I guess the point I'm trying to make is that my focus on wanting an R9 is cloudy. It seems that I could be looking for an R8 with a flame top and 9 neck profile.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.
When I was looking for my Martin Authentic D-28 1941 I knew exactly why I wanted that instead of an Authentic 1937. There was no confusion.