Other Guitars

Fender Telecasters, Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls

1

Time has proven that these 3 guitars, the Fender Telecaster, Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul are the most widely used, most popular and most copied electric guitars. Why do you think this is and if one of these guitars is your main guitar over your Gretsch, why?

  • Is it the sounds they make?
  • Is it their playability?
  • Is it their durability?
  • Is it their ease of finding replacement parts?

I'm sure there are many other varied reasons. My personal favorite of the 3 is the Stratocaster. It was the Stratocaster sound that lead me to the Gretsch Duo Jet with Dynasonics.

2

If you are partial to the West Coast business psyche you would say their solid body technology lead the way.

If you prefer the East Coast same, you would say their Marketing lead the way.

But, in either case, in the early 50's...they lead the way.

3

Ive owned all of them, but aside from my Dyna Jet, my only other guitar that has survived everything is a strat that's gone through various changes and mods, but i love it. Theyre all versatile, and my Gretsch is my #1, but I think the strat is probably more versatile for more styles of music, just think of all the wildly different recordings theyve been used on throughout history!

4

I can't explain why most people that don't play guitar know who Fender and Gibson are but rarely do I talk to a non player that has heard of Gretsch. Sometimes I even get..."Don't they make Drums?"

Yet everyone knows who Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge are.

5

I have this book on design that includes the Stratocaster and the Les Paul but doesn’t include the Telecaster. I think the Tele fits the criteria of the book better than the Strat, it’s the guitar embodiment of industrial design principals.

The field work that went into that guitar, getting it in the hands of professional players, keeping it simple and making it work, was key to its success. And it was updated slightly over the next decade with player feedback.

And the simplicity helps it to be customisable, adaptable and versatile.

Why we continue to want that sound I think is down to our expectations, that’s the guitar that sounds how an electric guitar should, the sound made by those people who influenced us or who influenced the people who influence us.

6

It's precisely their ubiquitousness that's led me to avoid them in favor of other less common guitars. Where others would choose a Les Paul, I've gone for SG's, Yamaha SG's, Ibanez Artists or Dillion PRS style guitars (or semi-hollows of the ES-335/345/355 lineage), and until recently my Peavey T-60 did what others like Fenders to do. I finally broke down and bought a cheap (but really good) Strat copy because I wanted the single coil tone with a whammy bar, and the Peavey doesn't have one.

My favorite guitar sounds are from hollow bodies, though, and that's what I play most of the time.

7

It's not difficult to understand why non-players know the Fender or Gibson brand. They are as much a part of the cultural landscape as the aforementioned Chevrolet or Ford. Any casual fan of music knew in fairly short order what Buddy Holly or Jimi Hendrix were playing. They were icons therefore their instruments were an extension of their persona. None of my friends growing up played but they sure knew Page and Dickie Betts played LP's. For a fan of guitar based music, it's literally impossible not to identify with the these models of guitars.

8

It's because they established the genre. That makes them generic.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation - especially when they consider the horrors of departing from the behavior of the masses. Teles, Strats, and Lesters provide the comfort and anonymity of the herd.

Or as it used to be said in IT, no one ever got fired for buying IBM.

It's about safety.

9

For me, the Tele is just simplicity at its' best. One of those designs that is just hard to improve upon.

The Strat isn't far behind, but Leo got the Tele SO right, right off the bat.

10

For me, the Tele is just simplicity at its' best. One of those designs that is just hard to improve upon.

The Strat isn't far behind, but Leo got the Tele SO right, right off the bat.

– J(ust an old Cowboy)D

Agreed. Telecasters remain the perfect implementation of the electric guitar. I've owned and played a lot of guitars over the years and the Tele stands the test of time for me.

11

I owned a Strat copy in the ‘80s , because it was the ‘80s and I was a broke high school kid. But my platonic ideal of a guitar, acoustically and aesthetically, has always been hollow with f-holes. Probably not surprising I ended up here.

12

Teles are, for me, and ever shall be, as timeless as they are practical. You can get anything you want to play from them, and they don't embellish your talent, so if you want to get good on a tele at any level, you'll need to practice, because it'll leave you exposed if you let it. They look good all polished and new, but look better beat up and put away wet.

13

Buck Owens and Don Rich. After that about 8 million other players both pro and non.

Whatever could i be on about?

Telecasters

Love them.

My first real guitar was a mid 60s strat i got in 74/75.

I wanted a tele real bad. I was quite enamored by my strats and i still am however once i got my first tele a 71 in the late 70s i was hooked.

The simplicity with that ash body tone was and is the bee's buzz for me.

My present tele is the Fender fsr 50s tele i bought this past december.

Ash...p90...us vintage 58...lake placid blue...yep..honey is in the pot.

14

Buck Owens and Don Rich. After that about 8 million other players both pro and non.

Whatever could i be on about?

Telecasters

Love them.

My first real guitar was a mid 60s strat i got in 74/75.

I wanted a tele real bad. I was quite enamored by my strats and i still am however once i got my first tele a 71 in the late 70s i was hooked.

The simplicity with that ash body tone was and is the bee's buzz for me.

My present tele is the Fender fsr 50s tele i bought this past december.

Ash...p90...us vintage 58...lake placid blue...yep..honey is in the pot.

– Eyerish

I WANT THAT!!!

15

I think the strat is the ultimate guitar machine and they make lovely sounds. I can't get into their aesthetic and the flat feel of the body and neck. I used to have one as a second guitar and liked playing it around the house. Live If i had to play it I invariably hated it. I like the look of tele's a bit better and used to own a squire almost 30 years ago. They sound great too.

They symbolize electric guitar and rock and roll more than hollowbody guitars do in the minds of the general public.

Les Pauls, I've never been that keen on though my first electric was a man Les Paul copy. At one point I instinctively removed the ply top, cut F-holes in it and gouged out the body some before putting the top back on so it would be kind of hollow.... I really like Jimmy Page though, and les Paul. Just not my thing. I like big and hollow!

16

Hey BuddyHollywood - For exactly what you stated, Strats are for my....tonally. I learned a decade a ago that I wasn't improving and I needed a different feeling. I needed a wider neck! Thank you Gretsch Black Phoenix.

But...... Ow wow do I love my '14 Gibson LP Traditional with the '59 reissue pickups. Now I have tone and feel....big beefy neck. I love it.

Truth be told, everyone of my electrics are a favorite. Each has it's own personality and I love working with it.

With that said, I need a Dyna equipped Jet because of my Strat love....at times , the 2 guitars are like cousins.....sometime 1st cousins and other time 4th cousin 1st removed(whatever the hell that means) But I dig 'em.

I want a Tele and think I'm going to achieve via Warmoth with a wide neck at the nut. OR.......might just buy a used LP non-weight relieved...really heavy and then stick a pair of Dynas in there

17

Teles are, for me, and ever shall be, as timeless as they are practical. You can get anything you want to play from them, and they don't embellish your talent, so if you want to get good on a tele at any level, you'll need to practice, because it'll leave you exposed if you let it. They look good all polished and new, but look better beat up and put away wet.

– crowbone

What he said.

18

The reasons for their success are the four points you mentioned. Less hassles when touring.

All three obviously have withstood the test of time. The closest to one I ever owned is a cheap Strat copy that comes along on vacations and not much else. I’ve generally not liked Fender necks and have felt that the Fender tone is a bit thin. Yet the masses of players disagree to the point where I feel like everyone should own at least one.

The Les Pauls are more attractive to me, but I never owned one. I think that the Gibson 335/345/355 is also representative of the era. The closest I ever owner is a Guild Starfire V which IMO would have sold much better had they sought celebrity endorsements. These models just might not hold up to the durability factor identified in the original post as well as the others.

19

i don't agree at all that Strats/Teles/Pauls are inherently "generic" or that people play them out of some conformist motivation. i think that they're just about the most versatile of electric guitars... with a little tweaking any of these can give you anything from country twang (well, you might want P-90s in your Les Paul for that) to shredder dude to almost acoustic tones. if you need to cover a lot of ground on a limited budget it's just common sense to play a guitar that covers multiple voices rather than a more niche guitar like a Rickenbacker or (forgive me!) a Gretsch. i can cover just about anything i need to do on a Strat with the vibrato set to float. i might have to finagle it a bit and it's easier to swap guitars in and out that to tweak a single one, but it sure simplifies playing away from the house to work with one guitar that can take you 90% of the way there instead of schlepping a half-dozen guitars around.

20

I've been blessed to be able to own all of those, and a few others...I could never bond with the telecaster...in fact, I just sold my "telecaster", a G&L ASAT Classic which was a great example...played great, looked great, but just never felt "right" in my hands.

I've got a Les Paul that I bought back in...'82???...when I quit playing in bands and got a "real job". At the time I thought it was my dream guitar. I still own it, and it also plays great, and has the desirable Tim Shaw pickups...but, it mostly sits there and "looks pretty"...lol.

If I could only own one guitar, without a doubt it would be my American Standard Stratocaster. The very first guitar that I ever owned was a '60's Strat. I loved the look of it back then, and I still love the look of a Stratocaster today. To me, the Strat just sits comfortably in my lap, or hangs just right on a strap. It is the most comfortable guitar I have ever played, the neck feels great, and it is hard to beat the pickup combinations. Great for anything from country to rock to disco or funk.

I'm blessed to be able to pick up Gretsch, Duesenberg (sorry Proteus), Reverend, PRS, Dano, Taylor, Rickenbacker, RainSong, Vox, Collings, or even a First Act... ...but my #1 will always be the Stratocaster.

TL;DR.....Stratocaster

21

People play what they see other people playing.

22

I started playing in the late 50's. In those days I couldn't even afford the cheapest guitar. My father got me a Harmony Les Paul copy for Christmas and I played it for years. In 1963 after saving up for years I went to the local guitar store with $350 and was going to get a good guitar in my price range. After checking out several guitars I picked out one that someone ordered and didn't pick up. 1963 Les Paul special, alpine white with P90's and alligator case. Loved it and started in a band where I never played anything else. I got drafted in 1965 and sold it for more than I paid for it. When I was in Vietnam one of the guys had an old, beat up Stratocaster, I played it as often as I could. It was not even close to my Les Paul but I loved it. I gave it to a friend when I left there. Played it through a home stereo amp. I played it in the rain and mud and it kept on sounding good. I bought an Teisco and the neck split down the middle. I was working and made good money so I was open to almost anything. One of my favorite players was Duane Eddy and he played a Gretsch. (They were way to costly for me in those days so I never bought one till a few years ago). I saw an ad in the Chicago newspaper from a guy who lived about 5 miles away. Two month old Stratocaster that was owned by someone in a big named band (Chicago). I went to his house to see it and fell in love with it. Natural finish. Got it for $250. Original Fender case and paperwork. I kept that guitar for over 20 years. Now I'm over 70 and have 8 guitars including a Strat like my old one. I have an LP special goldtop with a bigsby, 3 Telecasters. B bender, one with a 4 way switch and paisley pickguard, 12 string tele and of course an orange Gretsch 5120,. So which one is my favorite? I can't answer that. I suppose the tele with the four way as it is the one I play most. I think every telecaster should have a fourway switch. Fabulous sound.

23

Pt, sure about your first decent guitar? I don’t think there has been a Gibson LP Special in and around 1963.

24

From 1975 to 2000 it was all Telecasters all the time. First from Roy Buchanan, then I discovered James Burton, etc.

In the mid 70s they weren't all that popular... there was a lot of generic hard rock around then and they didnt' have the sound. That wasn't my scene tho.

Then in 2000 I just went off them. Didn't like long scale anymore and wanted a wide neck. There's a lot of Tele conformity around here now but I am just doing different stuff.

Back in the early 50s then they were so unusual that dealers didn't want to take chance on them. But players adpted them because they were functional and less expensive.

To me the Tele was just an outgrowth of the steels they made -- same pickup, same strings thru body idea, just a larger body and a neck bolted on.

25

Time has proven that these 3 guitars, the Fender Telecaster, Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul are the most widely used, most popular and most copied electric guitars. Why do you think this is and if one of these guitars is your main guitar over your Gretsch, why?

  • Is it the sounds they make?
  • Is it their playability?
  • Is it their durability?
  • Is it their ease of finding replacement parts?

I'm sure there are many other varied reasons. My personal favorite of the 3 is the Stratocaster. It was the Stratocaster sound that lead me to the Gretsch Duo Jet with Dynasonics.

– BuddyHollywood

Strats/teles/LP's weren't always popular since they came out.

Les Pauls started in '52, did reasonably well for five years or so, and sales started going down. Went to humbuckers/cherry sunburst in 58, and still weren't a hit. In fact, it's hard to find pictures of people playing the now iconic 'burst in the late 50's or early 60's. Gibson stopped making them in '60, and did incredibly well with Gibson and Epiphone 330/335/345/355 type guitars in the 60's, and SG's did great too. It wasn't until Bloomfield/Clapton/Green/Page/etc.... started playing sunburst Les Pauls that everybody wanted one, and Gibson started making LP's again in '68, by popular demand. (even though they screwed up, Gibson being Gibson, and made all kinds of LP's except cherry sunburst dual 'bucker ones for quite a while!!)

The 80's weren't great for Les Pauls, and they were hard to sell until Guns and Roses happened. After that Grunge came, and LP's were "dad guitars" once more.

Same goes for strats, to an extent. Fender considered stopping production on them at some point in the sixties, because Jazzmasters and Jaguars were what the kids wanted. It took Hendrix to change that. when Grunge came along, a strat wasn't the hippest guitar on the block either, and at this point in time strats are somewhere between utility tool/generic object/dad guitar.
You really want a reclaimed wood offset guitar with a mastery bridge/vibrato and gold foils to match your man bun, organic soy latte, rasputin beard and $600 selvedge jeans.

Anyway, if there's a point to my rambling, it's this : you omitted the most important factor that makes people buy a certain guitar - Idol worship. That's the number one thing driving guitar sales. Not intelligent or practical considerations. Les Paul And Chet Atkins initially made Les Pauls and Gretsches sell in the 50's.

A 60's Rickenbacker 12 string is not a particularly handy, playable, affordable or well made guitar, but Rickenbacker couldn't keep up with the demand once the Beatles showed up on TV playing them. Kids starting Rock and Roll bands and buying a huge, expensive Country Gentleman (with those handy mutes nobody used, ever!) is almost weird when you think about it - not predictable in any case, but King George played one, so there you go.


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