Im_bored - I was expecting some debate!! Seriously, though - I really miss the crap out of my Alpine White Studio - I'll absolutely have another once I can afford to get more "toys." Because I miss her so: Its the little things that Gibson did to cut corners that bother me w/ the Studio. The savings is mainly in the lack of binding - which is great - who really needs to spend the extra money on that. I can even see the neck inlays as not being important. But why... WHY... didn't they use a graphite or bone nut? It was really hard for me to get past the headstock when I made my decision to go w/ the Elitist. And, the nitro finish and ebony fretboard are two very key things that are lacking from the Elitist. The woods used on both are excellent. I had to get real objective, sit there, and decide if I wanted a great guitar from Gibson, or a slightly "better" guitar from Epiphone (based on my observations) - it was a tough call. And I'll be honest - a big factor in my purchase was the fact that I already have an Alpine White Epiphone Les Paul Custom... I figured... "I can sneak this right under the wife's nose!!" And it worked! I was really trying to be argumentative in my initial statement... so I'll concede that they are both with their pros and cons - and those pros/cons are polar opposites of each other. As a consumer, I'd gladly have paid a couple hundred extra for a Studio if they'd get rid of some unneeded plastic, and several hundred extra for the Elitist if they'd go w/ the nitro and ebony fretboard. Anyways, if you're sitting around with $1000-1200, its nice to know that you can get a professional grade Paul from Gibson or their Elitist line that will sound like a $3000 guitar.