Attention to fit and finish can be hit or miss – some models feel well put together while others may have sharp fret ends or subpar finishing. Serious musicians may find the hardware, electronics, and overall construction a bit lacking.

However, considering their reasonable prices, Colortone instruments offer suitable performance for beginners, students, and hobbyists. The same can be said for their amps and audio equipment, which use decent circuitry and components without extra bells and whistles. Build quality is passable but not outstanding.

Sound Quality

When it comes to tone, Colortone gear performs reasonably well according to the price. While unlikely to blow any audiophile away, their instruments and amps can produce decent sound for recreational use.

Colortone electric guitars and basses can achieve familiar tones expected of a Stratocaster or Precision Bass style model. However, the cheaper hardware and electronics mean sustain, warmth, and responsiveness are just average. Most models come loaded with Colortone’s own pickups, which get the job done, but lack the harmonic richness of higher-end pickups.

Similarly, Colortone amps offer a variety of usable tones from clean to drive, but lack the presence and refinement found in pro amps. Mixing in effects pedals can certainly help improve sound quality. Overall, these are amplifiers best suited to practice rather than performance.

The PA systems and audio equipment provide ample power and flexibility for small gigs or rehearsals. However, critical listeners may notice background noise, muddy tone, or cheap-sounding digital effects. For casual use, Colortone audio devices provide decent bang for buck. But better options exist for serious sound reinforcement needs.

Value and Price

Here is a look at how Colortone prices typically compare to other brands in the same tier:

Product Type Colortone Price Range Competing Brand Price Range
Electric guitar $150 – $400 $200 – $500 (Squier, Epiphone, Ibanez)
Bass guitar $200 – $450 $250 – $600 (Squier, Yamaha, Ibanez)
Guitar amp $50 – $250 $75 – $300 (Fender, Marshall, Vox)
PA system $100 – $500 $150 – $600 (Behringer, Alto, Yamaha)

As you can see, Colortone consistently offers lower prices than major competing brands. Considering the decent quality and performance described earlier, most customers feel they offer excellent value for money. While more expensive options exist that outperform Colortone, you can often get better bang for your buck going with their mid-range catalog.

Their low pricing makes Colortone gear ideal for students on a budget or hobbyists who want usable equipment without a huge investment. Even working musicians may appreciate them as affordable backup instruments. Overall, it???s hard to beat Colortone if you want quality musical equipment without breaking the bank.

Pros and Cons

To summarize the key strengths and weaknesses of Colortone products:


  • Affordable pricing and excellent value
  • Reasonable build quality for the price
  • Vintage heritage and association with blues rock legends
  • Delivers decent tone and performance for the money
  • Ideal for beginners, students, and budget-conscious hobbyists


  • Not the most durable construction and hardware
  • Sound quality lacks depth and refinement
  • Electronics and components are adequate but basic
  • Not ideal for pro musicians or audiophiles

Customer Reviews

To gauge real-world satisfaction, here are some examples of customer reviews for Colortone products:

“I bought a Colortone Strat as my first electric guitar. For the low price, it’s pretty nice for a beginner like me. With a setup it plays well and sounds decent enough for practice. Gets the job done for my needs as a starter guitar.”

“I recently got the Colortone Bassman 100 amp head and 2×12 cab. For the price, you can’t beat it. Has nice classic tones for blues and rock. It’s not as loud or versatile as my Fender amp but gets the job done for weekend gigs.”

“I rented a PA system from Colortone for my band’s gig. It was super easy to set up and use. The sound quality isn’t amazing but it was definitely loud and clear enough for our show at a small pub. Way more affordable than bigger brands.”

“After hearing great things I bought a vintage Colortone Stage 70 amp. It sounds killer! Warm tube overdrive just like the classic amps from the 60s. Built like a tank too. Found it for a steal and couldn’t be happier.”

These sample reviews indicate that most customers are satisfied with Colortone’s value for money, but serious musicians may desire more high-end features.


Overall, Colortone is considered a decent mid-range brand for beginners and intermediate musicians. While unlikely to impress pros, they offer good bang for your buck if you want usable tone and quality without excessive cost. Students, hobbyists, and working artists may appreciate them as affordablepractice tools or backup gear.

For beginners especially, Colortone can be a smart first brand before upgrading to something more professional later on. While the construction and sound lacks the refinement of premium instruments, their catalog can be a practical stepping stone for those starting their musical journey.

Just keep your expectations realistic – Colortone produces affordable gear, not luxurious professional equipment. Their products may not last decades or create mind-blowing tone. However, they provide good value if you want quality gear on a real-world budget.