Do R8’s and R9’s sound the same?

DADF#AD

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My experience is that the major playing difference (at least w/late model reissues) is really the frets. The R8s I've tried out had tall, narrow frets, whereas the R9s had standard frets, which are a bit larger but slightly lower than the R8s.

Try out both in comparison to see if the necks/frets make any comfort difference to you. You might even end up liking another R8 even more than an R9. It's sort of like getting married in a way; you try out a bunch to see what you like and at some point you just know when it's the right one for you.
 

Peter M

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The R8s I've tried out had tall, narrow frets, whereas the R9s had standard frets, which are a bit larger but slightly lower than the R8s.

Yes, an actual tangible difference. R9s have the medium jumbo frets, which to many players (including myself) is the "norm" for a Les Paul.
 

Big Do

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So I know there are other threads devoted to the physical/aesthetic differences between an R8 and R9, but how about tone?
The reason I ask is I have a craving for a R9 to go with the R8 I already have. This would involve trading in a 2021 Classic and a 2019
50’s Standard and I am wondering if there is enough of a tonal difference to make the trade in sacrifice worth it.
I also understand that one R9 can sound different to another R9, which makes the decision even more difficult.
The loss of the Classic is not that much of an issue but the 50’s Standard is actually a very sweet sounding guitar and I would hate to give that one up only to find the new R9 sounds exactly like my R8.
I don’t really want a fourth guitar (ignoring collective gasp I heard) nor can I afford to buy one at full price. So the idea of trading in came to mind.
What say you?
Struggling to understand why you’d post such a question. At the end of the day surely you’d only buy a guitar that you liked? I can’t see how someone else could ever make that call as the question is so subjective.
 

Six6String6

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Struggling to understand why you’d post such a question. At the end of the day surely you’d only buy a guitar that you liked? I can’t see how someone else could ever make that call as the question is so subjective.
Firstly, I like all my guitars. I LOVE the Standard which explains any hesitation to part with it. In the end I’m sure I won’t. A fleeting idea.
Secondly, to which question do you refer?
My question was do R8’s and R9’s sound the same? Is that a poor question to ask in a Les Paul forum? Is there some other question you imagined I asked or was there a misinterpretation of one of my comments?

“Struggling to understand….” What question do you understand I asked?

“…you’d only buy a guitar you like”. Really? This forum is FULL of people buying, selling, trading up. Why can’t I even consider it for a moment? What if I just posted my thoughts to try to be an active member here?

Just as an aside, this is one reason I tend to not to post very much. I see it often. Peoples original questions get all twisted into things they are not. One person is saying I’m “hell bent” on getting rid of my Standard yet I clearly stated I love that guitar. (And what exactly happens in 3 months?) Another says “if you’re happy with your R8, keep it” ?? Where did I post that I was even thinking of getting rid of the R8?

This is why I don’t get involved to often. People don’t read and then the OP gets called into question.

Again, much thanks to those who helped answer my “question”. I’ll go back to only lurking again.
 

VictorB

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spartacus slim

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The warranty card/check list is dated the 10th of December, 2021
Thanks. Obviously that puts your guitar outside the window of production when the R8s all had the R9 neck carve, which really would have made the construction differences between your R8 and an R9 very slight indeed!

On the topic of R8s and R9s sounding different, I’d agree with the other posters that have given the opinion that there is probably more variance between the sound of individual guitars than between the models. To me, it’s really the feel of the neck sizes that differentiates R8s, R9s, and R0s rather than any sonic signature of each model.

Some have pointed out that the size of the neck may influence how bright a guitar might sound. I think this may be true, but again I suspect the variance between individual guitars may be more significant than variance between models.

I was in the past able to compare a bunch of reissue guitars side by side at a very well stocked store, and my impression was that the subtle differences were indeed more noticeable between each guitar than between the R8s, R9s etc...

Some were more acoustically resonant than others, so you could feel them vibrate against your torso, but again this phenomenon wasn’t segregated by what specific R model the guitars were.

It was really the difference in neck feel that stood out for me, as tonally they all sounded similarly Les Paul like - the slight differences being a matter of personal preference. In the end I decided that overall I definitely prefer the slim R0 necks, though the larger R7 and R8 were not off-putting in any way, just a different playing experience that I could definitely have gotten used to, and that would undoubtedly be preferable for others.

Are there any stores nearby where you might have the opportunity to try out and compare a bunch of different reissues yourself?
 

Six6String6

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I am lucky that there are lots of stores nearby that I can try different guitars. Living in the GTA makes that an easy thing.
When I was shopping for my R8 I did have the pleasure of trying a few, including R9’s. What sold me on the R8 at the time was the fatter neck, much like the Standard I already had. I really like the thicker necks.
For some reason I wasn’t actively paying attention to the possibility of any tonal variation between guitars at the time, but simple how nice the tone, sustain, etc were on them. I guess I was just too excited to be shopping for a CS.

Anyway, the whole thing was just to get some input from those of you with exposure to both.
To play for a few minutes at the store vs hours, days at home may not have been enough to get me hearing a difference. Based on the many helpful responses here my question has been answered to my satisfaction.

I absolutely love my R8. And to sacrifice my Standard or any other guitar would be a waste. For now it is moot. I guess it boils down to me simply wanting an R9 and I wanted to fully gather more opinions on any degree of tonal difference. And was there enough data to suggest the trade.

I think someone else said it. Keep the good ones and save for the next one, if I may paraphrase.
 

spartacus slim

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Just as an aside, this is one reason I tend to not to post very much. I see it often. Peoples original questions get all twisted into things they are not. One person is saying I’m “hell bent” on getting rid of my Standard yet I clearly stated I love that guitar. (And what exactly happens in 3 months?) Another says “if you’re happy with your R8, keep it” ?? Where did I post that I was even thinking of getting rid of the R8?

This is why I don’t get involved to often. People don’t read and then the OP gets called into question.

Again, much thanks to those who helped answer my “question”. I’ll go back to only lurking again.

Your original question posed by this thread is interesting, especially considering the price differential between R8s and R9s. It’s important to ask what precisely we are chasing when we long to own a particular guitar - sound, aesthetics, or a connection to the mythos that surrounds the instrument...

Please do continue posting if you have other insights or questions you feel you’d like to share. :cheers:
 

mudface

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Firstly, I like all my guitars. I LOVE the Standard which explains any hesitation to part with it. In the end I’m sure I won’t. A fleeting idea.
Secondly, to which question do you refer?
My question was do R8’s and R9’s sound the same? Is that a poor question to ask in a Les Paul forum? Is there some other question you imagined I asked or was there a misinterpretation of one of my comments?

“Struggling to understand….” What question do you understand I asked?

“…you’d only buy a guitar you like”. Really? This forum is FULL of people buying, selling, trading up. Why can’t I even consider it for a moment? What if I just posted my thoughts to try to be an active member here?

Just as an aside, this is one reason I tend to not to post very much. I see it often. Peoples original questions get all twisted into things they are not. One person is saying I’m “hell bent” on getting rid of my Standard yet I clearly stated I love that guitar. (And what exactly happens in 3 months?) Another says “if you’re happy with your R8, keep it” ?? Where did I post that I was even thinking of getting rid of the R8?

This is why I don’t get involved to often. People don’t read and then the OP gets called into question.

Again, much thanks to those who helped answer my “question”. I’ll go back to only lurking again.
I have both.... in fact i have two R8s and a single R9,... and a older R7...... They are all different. Though that difference is minimal when your amp is cranked up with a bit of overdrive and even less when performing live with a band at volume...... I can hear the difference when playing clean or recording,.... being that they are all similar in construction they will have similar characteristics with only subtle tonal differences. Though the feel of the instruments are really notable. As already mentioned all are unique to themselves,.... even one R9 from another.
 

golfnut

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I am lucky that there are lots of stores nearby that I can try different guitars. Living in the GTA makes that an easy thing.
When I was shopping for my R8 I did have the pleasure of trying a few, including R9’s. What sold me on the R8 at the time was the fatter neck, much like the Standard I already had. I really like the thicker necks.
For some reason I wasn’t actively paying attention to the possibility of any tonal variation between guitars at the time, but simple how nice the tone, sustain, etc were on them. I guess I was just too excited to be shopping for a CS.

Anyway, the whole thing was just to get some input from those of you with exposure to both.
To play for a few minutes at the store vs hours, days at home may not have been enough to get me hearing a difference. Based on the many helpful responses here my question has been answered to my satisfaction.

I absolutely love my R8. And to sacrifice my Standard or any other guitar would be a waste. For now it is moot. I guess it boils down to me simply wanting an R9 and I wanted to fully gather more opinions on any degree of tonal difference. And was there enough data to suggest the trade.

I think someone else said it. Keep the good ones and save for the next one, if I may paraphrase.
I thought the same as you. Always loved the bigger, chunkier necks. On my Tele's I've always had the big Nocaster U and on my strat its a fairly chunky V and that always worked for me. When I picked up my les paul standard 50 I found the neck was just about the same thickness as the new R8's that I tried and I was happy. Then I tried a bunch of new R9's which have a noticeably thinner neck. I was blown away by how effortlessly and fast I could move around on the fret board. Going back to my standard 50 it felt there was a bit of tension and resistance I hadn't noticed, compared to the R9. I'm not sure why its different because I don't have this issue with my Fenders. All I can think of is maybe the flatter radius of the Les pauls make the thinner neck work so well for me. Now I'm not saying I'd get rid of my standard because of it. But I really want the R9 for the thinner neck as opposed to an R8 with the bigger neck.
 

Six6String6

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I thought the same as you. Always loved the bigger, chunkier necks. On my Tele's I've always had the big Nocaster U and on my strat its a fairly chunky V and that always worked for me. When I picked up my les paul standard 50 I found the neck was just about the same thickness as the new R8's that I tried and I was happy. Then I tried a bunch of new R9's which have a noticeably thinner neck. I was blown away by how effortlessly and fast I could move around on the fret board. Going back to my standard 50 it felt there was a bit of tension and resistance I hadn't noticed, compared to the R9. I'm not sure why its different because I don't have this issue with my Fenders. All I can think of is maybe the flatter radius of the Les pauls make the thinner neck work so well for me. Now I'm not saying I'd get rid of my standard because of it. But I really want the R9 for the thinner neck as opposed to an R8 with the bigger neck.
I notice that when playing my Classic with its thinner neck. But I’m still partial to the chunky ones.
 

goodguy

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Same spec electronics - they SHOULD sound very similar.

That being said, we all know even the exact same model/setup/spec guitar can sound different so it’s really not something that can be answered confidently.

I wouldn’t recommend buying any expensive guitar w/o trying it in-person so in my world, this is a question that can’t be answered.
 

bluesoul

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The difference between R7, R8, R9:
Appearance of the tops and neck profile. In some cases neck profiles of a R 8 are not different than a R9 and sometimes R8s have tops that rival a R9.
Sonically, no. Of course as mentioned multiple times...each guitar has it's own personallity.
The reason someone would buy a R9 over a R8 would come down to the "look" and/or the neck profile.
 

golfnut

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Since it seems to be consensus that R8's and R9's can both have flame tops, can have similar neck profiles and generally sound the as much the same as 2 different guitars can sound, why differentiate the years by 58, 59 or even 60? Like the standard 50 maybe it should just be a custom shop 50's.
I have a Martin Authentic D-28 1941 and an Authentic D-18 1939. Those are reissues of a D-28 and D-18 in there museum and have the features that are specific to that year such as rear bracing and 1 11/16 nut width where as the D-28 1937 authentic is forward braced, 1 3/4 nut width. Those guitars are designed to reflect the features and tone (as much as a modern guitar can) of the pre war Martins of that year.
So I'm a bit confused with the R8\R9. They seem all over the place and lots of over lap with features, tone, etc.
 

Peter M

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So I'm a bit confused with the R8\R9. They seem all over the place and lots of over lap with features, tone, etc.
That's why you need to try 'em.

But for me, the frets are the key. I prefer the medium jumbos (R9) all day over the taller skinny frets of the R8.
 

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