For over sixty years this question has accompanied all those who think about buying an electric guitar. Which direction to go in, what to decide on and what to ultimately choose. It is not even strictly about the Gibson or Fender brand, because not everyone can afford these branded guitars, but about what type of guitar to choose. There are currently many manufacturers of guitars on the market that are modeled on the most famous Fender and Gibson models. These guitars are very different from each other in terms of construction and definitely each of them works in a slightly different musical style. The most famous Fender model is of course the Stratocaster, while the Gibson is mainly associated with the iconic Les Paul model.
The basic differences in these guitars, apart from their appearance, include the fact that they use different pickups, and this has a decisive influence on the sound. In addition, the Fender has a longer scale, which in turn translates into greater hardness when pulling the strings. The distances at the opening frets are also a bit larger in these guitars, which means that you have to stretch your fingers a bit more when picking up the chords. However, all this means that thanks to this technical solution, guitars of this type hold the tuning better. Gibson, on the other hand, is softer, has a nicer middle, but at the same time is more prone to detuning. In the playing itself, we will also feel a significant difference, and most of all we will feel it in the intonation. Gibson is kind of more sensitive to all kinds of stronger moves, which theoretically requires greater precision. The Fender’s sound is more piercing, clearer and cleaner, but unfortunately hums. This hum is caused by the type of pickups used in these guitars. Standard Fender guitars have 3 single-coil pickups called singles. The Gibsons do not have this problem with hum, because humbuckers are used there, which are built of two circuits with opposite magnetic polarity, thanks to which they eliminate hum. Unfortunately, it cannot be so perfectly, because there is a problem of the so-called clean channel headroom, which is activated at high amp volume levels. So if we want to have clean at high volumes, it is best to use single pickups characteristic of Fender guitars. Another quite noticeable difference is the weight of individual guitars. Fender guitars are definitely lighter than gibson guitars, which with some back problems can be quite important for the player. But let’s go back to the most important issue that should be of greatest interest to every guitarist, i.e. the sound of individual guitars. Gibson is characterized by a dark, fleshy and deep sound with lots of low and mid frequencies. Fender, on the other hand, has a brighter and more shallow sound, with more high and mid-high frequencies.
Summing up, it is impossible to say unequivocally which of the above guitars is better, because they are two completely different designs. Each of them has different characteristics and therefore each of them works in a different way of playing. For example: Fender, due to its clearer sound, is better suited to more delicate musical styles, while Gibson, due to humbuckers, will definitely be better suited to heavier genres such as Heavy Metal. Gibson, due to the slightly smaller distances between the frets, will be more comfortable for people with small hands. On the other hand, on the Fender there is a more convenient access to these high positions. These are, of course, very subjective feelings and everyone should personally test the individual models. There is no perfect guitar, but everyone has to be able to balance what he cares about the most. For those who want to have peace of mind with intonation, the Fender will be more convenient. In Gibson you need to get some experience and get some patents to deal with this topic efficiently. And at the end, a little bit of a joke, it would be an ideal solution to have both the Stratocaster and the Les Paul in your collection.