Finally, someone gets Gibson's deal with the price. Gibson doesn't want to make instruments for the "working" musician. That is what Epiphone is for. Gibson wants to make an instrument that appears to be the best of the best. Gibson is a luxury brand. Gibson tries to position itself as the premier instrument maker in the world by pricing their instruments into the stratosphere (ie priced similarly to instruments from PRS, Sadowsky, et al.) because there is a large group of somewhat uneducated consumers who believe that price is synonymous with quality. Take a trip to their showcase store down in Nashville if you don't know what I mean. (Or better yet, do a search here. There's plenty of TBers who have described the Gibson Showcase better than I could.) They don't have to make the best, just stuff that the average consumer thinks is the best. (note: the average TBer is NOT equal to the average consumer).