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


I’m a Junior Deals Writer at Guitar World. I regularly test and review music gear with a focus on guitars, amps, and pedals, as well as being responsible for over 60 buying guides, and helping musicians find the best deals on gear. I worked in music retail for 5 years at Dawsons Music and Northwest Guitars, and have written for various music sites including MusicRadar, Guitar Player,, Ultimate Guitar, and Thomann’s 

I’m a regularly gigging guitarist with over 20 years of experience playing live and producing bands covering everything from jazz to djent. When I’m not buying new plugins for my studio or guitar pedals for my pedalboard, you’ll find me making a racket with Northern noise hounds JACKALS