Friday, August 28, 2015

The Fender Stratocaster VS the Gibson Les Paul

For many decades now, musicians, guitarists and even historians have argued tooth and nail over which of two of the finest guitars that have come out of two of the finest companies amongst the 10 best musical instrument brands should be hailed as the king of axes. Many guitarists are divided in each camp and will never make the switch, whilst others have both models in their line-up.

To give you the chance to decide for yourself, let’s look at some of the most fundamental differences in how these two behemoths in the guitar world made a name for themselves.


How the Les Paul made its name


Back in 1952, Gibson was the first off the block to produce the famous solid-body thanks, to musician and inventor Les Paul. This musician put his name on the pride and joy of his work with Ted McCarty and his team at Gibson. Before this moment, Gibson was mainly producing Jazz guitars for famous musicians and selling versions of them to the public.

The Gibson Les Paul was one of the very first mass-produced solid body guitars and sold around the world as a popular, fashionable guitar that had lots and lots of new tones and sounds that other jazz guitars such as hollow-bodys, semi-acoustics and archtops didn’t have. Some say that the Gibson Les Paul was the first guitar to have soul.

Not to be outdone!


A couple of years later, Fender, run by Leo Fender worked with Freddie Tavares, George Fullerton, and Bill Carson to create something special. Using a slightly different design to the Gibson models, Fender opted for tone and comfort with a deeply contoured body and featuring for the first time on a solid body guitar, three pick-ups.

Both the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster were an instant hit and sold thousands upon thousands in their first years’ debut on the stage. Their popularity increased even more so when popular guitarists of the time used the instruments, and more importantly used these two guitars in new and innovative ways.

Packed with features and controls


The features of both models of guitar haven’t changed that much since the original versions that went on sale back in the fifties. Whilst there has been an increase in the number of colours and finishes available, the choice in different types of wood involved in the manufacturing process has increased also.

More options such as the different pick-ups available for each model, the standard models on each side of the Gibson and Fender fence have stayed relatively the same in terms of build setup, machining, and shape.

It is this authentic original tone of each guitar that has raised their profiles in becoming the two most iconic musical instruments in history. Each guitar is equally of note for their striking looks that don’t look old or out-dated, as well as their thrilling tone and sound capabilities. But which model is better?

Gibson Les Paul Tone


The Gibson Les Paul Series is a solid, heavy guitar that gets much of its tone from its bulk. Being made of a solid piece of mahogany, which is split into two and then bookmatched to get the wood grain finished paired up, the tone is killer and the sustain is astronomical.

Paired with modern humbucking pickups, the Les Paul is the guitar of choice for rock and heavy rock music because of its deep, rich tone that has plenty of bass, middle and a bright tone to finish. For these reasons alone it makes for the perfect blues guitar to make it a truly rounded player in the market.

Guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Slash, Randy Rhoads, Gary Moore, Pete Townsend, Joe Perry have all opted for this guitar and some might say that these iconic guitarists probably wouldn’t have achieved their status if it wasn’t for the Gibson Les Paul and the killer tone in which these guitarists could have created their own sounds.

Fender Stratocaster Tone


The Fender Stratocaster, being a much lighter guitar lends itself to lighter playing with its bright jangly sound and rich tone in the high end. Usually featuring three single coil pickups on the original model and tremolo tailpiece, some of the best sounds of the sixties were created on a Strat.

Made with a bolt-on neck, an alder, ash or poplar body and a thin, easy to play maple neck, the Strat lends itself more to the overall tone than the ringing sustain. Used less in heavy rock or metal music, the Strat is the guitar of the people in terms of the music scene in which it became popular.

Some of the more notable guitarists who have played a Fender Strat include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, George Harrison and Buddy Holly. The guitar became synonymous with blues, soul and modern pop music to give it a truly iconic status as one of the best guitars of the modern age.

The legacy lives on


Both Gibson and Fender continue to innovate in their creation of some of the most recognised guitars on the market today. Each leaders in their field, they never truly realised how iconic their guitars would become as well as the guitarists that became icons because of them.

If you are in the market for a new guitar, you cannot go wrong in choosing either the Gibson Les Paul or the Fender Stratocaster - each is a modern icon with killer tone and a vast wealth of versatility, making either choice a no-brainer!