Strat versus Les Paul

Gibson Les Paul (photo credit pedrovaladez)

In the battle of electric guitars, there is none that is hotter and more fiery than the one raging between the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul. These two, since the 1950s, are the most coveted electric guitars by hard rock warriors. There are hundreds of other guitars for sure - you have the Rickenbacker, the Danelectro, the Telecaster and SG. Some of them are fine guitars, but many are just for show rather for playing. Go to a guitar store, take a look around and you'll see that a lot of the guitars being sold today are just imitations or copies of either the Strat or Les Paul.

So, what's so special about the Stratocaster and the Les Paul anyway? Why are all the other guitars being left out? The answer to these questions is really simple: All the great guitarists, except for a few, have chosen to play either one of these two guitars and dismissed the others. Guitars such as the Rickenbacker and the Danelectro have some sort of aesthetic appeal on stage, but that's it. Tonally, they sound flat and have a pretty narrow range.

To be fair, Telecasters and SGs are also great guitars. A number of rock guitarists play the telecaster. Musicians such as Keith Richards, Steve Cropper and Bruce Springsteen have proven that the Tele is a great rhythm guitar. A few like Roy Buchannon, Danny Gatton, and Albert Collins (dubbed the 'Master of Telecaster') have demonstrated that the Telecaster can also be a good lead guitar. However, despite having the capability of producing a fine sound, the Telecaster has a fairly limited tonal range, unlike the Strat and Les Paul.

What makes the Strat and Les Paul sell? Although both guitars sound very different from each other, they do share something in common: a wide tonal range that suits a myriad of styles and musical applications. They both feel great, and practically sing in your hands.

So who plays the Stratocaster? Well, to name a few we have Jimmy Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Ritchie Blackmore. Take note that although these guitarists play the same instrument, each of them sounds unique, thanks to the Strat's tonal versatility.

The Strat sound can be described as twangy, somewhat "sharp." The harder you press the strings, the more she gives. Basically, the Stratocaster is a screamer. However, Eric Clapton can produce a fat, chunky sound with his Strat, and Jeff Beck can produce a smooth and jazzy sound with it.

The Les Paul sound on the other hand has been described as fat, mellow, woody, and chunky. Owing its fat sound mainly to its double coil humbucking pickups, the Les Paul is ideal for rock, jazz, blues, and heavy metal.

I remember my first experience with a Les Paul when I was fifteen. The guitar felt like it was playing itself, yet at the same time I felt like the Les Paul became a part of me, and the sustain was just unbelievable!

In my own experience, because of its concave neck and its general feel, the Les Paul is best suited for lightning fast solos, and the incredible sustain will add a killer touch to your sound.

Slash, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Ace Frehley, Frank Zappa, Peter Frampton, and Zakk Wylde are all Les Paul players. It is notable that Peter Frampton can bring out a clear, bell-like sound from his Les Paul. But of all the Les Paul players, no one can beat Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin for bringing out that big heavy metal sound and creating those hot guitar licks that Led Zeppelin is so famous for.

So now which one is it, the Strat or the Les Paul? I'll make it easy for you. If you want to sound, more… or less, like your favorite guitarist, choose the guitar that he plays.

Led Zeppelin Join Foo Fighters at Wembley

Tonight playing here at Wembley Stadium is an honour and if we didn't take advantage of this opportunity we'd be crazy. We knew from the beginning this wasn't going to be another outdoor show, we have been planning this for six months so we would like to welcome Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones onstage.
The crowd went wild as Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl made this announcement on June 7, 2008 at the Wembley Stadium in London.

Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones surprised the audience who were not expecting the duo as they joined Foo Fighters during the latter's second night performance at Wembley.

Led Zeppelin's lead guitarist Jimmy Page and bass player John Paul Jones made their appearance for the encore of Foo Fighters' concert.

The team-up was Led Zeppelin's first gig since the band made a bigtime comeback concert in December 2007 at the O2 Arena.

For you Queen fans, in case you didn't already know, you'd be delighted to learn that the gig we're talking about here also marked the 8th month after Queen and Foo Fighters played together in London. I'm sure this story is covered in someone else's blog :-).

At Wembley, however, Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant was absent as he was busy working on his solo tour.

During the encore Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl played the drums while Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins sang the lead lines on Rock ‘n’ Roll. The two Foo members switched back for the next number Ramble On before the concert ended with Best Of You.

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Foo Fighters' picture courtesy of Photobucket

 
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