I have 3 2016's that are fantastic (Tribute 60's SG Junior and Les Paul Junior) and a 2002 Les Paul Standard that is absolutely beautiful so... I think there are good and bad in all years.. I was able to try them out.. but its so difficult when you need to buy online... good luck in your search
1960 Melody Maker from Belgium (I live in England) ... I paid £2000 and it is ... I’m pleased to say an awesome tone machine. I bought it through Reverb... not sure if they would have helped me out if it was a dud in any way
I have a 1960 Melody Maker that has an excellent Brazilian Fretboard, however when comparing it to my 2016 Gibson Junior apart from the aesthetics of age, I wouldn’t say there was a huge difference in feel.
Yes the soap bar looks great on that great looking machine, my custom built ‘Vanquish’ has the same set up...
The finish on the desert star is awesome.... If I didn’t have the Vanquish I would definitely want one... it’s a work of art !!