Why do we still categorize guitars as fender vs. gibson?

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by JediMasterThrash, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    IDK, it's not that they are bad, it's just that there are better options out there. I think the main thing is that you have to play something super-ergonomic before you realize why anyone would want to play an ergonomic guitar over a classic shape, and even then, most people probably hate the ergonomic shape until they are able to play something slightly more ergonomic than what they are used to playing. Like, you might love pizza, and hate seafood, but then one day you try a pizza in Baltimore, MD, and it has seafood on it, and then you think, "gee, that wasn't so bad," and the next thing you know, you want that pizza with the seafood on it, then, after maybe a couple of years, you are just eating seafood.

    Another loosely related thing is the violin. Violin playing and building really peaked in the rate of its improvement with Stradivarius. Since then, the design has improved significantly, but progress has been much slower. People still prize violins from that era above all else, though. But, you know what? If you look inside a Stradivarius violin, you'll see modernized modifications of some sort, guaranteed. So, the pace of guitar design and playing improving peaked in the early 60's and then again with EVH. So, the LP, T, and S style guitars are, by far, most common, but usually with some modern improvements, and then the Superstrat follows not far behind. If someone comes along with a Gittler or some other wild-looking thing, and manages to reach widespread mass appeal through guitar playing, then I'm sure that'll all change again.
     
  2. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    We'll have to agree to disagree. I've had a Strandberg and I still think a Strat or Tele are just as comfortable - and now I am primarily a Fender guy. I also had a Vader, so I'm not at all adverse to trying out different tools.

    Everyone is different - and I certainly don't think that a Strandberg is in any way "better" than anything else, just different. Not different good or different bad, just different. And I'm glad there are options out there, but saying one is better than the other, is just an opinion at the end of the day. Not right or wrong.
     
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  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Not sure how we disagree there, but I'm okay with that.
     
  4. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    With respects to there being better options out there. I disagree - to me there's nothing better than a good Strat, Tele, or LP (both from a playing perspective and tone perspective). That's not to say there hasn't been or is great music being made on completely new types of guitars, because there is.

    I'll also add I'm talking strictly about music generally made with solid body guitars. I think some of the best recorded tones have come from traditional hollowbody guitars, but that's not really at all relevant to this discussion.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    But I can't even pin you down to which you like best nor why. The Strat and the Les Paul have very little in common, so how can they be equally your favourite, and all other non-Tele guitars be inferior? Honestly, I wouldn't even put Strandberg anywhere near the list of "super-ergonomic guitars." I guess that was the idea, but there are much better examples.

    I would never go out on a limb and say that any guitar was better than anything I had never played before. Really, that'd be a shortsighted way to form an opinion. I can only tell you what I liked best out of what I've played, and that's Oni, which is certainly nothing like a LP/S/T style. There are some really super traditional-looking guitars out there, too. The Valley Arts Tele I played ages ago was one of the most comfortable guitars I had held and played. On the surface, though, still a tele shape.

    I'd still take a Steinberger-made Steinberger over a Strandberg. Klein guitars are also nice and comfy, but I never personally got over the odd look of it. I'm sure that someone out there makes a better headless than the best one I've played, too.

    You are saying that the LP/S/T style guitars have the best tone possible, but that the best tones come from traditional hollowbodies. :confused: Am I misunderstanding you, or did you just contradict yourself in the same post?
     
  6. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    I think you're digging deeper into this than I intended - I said my favorite tones (contextually with reference to solid body guitar tones, and perhaps further into music generally made with those instruments) generally come from Strats/Teles/LPs and their derivatives. I also never said anything was inferior to anything else. They're just different. Again, I don't have something I like best; there are live and recorded tones that I quite like, but it's completely subjective. I really love the recorded tones Oscar Moore did with Nat King Cole, but I don't think that's relevant to this discussion because we're talking about categorization of calling things Fender or Gibson, as I'm sure the OP didn't mean guitars being compared to ES-175s or L5s or whatever.
     
  7. JediMasterThrash

    JediMasterThrash SS.org Regular

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    That's just exactly my point. There's an infinite potential combination of guitar features, so I don't think it makes sense to categorize them.

    Yeah I've seen totally 70's styled guitars used for metal. And I bought my dad a "metal" guitar to use for playing blues.

    I question whether the layperson really knows what a fender vs. a gibson is, especially when most of the guitarrists/bands they watch probably use a guitar that doesn't fall into those buckets. I've been a guitar player for 25 years and I still don't fully grasp how to lump a guitar into a fendor or gibson bucket. I'd think it would be easier for a layperson to caterogize a guitar as "metal" or "blues" or "country" or "70's" etc. than fendor vs. gibson.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I happen to think Carlos Santana has one of the best classic tones, both live and recorded, and he plays a PRS that's not one of the traditional 50's shapes. Have you played a PRS guitar and not liked it any better than any of those three guitars you listed? Brian May has a great tone as well...

    I guess what you're saying is that LP/T/S guitars are perfectly adequate, so why bother with anything else, and I'm saying that there are more comfortable guitars out there to play that sound just as good and give the player more options. I guess it's a bit of a hair splitting contest, but I'll go ahead and double down:

    My claim is that my Oni guitar is objectively better than a 1959 Les Paul. That's a bold statement. Here's my reasoning:

    Oni has more frets. More frets = more options. Yes, neck pickup position blah blah blah tone, but I counter with the fact that the Oni has a very nice tone shaping circuit that makes that a moot point.
    Oni has more strings. More strings = more options. Yes, string tension tone blah blah blah, but I counter with the fact that the Oni has fanned frets, so that's a moot point.
    Oni is way more ergonomic.
    Oni is way more lightweight.
    Oni needs much less maintenance.
    Oni stays in tune better.
    I've never needed to adjust the neck on the Oni, and I've lived in three different climates with it, and the action is super low with no string buzz.
    Oni has a piezo pickup and synth output = more options. If you don't like it, no need to worry, because it's not necessary to do anything special in order to not use it that way.
    To top it all off, as much as an Oni costs, it's still way easier to afford than a 1959 Les Paul.

    You can counter with "oh, it's subjective and I just like the LP better," but unless you've played an Oni, that point is just like turning this into a religious debate of facts versus blind faith. :shrug: I mean, I've played 1959 LP reissues, and I've played vintage Les Pauls, but I have not played every 1959 Les Paul, so I'll admit that there is a tiny chance that I might someday find a 1959 Les Paul that I like better than my Oni, but because of the objective points listed above, I feel I am justified in doubting it.
     
  9. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I guess that Ormsby 18-string must be the excalibur of the guitar world then.
     
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  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Convince Jared to send it to me for a couple weeks, and I'd be very happy to let you know what I think of it. :)
     
  11. Dineley

    Dineley SS.org Regular

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    How did this thread get this far... like is this not just a troll question??
     
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  12. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, of course. But I suppose the point is that it's probably a self-fulfilling cycle. Companies offer those shapes because people want them, and people want them because that's what popularly offered. I absolutely love my 2 Gibson Les Pauls, but the LP particularly has lots of flaws in the design and manufacture. It's a 60 year old design, and yet for some reason we all accept this notion that guitars got worse every single year since 1959. In most other industries, that would just be "junk" or "obsolete" but in music world it's "vintage", haha.

    People as customers are also super, crazy irrational. Things become popular or trendy just because they are on offer and people are exposed to them more - not because those guitars are necessarily better, or because people are making wise and well-informed decisions.
     
  13. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yeah, in general, and in addition to that, if you are the average ss.o user, the opposite applies. This Blackmachine is almost impossible to get and illegal in Saudi Arabia... "Oh, I must have it!" Hey, now Blackmachine is offering more guitars, all identical to the ones Doug built, and built bytop-notch luthiers.... "Then I simply must have one Doug built. I have never played any of them, so I have no idea how they play, but since the Doug ones are unobtainable, I simply must have one!" Right?
     
  14. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    8 string fanned fret tele.
    that's all we need. that's all anyone needs.
     
  15. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    The guitar I use 50% of my playing time is a PRS CU24, and I just sold a Parker Fly Artist (which I think hits every single point you made about your Oni) - I'm glad you like to argue your points about something so trivial. I don't. I stated my opinion and that's all there is too it. I've not played an Oni and probably never will as it's not something I desire to try - it's not going to make me objectively better than I am today, the Parker sure as heck didn't haha.
     
  16. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    What? :shrug:
    I have two Parkers, and I've played a dozen more. While I like them, they sure as hell are not on par with an Oni. The only similarity is the fact that they are lighter than the traditional guitars you mentioned, oh and the piezo. I don't know man, you're really stretching with a couple of the things you are saying, even to the point where they don't really make sense, but, like I said, this is just turning into a religious debate of "There is something existing out there better than guitar X" versus "I like guitar X better than every guitar, including those I've never tried before, therefore you're wrong and I have no reason to try anything other than guitar X."
     
  17. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    [​IMG]

    ;)
     
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  18. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Most of that is still subject to a given player's interest in and use of a particular guitar rather than truly objective, though.

    More frets ≠ objectively better - A rhythm player would probably never use all of the frets on a Les Paul to begin with and interferes with neck pickup placement.

    More strings ≠ objectively better - Most players who thumb wrap to fret notes on the low E and A strings wouldn't be able to do that on a 7+ string instrument.

    Lighter ≠ objectively better - a lighter weight instrument may be more prone to reduced sustain due to a more resonant body than a heavier instrument which would interfere with certain players' styles.

    More output options ≠ objectively better - its only better for the player who will make use of them. For players who don't make use of them, it is merely more that can potentially break down and need repair.

    And how much maintenance do guitars need? Mine don't typically require much, if any, beyond string changes and cleaning. But then Houston is pretty humid most of the year; perhaps a locale with greater swings in temperature and humidity may yield different results.
     
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I already addressed some of these, but I guess you aren't buying it or whatever. If you never ever use a feature, how would you even know if it broke, though? ;)

    Also, a solid body guitar with less mass will not resonate more than a heavier guitar. :) A lighter guitar interfering with your style? Balderdash.

    Every non-composite guitar I've ever owned has required some neck adjustments seasonally. But, I live in Vermont, where, this week, for example, we had one day with a high of 31 °C (88 °F) and the next day, the high was 13 °C (47 °F).

    Having more options is generally better, and that's objective. What's subjective is when someone says something is not as good when it has more options, just because they might not want to learn to use those options, even if they are optional.

    Sorry, man, but those counterarguments are bunk, except maybe the more strings one, I guess I'll give you that there is a chance it could interfere with players using their thumbs over the bass side of the fretboard.
     
  20. Dineley

    Dineley SS.org Regular

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    pianos have built in pedal board, best instrument, /thread
     

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