How blown away will I be?

DMMKLP

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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.
That’s a strong endorsement, good to see people happy with their guitars. I will check them out.
 

DMMKLP

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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.
I played a Marten acoustic like that once. I wasn’t shopping for an acoustic so put it back on the wall hanger but yes it was lovely to play. Of my four electrics, they all feel okay or good and there are no issues with feet buzz or intonation problems etc. I guess I am just not sure where any of them sit in the spectrum of being okay, good or great. However that Marten was great.
 

DMMKLP

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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
This is the light bulb moment I thought might be felt and heard on every reissue compared with a Studio version.
 

DmacD

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I grew up in an era of playing crappy guitars from even worse pawn shops. Played some new CR9 and 8’s at Wildwood back around 07/08 years. Yep, blew me away. As far as sound goes that’s subjective. Just turn a knob here or there and poof it’s “dark” “ or whatever new grungy word is in style.
 

noodlingguitars

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I think it depends on what you're expecting... I've never been "blown away" by a reissue/historic - but that's not supposed to be negative either and I have no issue purchasing them. I own a good amount of CS/USA models and crap tons of Epiphones. A Les Paul is a Les Paul and to me, there are variances, different appointments and various things, whether cosmetic or functional, that the CS models can offer that some of the other models don't.

Guitars that have really blown me away - my first Carvin neckthrough build, Parker Nightflies, the first time playing an Ibanez wizard neck etc... I kinda feel there was SO much innovation in those that it really made me thing "damn, guitars could be like this?!?!" Whereas for LPs, it's more like .... i just want to hoard more LPs and different lines just gives me an excuse to happily spend more money on the same thing - kinda like women and their favorite brand of shoes.
 

mjross

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It’s different for everyone, what twirls your skirt my not twirl mine! Might want to try to get your hands on a few, should help a lot. Good luck with your quest!
 

BDW60

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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 have owned about 10 historics. Never had one that didn’t at least sound good ... a few were pretty great. But I find the primary difference between say a USA Standard and a reissue are in-hand feel and easy playability. Historics just feel different ... played in, comfortable, less stiff. Maybe they just make me feel different playing them.

Sound and tone are so subjective ... IMO, truly special guitars are mostly happy accidents and they can come at just about any price point.
 

DMMKLP

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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.
Thankyou, I will definitely be in a position to play a lot of them in about 3-4 weeks. I will update the thread when I have played a bunch. I appreciate all the responses.
 

ajwain

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I’ve played (and carefully examined with a view to purchase) more than a hundred CS reissue LPs over a period amounting to about 20 years. I think if you take a random sample of USA production instruments and the same number of reissues, you will see and feel a difference in the attention to detail and the consistency. However, those who’ve posted that the CS instrument was another level to the USA production guitar they had before, must have chosen very poorly when the bought their original Gibson. I spend a great deal of time auditioning and carefully choosing the guitars I spend my hard earned cash on, and of the instruments I own, the USA ones are absolutely on par with the Custom reissues. Different, but in no way inferior. I took time and chose carefully and unless I was destitute, I wouldn’t part with any of them
 

ajwain

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Not everyone has easy access to lots of historics, something to keep in mind.
I agree. It took me 20 years. Not everyone has access, so probably best not to advise people that they’re automatically better instruments then.
 

mudface

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I agree. It took me 20 years. Not everyone has access, so probably best not to advise people that they’re automatically better instruments then.
I have to agree........... In 2015 i purchased a True Historic R9..... these were going for $8500 street,.. I got mine for a lot less.... ordered thru a dealer. When it arrived it was simply a beautiful guitar,... but as a player it was a turd. Endless fret buzzing and after a few days of tweaking it I was at my witts end. I got the buzzing to stop but it would now choke off notes even at the slightest bends. The nut was just a mess. The bridge had a non stop rattle....(i have over 40 years of experience setting up my own guitars) ....To top it off the pickups seemed too weak. This was supposed to be the Flagship of Flagships for Gibson.... I ended up trading it for a Collectors Choice #28,...and that was everything it was supposed to be.... still have it today. I actually picked through 4 different CC models and that was my favorite.

It would be a huge disservice to simply say that all Historics or Custom Shop guitars are hands down better that a regular USA Gibson..... this just isn't true. I have a few non Custom Shop Gibsons that are just fantastic.... you just have to weed through a lot more of USA models than CS models to find "The One".
 

searswashere

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I agree. It took me 20 years. Not everyone has access, so probably best not to advise people that they’re automatically better instruments then.
Generally they are though. It’s just not necessarily a huge gap as some may hope. Law of diminishing returns.

I took a chance buying blind on 3/4 historics. So far Im 3/3 with #4 arriving tomorrow. Tried a CR8 saturday - also felt like a really great les paul (didnt plug in). Prospective buyers just need to do their cost benefit analysis and do whats right for them. Google research will likely bring up this thread and all the great posts contributed.

As a friend said, “play what you love and love what you play. Sell the rest.”
 

ajwain

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Generally they are though. It’s just not necessarily a huge gap as some may hope. Law of diminishing returns.

I took a chance buying blind on 3/4 historics. So far Im 3/3 with #4 arriving tomorrow. Tried a CR8 saturday - also felt like a really great les paul (didnt plug in). Prospective buyers just need to do their cost benefit analysis and do whats right for them. Google research will likely bring up this thread and all the great posts contributed.

As a friend said, “play what you love and love what you play. Sell the rest.”
You make some excellent points here, and we do appear to have similar takes on perspective, but I’m never going to agree that reissues are “better” guitars. Most of them play beautifully and they definitely have a “vibe”. If that’s what you like then they are are absolutely better for you, but not for everyone. The playability can be sorted with a really good setup, but the feel and the “mojo” is not so easy to create.

They absolutely, categorically and irrefutably don’t sound any better though. They are often lighter in weight, so they ring more acoustically and more of them have that palpable “resonance” than their USA brethren, but at volume? Nah!! Tone is in the “ear” of the beholder, so some people will like one guitar more than another, but does the fact that it’s built in the Custom Shop make any difference? Of course not!
 

BDoubleG

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Obviously YMMV, as I'm only speaking from my financial situation, but from my perspective, it really just comes down to having $X and deciding how to allocate it.

At this point, I'm not really in a position to spend the cash outright on a Custom Shop model (new or used), so something would hgave to go from my stable, and, given the price or a reissue, I'd probably have to drop a couple of guitars to finance a RI. I have a few guitars that under no circumstances will I ever trade/sell, and if I got a RI, I'd definitely get rid of my USA Standard, but in terms of additional options, really leaves me with my ES-330L, my SG Special, my CME SG Standard or my J45.

To circle back about being blown away? In my experience, a RI is 100% going to be better than my USA Standard (I've not owned a RI, but I've certainly played a lot of them), but is a RI better than me having my USA Standard AND my 330L or my SG Special? I'd say no - I would end up with one beautiful guitar, but I'd lose the options that come with having a couple of models with different bodies/pickups etc, and that isn't worth it to me.

Bit of a rant, and again, this is only my situation, but I guess I's summarize in saying it's worth 1.5 Gibsons!
 

pillbug

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Reissues (generally speaking) have darker and more consistent fretboards, and on the 2018-and up years, better fretwork and pickups IMO. The fretwork and VOS finishes on some of the best ones I've played, make you feel like you're playing a well worn instrument (in a good way) whereas most Standards feel like they are "new" and kind of samey if you know what I mean.

The gloss finish reissues are more similar to the best 2013-2017* Traditionals out there. If you can't afford or aren't ready for an R8 or R9 yet then find one of those Traditionals. Great bang for the buck.

(*except 2015)
 

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