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Five on Five: Fender vs. Gibson, Who Had the Better Players?

For guitar players, it's an age old question: are you a Fender guy or a Gibson guy? Over the years since both companies became popular in rock music, many other guitar manufacturers have made inroads, but none have been able to surpass the power and tradition of these two giants in the guitar industry.

Gibson is generally consider the beefier and less genteel of the two, built for volume and distortion, particularly the Les Paul and SG models. They have semi-hollow body guitars and even acoustics used across the spectrum of music, but when most think of Gibson, they think of rock and roll.

Fender tends to make lighter instruments, both in tone and in physical weight, but it hasn't lessened their impact. The Stratocaster and Telecaster are two of the most prominent guitar models in the world and have been played by some of the greats in rock and roll.

So, that leaves us with a barn burner of a showdown. Instead of trying to rifle through dozens of different guitarists, some who played both brands (shocking!), I decided to narrow it down to ten guys generally known for the brand. All of them have, at one point or another, tried their hand at a variety of instruments, but they are iconic on one or the other.

Let the battle begin.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke