I am about to buy a Les Paul, and I have these two options: A les paul standard 1998 and a les paul standard 2004. Both with burstbucker pros.
Cosmetically, they look very similar, so its not really about how beat up they are, but which one do you think is better? Is a late 90's model better/sound better than a 2004?
You need to try them out yourself.

I've tried Les Pauls from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s; and there hasn't been a decade that has reliably had all good or all bad guitars.
They're probably gonna sound so similar you won't be able to tell 'em apart with your ears, so I'd decide based on feel and cosmetics.
are you aware that you've started 10 threads with the topic of comparing les pauls that you are about to buy?

in answer to all of them - try the guitar. a guitar of a make and model is very rarely the same as another guitar of the same make and model. i would also suggest if you have to ask then you aren't ready as a player to sink so much into a guitar. Just my opinion though
^ Generally, the older the guitar, the more separation and sweetness in the tone, but then if it's too old it will more likely have been refinished or had parts replaced.
mine is a 2004 and the playability and tone is just superb, if that helps
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Well from experience late 90's Gibsons are among the best you can find. I have a '98 Studio and it blows most modern day Les Pauls out of the water. But I say try them, every guitar is different.
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