When you acquire a used 58 reissue from 1997, you forget how many years the Custom Shop Historic Collection program has been going – As somewhat of a joke, I pointed out to the previous owner that some vintage reissues are now almost vintage instruments in their own rights, if you believe any guitar over 25 years old is a vintage model – So let me welcome into stock a delightful Gibson Historic Collection R8 58 Reissue from 1997 – Officially tagged as a ‘butterscotch’ finish but looks more like a faded lemon burst finish – And how about that highly figured maple top – Looks more like an R9 and you see many models today that struggle to match the aesthetic qualities that is on display on this LP – This model pre-dates any certificate that was issued with later models, but the 5 digit inked serial number, starting 8 7, will clarify this is indeed a 58 reissue from 1997
The Custom Shop Reissue program has now been running for well over 20 years – Yet almost year up on year, Gibson have made a big fuss about ‘our best ever most accurate replica’ – We’ve had long and short tenons – Lam rosewood fingerboards – Changes to pick ups, different plastics and a host of other features, to entice you to part with your hard earned cash – Yet no matter if it is a 1997, 2007 or 2017 reissue then each guitar should be judged on its own basis as to how it feels, plays and sounds – So granted this 1997 might not be 100% accurate regarding certain specifications, but it is a might fine LP, with shed loads of character and over 20 years of its own vintage patina – As it happens there has been a buzz for a few years now about select early reissues, so grab one whilst you can
So in no particular order let me reveal a host of info :-
- Professionally re-fretted some while ago with medium jumbo frets – retains original style nibs – At the same time a bone nut was professionally fitted
- More historic correct switch surround and jack socket surround – both slimmer – ditto more accurate scratchplate – All now fitted to this R8
- Bare Knuckle Rebel Yell pick-ups – 8.18K neck + 13.54K bridge – More on this later
- Black Gibson Custom case – all in good order regarding finish, latches etc
- Whole guitar weighs 9lbs
- Now over 21 years old, so it has acquired is own natural aged patina – Not in a seriously aged way, but something approaching what Gibson now call a VOS finish – Oxidized and tarnished nickel hardware – No nasty grazes to the thin nitro finish, but plenty of fade and only light, almost superficial wear – No fret issues – So at least you can play it on a regular basis with out giving it the kids glove treatment
- Highly figured maple top – looks don’t lie, so plain to see the aesthetic qualities on display on this R8 – With a finish that looks like a faded lemon burst – So much character
- All nickel hardware including ABR-1 bridge with wire/retainer
- Long tenon neck/body join
- Full rounded C profile that measures .882″ around the top nut end and fills up to .998″ around the 12th fret – Slimmer shoulders so feels more like a C then a D profile, so comfortable depth – It doesn’t feel as fat as the measurements portray – Set up with 10’s and a slick action that will respond to a light touch
Tonal character from a set of Bare Knuckle Rebel Yell pick-ups – It came into stock with these pick-ups fitted – But I had chance to try it with a set of Gibson Custom Shop R8/R9 pick-ups, with maybe the aim of offering it for sale with a set of authentic replica pick-ups – Glad I tried it first, as in my opinion the Rebel Yell pick-ups walked all over the Gibson humbuckers , so yes the pick ups were once again changed and it is now sold with the Bare Knuckle Rebel Yell models fitted – Yes all humbuckers sound fat, rich and smooth – Yet the finer nuances offer variations within this criteria – The Rebel Yell pick-ups offered more in all areas, regarding clarity, warmth, soul etc etc etc – On clean amp settings it will produce plenty of character for lush laid back blues/jazz – To the point you won’t get bored with ‘The thrill is gone’ type of songs – Almost a single coil clarity compliments the big fat warmth on offer – Yet I dare say most LP’s spend their time plugged into the gain channel on the amp – Playing around with regular blues rock styles of Green, Kossoff and Moore and this LP delivers – Smooth, rich and warm to throaty bark with just enough bite – Just enough muscle in the mids to add body but not overpower so as to go mushy/moody , yet it adds to the guitars depth of sustain – Utilise the volume control to adjust the level of gain required, with even just an edit to the tone pot if required – This approach will allow you to set up base camp with the volume pot on/around 6/7 for more of a clean chilled out voice with a hint of gain – Then back to 10 when you require more gain – As such subtle tweaks produce effective variations in gain – As such so much emotional control at your fingertips
Now on to more gain on the amp and this is where the Rebel Yell pick-ups really score – As a known reference point, It gives you more of that ‘Slash’ AFD voice with good muscle in the mids – Some LP’s run out of steam when you require a bit more gain, yet this R8 is in its element – In fact playing around with the volume pots and both less gain, or hi-gain and a host of useful voices are on offer – As such with the volume pots on 10 with a low gain amp settings, sounds different to the pots on/around 6/7 with a hi-gain amp setting – I found leaving the amp on hi-gain, but with the volume pot back around the 6 mark delivers the ‘Still got the blues’ tone and sustain, on either neck or bridge pick-ups – Yet wind the volume pot back towards 10 when you want more of a full on approach – Power chords and 2 note riffs sound tight and in control with good articulation plus big clear lows – Lush to bite, smooth and lush to raw and this LP offers so much – It offers so much emotion, soul, passion and expression across both clean and gain amp settings – It certainly is not a one trick pony
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Guitars4You Offers Reliability, Integrity and Expertise
Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A journey, now in excess of 40 years, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.
I have no desire to run an Amazon style 'click to buy' guitar shop, that lacks any soul or passion, or indeed to fill a showroom with a selection of dirty, shop soiled or dusty guitars that are in need of a set-up.
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