Gibson vs Fender

Gibson vs Fender

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Both guitar manufacturers make fantastic acoustic guitars for modern guitar players, though entry-level Gibsons are better than entry-level Fenders.
  • Gibson also makes more iconic acoustic guitars, such as the Hummingbird line and J-45, though Fenders often feature a brighter tone. 
  • Gibson has been making acoustic instruments since the 1800s, whereas Fender started in the 1960s. Both companies have been admired by luminaries such as Jimi Hendrix. 

If you are new to the world of natural musical instruments, you may want to compare acoustic guitars by Gibson vs Fender. Many of the best guitars, after all, are acoustic guitars, and Gibson and Fender are two of the top brands out there. So what are the differences between guitars manufactured by both of these iconic companies, and which is right for you? Keep reading to find out.

Acoustic Guitars: Fender Versus Gibson

Both companies make fine acoustic guitars, though Fender acoustic guitars are not as well known as the company’s electric models, such as the Telecaster and Stratocaster. Both companies manufacture some American-made guitars, though many factories are located in other parts of the world. Gibson might have more sway in the world of acoustics than Fender, but both companies have entrants in any list of the best acoustic guitars under $1,500.

Here are some differences between the two, which is a list not dissimilar to when comparing Fender vs Yamaha acoustic guitars.

Legacy

Though Gibson is well-regarded in the electric space with models like the Gibson SG, the company got its start making acoustic guitars and have been doing so since (checks notes) 1894. That’s right. Company founder Orville Gibson was off in his shed making acoustics in the 1800s. Fender, on the other hand, began making acoustic instruments in 1963, though they have had plenty of success in the market space. Fender is better known for its amps and electric guitars.

Iconic Designs

It’s hard to beat Gibson when it comes to iconic acoustic guitar designs. There is the Hummingbird line, the J-45, the Parlor, and many more. There is a reason, after all, why so many Gibson acoustics were embraced by artists like The Beatles and Bob Dylan. There are some well-known Fender lines, such as the Paramount and California series, but these guitars simply lack the cultural cache of their Gibson counterparts.

Entry-Level

Both companies make decent, and even great, acoustic instruments, but Gibson guitars are known to be of high quality no matter where you fall on the price and expertise spectrum. In other words, an entry-level Gibson will be made from solid mahogany or another type of wood and include some nifty aesthetic flourishes. Entry-level Fenders have kind of a bad rap for sounding cheap and for falling out of tune easily. We’ve reviewed some like the model in our Fender FA100 review. There’s something for everyone, and we feel that one’s affordable and good for beginners first starting out.

Gibson Vs Fender FAQs

Which acoustic guitar body shape should I go for?

It truly depends on your personal preferences, as some shapes even slightly resemble electric guitars. Take a look at the neck profile, the fingerboard radius, and other metrics to decide if the shape is the correct fit for you. 

Which wood is best for my acoustic?

There is no “best” wood., though some types of wood are considered to be of a higher quality than others. Go for solid spruce with a bolt-on neck, or classic mahogany with a semi-hollow guitar design. Shop around, as Leo Fender was involved with many types of wood. 

What should you pay for an acoustic?

Guitars made by Leo Fender’s company and Gibson make guitars at all price points. If you are a beginner, go with a beginner guitar. Otherwise, go for a guitar made for intermediate players. If you are an absolute expert, like Jimmy Page or Myles Kennedy, go for an expert-level guitar. A great choice outside of these brands is the one we feature in this Martin OM 42 review that will age gracefully and has an amazing sound.

 

STAT:

“Fender was founded in Fullerton, California by Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender in 1946. Its headquarters are in Los Angeles, California.” (source)

TIP: Try before you buy, if you can, as even entry-level Fenders have come a long way in recent years, and the quality largely depends on where the guitar was manufactured.

 

Gibson Fender
More Iconic Designs X
Better Entry-Level X
Brighter X
Easier to Play Draw Draw

 

Sources:

Fender vs Gibson Brand Comparison

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_(company)

https://www.reidys.com/blog/fender-vs-gibson-what-are-the-differences-between-them/

https://www.fender.com/en-US/start

Gibson vs. Epiphone – Which Guitars Are Better?

Lawrence Bonk
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