Fender vs: Gibson

Discussion in 'Fender' started by Frogfur, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. Frogfur

    Frogfur Senior Member

    Messages:
    11,959
    Likes Received:
    16,634
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    I kind of feel,(especially these days)that Fender is the working musician's guitar, while Gibsons,
    Execpt the lowest end models are really luxury items anymore.
    Right or wrong?
     
    Actinic, wwit, paco1976 and 3 others like this.
  2. Tiboy

    Tiboy Senior Member

    Messages:
    641
    Likes Received:
    606
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    I don't gig, but I do catch a fair number of local cover bands. Nine times out of 10 I see Fenders.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. So What

    So What Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,576
    Likes Received:
    18,327
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    The band I watched last Friday had an LP.

    The band I will see this coming Friday will have an LP.

    If you are watching bands that are primarily young, struggling musicians, perhaps your hypothesis is accurate.

    But I don't think people see the guitars as budget vs luxury.

    Plenty of deals on used Gibsons, and Fenders aren't exactly cheap. Especially new ones.

    .
     
    4 people like this.
  4. djjagdish

    djjagdish Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,199
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    I think with the 2015 prices Gibson is definitely moving towards positioning themselves that way (for better or worse)
     
    3 people like this.
  5. truckermde

    truckermde Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,306
    Likes Received:
    14,590
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Gibson used to be a musician's company too, but now they just sell sub-standard instruments at astronomical prices that really represent nostalgia and image more than quality and craftsmanship.

    I loved my old Gibsons, but I laugh in the face of the garbage they have become purveyors of.

    A shame, really. I wish someone else would buy the company and take it in a different direction than the current owners, who are dragging the name through the mud, like Harley Davidson in the AMF era.
     
    5 people like this.
  6. dissaffected

    dissaffected Senior Member

    Messages:
    328
    Likes Received:
    166
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2015
    Gibsons are great guitars. BUT Fenders were designed by an engineer to be repairable, mod-able and easy to manufacture. All this makes them more affordable in the long run. Take Gibson necks- definitely a weak point based on design and wood used. Fender necks- you break one and you just buy a new one. If you need a refret on a fender, why not buy a new neck. Want a different pup, Fenders are easier to mess with(at least for me).

    All that makes them more accessible for the struggling musician.
     
    4 people like this.
  7. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,140
    Likes Received:
    1,883
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    I am 41 and a gigging guitarist in an original band. The ONLY time I see a Les Paul onstage these days is if I am opening for a national act and the guitarist is using one, or if one of the other local bands has a guitarist over 50.

    If it's not kids using Schecter, LTD or Dean, it's guys my age using PRS, modded Fenders or USA Jackson/Charvel.

    On the cover scene I have seen a lot more Les Pauls. Those guys tend to be older and they are getting paid.

    Personally, I do think of certain guitars as luxury items. I see Fender as a tool. You can buy a $500-$800 range Fender and have a killer instrument - as is. Or you can mod it a thousand ways to make it what you need. Either way you still come out with a sharp looking and great sounding instrument.

    Gibson, on the other hand, offers nothing in the same price range as MIM Fender that offers the same bang-for-the-buck and custom-ability. You have to go Epiphone if you want something that LOOKS like a proper Gibson. Some guys just aren't willing to go there because many players have a stigma about Epi's being beginner guitars. Gibson's PROPER instruments (and, personally, I don't count Studio's to be "proper" Gibson models) start at what most parents will spend on their kid's first car. That, to me, is a luxury item.

    When I bought my first proper Les Paul, it was ON SALE for $1999!!!! That was the sale price for a guitar that had NOTHING innovative about it. It was the SAME basic design as a Les Paul from 50 years ago. LP cork sniffers will beg to differ. To me a LP is a LP - mahogany body, carved maple arch top, 2 humbuckers...you know "the standard". Anyway, not that this was terribly expensive compared to some of my Custom Shop Jackson guitar I was playing at the time - but in comparison, I got a "standard" Les Paul for a dollar under 2k, whereas my CS Jacksons were pretty much 100% customized to my specs for not too much more (about 1K more truthfully).

    At any rate, I find the LP to be THE luxury guitar. They aren't too ergonomic if you are a soloist - playing higher than the 14th fret was a pain for me, so I sold mine. Another "tell" that the LP is a luxury item? The resale stays good. That, to me, is the ONLY benefit of a LP!!
     
    7 people like this.
  8. Detector

    Detector Senior Member

    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    757
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2012
    My take is the Fender is the poorman's guitar. I have a 2007 fat strat deluxe in sienna sunburst and a 2007 LP standard premium plus in Heritage cherry bust. Being on the Fender forums all I see is people talking about modifying their strats. To me I was like WTF? Why not just buy what you wanted in the first place? On the LP forums most just talk about what equipment they use.

    Playing the two the LP feels far superior in quality and build to the strat. Both play very well and sound great. Kind of like driving a Lincoln and driving a Tauras.
     
    3 people like this.
  9. alstev

    alstev Senior Member

    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    325
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    If people can't afford Gibson's they don't know how to internet. I could have scored a mint looking Studio with a case yesterday for $600 Canadian
     
    4 people like this.
  10. chupe442

    chupe442 Confused as ever..... Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,899
    Likes Received:
    2,207
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    With Fender having their name on everything made in USA, Mexico and countries most of us can not pronounce, and the Gibson (USA) purist not wanting Epiphones (NOT)on stage, you are correct. The Fenders are out there more than Gibsons. On the other hand, I tend to be more on the hard rock and metal side of the curtain and the Gibsons would out weigh the Fender stock. Blues and Classic Rock, its pretty hard to get away from Fender.
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,140
    Likes Received:
    1,883
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    This sentiment I totally agree with, which is why I spent years buying Custom Shop Jackson guitars. I could get exactly what I wanted (which really wasn't much - but it was not available on a stock model) with EXCEPTIONAL build quality. Again, the prices were not too unrealistic for having what you wanted.

    These days I find that the EBMM Albert Lee HH gives me everything I could ever want in a guitar.
     
  12. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,140
    Likes Received:
    1,883
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    That's great, but to me a Studio is not a proper LP. It lacks binding, it usually doesn't have the burst finish with a nice (not necessarily flamed) piece of maple on top...it's a "poor man's Les Paul". That, to me, is the Gibson conundrum - buy and Epi that LOOKS right, or buy a "sort of" LP that says Gibson....

    Hence my belief that Gibson is a luxury item.
     
  13. alstev

    alstev Senior Member

    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    325
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    I guess if you're just looking at Lesters, but the OP said Gibsons were luxury items not Les Pauls, I can get a used SG Standard or a V for cheaper than a used USA Strat where I am
     
  14. etzeppy

    etzeppy Senior Member

    Messages:
    550
    Likes Received:
    275
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    I don't get the Epi stigma. Fender has guitars made all over the globe and everyone says, look at this Strat I just bought. Buy an Epi LP and listen to people ask you why you didn't get a real Les Paul. There are some fine Epiphones out there that make for great gigging instruments.
     
    6 people like this.
  15. FFXIhealer

    FFXIhealer Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,684
    Likes Received:
    1,381
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    My main concern with buying Epiphone lies in the wood choices. Their "maple" is usually just a maple veneer on top of crappy/soft maple that's been filed with ... filler... to make a smooth top on top of a multi-piece mahogany with quite possibly another mahogany veneer so it looks good under the clear coat or transparent finish. The neck's probably ok with a quarter-saw mahogany. In fact, I could live with the Epiphone headstock shape if it weren't for the questionable wood. That's why I prefer Gibsons. At least there, I know the maple cap is SOLID. I know the Mahogany was SOLID. I know there's not going to be any fillers because they don't veneer anything. Binding or No Binding becomes a moot point for me compared to this.

    Otherwise, I'd buy an Epi and rock the **** out of it.

    And I own two Strats: A Fender American Special Strat and a Warmoth build I put together. The headstock is the Jackson shape/angle, but the body is a traditional Fender strat shape made of Alder. Solid maple neck with an Ebony fretboard and stainless steel frets. Tuned to D-standard. Seymour-Duncan pickups. Great tone for days.

    I almost never take out my Fender.
     
    2 people like this.
  16. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,140
    Likes Received:
    1,883
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    True. I often forget the SG - and I really like that guitar!!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. truckermde

    truckermde Senior Member

    Messages:
    13,306
    Likes Received:
    14,590
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    That's because most Gibson buyers aren't musicians, as much as collectors, bedroom rockers, and retirees reclaiming their youth. Nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is. Gibson brands are "lifestyle" brands, according to Henry the Great, and the people who are attracted to that type of marketing just love to one-up each other. Can't do that by buying a reasonably priced, gig-worthy instrument.

    Go figure.
     
    4 people like this.
  18. alstev

    alstev Senior Member

    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    325
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    you have to get pretty up close to a Fender to tell, the stigma is there for Squiers. If all the Fenders that weren't made in the USA were called Squiers, and had a different headstock, the same stigma would exist I think.
     
    5 people like this.
  19. ToneasaurusRex

    ToneasaurusRex Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Likes Received:
    2,431
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    So much hyperbole and sweeping generalizations in this thread.
     
    5 people like this.
  20. David Mccarroll

    David Mccarroll Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,775
    Likes Received:
    1,261
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Maybe not so much - I bought a PRS SE Bernie Marsden for $533AUD in Hong Kong - never mind it killing any Epiphone I have ever picked up - it unfortunately kills most of the rather more expensive Gibsons I regularly gig with. In contrast the $399 Squier Surfcaster (note: Squier name on headstock) gets played more than the vintage Strat it was supposed to be the disposable spare for. People get suckered by Epi by the Gibson association, but I have never picked up an Epiphone that felt even remotely like any Gibson I have ever played.

    You don't really hear a lot of bitching and moaning about Squier quality, but you sure hear a lot about Epis - I'd like to love them, honestly. I have owned two Epi Firebirds, but it's just self flagellation unfortunately - they were dreadful. If Epiphone could work out how not to make their guitars feel like a $200 Cort they'd do themselves a favour. The pickups in both Firebirds were nothing short of diabolical by the way, whereas the Lipsticks in the Squier are phenomenal (read the reviews if you don't believe me).

    Back to the question at hand - Gibson VS Fender. Who cares. They are guitars - whatever does it for the player. there are 54 Strats out there with asking prices over $100K - that's pretty luxury item to me. Visa vi, a Les Paul Studio IS a real Les Paul - it is made by Gibson - Gibson MAKE Les Pauls - if they say a Studio is a Les Paul they have 100% legitimacy to say it is a real Les Paul. Stick a pair of Alnico low output humbuckers in it and you'll probably get 85% of the sound of a vintage Les Paul. Don't fall for hype.
     
    4 people like this.

Share This Page