I don't contribute much to this forum, but I read it quite a bit. I thought I would offer up an opinion on this topic, I hope it adds something to the conversation.
I had played a long time, but wasn't big a fan of Gibsons. I owned a Les Paul Studio when they first came out in the 80s that was a decent, unobjectionable, great-looking but unremarkable guitar, and my brother owned a Black Beauty Custom from the 70s that was a horrible guitar...but that was only two guitars.
After a many year hiatus I starting playing again a few years ago after my brother insisted on lending me his Murphy-aged R-7. I have owned a lot of guitars, but that is a special guitar in many ways and got me back into playing. So...since that time I now know firsthand Gibson makes great guitars. Sometimes.
Gibson makes a lot of guitars. The more guitars you make the greater the chances are of producing a special guitar, especially an average guitar and sub par guitar as well. So look for a good one(not just a good-looking one)IMO(and that goes for any brand). And if you are on a budget in a big city, get to know Craigslist. It is your friend.
I went on a quest to find a good LP a few years ago and found a 2005 Honey Burst Standard for $1450 CAD, which is less than $1200.00 USD. It took me over a year to find it, but I got a great guitar that I haven't really put down since until recently. One of the reasons I don't post much. ;-)
When I got it, it was virtually new. You could still smell the nitro finish when you took it out of the case. Basically a new guitar that I loved the sound of the moment I hit a chord on it. It had something special going on. It isn't perfect, but it has a tonal quality that is basically nuance which makes it different to my ears. It had many owners before me who didn't like it enough to even play it. Is that a great guitar? To me it is.
But my Standard isn't a Custom Shop guitar, and I wanted to see if I could find something really special in a CS model. So I just kept scouring Craigslist and I have looked at a lot of them. I recently found one that I thought might be interesting, but it was bought by the same guy my brother got the R-7 from before I could look at it. He didn't like it, so he lent it to my brother. He doesn't like 50s necks to he lent it to me. I love and I now own it.
It was someone's dream guitar. A one-off Standard ordered from the CS with a BB3 in the Bridge, BB2 in the neck and a BB3 wired ala Peter Greene in the middle position. It has a tobacco 'burst on a quilted top. Since it was ordered it has been bought and sold several times moved from Alberta to BC and along the way the COA has been lost and the CS case sold off. No one liked this guitar enough to keep it, or even take care of it. So I got it for $2200 CAD/under $1800 USD. But it is clearly a superior build and to me it is nearly up there with my brother's R-7. I have read enough to know unless there are pix it didn't happen so I will post one. ;-)
So....I have also tried to find a special PRS over the same amount of time(over two years) and I have looked at exactly three. I guess PRS fans would tell you their owners never want to sell them, but I suspect the real reason is because there just aren't that many out there. The ones I looked at were all nice looking, well made, nice to play and otherwise unremarkable. I know there are great ones out there as well as dogs, but I don't think life is long enough to find a great one. And furthermore trying to buy a PRS the same quality as my Gibsons would cost twice as much.
If you are in the used market and want something nicer than a Fender, but want a special instrument, IMO you will have a better chance finding that in a Gibson.
As for ordering a guitar from Gibson PRS or anyone else, if you buy a guitar you have never played it may not meet your expectations.
Luckily I don't post much, as this seems to be an epic.
Lastly, I don't really like the look of three-pickup Les Pauls. But I was trying to decide if they were cool or not based on their players. It was a tough call until I ran across an unexpected endorsee.
Beautiful guitar GnR. Honeyburst?