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

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

  1. pullingstraws

    pullingstraws SS.org Regular

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    Most of the time I see guitars split into that dichotomy is when it comes to scale length. Like Fender = 25.5 and Gibson = 24.75.
    Is that what OP is referring to?
     
  2. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    A Teuffel Tesla has 3 buttons which do like a 60 cycle hum, a kill switch, and add some mic input to the signal. You get the same thing called the "Tornipulator" on Ronin guitars. Compared to the exact same guitar with no Tornipulator, are these objectively better guitars? The Tornipulator adds a bunch of crap to the pickguard and makes it look terrible as well.

    If no, then having more options here isn't better.

    If yes, why not a fourth button that plays a cat's meow in the note that you're fretting? It's great for creating music tracks like those holiday albums where it's all cat's meowing, so it has some musical context where it's really useful. If you never use cat meows in your music, is it still objectively better? If yes, add more buttons until no.

    If all my "musical nails" are 3.5mm flatheads, then nothing's getting better than a 3.5mm flathead screwdriver. The multi-tool has more potential versatility, but never becomes actual versatility as any additional feature goes unused. Same with the Oni -- more strings, but now the neck is entirely different, and must for some people lead to a less enjoyable experience.
     
  3. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Can only power chord

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    Your avatar made this post so much better.
     
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  4. xzacx

    xzacx SS.org Regular

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    You forgot to add the bulletpoint about how much more significant music has been written and recorded on an Oni than a Les Paul. That would have sealed the deal on your argument.
     
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  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    How would you play a guitar and not use the functions of staying in tune better and being lighter yet made of harder material?
    You're just grasping at straws to try to start an argument.
    But yeah, generally speaking, more options makes something better, as long as anyone uses the option and it doesn't get in the way. How the hell does having a piezo make a guitar worse?
     
  6. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    We're not talking about staying in tune better, because I have doubts the Oni stays in tune better than a well-built Les Paul. Nor do I think being lighter is always a win -- certainly I have played guitars that I would have preferred to be a little bit heavier, etc.

    The problem is that more is rarely just more -- it's simply different. You add a bunch of strings and fanned frets and the appropriate scale to the Oni, and you wind up with something that's either too short on the low strings, too taut on the high strings, or too extreme in its fan. Vs. a Les Paul, which is just going to have that nice 24.75" sweetness, on a smaller neck. I mean... this is precisely why I have a Les Paul and an incoming Oni 8-string, because I've never thought one guitar was ever objectively better than any other, not by a long shot. I'd love to be proven wrong properly -- it'd net me a lot of cash when I trimmed down to my objectively best instrument.
     
  7. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    In engineering, the simplest solution providing the required functionality is the best solution as it has fewer potential points of failure than the over-engineered solution containing more features. Granted, this is not as pertinent to guitar design as it is to developing complex software, industrial processes, intercontinental ballistic missiles, or the international space station, but it still holds true.

    Regardless, the point I was really getting at is that this is a subjective area. To say that one guitar is objectively better than another devoid of context is like saying that one vehicle is objectively better than another devoid of context. One could say that a Ferrari is better than a Prius, a pickup truck, a Jeep and a boat because it has more horsepower and better handling, but that only comes into play on a race track or the rare driving circumstances that allow those features to shine. If I need to carry a load of lumber to build a fence, I'd choose the truck. Driving through the desert, the Jeep. Stuck in stop and go city traffic, the hybrid Prius. And obviously the boat will better traverse the lake/sea/gulf/ocean than any of the land vehicles (ignoring for now that there are many different types of boats intended for different water conditions).

    I approach guitars the same way. Each one has a different enough timbre and feel that I will end up using it a bit differently from the next. Like narad, I would love to be able to consolidate down to one, or a few, better guitars that provide the required functionality, but I have yet to find the one(s) that allow me to do so.
     
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  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    That's fine if you are engineering a solution for a specific problem, but not for general tooling. If we applied the logic of using the simplest solution for the problem to guitar building, the best engineered result would be to not build a guitar and instead build a bridge or something more universally useful.

    If I needed a vehicle to get me over an arbitrary terrain, then a hovercraft would be better than all of those.

    Comparing the Oni to the Les Paul is like comparing the Ferrari, not to a Prius, but to a Conestoga wagon. They're totally different levels of engineering. In which applications is the wagon better than the Ferrari, besides re-enacting the Oregon trail?

    I know it sounds pretentious, but it's a simple fact that the Les Paul was an engineering feat from the early 1950's, and while it's not remained unchanged since then, the "go to" version of it emulates the late 50's design very closely for nostalgia's sake. An instrument with more modern design is simply less out of place in today's world.

    Don't want a piezo, no problem, but what if you do? The Gibson Les Paul doesn't have you covered there. Lots of other manufacturers offer other models that do. What if you want a trem? You have to go with something else again. What if you want just a plain old Gibson tone, but you don't want to break your back holding a 12-14 pound guitar all night long? Well, you can get an SG, and it's got you covered there. Maybe you want SS frets or you want a bottle-opener on the headstock, or whatever - you're not going to get those options with an LP.

    I owned a Les Paul once. I had fun with it, but it was easy to outgrow the instrument, because it was so limited. I know you guys are saying it's like having a hammer in your toolbox, and I appreciate that argument, but really, the Les Paul in 2018 is just a clunky design; it's like you have a toolbox and there's a flint axe in it - a tool from another era that is simply outperformed by modern tools for every application. It's not like I'm too good a guitar player to play a Les Paul, on the contrary, it's more difficult to play and maintain such a guitar than it is to do so with a mid-price modern instrument, so I need something that even an idiot can use to make music.

    For as much as I love my Mesa Boogie Dual Recto, I'll be the first to admit that it's obsolete as well. You can get a more consistent tone out of a digital amp. The digital amps are just better.

    I'd say that if you wanted, if you seriously were going to go down to as few guitars as possible, that a Les Paul would not be necessary. You'd be better off with something H/S/H with coil splitters and a piezo, so you can do electric and acoustic parts with it, or even better yet, if you played synth and bass and acoustic and electric, but didn't want to lug all of that shit with you to every gig, get a guitar with one pickup and onboard pickup tone shaping, extended range, a piezo, and an onboard synth.
     
  9. xzacx

    xzacx SS.org Regular

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    If you could share some of that music a Les Paul limited you too much to make, I’d love to check it out.

    (I’m mostly being a dick, but I really would check it out. Maybe I’m missing out on something only an Oni can produce.)

    My point is though, what’s the objective? If it’s engineering the most complex, versatile instrument that current technology allows, then I guess your argument has some merit. If it’s making music, then the best guitar is probably whatever you happen to write music on that connects with people. I guess I’d just rather hear an actual good song written on a Melody Maker than YouTube djent demos on an 8 string.
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    But that's where "in general" becomes a key clause.

    A non-diverse tool works great for one person. Great. But, in general, a more diverse tool will work better for the entire population. It's why claw hammers outsell ball peen hammers, in general. If you have a ball peen hammer, and it works great for you, great, but when people go around saying that there's no claw hammer that is as good as their trusty old ball peen hammer, I take issue with that.

    This whole thing kicked off because someone said "what's not to love about a Les Paul or Strat" or something like that, and I responded by saying that those aren't bad, but that there are better options out there for most people, if they'd just take the time to try different things out and see what's best for them, and it's been snowballing since then. I stand by my statements, but not necessarily by how they have been interpreted.

    I feel like 99% of players who are sticking with their old 1959 reissue Les Paul are only playing that guitar because nostalgia, and not because the thick and clunky neck heel adds something that they actually like to the tone, or because the paper capacitors really sound better or whatever hokum people sometimes come up with for reasoning why they like their vintage instruments better than even the best modern ones.

    I have some demos I recorded on my Les Paul, and another demo I recorded at a friend's house with his Les Paul. I won't release those, because they are pretty horrible. One of the issues I had consistently with both instruments was the G string going out of tune every time I did a full step bend on it. It's a design flaw feature of the Les Paul, since the headstock is angled back and the G and D strings are angled apart on the peghead. it creates a pinch point behind the nut where the string tends to bind. On my Les Paul, after I made the demos, I replaced the nut with a graphtec one and it mostly resolved the issue, but Les Pauls don't come stock with graphtec nuts. In fact, mine came with those horrible vintage Kluson-style tuners that barely held a tune anyway. I drilled out the holes in the peghead and replaced the tuners with upgraded Grover tuners right after I bought the guitar.

    As for recordings done with the Oni that show off features that it can do, there's really only one song where I've used all of the features (synth, piezo, partial fretting, extended range, etc.), and you would have had to have seen my old band live for that. There might be a video floating around somewhere of it, but I would be mildly surprised. Otherwise, every recording I've done since 2007, except the 19-EDO stuff, has featured Oni guitars.
     
  11. nyxzz

    nyxzz SS.org Regular

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    people like different kinds of guitars and thats perfectly fine

    /thread
     
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  12. coupe89

    coupe89 SS.org Regular

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    For weight my Les Paul is lighter than my Universe by a noticeable difference. I thought you cold get Les Pauls with trems and piezos?
     
  13. wedge_destroyer

    wedge_destroyer SS.org Regular

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    Oh you can but first you have give Gibson atleast TWO of the following three: an Arm, a Leg, or a Testicle.
     
  14. blacai

    blacai SS.org Regular

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    I own 3 les pauls. I sold my 7s mayones, 7s strandberg, couple of schecters, one of them 8s, a charvel with floyd and I don't miss any extra option.
    In the end better is not about available options but what you need to reach your goal. Adding more stuff could provoque the opposite desire because you may think "I have to use all the options or I will not extract the 100% out of my instrument"

    Now I am thinking about getting a new guitar and I will go for a no-floyd with 2 volume knobs... I am a simple man,

    Let's see IA Eklundh, he just uses his caparison and a volume pedal and I think nobody would say he is limited and cannot do whatever he tries to do.
     
  15. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    That also actually applies to guitar designs. LPs and Strats are used by people playing music genres for which they are well suited. For the record I do have problems with both designs (no arm carve on the LP, volume knob placement on the strat) but that is likely because I learned to play on an Ibanez, and my mainstay guitar for 15 years being a japanese HH floyd strat with a volume know sitting lower on the plate due to having only one ton knob. I got used to play with my arm in a certain position and the classic designs go againt that. I still like Gibson necks a lot though, which is why I got explorers and Vs now.
    I guess you can play blues on an Oni but it's be easier on a LP/strat.
     
  16. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Not if the problem/design goal were to design a guitar rather than a bridge. :lol:


    This illustrates my point. The hovercraft is a good all around vehicle, but it's a "jack of all trades, master of none" vehicle. The Ferrari will beat it in terms of speed on a straight-away and in terms of handling on a slalom. The boat will beat it in the water. The Prius will be less expensive to fuel and maintain. The truck will possibly be better for hauling equipment and supplies in terms of ride comfort and convenience. And the hovercraft flat out can't crawl rocks in the desert like the Jeep.

    So I guess I am speaking in terms of more specialist applications rather than all around, general use applications.


    I have no problem with any options being available to those who want them, but to force all of the extra features into a guitar because "more is more" fails in the cost-benefit analysis because it leaves players who don't want the extras having to pay for them simply because someone decided that they are objectively better even when not needed.


    I agree in that I could not personally play a Les Paul as my only, or even primary, guitar. They do limit my playing in the upper registers a bit, though this isn't an issue for everyone.

    For years I've played super strats as my main guitars, starting with Ibanez RGs and Ss, and now Jackson soloists (SL1s and SL2Hs). These are very comfortable guitars for me that don't get in the way of my playing (though it took me a day or two to adjust to the volume knob placement on the Jacksons). I've experimented with a wide range of aftermarket pickups and electronics in order to get the best sounds out of them for my purposes and they sound great. But I can't make them sound like my tele. Or the neck pickup on my Les Paul. And even though they can sound pretty "stratty", my strat does better neck and neck & middle strat tones than the super strats do.

    So for me, when possible, I like to have not only a multi-tool as my primary all around guitar, but also a tool box with more specialist tools for when they are called for, as well.


    Sorry if I've misunderstood, but when you said that some guitars are objectively better than others, I wanted to flesh that thought out, as that is not how I see guitars. I might say one guitar is better than another (subject to my taste) for a certain type of tone, or a certain player, or maybe even a certain type of music (think of a tele in country music - it's timbre fits with the other instruments and its fixed bridge and stiff neck allow for compound bends, oblique bends, pedal steel imitations, etc. that aren't always possible with other guitar models).

    But to mind, it is always "better for ______" rather than better period.
     
  17. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Agreed.

    My initial point was only that some guitars are objectively better in a general sense than the "traditional" ones like the Les Paul, Strat, and Tele. Any specific guitar, by identity, is going to be better than any other guitar at sounding exactly how that guitar sounds, so that can't even be a metric in any productive discussion. But when you look at objective things like "how well does it stay in tune under X conditions," "how many options are available," etc., and quasi-objective things like ergonomics, durability, and range of available tones, there's no way that the old Les Paul, the old standard Strat, nor the old standard Tele really hold up to most modern guitars. To reiterate, there's nothing wrong with those guitars, but they are not the be-all-and-end-all in terms of choices.
     
  18. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Well, it's almost trope that car analogies get too off-base, but this is where I disagree: The Oni is more like some Ariel Atom thing. Extreme modern engineering, awesome performance... but a stiff suspension and a general unpleasant experience for your usual daily driver situations.

    What we're missing is something like the Ferrari -- a car with the versatility (via electronic control in the car case) to excel in the performance domain without extreme sacrifices to the more traditional drive-around-town scenario that represents more what the average person wants. I doubt we'll see that, and playing Led Zeppelin on a 27-29.5" fanned fret 8 is not fun, so the Les Paul will stick around. Everything winds up a compromise.
     
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    :noway: Disagree. Maybe not for you, but I love playing Led Zeppelin on a multiscale 8. I played my Oni 8 in not one, but two Zeppelin cover bands. I even played it in a CCR cover band before, and that was a blast. I love playing that guitar any chance I get to do so. And same goes for my longer scale fanned fret guitars.

    Not everyone is going to love every guitar, sure, but I've played Zeppelin on a Les Paul, and I've played Zeppelin on an RG, an Oni, a BC Rich, blah blah blah - and it all works great.

    Here's the big secret, though, a huge amount of tracks from Led Zeppelin weren't even recorded on the Les Paul in the studio. Page used Strats and Teles, too; he also used a Vox 12 string, a Danelectro, and tons and tons of other guitars. So, why's it even a "thing" to play Led Zeppelin on a Les Paul over any other guitar? :shrug: Maybe it doesn't really matter, tone-wise?
     
  20. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Not to stir the pot, but...when you search for Oni Guitars in google, the majority of the results are just two humbuckers, a switch and...if you're lucky...two knobs (although it seems like a huge portion of his customers was an even MORE "limited" than, say, a Les Paul, and foregoing the tone knob). Also, I think the LP (and I'm counting LP-styled guitars that have neck volutes, straighter-pull headstocks, etc etc) is underestimated in it's flexibility with it's 3-way, 2vol/2 tone knob setup, especially when paired with a coil-split push-pull or two.

    So even Oni guitars, being potentially made with 3-4 knobs, 3 mini switches, and smooth neck heel fanned-fret monsters, he's still got a large-ish market for blocking neck joints, and streamlined flexibility.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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