You don't need to spend a fortune to get a quality Gibson guitar. Look for a model of Gibson that's out of production, stripped down or imperfect. Buy one without all the bells and whistles of professional models.
Vintage Gibson guitars, particularly those made in the 1960s, are worth thousands of dollars. Don't consider buying any Gibson guitar over 10 years old.
When looking for a Gibson guitar to buy, remember that the seller needs money and may be willing to trade his Gibson guitar for another cheaper guitar, plus a smaller amount of money.
Search the want ads and online auctions for off-brand models of Gibson guitars that did not become popular. These off brands are often just as high in quality as the top-selling brands, for much less money.
Try to find a Gibson that is plain and simple. You don't need all the fancy electronics, engravings, carvings or gold plating. Simple versions of Gibson guitars sound just as good as the fancy ones.
Faded or Worn
Try to find a version of a Gibson guitar that is marketed as "faded" or "worn." These two distinctions mark Gibson's effort to build guitars that sell for less money by cutting down on the lacquer, stain and final finish.
Examine the guitar for imperfections. If you find any dents, scratches or cracks, offer less money for the guitar. If the imperfections are simply cosmetic, they can easily be repaired.