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FennRx

I know this is blasphemy...

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So all this talk on here (and other forums) about the VOS guitars caused me to come down with a severe case of GAS. Yesterday I went into the store I hate (Guitar Center) and saw that they had a R8 and a G0. As a side note, I thought it was really funny that the guy helping me was really pushing me to buy because "these are the best Gibson makes," but did not know what R8 means. But anyhoo...I had the guy get them down and I set up at an amp and plugged in. I played each for about 10-15 minutes and here are the results:

 

1) Man, you guys weren't kidding about the neck size on the R8. I like the USA 50s neck, but this thing is ridiculous. I should note that I don't have large hands, but I preferred the G0's neck.

 

2) These things really weigh a ton. I definitely have a new-found appreciation for the "swiss cheese" and the chambering that Gibson does.

 

3) I wasn't impressed by either of these guitars vintage look or feel. When you read The Les Paul Forum, those guys just rave about the VOSs. I didn't feel any mojo at all. And I just wasn't impressed by the finishes.

 

4) I will note that both of these guitars were probably in need of a good setup and a new set of strings...BUT, I don't think either one of them sounded all that great. Nor did they play like the dream guitars I thought they would. Perhaps my expectation were too high. Don't get me wrong, they were Les Pauls, but I guess I just expected the "TONE" to come oozing out of the R8.

 

Overall, I'm glad I tried them out. And now I will be saving $3000 and/or my other gear. I can't help but think back to the post on "blind purchases" and laugh out loud. I paid 1600 bucks for a LP Std Faded that I had never seen or played from an internet dealer and ended up with a guitar (that is chambered to boot) that plays and sounds better than two Custom Shop models that each cost almost double of what I paid. There are two morals to this story: First, it just goes to show how subjective all this stuff is. And 2nd, don't believe the hype. The proof is in the Paul.

 

Note: All of you Historic lovers, please don't send me hate mail.

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Good post, FennRx. It's true that it's easy to get caught up in the marketing hype, and there are a few message boards around that are downright cultish about guitars.

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damn right....i got my VM trough an internet dealer aswell...there are not many gibsons where i live so i can´t compare it to another,but it is a kick *** guitar.for 799 $ ??!! and then i just cruise the websites and see the prices...3k,45,5k?? i thought....there is no way that there can be such a difference....better guitars-maybe.....5K better-no way

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Great point. I've played an R8 and wasn't as impressed as I should have been for the $$$$$. Then I played a BFG and was really impressed (love the p-90) and then saw the price and had to buy it. I'm not a big fan of VOS and NOS guitars. You pay so much for not much more. I have a squier strat (very modified) that plays and sounds better than any other strat I've played and cost not even half the price(with upgrades) of an american std. Although maybe one day when I'm sleeping on a pile of cash, I may change my mind.....

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I've owned a few and got rid of them all........

 

 

i'll take a good ol usa over them any day, and save myself alot of money in the process................

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VOS's are good looking, but in my opinion, like yours, I don't think they're that much better than production models. I played a VOS Gibson SG Custom '61 RI (white with 3 pickups and maestro vibrola) and it looked really nice, but I actually prefer my Gibson SG Special Faded. At the store the VOS SG custom was $4,000. My SG Special Faded was $699.

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It all just proves that there are good guitars from all over the place. A lot of people do get caught up thinking that more $ means a better guitar, and that is not always the case. I have a couple of Gibson USA guitars and I love those as much as any of my CS models.

The VOS treatment does not work on some guitars, on others it is passable to good in my opinion. I just prefer new shiny guitars that age from playing. I already have polished most of it off my 54 Custom BB, I will leave the gold alone and let my sweat wear that off in a month or so. That being said, there are some fantastic reissues out there and being made, but they are not everyone's cup of tea. There really is a lot of difference in the neck profiles because they do a lot more hand shaping with them, so you might play a dozen R0s and find only one that you like, neck wise. Gibson USA is more consistant in that department. This does not mean the CS necks are not made well. The original guitars had a lot of variation too because of all the hands on work.

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Now there's a name from the past, Raptor. Too bad since he was quite knowledgeable.

 

Interesting indeed... :-k

 

Overall, I'm glad I tried them out. And now I will be saving $3000 and/or my other gear...

 

There are two morals to this story: First, it just goes to show how subjective all this stuff is. And 2nd, don't believe the hype. The proof is in the Paul...

 

Note: All of you Historic lovers, please don't send me hate mail...

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I think the key element here was Guitar Center. Every LP I've played at my local store was crappy. I don't know if they get substandard stuff or just can't set them up properly. (One exception was a nice LP Standard from last year. A nice guitar, but still not as woody as the R8.) I found my R8 at a homegrown dealer, and it's a nice one. I bought before the price went up 3 years ago, though.

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There really is a lot of difference in the neck profiles because they do a lot more hand shaping with them, so you might play a dozen R0s and find only one that you like, neck wise.

So true. I recently purchased a VOS ES-330, based on the '59 model. I was able to A-B three of them, and while the two at the first store had a very clubby feel to the neck, the third at a different store had a leaner profile and felt perfect. It also so happened that this particular guitar was the most resonant of the three, and had a beautifully applied natural finish, far superior to the neck binding orange peel displayed on the other natural finish example I tried. If I had assessed these guitars based only on the first two, I'd have been left with some rather negative impressions. The one I brought home is absolutely stellar, and a clear testimony that when evaluating any Gibson model, it's important to play a number of them, if at all possible.

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Yeah, now look at him.

 

Total gear snob! msp_flapper.gif

 

Fancy amps and all. msp_lol.gif

 

man i can't believe you found and bumped this last year. And I can't believe I found it now. [lol]

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I can't believe your oriiginal post, how many historics do you have now?

 

believe it or not, the same I've had since 2008- two. Just my R8 and R9. [thumbup]

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clearly my opinion has changed [biggrin]

Did you change your mind, do they make better reissues, or were just some more to your taste among them since they reinstated historic tolerances, too?

 

I feel they did this for the entire product line... [scared] So at least in this point all Gibsons are some kind of historic even when brand new! [biggrin]

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here's a follow up less than 3 months after the first one in this thread.

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/3209-my-r8-1-week-later/

 

Seems the ones I played at Guitar Center were just duds- which actually makes sense. There isn't a market for them here, so the duds get sent here and collect dust, sometimes in excess of 3 years.

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Guest Farnsbarns

clearly my opinion has changed [biggrin]

 

I guess that's because your opinion then was based on playing 1 of each. I have played some reissues which, in my hands, were awful. Then... There is my R8 (apart from now needing a major fret dress) is the best single guitar in the entire multiverse. And that's actual fact ;)

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I watched live and in person at an indie store, where a nice person off the street came in and tried both the traditional, and a VOS... I tend to agree with his conclusions. The sonic differences were... well not really much.. and that based on his playing of both, the Traditional was a fine instrument, and represented better value for his needs.

 

In spectating this, I tended to agree... I didn't hear a big tonal difference... and both guitars were very nice visually... the VOS is not going to have the mass market appeal.

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I watched live and in person at an indie store, where a nice person off the street came in and tried both the traditional, and a VOS... I tend to agree with his conclusions. The sonic differences were... well not really much.. and that based on his playing of both, the Traditional was a fine instrument, and represented better value for his needs.

 

In spectating this, I tended to agree... I didn't hear a big tonal difference... and both guitars were very nice visually... the VOS is not going to have the mass market appeal.

My experiences do confirm that. Because of these guitars varying from one to another due to different properties of timbers, they may outweigh different bridges, tailpieces, tubeless truss rods and slight differences of the pickups, and lead to some nearly coinciding impressions when comparing a couple of each model.

 

However, there may be extaordinarily fine ones of both models, and that's what makes checking out guitars such a thrill in my opinion - and may cause unforeseen GAS attacks... [rolleyes]

 

Sometimes it's good luck finding duds only. [biggrin]

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I'll tell ya, my non-statistically significantly experience has been that when a Historic is great, a great USA doesn't match it. I think there are USAs that are better than a lot of Historics, but the best Historics are better than the best USAs.

 

Now, is that in my head? Could be. And the Kool-Aid is delicious. [biggrin]

 

And I definitely think the law of diminishing returns applies. Is a $5000 R9 $3000 better than a good Traditional? Well.... <_<

 

I would also add that I think the Traditionals are far and away the best of the USA line. They seem to be the most consistent in my experience. Many a time a Traditional at SA or GC almost followed me home.

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