I picked up a brand new 2018 R9 this past week and wanted to share my initial impressions of the guitar. First, the sound. This guitar sounds fantastic. Nice low end, rich mids, and a nice little bite in the highs. Sustain is fantastic as notes ring out for several seconds. The custombuckers are great. The neck pickup is great for rich clean tones and the bridge is straight up rock and roll when a little gain is added. One of the best sounding LPs I have ever played. (10/10) Playability. The weight is 8 lbs 8 oz which is a nice comfortable weight. Not the lightest LP but not the heaviest either. It's noticeably lighter than my R7 Custom. The new "more accurate" 59 neck profile suits me well. Its right in between your typical R0 and R9 in terms of thickness. 0.867 at the first fret. Very similar to an SG I used to own. The size is perfect for my hands and my playing style. I knew from the second I grabbed it that it was a match made in heaven. The frets are a little smaller but I'm used to my R7 custom so no big deal for me. (10/10) Look and Appointments: The vintage cherry sunburst looks stunning. The flame is consistent across the guitar. No dead spots. The two-piece top isn’t perfectly book-matched, but from the real 59s I've seen, that actually more period accurate. The VOS finish looks great (I prefer it over the gloss) and the aging of the hardware is tastefully done. Maybe just a bit much on the rust. The new lighter back also looks very nice. This particular guitar has a very dark rosewood fretboard with subtle streaks of lighter color. The guitar also has some True Historic appointments which is a nice upgrade for no additional cost. (9.5/10) Craftsmanship and QC: I suppose this is where the R9 comes up a little short. The guitar is well built, but the devil is in the details. First, there is a finish flaw in which a white speck (dust maybe) got under the finish coat. Not a huge deal, but noticeable from close up. Second, the binding job on part of the neck is a little sloppy up towards the higher frets. It looks like they shaved off some of the binding to get the rolled binding feel and didn't do a great job. That's my guess...It is noticeable, but I can't really feel a difference, which is probably why it passed Gibson inspection. Lastly, the inlay at the third fret is slight off from parallel with the fret wire. It’s just off by a bit, but due to the confined space, its noticeable. None of these things affect the sound or playability and are purely cosmetic. In some ways, these "flaws" are probably period accurate. I'd bet you'd notice similar flaws on actual 59s. To err is human and these guitars are made by people. My guess is that all three flaws were within Gibson set tolerance levels. However, this is a very expensive guitar and the only reissue I've owned (out of 3) that have had these issues. (6.5/10) Overall, I'll give it a 9/10. It’s a great guitar with just a few cosmetic flaws. This is shaping up to be a very good year for historic reissues. I'd highly recommend.