Upgrading my Traditional Vs purchasing a brand new R9

Charlizzard

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Les Paul lovers, I wish you to land me your aid.
For the few last months I've been considering an upgrade in my Les Paul department.
I currently own a lovely 2013 Traditional (Picture attached). It feels great and plays great but sound-wise, it's not IT.
I'm having a hard time choosing between two upgrade options:
1) I've read a lot about the Antiquity Pickups and their magical sound, and I'm considering buying a pair.
2) The holy grail (imagine an angelic "Hallelujah" sound as you read it), the R9. I guess there's no going wrong with it, as long as you do realize you don't NEED two kidneys.

Sadly, I don't have a large Guitar-Centerish alternative where I live, so I can't really compare the two options, and comparing sounds via youtube is as good as comparing 8k pictures through an old CRT.

I wonder if any of you guys had a chance to experience with both the antiquity pickups and the R9, and will be willing to share your thoughts :)

Thanks!


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diogoguitar

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welcome to the forum!
I don't think there is anything magical to the R9's sound that you can't get with your Traditional - or at least get decently close.
I'd try switching pickups first, then messing with your amp/pedals (like, really dialing it in)

Swapping pickups is a ~$250-300 work.. buying an R9 is in the four figures :).. so my recommendation is to try the cheaper choice first.
 
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Duane_the_tub

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I agree with @diogoguitar that you can probably get close enough sound-wise with mods to your Trad that it would make the price difference seem unrealistic. Then again, I am a full-fledged addict when it comes to Historics, and believe there is no substitute. I'd say to play one, and you'll know if you need to go to that level.
 

Great R8

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Get the R9 and (quit drinking), If I were in your shoes this would be an easy decision for me. Some of the reasons; (resale) value, long tenon, non chambered, attention to detail, they sound the amazing, lifetime guitar... you can end the search, resonance, weight, magic, tone etc.

I don't know how else to say this:
If you choose the pickup upgrade option, you will still want an R9. Because of that, you will save yourself money in the long run if you choose the R9. Even if you don't end up liking it, at least you know what it's like and move on, selling it at high second hand prices. Just get to the front of the queue and be done with it. I'm speaking from experience and wish I'd done the same.
 
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Gridlock

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2013 was supposed to be a great year for Traditional’s. Non-weight relief body and it stil has al ‘50’s neck. Every time that I was in the market for another Les Paul Traditional, I always looked for a 2013 model first.

What I am saying is, maybe you should also keep your Traditional and still buy a R9. Compare the two guitars side by side, because maybe you’ll want to keep both guitars.

Especially if your playing out, you may not always want to bring your R9. I know that I still regret selling many of the Traditional’s that I’ve owned.

For Gibson Les Pauls, I rank my favorites as R7’s and R8’s, Traditional’s, and then Deluxe’s in that order (I’ve never owned or played an R9).

Good luck with your decision.
 
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JMP

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I’ll add this. In my limited experience, a Historic isn’t exactly an “upgrade” from a good Traditional. It’s more like apples and oranges- find which option is best for you. If you can get your hands on a few reissue models and try them out, definitely do that. But a good Traditional is nothing to sneeze at!

Here’s the problem with Reissue models…if you don’t have one or haven’t spent a lot of time with one, you will always have the perspective that they’re the next level or an upgrade, when in practice, that’s not necessarily totally the case.
 
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01GT Eibach

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As a general premise in life, I believe in getting what you really want. And for you, if that is a R9, then an R9 it is. The "however" here is that being an R9 does not guarantee that it will have "it" either. Some guitars are magical, and some are definitely not. As an in-between alternative, for maybe $1000 (or less) plus your Traditional, you could grab a new Standard or for a touch more a new Slash whose owners absolutely salivate over their guitars (rightfully so). If your issues are more tonal than feel with the Trad, I am not sure that an R9 will scratch that itch for you.
 
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JMP

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So what is that Traditional plugged into?
This is how I think you should spend your money.
866756-1983-dumble-ods-overdrive-special
Got a point there….I’ve learned that prioritizing your amplifier makes a bigger impact than most anything. Plug a bone stock Traditional into the most amazing amp and you’re good to go!
 
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Injector

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If you like the neck on your trad then upgrade the pickups and maybe the wiring loom & pots too if you can afford to. It still won't be an R9 but it will be a great LP.
 
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modavis99

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Get the R9 and (quit drinking), If I were in your shoes this would be an easy decision for me. Some of the reasons; (resale) value, long tenon, non chambered, attention to detail, they sound the amazing, lifetime guitar... you can end the search, resonance, weight, magic, tone etc.

I don't know how else to say this:
If you choose the pickup upgrade option, you will still want an R9. Because of that, you will save yourself money in the long run if you choose the R9. Even if you don't end up liking it, at least you know what it's like and move on, selling it at high second hand prices. Just get to the front of the queue and be done with it. I'm speaking from experience and wish I'd done the same.
I agree with this. I had a regular USA Les Paul and I thought the the historic reissues were just hype etc. Then I tried one at Chicago Music Exchange and realized it felt and sounded different. This was about 10 years ago. I sold my USA Les Paul and bought a used Historic. But you may not hear or feel a difference, or you may not care about any difference, if n which case just swap pickups and electronics.

I’ve had a few Historics. They all sound and play a little different. If you get an Historic you might wind up trying out a few.

Good luck
 

flamesarewicked

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Even if ya went crazy on upgrade parts… it wouldn’t put much of a dent in what a R9 costs.

let’s say you sell this one and find a R9 at a reputable store online.. it comes in and after 10 mins of playing it just leaves you flat.. for whatever reason. The pickups aren’t to your liking, the weight isn’t right, the neck carve just doesn’t work well with you.. whatever the case is.. now you’re stuck..

After owning a few reissues in the past I will say they are fine instruments. It gives a sense of having a piece of the past (that’s 100% generated in your head). Were they 2-3 times better than the 13 traditionals that I owned prior? Nope… gotta decide whether that 10-15% improvement is worth a few thousand bucks.. only you can make that decision.

I would honestly try to play some if that’s even a possibility locally. After owning both 13 traditional (multiple times over) and some recent reissues.. tough to beat the traditional. Go hog wild on upgrades and enjoy it. Since tops are like fingerprints and if I really loved the look of it.. I would stick with it and do some upgrades.
 


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