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My first historic was a 2016 R8 my second was a 2013 R4. So I went the other way I guess.
I did do some research I guess 2013 was the year they started making some changes that most forum users seem to think are improvements.
I know my 2016 has R before the serial #. My 2013 looks like an old Gibson serial number and there is no R. This seems to really aggravate purists. If I hadn't read about it I probably wouldn't have noticed. I also remember reading that they use hide glue in more places in 2016, although they did use hide glue in 2013 as well.
I guess the main thing for me is they are both awesome guitars and if it wasn't for the internet and specs I wouldn't have noticed any of these things.
You're going to love your 2016 R8. I have two of them now!
The pore filler and dye used on the neck, back and sides is the biggest noticeable difference. It is much darker in color on the 14's, 15's & 16's. And unfortunately it tends to bleed into the binding much more too.
All those changes happened in '13. Only difference between '13 and '14 I am aware of is the hide glue between the fretboard and neck ('13 still has tite bond). '15 got the f'd up "CS" neck tenon and '16 is back to '14 "standard" Historic spec (except with the "R" serial number prefix).