Gibson Les Paul vs Fender Stratocaster: Which is right for you?

A Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster on a pair of guitar stands
(Image credit: Future)

Are there two more iconic guitars than the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster? We’d wager probably not. These two behemoths of music history have consistently found themselves in the hands of the world's best guitar players ever since their inception in the early ‘50s – and their popularity hasn’t waned in the slightest since then.

Deciding between the two can be an immeasurably difficult choice, kind of like trying to pick your favorite out of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. History tells us they’re both superb instruments in their own right, so to make your decision easier, we’ve broken down each instrument's best - and worst - characteristics so you can decide for yourself.

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Matt McCracken
Junior Deals Writer

Matt is a Junior Deals Writer here at Guitar World. He regularly tests and reviews music gear with a focus on guitars, amps, pedals, modelers, and pretty much anything else guitar-related. Matt worked in music retail for 5 years at Dawsons Music and Northwest Guitars and has written for various music sites including MusicRadar, Guitar Player,, Ultimate Guitar, and Thomann’s A regularly gigging guitarist with over 20 years of experience playing live and writing and recording in bands, he's performed everything from jazz to djent, gigging all over the country in more dingy venues than you can shake a drop-tuned guitar at.