free hit
counters
Fender or Gibson? - Guitar Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content


Recommended Posts

Given that around 80% of the the worlds great guitarists seem to use either Fender or Gibson, which camp do you fall in to... and why?

I have always appreciated the aesthetic appeal of a Fender Stratocaster and, given that I can hardly play a note, thats my reason for having all Fenders and no Gibsons in my collection.

There must, however, be more technical reasons for people's preferences so lets hear 'em!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.
  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

There is of course no real answer to the question of 'which is better?' They are just different.

How they are built, obviously how they look and most importantly, how they sound puts them poles apart in the musical world.

To use a fairly crude analogy, the differences between the two are much like this;

When repainting your cherished automobile, you would want to use a skilled technician, in a clean environment using the best tools for the job (the Fender) rather than a can of Dulux and a stick (the Gibson).

Hope that is of some use to you Guy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No Ben, say what you mean! :lol:

Any Gibson fans care to beat Ben up?!

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

For forum issues, please contact the Moderators. I will aim to respond to emails/PM's Mon-Fri 9-6 GMT. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a Gibson SG since I was 15 (my first guitar if you don't count the woolworths thing I learnt on...). I've had detours into Yamaha SG2000's (essentially the same but with extra weight) and I had an Ibanez 6/12 double neck for a year or so (again, an SG based copy), but I try not to think what a prat I looked.

And I must be a rarity - in my time as a bass player I used a Gibson G3 'Grabber'.

That said, if I could afford a 72 Telecaster custom in black with a maple neck....... :unworthy:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Like you Guy, I can only claim to getting a recognisable tune out of a guitar rather than being a competent player.

So why did I choose Gibson / Fender.

Well my all time guitar heroes are Brian Robertson from Thin Lizzy (Black 1973 Les Paul Custom) and Eric Clapton (Variety of Stratocasters – notably “Blackie”) after changing from Les Paul’s in his earlier career.

So if Brian Robertson can do it on a black Les Paul the theory was so could I. Being at collage at the time I couldn’t afford the real thing so I bought an unbranded Les Paul copy, fitted DiMarzio dual coil switchable pickups, new machine heads and generally tarted the thing up and I really like it to this day…..although it goes out of tune every 5 minutes and looks well worn but does sound nice.

When I could afford it I bought a “made to order” gunmetal (blue/grey) Standard Fender Stratocaster with a thin profile maple neck / fret board.

It’s a lovely guitar to play, very easy action and a lovely tone and sits really well either on a strap or if you are sitting with it on your knee because of the profiled edges.

I remember Keith Richards describing the shape of a Strat once and he likened it to “the body of a beautiful woman” due to its many curves and contours.

Still later I got the option to buy a second hand sunburst Les Paul Classic 1963 re-issue and couldn’t resist.

Much, much heavier guitar than the Strat and not nearly as well balanced in my opinion. I would say its harder to play than the Strat but its much more powerful if you want a punchy sound.

I have heard that the SG is more like the Strat to play but so far I haven’t had a go on one.

So as far as playing them goes I would say that I prefer the Stat but I do love the Les Paul as well. Probably 7 times out of 10 I will pick up the Strat ahead of the Les Paul.

With regards to the esthetic appeal of these guitars, they are both stunning objects, way up there in my top 5 iconic shapes along with the Ferrari 308 GTB, Supermarine Spitfire…. Oh and the Esprit!

Some people like to have pictures on their walls or sculptures but I see the Les Paul and the Stratocaster as stunning works of art as well and seeing the two of them sitting on guitar stands in my house is great.

Being able to get a bit of a tune out of them is an added bonus……. You cant do that with a painting!!

So finally, if pushed for an answer, I prefer the Strat but the Les Paul is a very close second.

P.S. My Eric Clapton signature model Martin 000-28EC is stunning too :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Both makes seem to be the instrument of choice but then again people like Buddy Millar who played guitar with Emmyou Harris and now with Robert Plant gets a unique sound from vintage Wandre guitars. I managed to collect over a period of about 20 years playing with my band a number of pre CBS Fenders which I have to say sold like hot cakes on e-bay a few years back

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a guitar hoar and love and play both. I play my US Strat for general stuff and my SG and LP for more punchy stuff, usually with a Cry Baby. The SG has a lovely 60s neck, so it plays like a dream. I always wanted an LP after seeing Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson play their Deluxes on the Lizzy Live and Dangerous video. Also Beck played a modified Oxblood Gold Top on Blow by Blow, which was pretty cool.

The Strat is a good kick around guitar that's tough and well built and you don't have to worry about it. You only have to breath on the nitro on the LP and it marks.

Here are my guitars: Clicky

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets face it, folks....these aren't guitars. They're planks, right? Solid chunks of unyielding timber owing their shape to the bandsaw and not the luthiers art. I accept they are instruments, playable in the same way as a guitar....but compared with the acoustic product .... planks. If you want guitar...listen to Django. Seems two fingers are enough!!

(withdraws to bunker awaiting incoming......!)

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets face it, folks....these aren't guitars. They're planks, right? Solid chunks of unyielding timber owing their shape to the bandsaw and not the luthiers art. I accept they are instruments, playable in the same way as a guitar....but compared with the acoustic product .... planks. If you want guitar...listen to Django. Seems two fingers are enough!!

Quote from the movie Crossroads:

Willie Brown:

You got your mind made up about how everything works. How you gonna learn anything new when you KNOW everything already?

[picks up Eugene's old, scratched acoustic guitar]

Willie Brown:

Look at this old guitar here you been squeakin' on. I bet you saw this thing in a music store and bought it just because you thought it was beat up! Well you got it all wrong. Muddy Waters invented electricity.

I rest my case m'lud

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I think of Fenders, I think of Eric Clapton and Hank Marvin.

When I think of Gibson I think of Jimmy Paige and Slash.

Not knocking any of the above guitarists, but Gibsons all the way for me!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It does seem on the whole that Fenders do the lighter end of things (Eric Clapton, Hank Marvin etc) better, while the Gibsons do the heavier end more efficiently (Jimmy Paige, Slash etc). This is often down to the lower output of Fenders (traditionally), and the more powerful hum-cancelling pickups of the Gibson. The shorter scale length (vibrating string length) of the Gibson, glued on neck, fixed bridge and mostly mahogany construction should all add up to a fuller, darker sound. The Fenders, with single coil pickups, longer scale length, bolt on maple necks and alder bodies should produce a lighter, brighter sound.

That is not to say that Fender can't be used for the heavier sounds, Iron Maiden will happily demonstrate that Fenders make plenty of noise. Likewise, Gibsons can be subtle and delicate too (unbelievable, I know), as Mr Les Paul himself used to display beautifully.

They can also compliment each other perfectly as on the solo from Hotel California.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It does seem on the whole that Fenders do the lighter end of things (Eric Clapton, Hank Marvin etc) better, while the Gibsons do the heavier end more efficiently (Jimmy Paige, Slash etc). This is often down to the lower output of Fenders (traditionally), and the more powerful hum-cancelling pickups of the Gibson. The shorter scale length (vibrating string length) of the Gibson, glued on neck, fixed bridge and mostly mahogany construction should all add up to a fuller, darker sound. The Fenders, with single coil pickups, longer scale length, bolt on maple necks and alder bodies should produce a lighter, brighter sound.

That is not to say that Fender can't be used for the heavier sounds, Iron Maiden will happily demonstrate that Fenders make plenty of noise. Likewise, Gibsons can be subtle and delicate too (unbelievable, I know), as Mr Les Paul himself used to display beautifully.

They can also compliment each other perfectly as on the solo from Hotel California.

Well put!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gibson guitars hands down. I've had a few SG's over the years and now have a very rare SG ELITE.

I also have a Steinberger headless guitar which is a great little thing as it actually can be transported in the Esprit :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is a shame how the current management of Gibson are killing the company with a lack of quality control at the moment.

Fender went through this issue in the late 70's early 80's - but you would think Gibson would have learnt from that mistake - but even after recently come out of chapter 11 ( bankruptcy protection) - The Gibson managements' arrogance never seams to diminish!

The sooner Hartley Peavey buys the company (the current strong rumour) the better - whilst not all people like Peavey product - very few complain about build

At the end of the day - the argument about which is better can go on and on

Most would accept that a Fender strat was a more flexible guitar than a Les Paul - but like a lot of guitarists you end up with something Fender-esque and some thing Gibson- esque because never the twain shall meet

As Ben states - due to the difference in timbers used - even the same pickups would sound different

Welcome go the world of the small guitar collection

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hank Marvin? Often found watching the music at the Quecumbar...

http://www.quecumbar.co.uk/

And playing there, too.... well worth a visit if you're in town!

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a drummer, so what do I know! I do though know lots of guitarists. A lot of the sounds of either can be modded in all sorts of ways by the pick ups that are installed. Anyone who thinks a Stratocaster can't do heavy just needs to listen to some Ritchie Blackmore, although not many people realise the early Deep Purple stuff was done on a Gibson 335 that he was given by Clapton.

Also what about basses? Was it John Entwistle who used to stick Fender necks on Gibson bodies (or perhaps the other way round?)

Regards

Mat

post-1-0302470001278592957.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is why I love this forum. Watching 'Chocolat' the other night I remarked to my wife that I really liked that music. Neither of us could what 'label' to put on it.

10 minutes after following John's link this morning, the house is resounding to Gypsy Swing and the L.E.T.'s (Les Enfants Terrible) are now claiming 'child cruelty'......

I'm a drummer, so what do I know! I do though know lots of guitarists. A lot of the sounds of either can be modded in all sorts of ways by the pick ups that are installed. Anyone who thinks a Stratocaster can't do heavy just needs to listen to some Ritchie Blackmore, although not many people realise the early Deep Purple stuff was done on a Gibson 335 that he was given by Clapton.

And if you really want to hear a Strat do heavy, Robin Trower.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a few of both.

First was a pearl 'banana' finish Tele and yes it was a very light sound, very jazz.

Second was a Japanese Strat fitted with DiMarzios that was very loud. (in hindsight, I should never have sold it...)

Third was an ES-335. 79 model with split humbuckers in cherry. Fabulous instrument (and fabulous investment too, still have it)

Tried a recent Les Paul Studio, it was [email protected] Ho-hum.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tried a recent Les Paul Studio, it was [email protected] Ho-hum.

Interesting..

Do you think Gibson are trading on a past reputation and that quality in the last five years has been on the slide?

Can the same be said of Fender and are other brands stealing their thunder now? There's no doubt that a few of the Japanese brands are very good..

Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgetting the Fender / Gibson thing it all depends

a) how much money you want to spend

b) what you're going to play i.e. how versatile you want it to be.

c) gigging, recording or just playing for fun at home

I've owned Fender, Gibson, Ibanez and a few makes in between. forgetting the playability because what's good to one person will be bad to another, it's a very subjective thing.

As you say some of the Japanese makes (Ibanez for instance) make some excellent and very versatile guitars ranging from a couple of hundred quid to a few thousand, you pays your money you takes your choice.

There's also a lot of noise about Suhr guitars which many top players are using these days but they are mega bucks (bucks, being an American company)

So my advice would be don't limit yourself to just Fender or Gibson, go play a few others, some a lot cheaper that F and G will surprise, in a good way.

For the last point (gigging, recording or just playing for fun)

If gigging, don't spend 2 grand on a guitar to gig with, it will get battle scarred and you will get upset, and unless you're playing through a top notch backline and PA with sound engineers who know what they're doing the difference in sound won't be that great to a guitar costing a lot less

If recording get the best you can afford but then buy a cheaper one to gig with

If it's just for fun at home, well the world is your oyster.

Jez

Mean Green S4s

I think therefore I am - Descartes

I'm pink therefore I'm spam - Eric Idle

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think Gibson are trading on a past reputation and that quality in the last five years has been on the slide?

Difficult to say as its the only recent offering from Gibson that i've played. I would be seriously underwhelmed if I had ordered one and expected it to be like a classic LP.

Just to repeat, there are a lot of other makes out there now that are worth looking at.

I have tried one Chinese Strat copy that was just unbelievably good. If it had Fender written on the headstock you would never have questioned it and all for $65.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting..

There's no doubt that a few of the Japanese brands are very good..

I bought my son a Aria STG-Series Strat copy.

Fantastic sound, very well made, finish is excellent and very easy to play.

Cost £95

Its every bit as good as my USA Fender Strat........BUT it doesn't say Fender, Made in USA on the head.

I guess in some ways its like having an GT40 or a no expense spared replica... it will be just as good, perhaps even better and cheaper than the real thing but it will never be the real thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it interesting that all you guys can find different qualities in planks. Surely the only differences can be fretboard accuracy, action, fretboard width and similar purely engineering aspects...including pickups, of course. Nobody has mentioned the most important part affecting the tonal quality, drive, volume etc...the amplifier! As long as the plank is an accurate plank, you can make it sound like anything you want via the amplification.

Overdriven AC30's, anyone??

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...