The Guitar Wars
Since the invention of the electric guitar, the music community has been fighting over which guitars are better and what the best things that can be added to them are. Some inventions have thrived like the tremolo or whammy bar, and others have not done as well such as automatic string tuners. Now the big fight is that some people say one guitar is better due to factors such as made in america, others say that the big thing is company and others say that the big thing is what type of music you’re playing.
This article should give you a little bit of knowledge and insight on the ongoing battle, and hopefully you can form an opinion for yourselves. The first amplified instrument was called the frying pan, it was like an electric banjo and had terrible sound quality. This instrument was still used due to the versatility of an amplified instrument in concert but it drove new instruments to be innovated. Two companies emerged, Gibson and Epiphone. These two companies were consistently struggling for dominance. Epiphone came out with guitars like the Casino which was popularized by the Beatles and Gibson made the Les Paul.
Eventually though Gibson bought out Epiphone and there was new competition. Fender emerged in 1946 when Leo Fender discovered a new way to make electric guitars. At the time the only electric guitars were hollow body and they were very big. Leo discovered that he could make a guitar with a smaller profile and a solid body. Ever since then it has been Fender versus Gibson.
Fender’s first big money maker was the telecaster. The Telecaster was the worlds first single cutaway guitar (cutaways allow one’s hand to reach higher frets). The Telecaster is still popular today but Fender didn’t stop there. Next something called the Stratocaster came out nicknamed the Strat. The Strat has 2 cutaways, one is on the bottom and allows even more access to the high frets than the Tele and the other one is on top to balance out the guitar.
Fender still sells Strats and makes tons of money as Strats range from 120$ to around 4000$. Strats were popularized by rockstars like Hendrix and Clapton. The Gibson’s retaliation was the epiphone junior(junior because has only 1 pickup and a regular has 2) This was popularized by bands like Greenday. A guitar like this was great because it was cheap to make and consequently a lot more were sold. Fender then came out withthe Squire series.
These had the same price concept as the Epiphone Junior except they have a pickup switch, 2 tone nobs, and 3 single coil pickups, and the Squire comes with an Amp as well. As starter guitars go, Fender has won as every 10 year old who wants a guitar gets a Squier because they are so cheap and playable right out of the box. I have a Strat and an Epiphone junior, and in my personal opinion I believe the Strat to be more versatile and sound better. While the Epiphone has great sound I believe that the single coil pickup of the Strat is better then the Gibson or Epiphone’s Humbuckers(2 single coil pickups put next to each other polarized to reduce buzz sound from the amp) this is because with 3 single coil pickups there is a lever that lets one switch between pickups to give different sound tone. With this information I hope you can form your own opinion.