Noted — Fender vs. Gibson

Noted -- Fender vs. Gibson

Scott Galupo of the Washington Times riffs on the new guitar DVD, Solidbodies: The 50 Year Guitar War.

Filmmaker Guy Hornbuckle describes it as a documentary, but it looks more like an appreciation. For the price of a couple of sets of strings, who cares? I’m sold.

The original difference between the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul guitars of the 1950s was not just look and feel, but pickup technology and sustain. Both were “solid bodies,” as opposed to hollow “box” guitars. Leo Fender came to this design for guitar and bass after producing electric Hawaiian guitars, which have no bodies at all. Gibson designers aimed at maintaining the company’s heritage of elegance. The electroacoustic differences were largely overcome by the 1960s, but look and feel differences remain, and both designs are American classics.

Closet guitar heroes, watch this movie and learn.

Image by Mike Licht. Fender and Stratocaster are trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments. Gibson and Les Paul are trademarks of Gibson USA. Logos and trademarks are used to avoid brand confusion.

10 Responses to “Noted — Fender vs. Gibson”

  1. mightyme Says:

    I have a Fender Telecaster. I’ve dreamt about getting a Gibson electric, there are so many I like, but right now, I can fork over the money on yet another instrument that will not always be played.

  2. Mike Licht Says:


    Consider an Epiphone, the lower-priced Gibson line. Many are extremely well-made Gibson replicas. An Epi will have more imported parts than a Gibson, so the price differential may not be very great in the near future, since the dollar is so weak.

  3. silly Says:

    I got a 52 tele reissue. Such a underrated guitar. Simple, practicle and covers everything except for metal. Underless u change the PU’s, then it can pretty much play anything. Feels better than a strat to me. All round timeless classic. Les Pauls & Strats look nice but has nothing on my Baby.

  4. Shake It! « NotionsCapital Says:

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  5. HenriqueRt Says:

    I like the body of Gibson, but the sound of the Fender and arguably better. So look this guitar, the name is Montego 2.

  6. Mike Licht Says:

    HenriqueRt wrote: I like the body of Gibson, but the sound of the Fender [is] arguably better. So look [at the] Montego 2.

    Interesting choice. The Fender Montegos are hollowbody archtop electrics and are probably used most for jazz, but they can probably dial up some edge if needed. Montegos have humbuckers (like Gibsons)rather than Fender’s more typical single-coil pickips.

  7. davidsontm Says:

    Hey Mike, great post. I’d really like to see the movie sometime.

    I did a post recently about trademark disputes involving guitars, and especially the appearance features of guitars that various companies protect. I called it “Three Chords and a Lawsuit: A Brief History of Guitars and Trademarks.”

    If you’re interested, you can find the article here:

    Personally, I have Les Paul/humbucker-type guitars and Strat/single coil-type guitars, and I can never make up my mind which I like best. It depends a lot on what kind of music I’m playing, of course – heavier and gainier(?) stuff pretty much demands humbuckers, while bluesier or janglier stuff sounds better with singles.

    One place where in my opinion Strats definitely win out over Pauls is PLAYER COMFORT – both in terms of weight and shape!

    Anyway, keep up the good work.


  8. Holiday Today « NotionsCapital Says:

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  9. Mike Licht Says:

    Related: The Telecaster Turns 60.

  10. Megann Says:

    I have a Les Paul, Telecaster, and Stratocaster. I can honestly say that I love all of them, but I find that sometimes my playing is better on the Telecaster than on the others. I also feel that it depends on which song you are playing on the guitar. Paranoid by Black Sabbath sounds better on my Telecaster and Heartbreaker by Pat Benetar sounds better on my Les Paul. I really think its a matter of what kind of guitar you are looking for.

    I agree with Jeff, Strats are a lot easier to play because of comfort….

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