Why are Fenders cheaper than Gibson? Do Gibson guitars sound better compared to Fender guitars? Do Gibson guitars have better components and hardware than Fender guitars? Are Gibson guitars more durable than the Fender guitars? If you are not familiar with these guitar companies, then maybe you should be.
Fender and Gibson are two of the most successful guitar manufacturing companies in the world. Both companies were able to produce legendary and iconic guitars throughout the years, and they have established their excellent reputation in the guitar industry. Different renowned guitar players frequently use their guitars, which is a testament to their qualities.
Leo Fender established Fender in 1946 in Fullerton, California. The company started to manufacture guitar amplifiers and lap steel guitars. They also introduced the first uncovered wood cabinet amps, known at the time as the “Woodies.”
After five years after the inception of the company, they were able to introduce their first solid-body electric guitars and bass. They have a very nice look and very unique sound at that time. Fender named these guitars the “Telecaster.” The introduction of this guitar started the revolution of the Fender electric guitars in the music industry, as you can see that they still exist now.
Fender is known for its legendary electric guitars like the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Mustang, Jazzmaster, and many more. These Fender guitars have been part of almost every professional guitar player, and they have established a solid reputation in the music industry as great-sounding guitars and durable guitars that can last for a very long time.
Fender guitars are made in either Mexico, Japan, or the USA, so they have a wider choice of affordable guitars but still high-quality guitars. Their guitars are really one of the best-sounding, and they are perfect for either professional recording or performance.
On the other hand, Gibson was founded in 1902 by Orville Gibson in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The company started to manufacture archtop guitars, similar to those that can be seen in a violin. In 1930, the company began to make flat top acoustic guitars and hollow-body electric guitars.
In 1952, Gibson took another industry-changing move by introducing the Gibson Les Paul, the company’s first solid-body electric guitar at that time. The Gibson Les Paul has become one of the most iconic guitars that were ever produced, and until now, it is still one of the most sought-after guitars even with its high price.
Aside from the Les Paul, they also made popular guitars like the Gibson SG, Explorer, Flying V, Firebird, ES-335T, ES 350T, and many more. These guitars have their places in the history of guitars, as they are widely used in different recordings and live performances. Plenty of legendary guitar players have also used Gibson guitars.
All Gibson electric guitars are manufactured in the USA. Their primary manufacturing facility is located in Nashville, Tennessee, but all their acoustic guitars are made in their factory located in Montana.
Why Fenders Are So Much Cheaper Than Gibson?
There are many factors in pricing a guitar, which is why there are many reasons why Gibson guitars are more expensive compared to Fender guitars.
The wood used in making the body of a Fender and a Gibson is totally different. The bodies of the Gibson are all made of a single piece of carved Mahogany. Mahogany is an expensive wood, and there are some limitations in cutting Mahogany trees, which makes it more expensive, as there are additional fees you have to pay.
For Fender, they frequently use either Ash or Alder for their electric guitar’s bodies. Using two or three pieces of either Ash or Alder and then laminating it makes it cheaper than carving a single piece of Mahogany. Ash and Alder are also more affordable than Mahogany, so the woods used in the guitars are really an important factor in their price tags.
Gibson uses Mahogany necks and an Ebony or Rosewood fretboard with mother-of-pearl inlays. At the same time, a Fender guitar usually has a maple neck, with either maple or rosewood fretboard and a synthetic dot inlay. Fender also has a cheaper easy bolt-on neck design compared to the Gibson angled and set neck.
Electronics & Pickups
Gibson and Fender also differ in their methods and materials for their electronic components and pickups.
Gibson solders the electronic components inside the cavity of the electric guitar. This method is a difficult one and would require more time. This also means that it is more expensive. Gibson guitars also use humbucker pickups, which are more expensive compared to other types of pickups.
On the other hand, Fender pre-assembles their electronic components at the back of the pickguards before putting them into the electric guitar. The method is easier and faster, making it also cheaper as it is only a shorter time compared to Gibson’s method.
Fender guitars are also usually equipped with single-coil pickups, which is a cheaper pickup compared to the humbuckers, so it makes sense that the guitars from Gibson are more expensive than those made by Fender.
Labor & Wage
Fender guitars are made in either Japan, Mexico, or the USA. Japan and Mexico are really known for their cheap wages, which is why many companies established their factories in these countries. This is also why their products are more affordable than those made in the USA. For Fender guitars, the cheapest guitar is made in Mexico and then Japan, but the most expensive are those that are made in the USA.
On the other hand, Gibson guitars are all made in the USA. The USA is known for really high wages, so it also affects the pricing of the guitars. Companies will always be forced to increase the prices of their products because of high labor costs, which is why Gibson guitars are really expensive.
Overall, the reasons why Gibson guitars are more expensive than Fender guitars are rational. Although, in terms of their qualities, they are really on par with each other, which is why they are the top two guitar manufacturing companies in the world. Choosing which is better between the two really comes down to your preference as a guitar player. In the end, Fender is cheaper than Gibson, but they are both excellent in guitar making.