Reissue buying advice

Adam91081

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Hi all, I know the basics about guitars and that there are good ones and not so good ones. I’m about to go for a reissue, probably R8, maybe R9. I’ll be buying pre-owned, is there years (periods) which have specs that are seen as less desirable, and why? I’ve read somewhere about laminated boards on R8s in 2012, was that the case for R9s as well? Rather than me reading and collating, thought I’d ask the experts! Cheers in advance
 

Jon W

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I have a 2013 r8, 2020 r0 and a 2005 g0. I had a 2005 r0, 2005 r7, 2004 r6 and a2005 r8. They're all great guitars. The 2005 r8 was not very resonant but otherwise a good guitar. They g) was refinished and it's the best I've ever had. Wasn't before the refin though. I've played lps of all years including a 59 and 60 that weren't great. I sue them as very good tools and don't really give a shit about how close they are to the originals. They have to be good guitars.

So, imho, you got to go play them for yourself.
 

kakerlak

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Throughout the history of the line, there have been various incremental spec changes aimed at getting ever closer to the "real" ones. There's a pinned thread here that details a lot of that chronology. At some point in the last few years, Gibson went to hide glue for the necks that some folks view as a significant improvement. A lot of the other changes over the years are pretty inconsequential, from a functional standpoint, things like logo placement, tuner alignment, pickguard spacing, etc. There have been some spec changes on pickups over the years, too, but there's so much tendency for owners to replace them anyway, that it's not super crucial either.

For any era, these were top of the line Les Pauls, so they're generally well-regarded instruments. The stacked fretboards are really the only moment in the run that gets a specific disdain.
 

mudface

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There are great ones and poor ones in every year of the Historic models.... the big change occurred in 2013 with hide glue.... custombuckers.....deleted truss rod condom....bleeding dye....single line tuners. Though these features don’t make the prior reissues less guitars.

The 2012 bi-layer fretboard covered all the reissue models with rosewood fretboards.... though not every single 2012 left the factory with them. Some escaped with a one piece FBs.... including R8s and R9s.

You need to try as many as you can,... till you find one that speaks to you or checks all the boxes.... finding a reissue that does is easier than you might think as most are pretty damn good.


This is my 2012 R9...
B59912E1-E3B3-49FC-9D09-BBDF27052AB9.jpeg


Of course I didn’t stop with just one. Here I have of various years a R6-R7-R8-R9 and a CC28 and other assorted LPs....
2F82B84D-31F0-40A3-90A8-AF51330BC5DD.jpeg
 
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simon connor

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I also have a 2012 R9. It is a simply outstanding guitar. From what I can gather the bi-layer board thing is a large deviation from vintage correctness - obviously - but it does not affect the playability of the guitar at all.
 

Adam91081

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Thanks all, that’s really helpful knowing about the 2013 divide!!! That’s the kind of thing I was hoping for, good and bad guitars I get, but the spec stuff is what will help inform me! There will be no trying probably!!! So the issues with laminated boards... I guess in the future, regretting is an issue? Cheers again all!
 

Adam91081

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P.S. did any laminated boards make it into 2011 or 2013? How do you know if one is laminated?
 

Thundermtn

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Was it '18 or '19 that got audio taper pots and lux pio caps?
 

filtersweep

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Gibson has been reissuing a known spec for decades. It isn’t like the original 58s suddenly changed.

They will never perfect it. It would be game over. They will eternally ‘improve’ reissues.

Just buy what speaks to you.
 

mudface

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P.S. did any laminated boards make it into 2011 or 2013? How do you know if one is laminated?
Nope.... just the 2012 model year.
 

mudface

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Thanks all, that’s really helpful knowing about the 2013 divide!!! That’s the kind of thing I was hoping for, good and bad guitars I get, but the spec stuff is what will help inform me! There will be no trying probably!!! So the issues with laminated boards... I guess in the future, regretting is an issue? Cheers again all!
I have a 2004 R7.... two 2014 R8s.... 2011 R6.... and my ‘12R9.... and a 2011 Custom Shop LP Custom. All Custom Shop guitars are fantastic builds no matter of year,... so do yourself a favor and don’t limit your choice of a used instrument to just a specific year...or like Bruce Lee said “you will miss all the heavenly glory”.....

Just my opinion.
 

simon connor

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My 2012 R9 has a single piece board. You have to pull the nut off to check.
 

dc007

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Find one you like and sounds and plays good to you. Best advice you could get. IF you have to buy without an audition I would go for 2013 and newer.
 

Thundermtn

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Gibson has been reissuing a known spec for decades. It isn’t like the original 58s suddenly changed.
This is sort of true, however some years the neck specs are wildly different. I played a '08 or '09 back when it was new at my dealer and the neck was so fat I only played it for fifteen seconds before hanging it back up. Had to have been way over an inch at the nut. I have big hands and can palm a basketball and it was still way too big. That era of R8 was just stupid with the baseball bat ++ necks.

My '16 R8 neck feels like I went to Nashville and they scanned my hand. Amazing feeling and supremely comfortable.

The '19 60th R9's had CC level of neck size correctness, getting your hands on one or knowing the year spec can help if you can't test them.
 

Adam91081

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Thanks all, very much appreciated, I think I’ll need to wait until lockdown is over and travel the country (England) in search of the right one. Or buy new and blind and have that return option. In light of recent comments then... I’m assuming that generally, the new era R8s (2019 on etc) are likely to have a less ‘base ball bat ness’ than say a 2010? Variation in individual necks aside. I’m not fussed too much about period correctness, just general vibe of late 50s and better quality than standard Gibsons etc. My current traditional (2013) is great but there is room for improvement. So rather than chucking money at my current guitar I’d just sell my soul and buy a custom shop.
 

uncle mud

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P.S. did any laminated boards make it into 2011 or 2013? How do you know if one is laminated?
The only way you can tell if it's laminated is to pull the nut and look at the end of the fretboard.
 

Brek

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If you are new like me, what makes one better than another is something we may not feel when we play it. I would advise a post 2013, and one that has a good top, always an easier sell if the need ever arises. where abouts in the UK are you adam?
 

Adam91081

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Yeah uk, not may around to be honest, the few that are in my price range are all 2012s, and have been on sale for a while... perhaps that’s telling something.
 

jvin248

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.

When you go shopping, make sure to get a blacklight LED flashlight (typically in the pet department of big box stores or Amazon) to check the guitars for undisclosed repairs. A repaired headstock guitar is worth half of an unbroken similar guitar, and for Gibsons that is a big chunk of cash at risk.


Also, make sure you are comfortable with the broken headstock risk of owning or shipping Gibson guitars. Some are tough guys and play regardless, some 'take care of their stuff', while others get caught in mishaps caused by those around them. Used to be you only had to worry about 'crazy ex-girlfriends' bashing stuff but now they most frequently fly off after you've cared for the guitar for years and decide to sell it and even though it's carefully boxed it snaps in shipping and the buyer gets all their money back with you left holding the drama. Do a google search 'broken headstock' and see the number of Gibsons revealed compared to higher production rate Fenders/Epiphone/etc. That drama is the hidden price on top of the price you pay to get one, so just be careful and understand the risks.

.
 
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