I must admit I am quite fond of the Fender sound, the single coil's brilliance, twang and bite.
However, from a luthier's point of view, the most common Gibson models are superior to the most common Fenders. Glued-in neck rather than bolt-on, better overall workmanship and finish - compare fingerboards...
The Les Paul is one heavy bitch though... while the Strat with its contour body might be one of the most comfortable guitars ever made, which I think goes a long way towards the model's popularity.
Could ramble on for quite a while - there'd also be the Bass department to deal with and so on, but I happen to have a life...
Get a strat with the two point pivot (like a floyd rose) and not the original 6 screws and it's as stable as you can get, once the strings are stretched in it's fine. Ive had a light ash strat with flamed maple neck and fingerboard for a few years now and it's always the rist one i pick up out of a collection of 6.
Have tried every type of trem there is Mr Firkin,and every type of device to keep the tuning,one has a very sensitive ear re pitch,even the Floyd rose with locking nut which I have on one machine drifts to my ear, trems need a radical rethink,had one the time one would repair to one's shed and invent a far superior one but sadly one has a dog to walk and such. The best I have used up to now seems to the one's with the spring at ninety degrees to the strings,ie the Bigsby type.
Can't agree with Tokais. The best copies for sure, but copies nonetheless. No Strat, no Tokai.
I have two strats, a '74 CBS hardtail & a 2008 USA standard. I've blocked off the tremolo on the new one, as Drapes points out, it really doesn't work well enough to persist with using.
However, that was the only cock up Leo made with the thing. I wonder what it would have taken for Ford or GM or Rover or anyone to have designed a car in 1948 that was so good, it was still selling unchanged like hot cakes sixty years later.
Also, you break it, you swap the part over. Can't do that with a Les Paul. No, break a Gibson & it's time to remortgage the house for a new one.
Personally i don't like the bigsby - restringing it is a pain in the ass. Floyd Rose trems (and variations of) i don't have a problem with 2 of my guitars have them, again once the strings are fully stretched there isn't a problem. I did have problems with the one on my Dean a few years ago but a new lock nut fixed the problem. With strats it's a case of making sure the nut is lubricated (trusty old 2B pencil does the trick) and the strings are stretched in. One of the reasons i chose my strat (apart from the damn nice looking birds eye maple neck) was the trem. I hate the old fender 6 point trem and find the new 2 point trem much easier to set up and the movement is smoother.
Like most things in music though........ It all comes down to personal taste.
I know a guy who will fix almost anything that could possibly break on a guitar, even if you'd gone completely Pete Townshend on it. First class work, and his prices are very reasonable indeed. Only thing is you'd have to bring, or ship, the instrument down here...
Very kind OV, but I'm not a fan of the whammy bar at the best of times. I'm more of a...er...bender, so my little block of wood in the tremolo works for me.
Like Dooby says, it all comes down to personal taste. My bro has a Gibson lp studio & while you have to admire the craftsmanship in the thing, it weighs an absolute ton. I can't imagine being stood on stage for three hours with it sawing away at my shoulder. Nope, I'm a Fender man me. Although, I am open to suggestions if anyone needs fifty quid for their Parker Fly....