Some guitars are definitely overpriced. While Gibson and Fender created the iconic designs and made great individual examples, things changed. You really have to look at the factory at the time, not the brand. Gibson and Fender struggled with quality since the 70's and Japanese companies stepped in to make better quality copies and then originals. My understanding of the Chinese Epiphones is that they are made in single brand factory as apposed to a sub contractor and do have a reputation for great quality. The best deals, if you a brave enough are 90's made in Japan shredder guitars from Ibanez or Jackson, they look like the horrible Korean ones, but are the function equivalent of the Ibanez Prestige line at around 20% of the price.