#1
So I'm doing a compare and contrast paper on the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster. In my research I found a lot of so called "comparisons" but none of them tell you any similarities. So what are some similarities between the two?
I play guitar.
#2
There is very little similarities between the two. They are almost the total opposite apart from the fact they are solid body electric guitars.
#3
Other than they both have 6 strings (and even that is not always the case), there are no similarities between the two.

Also, vs threads such as this really aren't allowed. The topic has been done to death a thousand times over and it's a pretty open-and-shut case anyway to anyone who has spent more than ten seconds looking at guitars.
#4
maybe talk about how electromagnetic pickups function in both? same theory, different applications in humbuckers and single coils
#5
Eh, it's not really a versus thread, and since it's for a paper, I'll let it slide, but I'd say the similarities are more striking than differences, when it comes down to it. They are both made of wood (as opposed to acrylic or something), they're both solid body, they both use electromagnetic pickups and metal strings. They function in essentially the exact same way. Differences are the details: types of wood commonly used, shape, set neck v. bolt on, and single v. double coil (humbucking) pickups.
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#6
they are the two most copied electric guitar designs. i think that the other similarities have been covered.
#7
Quote by TNfootballfan62
Eh, it's not really a versus thread, and since it's for a paper, I'll let it slide, but I'd say the similarities are more striking than differences, when it comes down to it. They are both made of wood (as opposed to acrylic or something), they're both solid body, they both use electromagnetic pickups and metal strings. They function in essentially the exact same way. Differences are the details: types of wood commonly used, shape, set neck v. bolt on, and single v. double coil (humbucking) pickups.

You could add that they've also evolved in similar ways, like switching from nitrocellulose to poly-whatevertheyallusenow finishes and, well that's actually all I can think of at the moment. I was so sure I had something else... I'll let you know if it comes back to me.
#8
This is really what it boils down to. There are other differences between models, but this is the standard loadout.

Les Paul:

Mahogany set neck at an angle
Mahogany body with maple cap and carved top
Nitrocellulose finish
24 3/4" scale length
Humbuckers
Tune-o-matic bridge


Stratocaster:

Bolt-on maple neck, usually no angle
Alder body with contours
polyurethane finish
25 1/2" scale length
Single coils
Fender style tremolo

There are also many other differences though, like headstock angle, fingerboard type, electronics wiring, pots and switches, pickguards.
#10
Both -

Designed in the US.
Came out in the first half of the 1950s.
Became the flagship of their respective companies.
Became the two icons of electric guitars.


Beyond that they are completely polar opposites.
I'm the only player to be sponsered by 7 guitar companies not to use their products.
#11
they are both guitars.
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#12
Stratocasters commonly utilize either a SS, SSS, or HSS (S - single coil, H - humbucker) pickup layout. Les Pauls commonly use H-H layout. A good handful of Strats use that humbucker for the bridge pickup for harder driven leads, just like a Les Paul, the difference being LP's use humbuckers for the neck pickup too.

They both have cutouts at the joint where the neck meets the body for easier access to higher frets. Strats have two, one on each side. Les Pauls have one on the high-e string side. Both perform in the same electrical manner, varying only slightly due to pickup and knob-control variations. Both can also come standard in solid-body electric, but can also be ordered in acoustic versions (though under different names. http://images.gibson.com/Files/f1a5b01e-b72a-450c-9a1e-65426ba0750b.jpg There's your les paul, slightly different but the shape is essentially from the same design. http://media.fmicdirect.com/fender/images/products/guitars/0967300006_frt_wmd_001.jpg and theres your strat.)

Both also have survived since early 50's as previously pointed out. ;P There's a lot of similarities but also a lot of differences. Les Pauls generally are Set Neck, whereas Fender Strats are Bolt On. Fenders also usually have 2 knobs (1 volume 1 tone) and les pauls have 4 (2 volume 2 tone). Les Pauls are fixed bridge w/ tune-o-matic tailpieces, whereas Strats can come in fixed bridge string-thru or with a Tremolo. Strats and LP's also have a different neck scale length, as stated previously, and the weight, type of wood, shape of neck, shape of headstock (&body obviously), and even where their input jacks are placed vary.
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I figured it out.
#13
Quote by Ishiga
Fenders also usually have 2 knobs (1 volume 1 tone).



Huh?
#14
thanks for the stuff, i didnt even think about saying how the pickups work the same way.
I play guitar.
#15
Just a few more amazing but true similarities.


Both were invented by guys.

Just after they came out, the country that they were invented in reached the peak of its superpower status.

Both Gibson on Fender have six letters and share the letter n.

Both function best with the aid of electricity.


Coincidence or clever conspiracy?, you be the judge.
I'm the only player to be sponsered by 7 guitar companies not to use their products.
#16
Probably restating things that have already been said but i just skimmed. Similarities I can find between the two are 6 strings, require fine tuners, same idea of neck/frets, made of wood, pickups are similar electronically, though may very between hbs and single coils. They both essentially serve as a means to the same end. they serve the same purpose, that being amplification of whatever is being played
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#17
Quote by TheWho2
thanks for the stuff, i didnt even think about saying how the pickups work the same way.
Here you need to hit Wikipedia, for some theory about how generators and transformers work. And I mean electrical transformers, not the child's toy, or the movie.

Guitar pickups are basically AC generators.

Humbuckers remove 60 AC line hum by virtue of phase cancellation. Single coil pickups don't.

As to "similarities", the Stratocaster and Les Paul even have entirely different fret types. In fact, due to its jumbo frets, the Les Paul neck is generally considered faster and easier to play than either of Fender's most popular offerings. This earned it the nickname, "fretless wonder". Don't know if anybody still uses that moniker though.

If you like, you can consider the "Telecaster" in you evaluation. It's closer in design to the Strat, than the Les Paul by a country mile. Which ironically, illustrates the genre of music they've traditionally most been embraced by. Ash body, maple neck, and single coils, equal snap, crackle and pop, with quite a bit of twang thrown in for good measure.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 13, 2011,
#18
I'll be honest, you picked a terrible topic.

When you get down into it, there are so many variations of both styles of guitars that you can't take two set standards for them and say they're different because of this or similar because of that.

EDIT:

Quote by Captaincranky

As to "similarities", the Stratocaster and Les Paul even have entirely different fret types. In fact, due to its jumbo frets, the Les Paul neck is generally considered faster and easier to play than either of Fender's offering. This earned it the nickname, "fret less wonder". Don't know if anybody still uses that moniker though.

The old "fretless wonder" Les Pauls were named that because they used super-short frets, not jumbo. The frets were so short, it was almost like they weren't on the fretboard.
Last edited by Pac_man0123 at Oct 13, 2011,
#19
Quote by Pac_man0123
I'll be honest, you picked a terrible topic.

When you get down into it, there are so many variations of both styles of guitars that you can't take two set standards for them and say they're different because of this or similar because of that.
I think that pretty much only the seminal offerings of either instrument should be the only archetypes considered. Since other manufacturers copies of these guitars are colloquially referred to by the same name.


EDIT:


The old "fretless wonder" Les Pauls were named that because they used super-short frets, not jumbo. The frets were so short, it was almost like they weren't on the fretboard.They weren't wide as well?
#20
Quote by Pac_man0123
I'll be honest, you picked a terrible topic.

When you get down into it, there are so many variations of both styles of guitars that you can't take two set standards for them and say they're different because of this or similar because of that.
I think that pretty much only the seminal offerings of either instrument should be the only archetypes considered, since even other manufacturers copies of these guitars are colloquially referred to by the same trade name.
Quote by Pac_man0123
The old "fretless wonder" Les Pauls were named that because they used super-short frets, not jumbo. The frets were so short, it was almost like they weren't on the fretboard.
They weren't wide as well?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 13, 2011,
#21
Quote by W4RP1G
This is really what it boils down to. There are other differences between models, but this is the standard loadout.

Les Paul:

Mahogany set neck at an angle
Mahogany body with maple cap and carved top
Nitrocellulose finish
24 3/4" scale length
Humbuckers
Tune-o-matic bridge


Stratocaster:

Bolt-on maple neck, usually no angle
Alder body with contours
polyurethane finish
25 1/2" scale length
Single coils
Fender style tremolo

There are also many other differences though, like headstock angle, fingerboard type, electronics wiring, pots and switches, pickguards.

Gibson don't still use Nitrocellulose, do they?
#22
Both are available in custom shops

Both have 22 frets (although the Strat originally had 21)

Both originally had a 3-way (lulz) switch

all I can remember for now
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#23
Quote by Butt Rayge
Gibson don't still use Nitrocellulose, do they?

Why yes, I believe they do. I know for certain my 60s Tribute Studio is nitro. I'm pretty sure almost everything else they make is too.
#24
Quote by W4RP1G
Why yes, I believe they do. I know for certain my 60s Tribute Studio is nitro. I'm pretty sure almost everything else they make is too.

Well, you learn something new every day.
#25
Quote by Butt Rayge
Well, you learn something new every day.

Yeah, Gibson should get props for some of the stuff they do, like using nitro because it's thinner and because that's what the older Gibbys were, even though it's more expensive and a more difficult process. Instead, they get hate from all over.
#26
Quote by W4RP1G
Yeah, Gibson should get props for some of the stuff they do, like using nitro because it's thinner and because that's what the older Gibbys were, even though it's more expensive and a more difficult process. Instead, they get hate from all over.
Indeed. At one time black nitrocellulose lacquer was the treatment of choice for hot rods everywhere! Here we're talking pushing 50 years ago.

Good thing Gibson is mostly here in the east. California has really stringent laws about solvent pollution. At one point, I heard they had to use, "water based lacquers". I haven't a clue what that's about. Maybe I should look into that after this post. Real lacquer thinners are made of acetone, toluene, and methyl ethyl ketone, manly solvents all! Water, pfft..

A large part of the environmental issues surrounding lacquer finishes, and why they've mostly disappeared, is they have a high ratio of solvent to solids. Modern paint systems are deemed "high solids".

Oddly, polyurethane has a great deal more flex than lacquer natively, which is quite brittle. At one time, probably the most flexible poly was Dupont's "Imron", which was marketed as an aircraft paint system. It is also one of the most toxic paint systems produced, due to a component chemical called, "polyisocyanate", which the more you add, the more flex you got in the final finish.

Modern high solids polyurethanes cover quickly with a minimun of coats, (usually ony two coats of clear are required, as opposed to a half dozen or so for a truly deep lacquer finish).

The poisons in all these finishes look like the who's who of hazardous materials

I hope that helps to clarify why Gibson might be , "getting hate", for their finishing regimens.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 14, 2011,
#27
Quote by Captaincranky
Indeed. At one time black nitrocellulose lacquer was the treatment of choice for hot rods everywhere! Here we're talking pushing 50 years ago.

Good thing Gibson is mostly here in the east. California has really stringent laws about solvent pollution. At one point, I heard they had to use, "water based lacquers". I haven't a clue what that's about. Maybe I should look into that after this post. Real lacquer thinners are made of acetone, toluene, and methyl ethyl ketone, manly solvents all! Water, pfft..

A large part of the environmental issues surrounding lacquer finishes, and why they've mostly disappeared, is they have a high ratio of solvent to solids. Modern paint systems are deemed "high solids".

Oddly, polyurethane has a great deal more flex than lacquer natively, which is quite brittle. At one time, probably the most flexible poly was Dupont's "Imron", which was marketed as an aircraft paint system. It is also one of the most toxic paint systems produced, due to a component chemical called, "polyisocyanate", which the more you add, the more flex you got in the final finish.

Modern high solids polyurethanes cover quickly with a minimun of coats, (usually ony two coats of clear are required, as opposed to a half dozen or so for a truly deep lacquer finish).

The poisons in all these finishes look like the who's who of hazardous materials

I hope that helps to clarify why Gibson might be , "getting hate", for their finishing regimens.

Well, you really are a tool aren't you?

Do you really believe getting scientific about the environmental effects of certain lacquers is going to prove that Gibson deserves hate? I'm sure that's why Fender and other brands went to a poly finish right, because they love the environment so much I'm sure you bring up the environment argument any time it's convenient for you,

I hope you enjoy your moral superiority, I'll enjoy my Les Paul.
#28
Quote by W4RP1G
Well, you really are a tool aren't you?

Do you really believe getting scientific about the environmental effects of certain lacquers is going to prove that Gibson deserves hate? I'm sure that's why Fender and other brands went to a poly finish right, because they love the environment so much I'm sure you bring up the environment argument any time it's convenient for you,

I hope you enjoy your moral superiority, I'll enjoy my Les Paul.


sorry WP but he is right. not because the companies care so much as the state regulations require much more protections to be in place. this makes using nitro much more expensive. if gibson used the same finishes as fender and the other companies it would lower the price of their instruments noticeably. now no hate is called for they made a decision based on tradition and the fact the there are those willing to pay for that tradition. fender does the same thing but on a lesser scale. they have one facility that was grandfathered in to allow them to use nitro.
#29
Quote by Captaincranky
They weren't wide as well?

yes they were. low and wide.

it makes bending a bitch compared to modern style gibson frets.


old strats have low frets too, but they aren't nearly as wide as gibson's low frets.
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#31
Quote by monwobobbo
sorry WP but he is right. not because the companies care so much as the state regulations require much more protections to be in place. this makes using nitro much more expensive. if gibson used the same finishes as fender and the other companies it would lower the price of their instruments noticeably. now no hate is called for they made a decision based on tradition and the fact the there are those willing to pay for that tradition. fender does the same thing but on a lesser scale. they have one facility that was grandfathered in to allow them to use nitro.

Well, I was also referring to the nitro finishing process being more time consuming and delicate than poly, but I see your point. But I think the fact that it's more expensive to use because of the environmental effect further reinforces my point, that Gibson deals with that crap to give it's customers what they want, but people hate on them at every turn.

I'm by no means a Gibson fanboy. You could probably call me an Ibanez fanboy and I wouldn't argue. But Gibson isn't the monster people make them out to be, they just get a lot of hate because they are so big and have so much history. They can't win, they can't make a guitar with modern features because everyone cries about the "traditional" Les Paul, and they can't use the same finish they've used for 60 years because someone cries about the environmental effects. And then everyone has the hugely romanticized idea that a 59' Les Paul was the greatest guitar ever made, so any imperfection is blown out of proportion and automatically the Les Paul is not like it "used to be".
#32
Quote by W4RP1G
Well, you really are a tool aren't you?

Do you really believe getting scientific about the environmental effects of certain lacquers is going to prove that Gibson deserves hate? I'm sure that's why Fender and other brands went to a poly finish right, because they love the environment so much I'm sure you bring up the environment argument any time it's convenient for you,

I hope you enjoy your moral superiority, I'll enjoy my Les Paul.
Well, I just gave the back story on finishing techniques and materials. I don't recall starting any argument, just a statement fact.

I used to automotive refinishing, and therefore are acutely aware of the dangers involved. And also why an organization might be harassed about such matters. It didn't prevent me from going to work. So basically, I believe my post was amoral and unbiased.

That said, you seem like a mouthy little internet troll, calling people names like "tool"! You apparently lack reading interpretation skills as well.

Anyway, I hope you and your Les Paul are happy together for a long, long time. I'm all for anything that works as a artificial phallus on your behalf.
#33
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, I just gave the back story on finishing techniques and materials. I don't recall starting any argument, just a statement fact.

I used to automotive refinishing, and therefore are acutely aware of the dangers involved. And also why an organization might be harassed about such matters. It didn't prevent me from going to work. So basically, I believe my post was amoral and unbiased.

That said, you seem like a mouthy little internet troll, calling people names like "tool"! You apparently lack reading interpretation skills as well.

Anyway, I hope you and your Les Paul are happy together for a long, long time. I'm all for anything that works as a artificial phallus on your behalf.

Your post sounded like you were against using nitro because of the environmental effects and because it was outdated.

I don't know why you would call a guitar an "artificial phallus", that seems kind of gay to me, especially coming from a guitarist. Is that what it is to you? Because I use my guitar to play and write music. And I have an actual "phallus" which I usually play with quite differently than my guitar.

So, now that you've brought this thread to a weird place, can we just get back on track here? I never wanted to start an argument about nitro vs poly or Gibson vs Earth. If you really feel passionately about this topic, I encourage you to start a thread for it, so others with an opinion on the matter may be heard.

#34
Quote by W4RP1G
Your post sounded like you were against using nitro because of the environmental effects and because it was outdated.
Me no. I adore the smell of lacquer thinners. Taken in moderation of course, and with a proper respirator Solvent recovery and emissions are monitored more stringently now, than at any time in the past. I merely drew what I believe to be a logical conclusion, were Gibson to start spraying around a bunch of lacquer thinners in CA, they would be getting more grief than they are now in Tennessee. I wasn't advocating for either party. CA tends to be a very trendy state, so solvent huffing probably started there and headed east....

Quote by W4RP1G
I don't know why you would call a guitar an "artificial phallus", that seems kind of gay to me, especially coming from a guitarist. Is that what it is to you? Because I use my guitar to play and write music. And I have an actual "phallus" which I usually play with quite differently than my guitar.
Psychologists over the years have insisted that the electric guitar, especially as it is used in rock and roll, inherits the qualities of a penile avatar. I suppose that playing one while sticking it between your legs and pointing it at the audience may have given rise to that, although I personally don't see how anyone could draw that conclusion.... The artificial phallus stigma has also been attached to the motorcycle. Perhaps even a bit more "vigorously", as it were.

Since I play the guitar, and drive a motorcycle, I may be committing "double jeopardy". Still, I acknowledge that these behaviours could be interpreted as sex substitutes. Or perhaps more properly, "advertising for sex". You know, like a peacock sticking up his tail feathers. Everything else people do, making money, desiring power, et al, could be concluded to be a Darwinian, "survival of the fittest"activities anyway. Survival requires reproduction, so there you go.

Quote by W4RP1G
So, now that you've brought this thread to a weird place, can we just get back on track here? I never wanted to start an argument about nitro vs poly or Gibson vs Earth. If you really feel passionately about this topic, I encourage you to start a thread for it, so others with an opinion on the matter may be heard.

Well, this thread almost never was anyway. Earlier there were grumblings of "done to death, but oh well, go ahead". So, "weird place" might also be construed to be, "expanded the scope", of the somewhat tenuous foundations of this discussion. I actually don't see how the relative merits & differences in finish materials is terribly afield.

Incidentally, I attempted to open a discussion of Gibson's factory being raided on the wood issue. My op-ed came down well in favor of Gibson. So, no I'm not bringing hate to Gibson, I actually sympathize with them.

I attempted to start said thread 3 weeks post facto of said raid, and it was promptly terminated, as "done to death". As is BTW, "Les vs Strat".