Gibson vs Fender

Gibson and Fender are the two largest guitar companies in the world. Their designs are so old and widespread that many smaller companies produce guitars that draw a significant amount of inspiration from one or the other of the major players. The two companies have significantly different design philosophies that have resulted in distinct tone profiles and guitar appearances.


The two most notable designs from Fender are the Stratocaster and Telecaster. They are both instantly recognizable, and they have become emblematic of the look of the electric guitar in general. Fender usually uses ash or alder as the wood in their manufacturing. These woods are light, so Fender guitars tend to be easier to carry due to their lower weight compared to Gibsons. These lighter woods also give the guitar a lighter sound. Fender guitars tend to have single pickups. Single pickups have a clear, almost bell-like sound. They are also notable because they have a slight hum at the 60 hertz spot on the acoustic spectrum. This is because the pickups tend to pick up interference from cell phones, computer, and anything else that transmits a wireless signal. Some people find the hum irritating, while others consider it a nostalgic part of the instruments. Regardless of the hum, Fender guitars tend to have light tones that emphasize treble due to the single pickups and the wood choice.


Gibson guitars exhibit a marked difference from Fender ones. The most iconic Gibson design is the Les Paul, although the SG, with its two small points near the neck, runs a close second. Gibson favors mahogany as their wood of choice when constructing guitars. When compared with the Fender woods, mahogany is denser. Higher density both makes the guitar physically more heavy and also darkens the tone.

Gibson pioneered the use of humbucking pickups. These use two coils in order to cancel out the 60 cycle hum that arises during usage of single pickups. Humbuckers have the side effect of making the guitar tone sound dark and smooth. Combined with the use of mahogany in the body, the humbucker pickups gave Gibson a distinct sound that quickly became associated with rock and roll.

Gibson vs Fender Comparison

There is no objectively superior brand of guitar. However, it is true that guitar players often develop a preference for one or the other. Their distinct tones mean that each is suitable for different kinds of music. Rock, metal, and some blues musicians often like Gibson guitars for their warm, dark sound that works well when distorted. Jazz, country, and other musicians tend to like Fender for its clean, bright sound. On top of that, many historically famous guitarists chose a particular brand as their favorite. As a result, young players often choose the same guitars as the stars that originally inspired them to start playing. A lot goes into choosing a guitar, and some people never develop a distinct taste for one of the major manufacturers. Many players, however, become lifelong diehard fans.

Mike Dangeroux is the lead singer in the Mike Dangeroux entertainment band. They cover all forms of music needs from weddings to corporate events.

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