36 thoughts on “Fender vs. Gibson: The Differences and What the Pros Prefer

  1. I voted for Fender, but as you said it really depends on the style. I’ve never played on a Gibson (which I’d love to try for a fun experiment), but I’ve heard musicians use it for awesome blues pieces!
    Right now I’m gonna stick with my acoustic guitar which has been good to me for almost 2 years! My students love it too (though I’m not a guitar teacher I just sometimes use it to play children’s songs on it…)

    1. i have played fender most of my life .Fast neck and comfortable .However when my musical interest changed to southern rock i decided to buy a gibson . The mahogony body sounds different as does the string thru design of my firebird .Now i play both .Out of the box i prefer gibson and dont need to change a thing .I see many fender players always looking for “that sound” changing pickups pots etc.and using many boxws to change the tone.All i use with my gibson is a wa wa and overdrive

  2. Most of the time, you can get a fender to sound like a gibson, but not the other way around.

    btw, telecaster has often more sustain than any other guitar, particularly if it has the real brass saddles on a proper ashtray bridge. Saying it has a thud makes it seem like you don’t really know much about the topic…

    As a teacher I use a strat because it’s relatable, comfortable, and clean/clear tones. The gibson doesn’t have warmer overtones. That’s not a thing. It has weaker overtones, so a stronger fundamental. That’s why it sounds warmer/duller, and the fender sounds more lively/brighter, because the fender (longer scale) have more overtones to ring louder. That lets you hear mistakes more easily, and is helpful to improve more quickly.

    If you can’t hear your mistakes, you don’t know what to practice!

    If you don’t care, and want to play distorted metal, then don’t bother with lessons.

  3. I am not sure which guitar to vote but I like fenders because of sound and style of the guitars, same goes for Gibson guitars.

  4. Fender vs. Gibson is really not the issue. It has more to do with the weight factor as well as hard-tail vs. vibrato bar. A Telecaster will probably give you the same tuning stability and basic tonal range as an SG, but you might just as well consider an Ibanez or Charvel and get the result you want. A good guitarist can play ANY guitar and get a good result. A bad guitar, conversely, will sound awful no matter how well it’s played if the intonation, electronics, and tuning stability are bad. A Telecaster can be a large guitar. A Les Paul will generally seem lighter, maybe be more comfortable with a shorter scale length, but cost more. A Stratocaster will sound lovely to Strat fans, but then you have a lot of tuning and quirky pickup issues you won’t get with a hard-tail. You may find the Ibanez with a Floyd Rose vibrato bar may give you the best of both worlds, stability and dive bombs. The guitar I recommend for beginners is the Gibson SG, because it is comfortable in size and scale length, achieves both bright and thick tones, and is generally affordable. For prospective Whammy-bar shredders, I would lean towards a Charvel or Jackson at first, and maybe consider a MusicMan. The premium Strat or Les Paul is very desirable and very playable for anyone who has the fingers to bring out the sounds, but if you don’t have the fingers, imo, wait until you do.

    1. as an old school country picker i prefer the fender tele for the crisp twangy sound and also the feel of the fingerboard. I find a strat to be poorly designed with the volume control badly in the way to say nothing about the clumsy tremelo arm. I have modified some strats and made them playable for my slyle.A humbucker in the neck position on a tele is rite sharp for the blues.As for gibson they make a fine instrument,just not my style.

    2. A Les Paul is anything BUT light – they are widely known to be the heaviest of the popular guitars (upwards of a whopping 12 lbs), while Telecasters are generally light guitars (that are capable of a very “large” tone – Zep 1, Stairway to Heaven solo, etc.).

  5. Both are best , depending on what you are playing , when you need the sound of the one that fits best to the song .

  6. As a guitar player we always have that feeling which guitar will have the best fit and sound according to our taste. Some songs are better with Fenders likewise with Gibson guitars. If you know how to play you don’t need to get confuse which guitar best suits you.

  7. I’ve played both brands and for the rock industrial music, the Gibson LP fits me better. Did not like the Fender at all. But I need short scale guitars which Gibson are compared to Fender plus imho the Gibson looks classier.

  8. Like picking between miss america and first runner up….both are beautiful, but which one would pick you?..

  9. tbh i have a fender strat copy (not the real thing im 16 with no job judge if u want but i like it plus im lefty and they are expensive a hell) it sounds nice i love it but a buddy of mine has a less Paul (im getting on form him the real thing) i like it better i think the design is sexy allot like an ltd

  10. Both are great guitars but it really depends on the music you play and how it fits you. I love the Flying V Gibson and high end Fender Stratocasters for hard rock and pychedelic rock the Fender Strat is famous played by David Gilmour and Hendrix.

  11. It’s like comparing blondes, redheads, and brunettes!
    I love ’em all!
    My personal favorite guitar is my Telecaster because of it’s simplicity and sounds great.
    I love the shape of a Stratocaster though and I think they just fit a human body perfectly.
    I would be a bigger fan of a Les Paul if they weren’t so danged heavy on my shoulder but you can’t argue with the sound from one!

  12. I own both, and I have to admit the most expensive guitar (a Gibson Les Paul Classic ’60) spends most of its time in the case. It’s a beautiful guitar that sounds great, but the Strats and Teles are more comfortable to hold and play, and I find them much more versatile.

    To be fair, I swap out the Strat bridge pickups for Seymour Duncan humbuckers. Also, I play lots of Fender amps; if I played Marshalls, I may have a different opinion.

    One thing I have not read above: The different scale length makes Fender guitar’s strings harder to bend, which I believe adds more “tension” to the tone. To my ear, Gibson bends don’t have that same edge.

    But I’ll never sell my Les Paul.

  13. I think that they’re both on the same level but Gibson has slipped badly as of late. Soon, Gibson will be replaced by Godin as the BIG G in guitars.

  14. This is such a trite discussion. There are many more choices than Fender and Gibson, and to boil it down to those two players is detrimental to the industry and by extension musicians of all skill levels. Those companies made great innovations and came out with classic models, and the industry owes them a whole lot. But to me, you get more points for continued innovation, not making a few great models then resting on laurels for the next 100 years.
    I didn’t read the article because there isn’t anything new to be said.

  15. I agree that both Gibson and Fender has the best quality of sound but in different style, Fender guitars has a lot of variety to choose for players of all levels. Gibson will cost you more if you really want a nice guitar. Still both of them are great guitar brands.

  16. This is such a garbage debate. They’re both great, they both have strengths and weaknesses, and they both have unique sounds. Just have both, Fenders and Gibsons have their own unique sound, if one has a particular sound you prefer for one song, and the other has the sound you prefer for another song, just use them both.

  17. I am a beginner player and I am a bit disappointed in both Fender and Gibson. Both entry level guitars suck, for beginners like me. Why not they make the fret board neck nut a little more wider so that its easier for learning. In the last 5 years playing both Fender Starcasters and Gibson Maestro, I cann’t play chords properly. I am still looking for entry level guitar for my chord practice without breaking my budget ($700).

    1. Find a local music store to outfit you with a guitar suited to you needs and skill. Chords take a lot of practice and a skilled music teacher will save you a lot of time. I have played publicly with live bands and though each player’s skill levels were different we still made a good sound. Find a simple song with just a few simple chords and practice until you learn the chords and strumming pattern. Then move on to a new song. My catalogue of songs has over 1000 songs at different skill levels. Don’t give up or you will never be happy! The price for a quality instrument will be worth it in the long run!

  18. I wish both of them bankrupt and disappear from the face of the earth to give way for new innovative brands with better pricing towards beginner musicians. I don’t care they are made on the blueridge mountains of Tennase or the shanty town in Shanghai. If they cann’t make a guitar to the new musicians for their liking, tradition or not they are garbage.

    1. American Fenders and USA Gibsons are not NOT for beginners! They are for people like myself who have invested 15+ years into developing the skills required to defend a purchase of one. IF you want beginner guitars, go see Mexico Fenders or Epiphone Guitars. Better yet, worry more about your skill and not which brand in on your headstock. I played for 11 years before I upgraded my Epiphone to a Gibson.

  19. I personally think that it’s kinda of hard to say ones better than the other, because their both made for completely different styles of music and are almost opposites

  20. Much of the difference between one make of guitar and another is in the player’s head. I doubt whether many people listening would really notice the difference and they certainly wouldn’t care. That said, there are differences in feel and in the player’s perception of the sound. I currently have four Gibsons and two Fenders, so you can see where my sympathies lie, but currently I’m more taken with either of my two Gretschs. One point of correction about scale length though. Over the years 25.5″ became standardised, probably by Martin. Fender copied this when it produced the Broadcaster/ Nocaster/ Telecaster since 25.5″ was the scale length for a guitar and Fender had no previous experience hence the poor neck radius and bad controls. Gibson, being actually considerably more innovative (I.e. the truss rod, the archtop, the raised finger rest/ scratch plate, controls for each pickup etc etc in fact most of the fundamentals we now take for granted) had worked out that scale length should be a function of body size. All of Gibson’s full size (17″ and up) guitars have 25.5″ scale lengths. Smaller bodies get shorter necks. So 24.75″ is only one of Gibson’s scale lengths sunce it has used shorter and longer as appropriate.

  21. It’s “GIBSON LP CUSTOM” all the way baby. No need wasting anyone’s times debating between a Fender VS Gibson. There is no debate at hand when it’s been proven that when Gibson Customs came upon our market and were first introduced, it was one small step for man, but one giant leap for mankind.

  22. My first guitar was a fender knockoff. My first professional guitar was a Gibson LP custom. I like the richer tone of the Gibson for ballads, folk and country and the Fender gives you the edge you need for rock, garage and loud stuff. Foot pedals get the sounds you need for just about any style of music with either brand. The fender neck is a bit easier to move over because it is thin and fat-fingered guys like me need a bit of help that way. The Gibson reminds me more of my acoustic guitars. Strings are an important selection for any guitar to be comfortable and get the right sound.

  23. I play a Tele, but I can’t say I’m in love with it. I have this feeling that a Gibson would sound and play differently – perhaps warmer and more mellow – but I have no factual basis for thinking that. It is based more on who I have seen playing different models, and what style of music they are playing. This is what I think most of the differences guitarists imagine come down to – a lot of preconceived notions, reinforced by vague generalizations (like the ones in this article) and marketing hype. But I readily admit I could be wrong about that.

  24. I love them both, have a Strat and Les Paul. they are such different animals. Each has it’s place in my music, each has a special sound. Used to own a Tele which I just didn’t enjoy playing so much, so traded in for the Les Paul. I later bought a modified Tele with humbuckers (I know it’s a sin) but damn it sounds so good, for heavy power chords, more like a PRS sound. I’ve been playing 27 years now and am a composer / songwriter. Played in lots of bands, and during my live work I have to say I prefer my Strat. It’s lighter than the Gibson, and contours nicely to my body. With a good valve amp and the right strings I can get some lovely fat sounds out of it. I use the Gibson mostly in the studio. When I moved countries, I needed a cheap electric to tide me over until my stuff got sent over. I picked up a $100 Mitchel (Made in China). The setup was awful, totally unplayable, so set it up properly, and to be honest it plays like a dream. The neck is amazing for a $100 guitar, and with some new pickups the sound is great too. The upshot here is that it doesn’t really matter what guitar you use to make music on, as long as you enjoy the instrument, a cheap guitar can go a long way. I find the discussions about which is better kind of like guys comparing their crown jewels, it’s purely academic and what matters is how you use the thing 😉

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  26. It’s not as easy as just Gibson vs Fender. There are a lot of great pieces of equipment to select. Eddie Van Halen used so many, mixed & matched parts, he went with the best of all worlds and the creativity and skill set he has is arguably hard to beat. Van Halen morphed but eventually, VH even gave way to the next generation. I think that as popularity of music styles, changes, sometimes you gotta be versatile and play the instrument that emulates the most successful music of the time/era. So for one style, Gibson will be the easiest way to go to adapt to music tastes that change with the times. Another, Fender might be the instrument that produces great music. EVH has used Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, and several others. Here’s a perfect example, Charvel a Fender strat style body, a DeMarzio humbucker with Gibson magnet. Everything he ever used was a Frankenstein from what I read. What would you call that guitar ? It’s almost like taking a Ferrari body and putting a Dodge Hellcat Hemi in it ?

    “1979 Van Halen II – “Bumblebee”
    Eddie Van Halen Yellow Black Charvel Van Halen II For the second album and the following tour Eddie made another guitar, similar to the first one. He asked Charvel to route a Strat-style body he had so all the electronics could be rear-loaded – eliminating the need for a pickguard. He went alone from there, painting the body yellow and doing the whole business with the masking tape to add the stripes.

    As far as the electronics go, on the album cover of Van Halen II the guitar had some random pickup in the bridge, since it was barely finished for the photo session. After that, Eddie did some experimenting and ended up making a pickup of his own. He used a DiMarzio humbucker, bet replaced the magnet with the one from a Gibson PAF, and then re-wound the whole thing by hand. He then dipped the pickup into some paraffin wax, and put the copper tape around the windings.

    For the neck he used the one from Charvel with a black headstock. The back of the neck was also originally black, but Eddie sanded it down because he prefers the feel of unfinished wood. This neck was later transferred to the Frankenstein for the 1979 tour, and then used on the Snake guitar.

    The guitar was buried alongside Dimebag Darrell – Pantera guitarist who died tragically in 2004.”

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