When Maybelle Carter strummed her 1928 Les Paul L-5 archtop and gave the guitar a heavy presence in the country music genre, she didn’t know her involvement with that guitar would define an entire sound. Legends such as Bob Dylan, B.B King, Lenny Kravitz and Bob Marley all owe a bit of their distinct sounds to a Les Paul guitar.
Jimi Hendrix forged a name and a legacy in the guitarist’s hall of fame, even lending his style to a performance of the star-spangled banner. Jeff Beck handled his guitar so well; the sound seemed like it belonged in a different time. John Lennon, John Mayer, and Ike Turner have all been predominantly Stratocaster players.
There is no denying that both these instruments have contributed immensely to various genres of music and the advancement of musicians’ careers. Both guitars are widely known as reliable, and it boils down to preference regarding which one is better. Be that as it may, there are a few features that distinguish these heavyweights.
The Stratocaster, known popularly as the Strat, is built for production en masse. Mostly built with an Alder body, the Strat features a maple neck and a belly cut to which most players object. It has a comfortable feel to it although some enthusiasts feel like its edges could be more rounded.
On the other hand, the Les Paul is a sight for sore eyes. With a mahogany body and a maple top, the eye that went into the aesthetic detail is rather sharp. The Les Paul has more of a curvy feel to it, but the neck angles back in a slope when joining with the headstock. Les Paul guitars have a lot of assembly hours put into them, perhaps being edged out on the mass production aspect by the simplicity of the Strat.
Price is dependant on various factors, and key among instruments is the workmanship that went into it. As mentioned earlier, the Les Paul utilizes adhesive to attach the dovetail joint to the body that attaches to the neck. The wood used by Les Paul is also denser and therefore attracts a higher price tag.
The Strat is made from lighter material, and the electronics that go into it are most likely pre-assembled. The Les Paul, despite its seemingly solid body, may incur more damage than the Strat, given the positioning of the neck. Repairs cost more for Les Paul guitars than what you would have to fork out for Strat repairs.
Ease of use
As with most of the comparison angles on these two machines, it is heavily reliant on preference. Sticking with the facts, though, Les Paul is the heavier of the two. Performers using the LP may compensate for the weight by playing it low. On the other hand, Strat is a hollow bodied instrument that makes it ideal for long performances. Keeping in line with musical theatrics, it is easier to put up an energetic performance using a Strat.
The most common question asked by anyone comparing these 2 is which one is better regarding sound. The most common answer will be, neither. The quality of sound is determined by the player.
The LP is not only a looker; it is just as versatile. Contrasted against that Strat, it performs exceptionally well. The bass on the LP is more defined, and the treble on it sounds just as good. You may encounter instances, where it’s jazz and blues capabilities, surpass the Strat, in truth, the LP handles both genres very well. Again, it is difficult to determine which one has better music as that is all up to who has the strings.
The Strat on the other end makes music sound brilliant. By design, Strats feature a 5-way switch that can be used for getting a unique sound depending on the selector position. The triple, single coil pickup configuration gives the Strat a brighter sound as compared to the LP’s darker, heavier tones. If you know your way around a Strat, you could extend its capabilities beyond the five configurations that go with the three pickups.
Asking which guitar is better is akin to asking what tastes better between a pear and an apple. That is not to say that there are no key differences on both guitars. The LP edges out the Strat solely on the smooth Mahogany finish while the Strat is preferable for long sessions.
Musically, the LP is great if you’re going for a heavier tone but the Strat just screams versatile. Its sound is easily customizable, and you will be getting a wide range from it.
The Strat performs well on longevity, and you probably don’t need to lose your mind over its repairs. Parts are easily interchangeable and unlike the LP, the help of a professional for every mishap might not be necessary.
Both guitars are great choices. Let the music decide.