Wondering About R9s, are they the be all and end all?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by BGTele, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. BGTele

    BGTele Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been thinking a lot lately about Gibson '59 reissues. I've yet to have my hands on one and I don't know if I could order one without playing it first since they cost so much. I wonder if they are all wonderful and they all sound like Duane's guitar and all the other iconic '59 players.

    Those who have had the chance to cradle one and hear it through an amp,- is it bliss? Is it tone heaven?
    Are they all sublime tone monsters? I suspect like most other models of guitar that there are some good and some bad but are R9s the exception? They cost like they are.

    I also wonder if it is just as good to buy some of those exceptional R9 pickups that are advertised? Does anyone know the low down?
     
  2. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Haven't played the R9, but I am a long time owner of a Historic LP (R4). I think that all of the Historic Les Paul's are pretty awesome. I doubt the R9 is any more awesome than the others, but you're paying extra for the cosmetics of the top. If that's important to you, then you should get it. But yes, Historic Les Paul's are generally awesome (including the R9).

    You're paying about 2k more for the flame top.
     
  3. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    If you really want one, you should get it. I think what you get with the big-dollar guitars is beauty and attention to fine details, not sound. Duane Allman's "tone" was in the man (and the amp) not the guitar so much. My opinion.
     
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  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I’ve owned a few R9s, about a half dozen.
    They were a “holy grail” guitar, for me because so many of my youthful guitar heroes played the real thing.
    I loved Billy Gibbons, Dickey Betts, Duane Allman, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jeff Beck, Waddy Wachtell, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Martin Barre, Joe Walsh, Don Felder, and Gary Rossington.
    The all played 1958-1960 sunburst Les Pauls.
    I bought into the mojo.
    R9’s are as close to the real thing as a mortal like me can afford.
    Are they worth it (the price)?
    Absolutely, IMO.
    Are they the “be all, end all”?
    Hardly.
    They still have major design flaws.
    I’ve also had many other CS Historic Les Pauls, both Standard and Custom models.
    They are shockingly accurate replicas.
    Being a long time (50+ years) guitar nerd, I’ve owned a few real 50s Les Pauls, too.
    The CS Historic guitars are very close.
    The best R9 I had was a dark burst 1999.
    It was light, had a beautiful bookmatched curly maple top, and it sounded and played great.
    It was the most expensive instrument I ever bought, at $3,400.
    I owned it for about ten years, but I very rarely gigged with it.
    I sold it when I had a financial rough patch, and I did not miss it that much.
    Try a few, you might fall in love with one, or decide once and for all they are too much money.
     
  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I don't have an R9, or any year LP reissue. But I do have several historic VOS archtops from Gibson. Similar attention to detail and build quality, I believe.

    They are amazingly good. Just perfect.

    Also, instead of getting an R9 a couple years ago, I got a used Collings City Limits, which is their take on a '59 Les Paul. From the few R8s and 9s I've played, and talking to others, the Collings is right up there with these. And it's really quite a bit better than my 2012 Les Paul Standard, which I sold a while back. And that was a perfectly "nice" guitar.

    So, roundabout way, but yeah, they're super nice. Even though the Collings mostly scratches the itch, I still would like to get an R8. (I like the beefier neck).


    It depends on you, and your tastes and sensibilities. Some folks legitimately feel that their Epiphone is every bit as nice. I don't doubt them, I don't think it's sour grapes, etc. But I don't feel that way at all. Even if I can't always articulate each difference, the overall difference is instantly apparent. Between an Epi and a Standard Gibson, and then again, between a Standard and a Historic.

    Go for it. Don't pay MAP.
     
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  6. tubejockey

    tubejockey Tele-Meister

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    If you check out the forums, you will see just how many people replace pickups and pots in their historics. All the design flaws of the originals are there too. They are great guitars( I own a G0), but if you do it , buy used. Lots available and someone else pays the depreciation.
     
  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What are the design flaws of the Historics?

    I played an R9 and got a (used) R8. Both in the same shop. Both examples are exceptional guitars. Best and easiest playing Les Pauls I’ve put my hands on (a considerable number). I went with the R8 because it was cheaper and had a plainer top (personal preference). As an aside @moosie, the necks on those two were almost identical. Both very beefy, similar shape.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Interesting about the necks. Most R9s I've encountered, and indeed, the typical spec I see quoted on listings, is something like .85/.92, and the typical R8 seems to be more like .95/1.02. Very full. My Collings has a typical R9 profile, and that's the only thing I don't absolutely love about it. My favorite necks (on various guitars) are always around 1.00 full inch at the 12th.
     
  9. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've played a few of these over the years, and I just couldn't get myself to pay the $3K for a used one. I never buy any guitar new.

    If I ever got serious gas and finally decided to I had to have one, I would definitely audition as many as I could get in front of.

    I'd NEVER EVER buy one online.

    The reason you buy one of these guitars is because they're supposed to be special.

    The only way to know how special is to hear it, play it, and know that the weight and feel of the guitar is right.

    Most of the time these guitars end up in classified ads on forums, GC , Sam Ash, Reverb or any other guitar site, is because they weren't auditioned first.
     
  10. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I also am lucky enough to have an R4. Stunning guitar.
     
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  11. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I have no doubt that the Collings are great guitars. I particularly like some of their original body styles/designs.

    But for someone looking for a legendary, iconic guitar, that’s like telling someone who wants a Snickers bar to eat a few carrot sticks instead.

    By the way Moosie, not even saying the Collings wouldn’t be as good. I just don’t think it’ll scratch the itch if you feel you need a LP.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I was in no way suggesting the OP get a Collings instead. It was a roundabout way of saying I know what a good Les Paul feels like, and there's a big difference in the high end vs the Standards. That's all.

    Regarding the "itch", we'll see. While I wouldn't turn down a gift R8, I'm not about to dump the CL for it. My itch is that I can hardly resist one more nice guitar...
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  13. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

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    Depends on the year. I have a 2016 R8 that is built to closer specs of a real burst than say a pre-2013 R9.
    I love my R8 it's a keeper, but the real magic in the R line is the R4.
     
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  14. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    I dont know, I guess I'm weird.

    I'm a gigging player and I'd end up scratching the hell outta the thing. I cant justify paying all that cash for a pretty guitar thats gonna look like it went thru a war in a few years.

    I cant justify paying that much for a guitar period, I guess.

    I'm gonna sound more or less like me, thru an R9 or a hot rodded Epiphone. Same old Rod.

    Guitars are NOT an investment. They're tools. I never even consider a guitars resale value. If I wanna buy something for investment, I'll buy gold and bury it in the backyard.

    This is just my opinion.
     
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  15. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    I didn't know Fender made a guitar called an R9 :):confused::)
     
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  16. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

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    Great point. I dislike taking my R8 and R4 out. Sometimes I wonder why I bought them. Then I plug them in and realize nothing will be able to replace them.
     
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  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    "Other Guitars, Other Instruments" :twisted:
     
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  18. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    Have u played a 56

    I like the idea of a wraparound but thought the tom was better in my hands
     
  19. Elmore

    Elmore Tele-Holic

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    They are all that. But beware the fat neck. If you like thinner necks, get a R0 instead.
     
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  20. frank4001

    frank4001 Tele-Meister

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    I have a Plain Top Historic 1960 that Guitar Center had made for them.

    They call them G0's because they have a serial number that starts with a G instead of an R but they are stamped R0 in the control cavity.

    I think all the Historics are basically the same with different neck carves and tops.

    Some may even have different pickups, mine has BB1 and BB2 and is a 2006.

    I really like it and got it fairly cheap, used.
    I did buy it over on the TGP forum I think, without playing, but I had played two before I spotted this one and they were both very similar so I took a shot.

    It's light, plays and sounds great, the back pickup actually reminds me of a fat Telecaster... really rings acoustically too..neck is stable.
     
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