Gibson custom shop guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by hhawkins, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. hhawkins

    hhawkins Member

    Mar 9, 2012
    Northern Ireland, UK
    Just wondering what people's opinions are on the R7, R8, R9, R0 and the gibson custom shop in general.

    I hear a lot of guys saying that they are so much better than Gibsons line of regular production guitars, but I want to know specifically why they are so much better.

    What are the differences in sound, feel, playability?

    I know this is a subjective thing, but I would still like to hear the opinions of people who have, have owned or have played a gibson custom shop guitar.

  2. Raymond Lin

    Raymond Lin Member

    Apr 10, 2014
    In theory

    1 - attention to detail
    2 - better consistency
    3 - better quality parts

    In actual fact

    1 - pot luck
    2 - pot luck
    3 - debatable

    But you get bragging rights for having a Custom Shop!

    I do have a Custom Shop, and in my experience all 3 in theory came true, it played batter, made better and the flame on the maple is better, I like the pick ups and hardware more.
  3. ixnay

    ixnay Member

    Jul 10, 2011
    I've owned 50 or so Gibsons over the last 15+years and I've never noticed a significant difference between the Custom/Historic models and the USA models. Certainly not a difference that would justify paying thousands more. If my choice is between a $2000 Standard or Traditional or a $4000+ Custom/Historic, I'll go with the Standard or Traditional. If the Custom/Historic is around $2500, I'll go with the Custom/Historic model.
  4. RJLII

    RJLII Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I have three historics (R6, R7 Custom, R8). All are exceptional players and all sound great. They are all pretty plain which is fine with me. I didn't but them for the bling. They all have fat neck profiles I like, which wasn't the case with the standard Gibson USA offerings. They also have ABR1 bridges, which I prefer over the Nashville versions. I also prefer the lighter Kluson style tuners on the R6 and R8. For me, they are a superior guitar versus the USA standards, but that's just me.
  5. sleep

    sleep Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2012
    I own a few Gibson CS guitars (3 are LPs), I also own a few standard production guitars.

    A lot of the things that you are paying for have nothing do do with playability, but you're less likely to end up with a butcher block body (though they seem to try to make those unobtrusive on the standard line anyway), weird binding colors, or really heavy guitars. You're also paying for some degree of historical accuracy and (often) big necks- it is very hard to find, for example, a non CS firebird with a truly thick neck (I realize you're mainly interested in LPs).

    There are many non-CS Gibsons that are just as good as the CS stuff. The attention to detail on the mid/late 90's guitars is as good as the custom shop on many guitars I've owned, but some of those (like the LP specials) did have the butcher block body/p100s/other things that many CS buyers dislike.

    More recent standard production Gibsons have had some (to me) very unappealing fretboard coloration/materials (especially the 2015s) but they've usually played well. I don't think there's much of a difference w/r/t playability between a well set up standard issue or custom shop guitar.

    With a CS, you also get a really nice case and a bunch of crap in the case pocket that you can't lose if you ever want to re-sell the guitar.
  6. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    The first thing you will notice is a much fatter neck on the R4s - R9s and then wider/lower frets.
  7. +3kk!

    +3kk! Member

    Nov 8, 2010
    based on my limited experience from hunting for an R8

    the differences are as mentioned before

    - lighter bodies
    - nicer looking wood
    - neck carves that are not found in the USA series (thick necks for R8 etc)
    - attention to detail, more accurate pots, carves, less tool marks on the frets, inlays fit better .........etc

    generally the things i dont see much difference

    - feel and playability

    i leave the question of if its "better" and is it worth it to you, to me its a bit hard to justify the price, unless its a second hand unit
  8. plaintopper

    plaintopper Member

    Jan 19, 2011
    Go play 5 USA Les Pauls (Trads and Standards), then play 5 historics. Decent enough sample size. If after that, you don't hear, feel or sense the what you would be paying for (or that the difference isn't worth the price premium) then by all means buy a USA guitar.

    At that point you will have done your own hands-on research and can make an informed choice.

    What you get is better wood, a traditional long neck tenon instead of a rocker tenon, generally better finish, a shallower neck angle that allows the tailpiece to be decked instead of sticking up on stilts. They have a different baseline level of playability, IMO. Current historics come with what i consider to be very good pickups.

    As for sound, I've played great sounding LPs of every ilk. From lowly Tributes all the way up the line. Most agree that historics consistently have something extra, but only your ears, a good amp and a reasonable sample size of back to back demos can tell you if that's true. Nobody can articulate it effectively with words on a forum.

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