How blown away will I be?

searswashere

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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!
To get into the minutae of the discussion, how does having more attention to detail end up creating a guitar that isnt any better? Nothing to do with playability (full agreement that a setup is the name of the game) but I could use an explanation on the “CS built isnt any better than production”. Many thanks!
 

ajwain

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I’m a boring old fart who has no kids, never travels abroad and has lived in the same house all my married life. This means that I’m in a position to have acquired “a few” of each (USA production models and Custom Historic guitars) over the last 40 years (the Custom Shop wasn’t a thing when I bought my first Gibson).

If I was desperate for the cash though and was forced to sell one of them, it would probably be an R8 or an R9 that I’d sell. My ‘02 and ‘99 Standards are just better guitars to me. They have more touch response, smoother and darker fingerboards and are just more fluid to play. My LPRIs were painstakingly chosen over time from something like 120 CS guitars I’ve had the privilege of playing, so to me, they’re the best LPRIs I’ve ever found, but a great guitar is a great guitar, and two of my regular production USA Gibsons are just better than all of them! Period!
 

ajwain

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To get into the minutae of the discussion, how does having more attention to detail end up creating a guitar that isnt any better? Nothing to do with playability (full agreement that a setup is the name of the game) but I could use an explanation on the “CS built isnt any better than production”. Many thanks!
Because workmanship and fine finishing don’t make a better guitar… they make a prettier guitar. If the lottery that is the collection of symbiotic woods and electronics just make something that moves you when you’re making music, then fine lutherie just goes out of the window.

If we’re talking soulless perfection, get a PRS, a Suhr or a boutique built instrument. They all are works of art compared to most Gibsons; Custom Shop or not. I play a Gibson because I grew up with them… they have a place in my heart and I love the character and imperfections they have. I think they make me a better player because of that.
 

rlefty

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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 would have said the main difference is probably going to be the stock pickups, but since you changed them along with the electronics I wouldn't expect to be "blown away". I had an R9, and it was a great guitar, but I sold it because my 2008 standard was just as good, with a more comfortable neck and was lighter (since it's chambered).

It's sort of funny to see all of the commenters mention how the reissues tend to be lighter when your '10 studio is chambered.

There was some sort of mojo with owning the R9 at first, but that evaporated pretty quickly for me. Your experience, of course, will be your own.
 

drivers1959

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Being “blown away” is very subjective and also relative to what else you’ve played and/or been exposed to. As was said above, CS guitars generally start with a better baseline. If you are someone like me who is very enamored with vintage Bursts but will NEVER be able to afford one (nor probably ever even touch one) then the experience of holding and playing your first RI is something to savor (especially with the newer ones which are the closest approximate to a “clone” of the original Bursts that Gibson has done to date) because it’s the closest you’ll likely come to experiencing what a 50s Burst was/is like.

I am a big fan of “the experience” of things... not just the practicality of things. So I pay attention to things, and “absorb” things during experiences that others may not... especially if they are just looking for an outstanding instrument for the sake of the instrument. Perhaps others do this as well (can’t get inside their heads to know), but picking up a RI the first time for me was a very nuanced experience... because I wanted it to be! I wasn’t just experiencing and evaluating how it played, but also how it was built and taking note of, and appreciating, the differences (sometimes small) between it and regular USA LPs both from a construction and an aesthetic perspective. I dig the smallest of details and enjoy(ed) discovery them. But again, I wanted to savor the “experience” and I wanted it to be an experience. If you’re just someone who grabs an expensive guitar and expects it to “blow you away” without being someone who appreciates the finer (sometimes exceedingly fine) details, it may well not. Just sayin’....

The interesting thing is, we as humans can become very quickly accustomed to “the finer things in life”. ;) It really doesn’t take us long to get over how well something is made or how unique it is or how much effort is put into even the smallest of details. IOW, we get jaded pretty quickly... but perhaps the more telling/interesting thing to pay attention to (after playing and/or owning a RI for a while) is whether going back to a Studio is “underwhelming” or not. I know that when I play “lesser” Gibsons (let alone Epiphone versions of Gibson guitars) now after having owned/played several RIs over the last several years that I find them (the non-RIs) somewhat underwhelming... more so with lower end Gibsons like Studios and Tributes, etc, but also with Standards and Traditionals—my own Trad included—if a bit less so). Like I said, once we are exposed to “the finer things” it’s easy to become quickly accustomed to them—making the not so fine things stand out more dramatically as well... not so fine! ;). At least that’s been my experience. YMMV :cheers:
many people in life dont have it so good and are not accustomed to the so called finer things in life..this is only your perception of your beliefs and how you perceive things,..there are many different people across the globe that can only dream of some of the finer so called finer things and experiences and things your exposed to but many arent , and not always by choice..your talking about..and to me thats sad
 

SwisherSweets

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I think it depends on the person, and how it feels and sounds to you.

If you go off of reviews and paid spokesman, they're the closes thing ever to the real deal now days. Either way, even if you had a million $ guitar in your hands, if it doesn't sound or feel good, is it really mind blowing a hello kitty guitar sounds just as good.

Let's be real here too, how well do you play? If you can just do marry had a little lamb, a 5k guitar still sounds like shit because all you can play is marry had a little lamb :D
 

Audiose

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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.
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.
Sitting and playing several is probably a great idea. If you are a fan of thin necks the 58/9's will probably feel too fat! However when I do get the chance to play one, even though it feels gross in a way, it beckons me to shred for some reason. I actually have an 89 epiphone which is my favorite guitar. I have toyed with the idea of getting a Gibson LP, (I would keep my epi of course) but I can't see spending 1000s on a Gibson, that to date I've not found a single one with as good of a feel as my epi. It has some mystery pups, that are a reissue (I assume) of paf's. They actually have the "patent applied for" stickers and mesh shielded wires. But again, I haven't found the Gibsons to sound any better either. The best part is guitar center sold it to me for 50$ because they didn't realize 89's had the open book headstock, and thought it was a fake. Really though, who would fake an epi? But my point is any random les paul of any issue, may just be an extraordinary example. So if you feel a special bond with your studio, it may not be as good. So play at least 10 of them!
 

turkeyfoot

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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.
Yea it’s an unknown to me. Though it may depend on where you buy. Wildwood Guitars sells their custom R9’s with juiced pups. I have custom buckers on both my R8 and 9. I prefer the tone of the 9 but the 8 plays so so well it’s my fave. Good luck with your search.
 

gkelm

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I’ve been fortunate to have owned 15+ historics, and down to just two historic/CS LPs (and a 335). I’ve settled in with those, and gratefully, because the inflated prices these days might be prohibitive.

As has been mentioned, I think you’ll be impressed simply because it the amenities/upgrades—construction, finish, binding, electronics, etc. it’s going to feel like a higher grade instrument versus something stripped down.

Tone will be subjective, but from my experience, you will probably hear what sounds better to you…although historics that vary in that aspect.

On the other hand, I picked up a couple Traditionals over the past couple months, and have the say, I’m impressed. While there are obvious differences, these surprise me at how much they close the gap on historics. It’s understandable when I see pros playing standards and tradtitionals.
 

Brettyc

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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'm in the "try before you buy" camp. I searched for over a year and found a used 2017 Chicago Music Exchange Spec Custom Shop Lemon Burst that is insane. It's been 4 years and it still blows me away every time I play it. I've sold 4 guitars since then because they were no longer getting any attention. The custom shop LP market is limited where I am so that contributed to the length of my search. If you have the funds and access to a good market then I think you could find one pretty quickly.
 

Twangmeister

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"Blown away" is a thoroughly subjective experience, IMHO. I tend to be very unsentimental about my gear, and other than string changes, cleaning, and minor adjustments, I don't spend much time gazing at my guitars or micromanaging them with black lights and magnifying glasses. And while I love the aesthetics and elegance of certain iconic instruments, when all is said and done, these are my work tools.

I've owned various Les Pauls over the years and let them go for a variety of reasons. However, in the last two years, I've been fortunate enough to acquire a Murphy Lab R4 and a Murphy Lab R7, both "aged" to perfection. My version of being blown away is taking them on gigs or to a session, where their playability, feel, and variety of tones allow me to a) play what I want to play without fighting the instrument, b) access a variety of different sounds when I'm feeling particularly creative, and c) get lost in the process of making music as opposed to being obsessed with just guitar. Your criteria may differ. For me and my needs, both of these instruments get me where I want to go, and consequently, it was worth the time and expense to find them. If I had to sell these MLs, or they were lost or stolen, I could still work with my other guitars. But there would be certain elements missing from the playing experience that, frankly, only I would appreciate, and therein lies the difference.
 

jaxondi

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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.
Dave,
I own four Les Pauls: '71 58/54 Goldtop, '86 Standard, '88 Custom, '07 Custom Classic. They are all great guitars and I love them all. A couple of months ago I pulled the trigger on a Murphy Labs '60 Burst. I definitely was blown away. I did get a good price on it, but if I were to do it over again, I think I'd look at the Historic line as I understand that's what the Murphy Lab releases start out being, and they are generally a lot less money than the Murphy Labs. Just my two cents.
Add: To my ear, the Custom Buckers in the Murphy Lab are outstanding pickups. Again, I have plenty of experience with boutique hand wound humbuckers and the Custom Buckers are right there.
 
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ajwain

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"Blown away" is a thoroughly subjective experience, IMHO. I tend to be very unsentimental about my gear, and other than string changes, cleaning, and minor adjustments, I don't spend much time gazing at my guitars or micromanaging them with black lights and magnifying glasses. And while I love the aesthetics and elegance of certain iconic instruments, when all is said and done, these are my work tools.

I've owned various Les Pauls over the years and let them go for a variety of reasons. However, in the last two years, I've been fortunate enough to acquire a Murphy Lab R4 and a Murphy Lab R7, both "aged" to perfection. My version of being blown away is taking them on gigs or to a session, where their playability, feel, and variety of tones allow me to a) play what I want to play without fighting the instrument, b) access a variety of different sounds when I'm feeling particularly creative, and c) get lost in the process of making music as opposed to being obsessed with just guitar. Your criteria may differ. For me and my needs, both of these instruments get me where I want to go, and consequently, it was worth the time and expense to find them. If I had to sell these MLs, or they were lost or stolen, I could still work with my other guitars. But there would be certain elements missing from the playing experience that, frankly, only I would appreciate, and therein lies the difference.
This, in essence is the whole picture. It’s how an instrument makes you feel, not where it sits in Gibson’s line-up. Some players are moved by the feel, some by the look, and some by the authenticity. We kid ourselves that we are moved by the sound/tone, but actually, in a lot of cases, only the player perceives that. To the casual listener they all sound very similar, particularly in a mix. Beauty is in the eye/ears of the beholder, and it’s just wrong to tell people that a whole range of instruments is better or worse than another. Higher spec maybe, but that’s just in Gibson’s opinion, and they have to declare an “interest “!!
I’ll spend forever pitting the most subtle details of looks, feel and tone of one guitar against another when I’m judging which one to buy, but I wouldn’t dream of being so presumptuous as to describe it as “better” to another guitarist.
 

Nikki M

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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.
you will sleep easier..knowing that you are now a vested member of the R9 society..secret handshakes..news letters..reunions
 

DMMKLP

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as much as I like historics out of the many I have owned, two out of thirty blew me away. Historics are not a guarantee to your tonal happiness, every guitar should be judged on its own.
That’s a low hit rate I would say. It may well be thy what blows me away is easier to attain than for someone who has played so many. Many thanks.
 

DMMKLP

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you will sleep easier..knowing that you are now a vested member of the R9 society..secret handshakes..news letters..reunions
That does sound like a good society to join
 

DMMKLP

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I personally don’t think they sound much better. Sometimes a fender squire can sound damn good too!

The reissue/historic stuff generally has more attention to detail, nicer woods, finer fretwork, better set up and all the extra little things that make the feel and playability better. The “beat my guitar up” relicing, well no, it’s not worth another $2000 in my opinion on top.

This extra attention to detail is noticeable because often the base USA and custom shop Gibsons are behind other premium makers in quality control, in general.

Is all that worth $6000-8000? Well not to me. But that $3500-4500 range maybe. There is something special about them.
Same price range for me too, beyond that I can’t really see myself paying.
 

ajwain

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That’s a low hit rate I would say. It may well be thy what blows me away is easier to attain than for someone who has played so many. Many thanks.
My hit rate is the same or very similar to GearHo. They’re all lovely, but they need to stir your soul more than just being lovely when you’re spending that much money.
 

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