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Here's my 1998 R8...... It was Gibson's NAMM show guitar at the Summer 98 show....... The depth of the flame pattern and the 3D nature of the flames are like a WASHBOARD - you expect to feel them when you run your hands over them - I think this top blows away a lot of R9 Killer tops..... Plus, and more importantly, it sounds pretty damn good too!
I bet the same month - not sure how many they made in '02? Does your fingerboard look like Brazilian rosewood (very dark), mine does - even though it was determined that they didn't use Brazilian for '02 R8s.
Here's my '01 CA R8. Has Wolfetone Dr. V's and the RS kit. Aging nicely since these pics were taken a few years ago. The neck, back and sides have turned a nice light brown. The top seems a little lighter also.
These are both 2013 R8 plain tops. The Iced Tea has more of a peakaboo flame but the Lemon is unbelievable. I've never been a burst or flame guy (always used goldtops) but both of these guitars are exceptional. I couldn't leave the store without them.
Been looking at these 2013 Historics all year and have been dragging my feet. This one came along and I fell in love with the top and color on it straight away. Who needs an R9 when there's R8's like this available!