Welcome to ETSG... +1 on many of my colleagues posts here... One of ETSG's folk wisdom mantras goes like this: PLAY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT That's how you know. Personally, I feel that the way to buy a guitar is to go where they sell them, and play as many as they'll let you. Buy the one that comes alive in your hands. If none does, keep looking. IMHO it isn't cosmetic details or decorations, or the color of the paint, or the shape of the P/G that matters. What matters is how it feels to play, how it sounds through your own signal chain (or one like it) and whether it balances or not. If you (by luck or persistence) happen to find a guitar that you bond with... buy that one, whatever the cost and never sell it. You'll play better music on a guitar like that. To me, these things are crucial. I own two SGs, and each of mine balances perfectly with no hands on the instrument. But I see plenty of posts on this forum by players whose SGs are head heavy, and will nose dive for the floor if you attempt to raise both hands like Angus does. I would not buy a guitar that was head heavy. Also, I would not buy a guitar based on what year it was made, or based on recommendations from strangers (like me) on the internet who know nothing about my music. I would certainly ask opinions, and read the responses, and consider what was said, and then I would try out as many as possible and make up my own mind. I would buy a guitar that had the kind of pickups that make a tone I liked, and I would buy a used one in order to save some money, and then I would spend the money I saved on professional setup, a comfortable strap and a hard and durable case. Since I joined this forum, I have seen many posts by guys who bought a guitar without playing it first, and then began to find fault with it. These stories always make me a little sad. I've read posts where guys say, "My new Les Paul feels great in my hands, it's comfortable to play, it sounds great through my amp, BUT there's a flaw in the finish and I can't stand the idea that I paid so much for a guitar that isn't perfect." To me, the first three items are the only ones that are important.