Stopped in at the Virginia Beach GC last night and browsed about a bit. (I'm a bit hesitant to display my guitar prowess in public) I picked up a couple of $1500 Strats and played them un-amped. The action seemed too low as there was what I considered excessive string buzz. I wonder how they will sell those things with what I consider a poor setup. I guess there are those who will buy a Fender before a Squier even though it's very tough to tell the difference for a novice to intermediate player in my opinion. (insert flame comments here ) They felt no better than my Squier 70s Vintage Modified. I've wanted to see just what the Gibson experience was so I bravely asked the guy behind the counter if he has an ES-335 as I had not seen one and I have an Epiphone of the same model. He turned around to point to it and of course it was 10 feet off the ground and he had to go get the ladder. Funny how all the Gibsons and nothing else are behind the counter. It was a very pretty one. Blue and purple flamed maple. The fit and finish was good. The price tag was like $3995. The first thing I noted was that it was quite a bit lighter than my Epi 335. So I sat down an played it un-amped for a bit. Darn if the action was so low that the strings buzzed. The frets really didn't feel much better than mine. How could GC stick a $4K guitar on the wall and not give it as perfect a setup as possible including a good fret polish? At least set to Gibson factory specs and there's no way it was a factory setup. I've set my Epi to those specs so I know what it feels like. There was really no way to test tone, at least not by me in a noisy GC, plugged into an Orange amp, playing quietly so hopefully nobody will pay any attention to the old guy with the expensive guitar he had no business holding. I was tempted to play "Stairway to Heaven" but "Wayne's World" kept coming to mind so I didn't. Was I impressed with this almost $4000 axe? I handed it back to the guy and told him it's bit better than my Epi-335 but not $3000 better... at least not for somebody with my guitar skills. I was lying too. My $400 Epi plays better even if it is a bit heavier. I have to be careful not to now judge Gibsons on my sampling pool of one.