Is there a better guitar than an R9?


Supporting Member
Yup, not being a fan of humbuckers, all of my guitars are better than an R9;).
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john weires

Supporting Member
I had the same R9 twice (bought-sold-rebought-sold). Pro's were the sound, name and looks. Con's were for me a muddy sounding neck pickup, poor play-ability with it's fat neck and lousy upper fret access, and despite visits to a compete tech it struggled to stay in tune. I finally traded it in on an Anderson Bobcat which IMO opinion is a R9 done right, at least for me. It's better in every regard for my purposes.


Supporting Member
For best Les Paul? Probably not

But I'd rather have something else

I think the few folks who own real 59s might argue on the Les Paul front. ; )

I love my Paul. It's a Goldtop Historic with a stopbar and buckers instead of 90s. But I do play it less than my Strats. I'm not the least bit interested in an R9. Sorry, OP. Not being a smartass.


Constant GAS
Gold Supporting Member
Guitar shop I was at last week just got in a 1993 R9, that was the first year they came out as an R9.


I had an R8 and an R9 and for some reason just didn't play them much. I've always been drawn to a LP, but every time I buy one, I find that it's very uncomfortable to play, so it just sits. They're beautiful, but I've finally come to the realization they're just not for me. I wanted the sound, though, so ultimately a Kauer Starliner made me sell all my LPs. Ergonomically, much more comfortable, lighter and the one I have has so much more clarity and snap, with a much more beautiful mid-range compared to the R8, R9, or Traditionals I've had. YMMV.
I haven't read the rest of the thread yet, but this. Les Pauls are iconic and beautiful to look at, but ergonomically not to my taste, and I never enjoy playing them as much as I do looking at them. It's hard to believe that anyone with wide experience of modern guitars would pick a Les Paul for comfort. I do like how the right hand sits on / above the bridge, but the upper fret access / heel situation is a car crash, the body isn't contoured, the neck is fat and unwieldy, the pickup switch is nowhere near the other controls, etc. To get to the high frets, you need to get vertical, which explains why Slash looks like he does much of the time. Although of course the Kris Derrig might have a more user-friendly neck joint. ;)
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Based on everyone's personal experience, tastes, playing style, and a myriad of other factors, I don't believe that any one model of any guitar can be found to be number one, and yes, I include Strats in this statement.
Strats maybe the most popular guitar every built, but, I believe the question posed is asking for a personal reply, and not a reply based on overall popularity.

I find Les Pauls to be comfortable, along with the other 3 food groups of guitars; Teles, Strats, and 335's. I never found them to be uncomfortable, but then when I started, no one complained about much of anything concerning guitars. Nowadays, complaining seems to be part of the equation, for some.

I also think monetary consideration needs to be part of the equation, as some players either would not spend the amount of money for an R-whatever, or cannot afford such a guitar.

I also think consideration must be given to the age of the individual player, as when some started, maybe super strats were in fashion, or some other guitar, or part of the music being offered, which these younger players were brought up on, so their taste in guitars is different from others.
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Very subjective question, I know.

I’d like to ask those with experience in owning, playing, or lusting after an R9, if there was any electric guitar they liked better, and for what reason(s)?

I’m just curious.

I own an R9, and often wonder why folks move on from these, what did they move onto, and why?

I have a True Historic R9 and two PRS 594 McCarty's. PRS is clearly better in all respects. Tone is subjective yes, but the wins on engineering and build quality are more objective than not. And the 594s sound great.

David Garner

Gold Supporting Member
Yes. And as I articulated in my recent thread, I'm underwhelmed by R9 etc and sold all of mine since my non CS Gibsons have taken their stage time. I swapped the magnets to A3 on my 2006 Classic, and the sound was as good as my R9s (if not better). I like both necks, but being able to dial in the sound with magnet, pot, and cap swaps without caring about devaluing the guitar so much was a clincher.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, yes. Non CS Gibsons modded to my tastes ended up being better than the reissues. Nothing I would want different.

I haven't owned an Historic but I've played a few. And this is roughly where I am. I have 2 Les Pauls, having traded my DGT for a 2nd one a while back. The thought has occurred to me "you could sell them both and get an R8 or R9, but every time I think about it, I realize I really do love these two guitars, and I cannot imagine the R8 or R9 is going to give me something they don't.

They're both modded. The Traditional has Antiquities and the 93 Standard has Custom Shop Pearly Gates pickups. Both have Faber hardware. Both have wiring upgrades (50s wiring and orange drop caps for the Trad, done by the prior owner, and RS Superpots/CTS 5% pots and Emerson PIO caps for the Standard, also 50s wiring). And both of them fit like a glove. I can't imagine getting an R8 or R9 and worrying about whether modding it will affect the resale value. And I can't imagine it playing or sounding any better than these.

Granted, they're tools for me. And if I was a pro musician, I'd probably have a stable of R9s and mod them to my heart's content. But I'm not, and I'd rather have these two and the slightly varied tones they give me than any one Historic. Maybe one day that will change. For now, I'd rather sell one of them to fund a 335 or maybe an SG and another Strat than to trade them both in on one guitar just like them.


Supporting Member
R0 for me. I have an 82 30th anniversary goldtop and once I put good pots in, there it was. Same neck profile to me as the R0's though. I've owned a few 59 gibson flattops and the neck profile gets exaggerated. R0's are nowhere near as thin as a 60-65 gibson either.

Jon C

Silver Supporting Member
For what?

Ultimate YMMV scenario. I love mine but for me there are better guitars.


Silver Supporting Member
Les Pauls are weird in that you can take two that are the identical on paper, and they'll play and sound vastly different from each other. I've played R9's and a real '59 that were dogs. I've also had my hands on the Dangerburst... what a great Les Paul. I never played it amplified but when a friend did it was definitely special.

I've been through the wringer with R8's and R9's, currently playing an R7 I love but I secretly wish it was a lemonburst 8 or 9 just for the looks.

If I didn't need chunky necks I'd probably still own a ton of Hamers from back in the day. For a lot of reasons, I could always buy one at a distance knowing I'd get a great guitar (even in the "Hameritis" days).

big mike

Gold Supporting Member
Seems weird to me too. I love the sound of Led Pauls, but Strats just feel more comfortable. Go figure
Love les pauls..but they cause me a great deal of pain to play. Bummer. I had a beautiful cherry sunburst custom for a long time.
Kauer Starliner fixed the LP thing for me. No pain, all the tone, great guitar. (goldtop P90s. WOOT!)

Strats I love when others play them.

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