Well, I'll share my experience with my SG 60s Tribute:
I wasn't planning on buying a new guitar when I walked into my local Long & McQuade, but I go by regularly just to see what's new. Guitars with P90s always catch my eye because they're my favorite pickup. Right at eye level on the wall was this nice SG with P90s, in what appeared to be a flawless satin finished red. I plugged it into a Fender '57 Deluxe reissue, noodled for 10 minutes, took it to the counter and took it home. This was in March of last year and up until then I hadn't heard of this model, but I was smitten. 10 months later I still love it; it is my go to guitar for gigs. I also have an American Standard Strat and a really nice Epi Valensi, but I just love the SG for it's feather weight, sweet, sweet neck, and of course those glorious P90s. I was also taken by the gorgeous satin finish against my forearm. I'm not kidding. I love it; it's perfect.
That being said, the gig bag sucked. It was just barely big enough to get the guitar in there. I promptly located an SKG molded case for it. Mine has a two piece body with the seam exactly down the middle, and the wood really nicely matched to the point that without examining it closely you might think it was one piece. However, from subsequent inspection of others I've come across since then, I realize that many are so ugly (uneven paint, glaringly mismatched, multi-piece lumber and rough finishes) that I've concluded that mine was just dumb luck that I stopped by the store when I did. I don't think they're all like the ones I saw after buying mine, based on both what I've read and a few I've seen, but a lot of them seem pretty rough. And of course, I suspect that even the ugly ones probably play really nice because they are made on machines that are very precise at reproducing things, so the necks should always be great and the P90s speak for themselves. These are, after all, budget guitars that offer a great player for a good price. They also allow Gibson to use some of their lower grade wood, and there's nothing wrong with that. I know for fact that the margins on these guitars are relatively low and so Gibson can't realistically spend the same amount of time on them that they do on their higher-end product.
I think we tend to be kind of hard on Gibson, and Henry J in particular. We need to be realistic about our expectations, and also how business works. Quality problems, if they become systemic, eventually sort themselves out because the market always forces manufacturers to do so or get out of the business. To be objective about it, I don't think, if I'd been in the market for a budget Gibson in the sixties, I could have found a new special or junior (the budget models) for the equivalent of $815 2011 dollars. And I suspect those early instruments were pretty rough in general compared to today's budget guitars.
I've also bought high end guitars from other manufacturers (Martin, for example, and a Seagull Artist) that showed signs of, um, hand-work, shall we say? This is not something unique to Gibson; all North American manufacturers are facing the same pressures. I saw one Martin recently, and not one of the cheap laminate models, that had what looked like black magic marker streaks under the finish on the back that were several inches long. The bridge on my own started lifting after about six months, a sign that not enough glue was used when it was put together.
The costs of raw materials and American labor are skyrocketing; something has to give or we need to be prepared to pay what will feel like exorbitant prices to be able to maintain the good ol' days.