How blown away will I be?

Oldhophead

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HI All,

My LP is a 2010 Studio, modded with 50's wiring and a PUP upgrade. I like the guitar a lot. I own 4 electrics (PRS Vela, Fender EJ and Tom Anderson Classic Icon). I am yet to play an R8 or R9 but I feel one of them will be coming my way at some point. My question is how much better are they in reality? Sure I know there are variances and not all R8's or 9's are necessarily great guitars but assuming I go and play a bunch of them, just how much better are they in general than what I have? Will I be blown away?

Thanks All,

Dave.
I had a 2014 Les Paul Traditional. It was a great guitar, but last year I got an R9. After playing the 2 and comparing them to each other for a few months, I sold the Traditional. To me, the R9 was that much better.
 

stephen78

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The biggest difference you will notice is the feel. I have a LP Traditional and an R9. Also owned/sold a few others Gibson USA and Historic guitars. I hate to generalize because there can be a good amount of variation among Historics themselves…but to me my LP Traditional is more of the standard “Les Paul hard rock” sound. It’s tighter/brighter playing wise. My R9 has more sag to it, fat honky mids…just more of that old school tone. Now of course all of this can be changed with pickups/effects/amps. Just so many factors. But if I break it down to just the playability and sound of those two guitars unplugged, what I said above seems true for me. And that was my experience with the other Historic and USA models I’ve owned.

Don’t expect to be blown away just because you get a Historic. There’s good and bad among every type of guitar (and that good/bad is all subjective…unless it really plays like poo haha).
 

Bluesdr57

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Every guitar has a feel. I have a Standard, a JB Epi, and a 50’s Tribute with P 90’s. The Tribute is least expensive but plays amazing with a Creamtone tailpiece and and bridge.
Added a Custom R0 double cut this week and it found me at the Garage In Nashville. I went in for an R7 but due to many factors this one came home. Unique color for a DC Lemon Burst.
 

dspelman

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Depends on what you've already got, what you're used to in terms of higher end guitars and how excited you are about the Gibson brand. I've had Gibsons since my very first guitar (a 335 12-string) long ago, and still have a bunch. The magic, honestly, was never there and is surely long gone by now.

It's easy to get spoiled -- I've got Nik Huber guitars, which are a level above Gibson in most respects, and some Moonstones, etc. I haven't really looked at Kiesel's latest, but Carvin (my most recent was a 2006 model purchased new) has traditionally had better woods than Gibson by a couple of levels. My most recent new Gibson was an Axcess Custom purchased for around $4K a decade ago, and when I asked about getting a version with a 4A top and a burst finish, I was quoted an *additional* $1760 at the time and a wait of 5-7 months. At that point, I could purchase another semi-custom guitar brand built in the US with a better 4A top for $2K. Total. When I got the NON-fancy top Gibson, it needed a fret glue and PLEK job/setup, and the Floyd Rose had come from one of two production lines that FR used for their OFRs in Korea.

I hope you're mega-excited when you get your R series Gibson, but honestly, I'd be spending that money elsewhere.
 

DBDM

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As others have commented--"it depends". Very real chance you love the Rx (8 or 9) and love it a lot more--there is a reason people pay $5k when they could get similar tones with a $1k guitar...But that all depends on you. I think there is also a very real chance you sound exactly the same on the R9 as you sound on your Studio. That is kind of the whole definition of a Studio (and why they initially called it that). Same sound, perfect for the Studio where no one cares about aesthetics. That said many of us (me) do care about aesthetics and that causes us to love the guitar more, feel more inspired by it, and play more and better. But again it all depends on you.

I traded away a 2018 Tribute because I could not bond with the aesthetics. Now I regret that trade and wish I had it back. If anyone knows the location of a 2018 Honeyburst Tribute sn 180020425 purchased at Gruhns (used) with SD Antiquities--I want it back!
 

goodguy

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Some folks are happy with a Chevy Suburban & some have to drive a Cadillac Escalade. The Escalade’s definitely an upgrade… some appreciate it & pay for the extras …. Some don’t.
 

Roshy Boy

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My R4 is one of my best guitars. Fit, finish, feel.
My new CS Fender is another one of my best guitars.

I never thought I would ignore my '19 Standard... but I haven't even touched it since getting the R4 last May.
I agree. We almost have the same gear. Mine are a new 22 R4, Fender 55 CS Strat and a 20 Standard 50s LP. The Standard kept me from buying a Murphy Lab R8. I liked my Standard more. But then I went for the R4 and can't put it down, with the exception of alternating with my D18.
 

DMMKLP

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Thankyou all very much for your thoughtful replies which are all based on your hard earned experience. I think there are some great checks and balances in your comments. It's good to be reminded that spending more does not necessarily deliver a better guitar but I also take on board the point that being inspired to play is also important and perhaps if a guitar inspires you visually it maybe enough to justify the purchase. Tonality is an easy one, if you play it and it blows you away (finding "the one") then that is also a no brainer. I think my problem is I am yet to play any reissues and that is the hole I need to fill by getting my hands on some and finding out for myself if my Studio is great, good, okay or dead in terms of feel and tone. I was really interested in finding out if there was simply a step up from Studio models to the reissue in all and every case due to wood selection, better PUP's, etc. It does feel from all your comments that this is not the case and it's the same as buying any guitar which is get it in your hands if you can and judge each one on its own merits.

Many thanks for your contributions and as I said, the take away for me is that I can't generalise that every reissue is better than a Studio. Happy playing and good health to all.
 

mudface

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I’m blown away by guitars that I don’t expect would... like Studios or SGs or made in Japan Fenders... hammered up cheap guitars.... it could be anything.

I have grown to expect a Custom Shop Gibson to perform at a certain level and have been disappointed more often than not when they fall short of that expectation. Don’t spend money on hype.... you need to experience another level of guitar before you lay your cash on a Gibson Custom Shop because there can be dogs in the bunch.

Just like my Desert Star guitars have all been spectacular and I wouldn’t expect anything less. I am always taken back by what a outstanding job and expertise that a luthier like @LtDave32 puts into these guitars. It’s for others who don’t know to be blown away. I’m already woke.
 

LtDave32

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I’m blown away by guitars that I don’t expect would... like Studios or SGs or made in Japan Fenders... hammered up cheap guitars.... it could be anything.

I have grown to expect a Custom Shop Gibson to perform at a certain level and have been disappointed more often than not when they fall short of that expectation. Don’t spend money on hype.... you need to experience another level of guitar before you lay your cash on a Gibson Custom Shop because there can be dogs in the bunch.

Just like my Desert Star guitars have all been spectacular and I wouldn’t expect anything less. I am always taken back by what a outstanding job and expertise that a luthier like @LtDave32 puts into these guitars. It’s for others who don’t know to be blown away. I’m already woke.

Thank you, Mud!
 

searswashere

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I just took my 96 standard down again because from a tone and playing standpoint, it's holding its own with my historics. It weighs the most, it's the cheapest, and it just does the job of "be a good guitar" incredibly well. It's almost 30 years old, it's starting to check, binding has started to crack at the frets on the low E (came that way). But it held down against a '76 LPC, my R8, R9, 68RI LPC and I'm sure my incoming historic will continue the trend. The 96 is just a very good guitar. The historics are great.
 

Burty459

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I played a studio I got 20 years ago for years. Retired it, got a 2004 classic. Great guitar. Sold the classic and got a 2008 R8. Loved it, a noticeable step up from the classic, however I regret trading it up for the R9 I got, but that too was a fine instrument. I then sold my R9, found a 2003 classic with ABR1 bridge, ink stamped, nice dark chocolate fretboard. Stuck double creams in, fully rewired it 50’s, blew me away. What a great bit of kit. Not a custom shop, but a very well put together example of a USA Les Paul with some nice “reissue” specs. I got my studio back in hand last week, wow, now I remember why I played it hard all those years. Blew me away all over again. It’s a beast. So I have gone full circle in many ways.

I love my studio.
I love my classic.
I loved my reissues.

They have all blown me away at some point, for me a good guitar is a good guitar. I will get another R8 one day, hopefully another 2008 because I’m weird like that, but all I will say is that although my classic and studio are very well put together, the reissues just felt slightly different. Whether that psychological or not I am not sure, but I really did like the thinner neck binding, the slightly rolled feel, the smaller nibs. Then there were the little things like the tortoiseshell fret markers in the neck binding. When Gibson put things together well, they do a great job. When they don’t, we’ll, we’ve all heard the stories.

Go for a reissue and enjoy it, just don’t forget the little guy.
 

LtDave32

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This may sound odd, but sometimes you just stumble into things that seem to have this "almost plays itself" factor. everything you play seems much easier to play, even than on the favorites you own. Difficult things seem effortless.

I don't know what that is. It just happens.

I experienced that on a Guild acoustic once. I should have bought it.
 

dspelman

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I used to have between 5-20 guitars at any given time, all usa made gibson/fenders. No custom shop guitars.
Now I have an R0 and an R9, and a custom built tele.
Nothing wrong with American standard fenders and Gibson USA, but I'm very happy with my decision and don't see myself ever going back to quantity over quality.
I've accumulated guitars -- I don't cycle through them; I've just rarely sold one, so there are now a bunch. I actually play maybe five of them on a regular basis. I think over time I'm probably more "blown away" by the guitars for which I really don't have previous expectations.
 

BSeneca

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"Blown Away" may be a stretch but I will say I played, owned and sold USA Gibson for years before I got my first R9. I was very impressed and yes there is a definite step up in quality, woods etc. The biggest thing I immediately noticed was sustain! I really feel the long neck tenon makes a big difference. Looks like you have some quality guitars already so it may not blow your mind but if you are a Les Paul guy it is worth the money (used prices at least) for a better LP
 

CB91710

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I've accumulated guitars -- I don't cycle through them; I've just rarely sold one, so there are now a bunch. I actually play maybe five of them on a regular basis. I think over time I'm probably more "blown away" by the guitars for which I really don't have previous expectations.
Ditto.
The last one I sold was a Partscaster that I built in the 90s... styled like a '57 burst, but with a maple slab fingerboard, so no skunk stripe or teardrop.
It was my #2 for a few years, behind my G&L S500. Sold it to my boss a couple of years ago. He was so happy with it that he insisted on paying me $500 for it even though I was happy to let him have it for $200.
Around '09, I sold my Epi Les Paul back to the guy I bought it from... he was a truck driver and wanted something for the road, and I hadn't touched any of my guitars in probably 5 years.
Before that, the last one that I sold was a Hondo H-1 that I had modded in the mid-80s.
70s and early 80s, I didn't understand GAS and had only one electric and a 12 string acoustic. Bought a Kramer V in '84 or '85 and that and the Hondo were my only electrics until the mid 90s when GAS hit.
 

modavis99

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The first time I played an R9 - around 2008 - I couldn’t believe it. It felt like a totally different instrument than my tribute or studio or whatever I had. I had thought it was hype. At that point I understood why people pay the huge upcharge for a custom shop historic
 

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