Any thoughts on Les Paul R series?

  • So I've been gassing for an R8 or R9 for a bit now.. doing lots of research and comparisons and playing.. I am almost at a decision point on a couple of them.. hoping to have my next guitar in a week or so.. part of what's puzzling me is the gap or differences between mid 90's through mid 2000's and 2009 to current..

    So any of you guys out there that play or collect the R series.. I'd like to get your thoughts.. or even if you just like and research the R series..

    I was so close to getting a 2002 R8 up in Detroit for $2800... they guy and I had discussed it but it was 800 miles so I had to fly.. by the time I could arrange for the ticket, he sold it.. it was beautiful ... but hey..there's lots of them around and now I've begun focusing on R9's as I understand they're lighter and better tops.. I've found a few at reasonable price points but they're in different age groups.. ones a 2001, a couple of 2007's and a 2011.. a couple are VOS..

    the 2011 is a Collectors series VOS which looks extra stressed some rust on the metal parts, body's worn a bit.. very cool.. I'm leaning towards this one while others are in mint condition.. very pretty. So for me.. one of these may have to go through a stress reconditioning to get it where I want it.

    but first.. which might be considered the better years for the Historic R series? Any opinion on 57 classics versus burst buckers; maybe just replace with Fralins or Lollars or something? any thoughts on the mahogany bodies, I understand they used different woods in different years..

  • Hi,

    I have a 2008 R8 Vos in Iced Tea finish and I just love it!!! I've owned several custom shop les pauls including a Class 5, a Boneyard Signature and a custom, and my R8 is by far my favorite. This guitar has a particular story as it was stolen from my rehearsal space in one of the few ocassions I left my guitars there (we were off for some drinks after rehearsal). Against all odds I managed to find the guitar 10 months later when it resurfaced in the second hand section of a guitar forum. Long story short I used social engineering to meet with the seller and the police intervened... unfortunately the seller had acquired the guitar from other guy, and he could not be located as far as I know.

    By all means grab one if the ocassion presents itself, and stick to the Burstbuckers... killer tone!.


  • thanks mattlocked.. I found that the early 2K's R8's have great looking tops... I've even considered the pre-historics from the 80's but they're really difficult to find. I've heard the burst buckers have uneven wind counts so they're much more like the early PAF's... I don't know if they're using the same kind of wire; i.e. thickness and cover.. that plays into the actual tone of the pickup..

    glad you got your guitar back man.. bet your heart was broken for several months on that..

  • I've played dozens of them from 2011 to 2014...what is it you want to know?

    They have a solid mahogany body and a one piece mahogany neck with a long neck tenon...basically a Les Paul the way they used to make them before they started chambering and weight relief.
    They use lighter wood, wood that doesn't need to be chambered because of weight...they usually weigh between 8.5 and 9.2/3/4/5 lbs.

    In the last 5 years I've played about 650 Tokai Les Pauls and about 20 or so Gibson R8s and R9s.
    Personally, I like a LP that weighs between 9 and 9.5lbs, lighter than 9lbs feels like I'm holding a Strat or a Tele.
    Pickups are kind of irrelevant, some guys like PAFs, some guys like higher output pickups, some guys leave the stock pickups and some guys change them.

  • Its wood - they are all different IMHO - once I played three 2005 LesPauls in one shop - all looked the same - only one was great.

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  • Hi!
    I have 4 cs here in my studio.
    2 Murphy aged and 2 Not Murphy..but Aged as well
    the list is:
    1 Slash std 87
    1 Slash Afd VOS
    1 Page 59 (no not That Page, the page of the BOTB Book .. page #59)
    1 cc #16 (the Redeye)

    about the production's Year...

    I've tried LOTS of ''early years'' before spent such a Lot of Money...but
    I've just felt good When and While.. I've tried them all.
    Each One is different.. and note that: beside the 87 STD.. 3 of them are basically ''the same '59''
    just Feel it.. if you like it?!? !! that's the one...; the one.. one of the best ha! :thumbsup:
    and it's not necessary it's a PURE GiBSON.anyway HA! 8o

  • did you swap out the pickups or electronics? I understand that the latter years have bumble bee caps and CTS already installed... but I don't know if I'm feelin' the burst buckers... seems a Lollar or a bit more focused pickup might be appropriate. I'd like honduran mahogany.. but I think the newer models are different. I like the tighness of the grain.. very straight.. just looked great and was very light.

    I guess what is going to be my first Les Paul in almost 30 years probably won't be the last... I've wondered why it's taken me so long to get another... oh yeah.. the outrageous cost of owning vintage... there's nothing like a 50's LP.

    So.. maybe a 59' then find a 58 or 57 gold top.. I wonder about the gold top as well... I've seen a very nice chocolate back 57 for a good price.. under 2K. it'd be a nice project guitar..