Even though there are many types of electric guitars to choose from, depending on the genre you play, there are three main types that cover the most part of the whole spectrum of modern music. The best well-known electric guitar types are the Les Paul, the Stratocaster, and the Telecaster, and here we have prepared a simple guide on what to look at when choosing a guitar from one of these for the first time.
One of the main differences between the three guitars lay on the headstock angle and how it affects the straighten of the strings. While the Les Paul is inclined in a 15 degree angle to apply the pressure needed to straighten the strings, the other two types have no head angle and use instead string keepers to keep the strings against the nut. For this same reason, and to collaborate with the tighten of the strings, the Stratocaster and the Telecaster come with a string clasp between the second and the third strings tuning pegs.
Neck and Body
Another difference is on the type of neck each guitar has. While the Les Paul has a set neck design, which means the neck and body form one piece, the Strat and Telecaster has bolt on neck, which means the neck is attached to the body through a metal plaque and screws. There is a commonly known opinion that connects this difference to having more sustain on the Les Paul, and possible even a better sound.
One of the differences that make the biggest impact on the feel of a guitar on the player’s hand is the thickness of the neck. The Les Paul is known to have a much thicker neck than the other guitars, which are slender. It all depends on the taste of the player, some people can get very used to the type of neck the guitar they own has.
Also, an important difference in the body, the Stratocaster has a double cutaway body, while both, the Les Paul and the Telecaster, have single cutaway bodies.
Pickups and Controls
Probably the best known difference is on the pickups, the Les Paul comes with humbucker pickups, but the standard Strat and Telecaster come with single coil pickup. Another difference is between the Stratocaster and the Telecaster, the first has three single pickups and the second one has only two. The pickups switches are also not the same on each guitar. The Les Paul and the Telecaster have a three position switch, and the Strat has a five positions toggle.
The controls are also a very big difference between the three. The Les Paul has three controls, two for volume and two for tone controls, one for each humbucker pickup. The Stratocaster has three controls, two for tone, bass and treble, and a single one for volume. And the Telecaster has two controls, one for volume and one for tone.
Finally, there’s a completely different story when it comes to the bridge between the Les Paul and the Strat and Telecaster guitars, that can affect the sound of each guitar. The Les Paul has a fixed bridge which gives it a fuller sound transmitted from the strings to the body, while the other two guitars have a floating bridge. Also, the Strat is the only one that comes with a whammy bar by default which makes a more versatile instrument sound wise.
These distinctions are usually the reason for choosing a guitar based on the genre of music to be played. The Strat is recommended for blues, and rock leads, due to its tonal options, while the Telecaster goes better with a more jangly, rockabilly or country sound, and the Les Paul is perfect for more substance, classic rock.
But anyways, it all depends on the player, and the use of the instrument. Any genre can be play with any of these guitars, if playing style and musical arrangements are made with that in mind. The use of the amplifier and the skills of the player are truly what influence on a particular sound and style. Remember, this is only a guide, and brands have thousands of models, with features that deviate from the standard, you can consider when choosing a guitar.