A happy tune can get anyone out of bed in the morning, but for music lovers and artists, they take their appreciation for music one step further with a simple music tattoo. This can be anything from a line of music notes from their favorite song, an adored instrument, or even a beloved music artist.
Many gentlemen get music tattoos because they can easily tie their emotions and memories to it, so whenever they hear a certain song, they get to relive that moment once again.
Some guys like to get music instrument tattoos such as microphones for those who like to sing, or guitars for those who like to play it. Music can be a huge part of someone’s life, and a tattoo that represents their love for it both symbolizes its importance to them and their will to love or play music forever, the same time a tattoo lasts.
Not everyone likes a big tattoo, so many turn to simplistic music tattoo designs like one specific note or treble clef, a minimalistic guitar or piano, or a lyrical quote from their favorite song.
Simple music tattoos are pretty flexible so they can be placed pretty much anywhere on the body. If you’re a huge admirer of music and want to show it, the arms and back of the legs are popular areas.
This is a great black and gray tattoo that takes a simple concept and perfectly executes it. The artist uses clean line work to create this playful design that doesn’t need shading to make for an interesting tattoo. The skeleton hands are well-executed and the artist’s choice to only use the fingers of the skeleton on the fretting hand helps to keep a balanced composition without detracting from the piece as a whole. This piece goes to show what a talented artist can do with a bit of black ink and a solid concept for a tattoo.
Here is another great example of a stylized bass guitar, this one using a limited color palette to add a bit more flare than other, similar designs that use only black and gray ink. The artist uses themes common in abstract art—the bending neck of the guitar and superimposing the color over the guitar without sticking to the exact outline—to create a more interesting tattoo. This piece also uses a much looser outline than other similar pieces and utilizes implied lines and negative space to accurately capture the impression of a guitar without using a realistic style. This piece will serve as a great commemoration of the wearer’s love for music and for art in general.
Here, the subject is a Fender Stratocaster, one of the most identifiable and iconic guitars in the history of rock and roll and the preferred instrument of everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain. It is an excellent choice thanks to the unmistakable lines, and here the artist perfectly captures this singular shape. While this is a simple design, the stakes are high and in the hands of a lesser artist this could end up a disaster. The straight lines forming the neck are flawless and the curves on the body are smooth and even, almost giving the impression that the artist pulled the entire piece in one, fluid motion. This will serve as a tribute to one of the most influential musical instruments of the last 75 years.
This piece takes an interesting design and uses a relaxed technique to create a unique tattoo. The “ghetto blaster” is an iconic image—although younger generations might wonder what the cassette player is for—and the incorporation of a baseball bat and the illustrative technique give this design a loose, graffiti-like feel. While this style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there is no doubt that this piece holds special significance to the wearer and will show off their love of music to the world.
This is an interesting design that uses concentric circles and fine lines to create an abstract guitar tattoo that evokes images of blueprints and schematics. The artist layers circles of different sizes that use different line techniques: some are solid, some start and stop, and some incorporate stippling and dots. This helps to create a more dynamic design that breaks up the guitar’s outline while not disrupting the shape so much that the intention is lost. This is a one of a kind tattoo that not only demonstrates the wearer’s love of music, but also their unique artistic sensibility.
This is a simple piece that incorporates several design elements into an interesting and personal tattoo. At the center of the design is a treble clef, created using alternating black ink and negative space which is then surrounded by a well-executed circle made up of clean stipple work. An unalome—a Buddhist symbol representing the path to enlightenment—is incorporated below, starting in stipple work and gradually transitioning to a solid, fine line. At the top of the design is a smaller, perfectly round circle composed of black ink and balanced stipple shading that completes this unique and highly personal tattoo.
This is a great design that lets the wearer proudly display on their body the major role music plays in their life. There are several elements in this tattoo that are impressive, the first of which is the almost perfectly straight single line that forms the backbone of the treble clef and extends down into the EKG reading. The way that the lines in the bars of musical notation wrap around and bend to form the treble clef is also impressive: the artist perfectly captures the way paper would look if a sheet was twisted into this shape. This is an outstanding tattoo that stands out from other similar designs thanks to the artist’s skill and attention to detail.
This artist took an impressionistic approach to create this simple and lovely acoustic guitar tattoo. The loose, illustrative feel is perfectly captured here, giving the impression of natural brush strokes on canvas. The black ink is fully saturated, increasing contrast and helping this tattoo stand out against the wearer’s pale skin tone. The prominent placement on the forearm allows the wearer to easily display the tattoo and ensures everyone will understand just how important the guitar—and music in general—are in the wearer’s life.
This piece uses fine line work and gray wash shading to create a permanent commemoration to the wearer’s love of music. The line work is clean and precise creating the flowing bars of musical notation that draw the eye around the entire piece. There is also well-executed black and gray shading in this design that adds depth and creates the effect of shadows falling on rolled paper, while the small decorative filigree and flourishes complete this small and detailed, music inspired tattoo.
This is a lovely piece that uses simple line work to create an interesting tribute to the wearer’s love of music. The artist takes a minimalistic approach to the guitar, using only a few, well-placed lines to make up the outline; they use just enough ink to effectively capture the impression of a guitar. The other components of the guitar—the neck and soundhole—are created by incorporating a stylized treble clef running down the center of the guitar, again limiting the design to lines that are absolutely necessary to convey the concept of a guitar. This is an example of how a simple but well-planned idea can turn into a great tattoo.
Here is a clean, black and gray tattoo of a Classic Retro Dynamic Vocal microphone that represents the importance of music in the wearer’s life. Here, the artist uses clean lines to create the outline of this quintessential piece of musical hardware and incorporates a stylized treble clef with bars and musical notes to add another layer to this tattoo. One interesting portion of this tattoo is the artist’s choice to use a far more limited shading scheme on the bottom portion of the microphone compared to the top. While some may say this leaves the piece feeling a bit unfinished, it adds a bit of stylistic contrast to this minimalistic design.
These lovely little tattoos are joined by the common theme of the wearer’s love and appreciation for the power of music. On his chest is a small, but expertly applied treble clef that uses clean line work and attention to detail—notice the small negative space used on the serif to create a highlight—to produce a charming tattoo. The script on the inner bicep is excellent as well. It follows a straight line and is well saturated and consistent, perfectly capturing the powerful sentiment about the importance of music as a means of communication.
This large, black and gray shoulder tattoo will serve as a permanent reminder of the massive role music has played in the life of the wearer. First off, the saturation of black ink in this piece is excellent; there is none of the blotchiness that often afflicts large swaths of black ink. Secondly, the line work is clean and precise, especially noticeable in the perfectly straight lines and the precise angle of the crescendo symbol at the bottom of the piece. Finally, this tattoo is interesting for the variety of musical symbols on display. These are not common characters that a casual enthusiast would recognize; they are advanced musical symbols and their incorporation almost certainly guarantees that the wearer is a lifelong musician, perhaps a career performer.
This simple but interesting design takes the controls from a CD or media player and turns them into this meaningful tattoo. The off-kilter position follows the natural slope in the wearer’s shoulders and incorporates the design with the other, existing work, while the limited color palette and lack of outlines stay true to the inspiration for the piece. This unassuming tattoo will serve as a permanent statement, displaying the wearer’s love and appreciation of music for all to see.
This is a great, black and gray tattoo of a vinyl record, prominently displayed on the wearer’s forearm. Here, the artist used excellent line work in combination with some gray wash shading to perfectly capture the grooves in the wax, while the expert use of negative space to achieve the effect of light reflecting off the record, creating broad highlights, is impressive and a testament to the artist’s skill and forethought. This is a simple tattoo that uses clean, accurate work to create an unmistakable reproduction of a record, ensuring everyone who sees it will know the wearer’s preferred musical medium.
While some prefer the warm sounds of vinyl, oscillograms are a more common musical representation in the digital age. Here the wearer chose a visual representation of some recorded audio—possibly a meaningful song, or perhaps even a voice recording of a loved one—and placed it prominently on their forearm. The artist uses clean and precise fine line work to create what appears to be a simple design, however, if this piece is accurate enough it could be used to replay the actual audio with the help of computer software, allowing the wearer to permanently take this recording with them wherever they go.
This artist takes a looser approach to this full color, treble clef design with lovely results. A broad color palette is used to great effect here, taking a familiar design and injecting vibrant colors to help it stand out from similar pieces. The way the artist eschews line work in favor of the organic, free-hand, water-color style is excellent and evokes images of impressionist paintings. While some people prefer the bold line work of other tattoo styles, this is a great example of how well-applied color can carry a piece without the need of solid line work.