Hard to remember or believe that a Gold Top cost $300. Inexpensive was never a Gibson trait. Isn't it strange that two American guitar manufacturers dominated the world of popular music for so many decades and still do? Seems strange to me, anyway. The Koreans and Japanese make fine instruments for very little money nowadays...but Fender and Gibson they ain't. Slow tempo "ballads" sure aren't as popular as they were then. I wonder if today's best players could handle them as well? Well they sure don't, so maybe it's safe to say no? Or maybe my mind isn't grokking the last twenty years very well atm.