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#1
I had a Les Paul classic a few years ago and although it was beautiful it was very heavy and it didn't stay in tune very well even after having it professionally set up. It also cost me over two grand. Anyway I sold it and got most of my money back. I have recently bought an Ibanez ARZ guitar with EMG's in it and it plays great but it is more suited to playing metal than anything else. So I was thinking of buying another Les Paul. Here's the thing. I went to my local guitar store which has a very large selection of Les Pauls and played a lot of them. Outside of finish and electronics they were all pretty much the same. Meaning they were all twenty two frets, had humbuckers in them. Now I'm sure some were made with different woods but playing them through a good tube amp I just couldn't see why some were hundreds of dollars more than others. I feel like some were just way over priced and felt like I would be paying more for the nameplate than anything else. Is there that much difference in Les Pauls that justify the price differences? I'm not talking about the beginner models. Also what do you think of Epi Les Pauls and are they that much worse than Gibsons and is that why you can get them at such a lower price?
#2
This is not a question that we can answer for you, or give you a general answer to. Everybody is going to have their own break point for "worth it" or "not worth it" and none of them are based on your personal budget and experience.

If your local shop has a bunch of Les Pauls, they must have some Epiphones. Go play as many guitars as you can and form your own opinion. It sounds like you've already started to discover what you would and would not pay for, don't start asking other people to form opinions for you now!
#3
Okay. I have money and am willing to pay for quality but maybe I just didn't ask my question correctly. So maybe what I should have said is are the differences in the woods and finishes really play that much in the play-ability of the guitar and thus warrant the prices asked for them?
#4
Thing is, not all Les Pauls(even Gibsons of the same model and year of manufacture) are created equal.

I got a Gibby LP classic this year. the store I got it from had 5(same year, different finishes), and they all played differently.

Play them, and decide if you love any of them more than you love(or like, or just sort of appreciate) your money. If not, walk away.
#5
I understood your question, but I think it's a question that doesn't have much value because you're asking for an objective answer to a subjective question. We cannot tell you what is worth it and what is not, especially in such vague terms. Maybe if it were between a few models it would be easier to point out what the strong and weak points are, and what kind of markup you're looking at.

You said you couldn't really tell a difference, though, so why not just get the cheapest one that satisfies you? What does my idea of "quality" mean if it has no effect on your experience of the instrument?
#6
Quote by jrockz
I had a Les Paul classic a few years ago and although it was beautiful it was very heavy and it didn't stay in tune very well even after having it professionally set up. It also cost me over two grand. Outside of finish and electronics they were all pretty much the same. Meaning they were all twenty two frets, had humbuckers in them. Is there that much difference in Les Pauls that justify the price differences?


I've got a stack of Gibsons, and I'm fine with them. In most cases, they were built before 1980, and most were "middle of the line" and up when they were new.

But the world changed. Some of the Japanese guitars in the late '70's and early '80's were actually better quality than the Gibsons of their day, and by the mid-80's, Gibson was faltering and on the brink of going under. Henry J and his partner purchased Epiphone and Gibson in January of '86 for small money. The Les Paul was nearly defunct, considered "my dad's guitar." Henry got VERY lucky in July of 1987 when Appetite for Destruction hit the streets, with Slash slinging a counterfeit Gibson Les Paul.

Suddenly the LP was popular again, and both the LP and Gibson took off.

The world is changing again. Now Korean manufacturers (and Chinese makers scrabbling fast behind them) are producing some very high quality guitars. Gibson buys its woods from the same places in Asia and India, and a lot of the hardware comes from sources in Korea and China. Gibson has literally painted itself into a corner by heavily advertising a "traditional" nitrocellulose finish; modern finishes dry faster, can be put on more evenly and don't discolor, check, crack or outgas nitric and sulfuric acids as they age, nor do they react with some chemicals and materials. And modern finishes protect the guitars better.

You can get lighter guitars and better woods at lower prices from custom builders like Carvin. You can get neck-through construction, carved neck heels and tummy cuts, 24-fret necks, stainless frets, more kinds of finish and inlay, Floyd trems, locking tuners, longer scales (25.5", 26.8", 27", etc.) from non-Gibson companies, and you can get all of that at a fraction of the cost of a comparable Gibson. Take any one of these guitars to your local PLEK-savvy tech, and you'll likely end up with a guitar that will sound better, play better, look better and last longer than a same-spec Gibson. But lordie, will you hear it from the Gibson fanbois because it doesn't have the "right" logo on the headstock.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 16, 2014,
#7
Got it. I will ask somewhere else and maybe get much more specific. Sorry the question was too generalized to answer. Didn't mean to waste anyone's time. Thanks for your input.
#8
The short answer is, IMO, that expensive electrics and most factory acoustics are no better as music making tools than Chinese cheapos, especially if you go in for modding. However, most of us like to own nice things and/or are willing to pay for mojo, which includes the name on the headstock. I have five really cheap but modded electrics that all sound as good as my Gibson LP Special. However, I still wouldn't part with it, even though I rarely play it because I think it is too heavy.

You have to decide how much premium you are prepared to pay for mojo, penis waving, hero worship or whatever.
#9
It's a good thing your not looking at a Gil Yaron guitars which start at $10,000.

It is all relative and personal. what I think is too much doesn't matter to someone who has the opposite view, it comes down to what YOU deem as too expensive. I know people who think $500 is more than enough to spend on a guitar, I have other friends that will drop $3000+.
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#10
Quote by jrockz
Okay. I have money and am willing to pay for quality but maybe I just didn't ask my question correctly. So maybe what I should have said is are the differences in the woods and finishes really play that much in the play-ability of the guitar and thus warrant the prices asked for them?


Quick answer: No.

If you really want a Les Paul, go for it. Play before you buy, for sure, to make sure you get a good one, but if you do get a good one, it'll be a great guitar that will last you your whole life. But, Gibsons are overpriced for no reason but their name. Every single one of them. If you're the least bit worried about the price or value, there are tons of companies making guitars that are the exact same quality or better (looking at the aspects that can be objectively measured or quantified) than any Gibson, and selling them for less than half the price.
#11
Quote by jrockz
Got it. I will ask somewhere else and maybe get much more specific. Sorry the question was too generalized to answer. Didn't mean to waste anyone's time. Thanks for your input.

The problem isn't where you asked, it's what you asked. Though I suppose if you were to ask on a Gibson forum, most would tell you "yes."

No one but you can know whether or not it's worth your money for you to buy a guitar that you'll be playing.

If you had asked us whether or not we believe that it's worth it to each of us individually if having a Gibson Les Paul is worth the money, then that's something we could actually answer. If this is what you want, then my answer would be that I believe every well-known brand uses its cachet to its advantage by raising the price. It would be daft not to do so as a business. I could say that, even as a Fender loyalist, I could have paid much less for similar guitars I own. I'm a great consumer for people who are in the marketing field, as a lot of the items I buy happen to have a lot of brand cachet. Every guitar and amplifier I have cost at least $1,200 and I thought they were worth the money. I could have gone to Carvin and gotten more appointments for the same price, but it wouldn't have been the sound and feel I want. I could have gone to G&L and had a similar quality guitar for less, but it wouldn't have been the sound I want. A lot of my gear has some kind of "grail" quality to it because of the brands, but the other options compromised too much from what I really wanted. I plan on buying my first Gibson soon, for which I can't find a suitable compromise anyway, so yeah, I think some Gibson guitars are worth the money because they have qualities I seek for a price I'm willing to pay. Some say that for some brands, especially Gibson, charges you for the logo, and some are willing to admit they pay for that experience, but people forget that it could be worth the extra buck if there is no suitable compromise.

As a psychology major, though, I'm willing to accept that I could have been biased when choosing my gear/misc. items, as much as I want to believe I'm above it all.
#12
Play all types of LPs until you fall in love with one. Have a look at some Epiphones, definitely don't rule them out. If an Epiphone plays perfectly but the tone isn't that great you can always upgrade the pickups.
#13
Seems like he's asking about the differences withing Gibson LPs themselves in relation to their price differences, not necessarily about our opinion on what he should buy with his budget, or to judge "worth" in the objective way. I took it as "Guitar A has these features, Guitar B has these ones for X amount more, so are the PuPs or hardware or whatever the differences from Guitar A are equal to the price difference?"
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#14
How would you define "equal to the price difference" without having it mean something really similar to "worth?" That's just a bit of verbal acrobatics, it doesn't significantly change the question.

Anybody with a bit of experience with these things could tell you that looking at the spec sheet doesn't tell the whole story.
#15
Well try them out since you have the chance. I always think there is a point where there are diminishing returns and you are just simply paying more and getting nothing extra. A lot of times the extra features are not needed and in fact some may very well be unwanted.
Break it down to what features you really want on your Les Paul. Personally I think I could do with a studio if I was so inclined. I might like a Deluxe because I had one years ago but that is another story.
When I bought my Gretsch I decided what features I needed. I wanted some sort of filtron pickup and a guitar that was not just a plank a carved top or hollow body. I got the most reasonable one with those features.

So break down what you need in a Les Paul. Get one that meets those needs pocket the rest.
#16
I have an Epiphone Les Paul Custom that's perfectly adequate. But I'll be buying a Gibson Les Paul ASAP for the same reason I want a nice Taylor to hang on the wall beside my Martin. When a Seagull would be fine. The snob factor! Folks in Colorado call me a weed snob too. Oh well, buy what you feel coz they're all nice.
#17
Quote by Roc8995
How would you define "equal to the price difference" without having it mean something really similar to "worth?" That's just a bit of verbal acrobatics, it doesn't significantly change the question.

Anybody with a bit of experience with these things could tell you that looking at the spec sheet doesn't tell the whole story.


I was trying to describe how I thought he meant it, but just like the OP, it's tough to do. Everyone has basically said the same thing, which is something along the lines of "we don't know what your income or comfort level of spending is so we can't answer the question". But you CAN, because it's not about who is comfortable spending what, it's about if a guitar that's $200 more than a similar guitar has a reason for being $200 more, or if it's just a price point. For example if spec-wise they're the same except for the pickups, then I f you bought the PuP sets from both guitars standalone, would the PuPs from the $200 more guitar cost $200 more? Of course that's just hypothetical, but I think that is the type of question he meant. On paper, do the differences between the 2 guitars equal out price wise, if you were to go part by part. And I think it was made even more important by the fact that he said a lot of the ones he played sound very similar. So do the spec differences equal out to the price point differences was how I interpreted OP's question, as opposed to a "should I buy this more expensive one or not" question, which by a lot of replies seems how most others took it.

I could be totally wrong, so it may be moot haha, just my .02c
"Space may be the final frontier
But it's made in a hollywood basement."
#18
The thing about them is they're relatively good investments. The less Gibson make of a model, the better the investment. Buy a good quality guitar from another manufacturer with less of a name...(and they all have less of a name than Gibson), it halves in price after five years. Your Les paul could be worth well over 5 figures when you retire.
#19
No. Don't look at guitars as financial investments. I say this as a collector of many things, including guitars. You're lucky if they only depreciate slightly or hold absolute dollar value. Guitars that actually appreciate in value faster than the rate of inflation are rare.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#20
There is no right answer. Gibson guitars are unique, between the finish, materials and construction they have a formula that is their own. I've been playing 35+ years now and played & owned many different guitars, I appreciate what Gibson brings to the table (but to be honest I'm a Custom Shop guy). And for me it's not just the logo.
Does this mean Gibsons are "better"? No of course not, better is a purely personal evaluation. What I value in a guitar may mean nothing to someone else and vice versa.
Modern guitars today benefit from modern controlled processes that provide more consistency and as long as the design is correct the guitars will play fine. Same with materials, I don't mind paying extra for a solid one-piece mahogany body but it certainly isn't necessary and a multipiece body will not affect playability or how the guitar feels to you.
Where you are going to notice a difference is in hardware quality or pick up quality & these are changeable.

Until this year I would not have said Gibsons were overpriced considering where they are made, and all that goes into them. 2015 price increases though has me greatfull I have a winning R7 & R8 that I can keep for life as the price increase this year is IMO ridiculous and 'm a Gibson fan.
So what you need to decide is "can I notice anything unique in a Gibson that I can't find anywhere else"? or I can find something else that feels good to me and I'm happy.
All responses on this post including mine are simply opinions.
Moving on.....
#21
Some people pay the price so, technically, yes. I'm too efficiency obsessed, so I personally will probably never buy a brand new Gibson, regardless of my financial situation. However, if I were a rich rockstar like dspellman, I'd certainly go after a vintage Goldtop with p90s. In fact, it would probably be the first guitar I would go after if I were a rich rockstar...like dspellman and his "stack o' Gibsons".
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#22
I own 2 Gibsons bought new. A 2008 Les Paul Standard Faded and a 2012 Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop. Worth what I paid for them? Yes. Do they live and breathe unbelievable quality to me? Much less than my PRS SE that cost half as much. Why do I still feel more satisfied with these then?

Several reasons. They don't feel or sound like anything else I have tried. I get very much inspired to play, because they just feel perfect in my hands. Like a pair of old worn jeans, right from the start. I like the brand, the associations I have to it and the associations others have to it. Nothing beats all that, and I won't lie to you.

What I just don't get is people who argue that a Korean-made Ltd will be just as good. It's like offering someone a Casio-watch when they're shopping for a Rolex. Casio makes excellent watches, and I'm personally a fan G-Shocks but I won't convince someone who wants a Rolex that they will be just as good.
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#23
It depends on what is meant by "just as good."

A Rolex is a great watch. My father has one as part of his collection. It was his first quality watch, give on to him by a family friend, in honor of his graduation from med school.

However, a modern digital watch will keep better time and will be much more reliable...resistant to breakage and needing fewer and less expensive maintenance & repairs...if any.

What a Rolex does better, though, is make a statement about the wearer. And/or about how someone values craftsmanship versus manufacture. It is a piece of art whereas the digital watch is a timekeeping tool.

The same goes with guitars. It is quite possible that the Korean-made LTD delivers the same kind of tonal output as a Gibson many times its cost. But guitars not just tools for creating music, they are also aesthetic objects in their own right. And as such, how one interacts with one can be deeply personal. For someone who loves Gibsons, other guitars might not have that same...feel.

Or as an old bluesman might say, you may not feel that mojo with anything else.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#24
Quote by dannyalcatraz
It depends on what is meant by "just as good."

A Rolex is a great watch. My father has one as part of his collection. It was his first quality watch, give on to him by a family friend, in honor of his graduation from med school.

However, a modern digital watch will keep better time and will be much more reliable...resistant to breakage and needing fewer and less expensive maintenance & repairs...if any.

What a Rolex does better, though, is make a statement about the wearer. And/or about how someone values craftsmanship versus manufacture. It is a piece of art whereas the digital watch is a timekeeping tool.

The same goes with guitars. It is quite possible that the Korean-made LTD delivers the same kind of tonal output as a Gibson many times its cost. But guitars not just tools for creating music, they are also aesthetic objects in their own right. And as such, how one interacts with one can be deeply personal. For someone who loves Gibsons, other guitars might not have that same...feel.

Or as an old bluesman might say, you may not feel that mojo with anything else.



Totally.
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#25
Gibson's a "lifestyle" brand.
As with so many lifestyle brands, the intrinsic value (specs, workmanship, materials, etc.) probably won't hold up in comparison to other alternatives. Even within the brand itself, the differences won't justify the difference in price tag. Harley-Davidson, Rolex, Sub-Zero, Cadillac, Gucci -- all are recognizable brands that are probably not the finest examples of their kind. Materials, horsepower, workmanship, handling, time-keeping, efficiency, etc., may *all* be bettered by examples from brands that have much lower recognition. As with the Kardashians, aggressive marketing has created ephemeral extrinsic value where there is none and has layered that over whatever intrinsic value there may have been at one time.

Guitar players aren't a very sophisticated bunch, and most are sheep, with their limited vision reducing them to blindly following the asshole in front of them. So if you're a smart company and you can give one of the leaders a new direction, the rest will follow. That's what "tradition" is all about.
#26
Quote by dspellman
Guitar players aren't a very sophisticated bunch, and most are sheep, with their limited vision reducing them to blindly following the asshole in front of them.

if you aren't the lead dog...

the view never changes.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#27
Quote by jrockz
Got it. I will ask somewhere else and maybe get much more specific. Sorry the question was too generalized to answer. Didn't mean to waste anyone's time. Thanks for your input.


#28
Of course the brand name on the guitar plays a BIG factor in the price. You'd be foolish to think otherwise. Is Gibson or any other top name overpriced? Certainly! However you know what you're getting and know the guitar will hold it's value based on the history of that company. Whether that's worth it to you is a question only you can answer. The copies are very good these days, and not just epiphone either.
#29
I've avoided gibson for so many years. I just recently picked up a 2014 studio. I have to say I really enjoy playing it. It is in great shape. Nothing wrong with the frets or anything.

Now what I think the original question has to do with is, is it worth twice the price for a standard or 7 times the price for a custom.

I plan on getting a Standard. I've flirted with the idea of a custom. I don't think you with get a better playing or sounding guitar from say a standard to Custom. It's all about the build at this point. You are paying for man hours.

I've saved thousands of dollars buying satin finish guitars with no binding that look plain but play and sound as good as the models 1000 plus more.
#30
I'd just put different pickups in your Ibanez. I put a pair of Seymour Duncan '59s in mine and now I'm really happy with it. If I were to buy a Les Paul it would definitely be an Epiphone. If I want an investment I'll buy some stocks or bonds.
#31
Every Les Paul I have ever owned has been well worth the money.

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#32
There is no such thing as $200 better than something. That means nothing. When it comes to really expensive guitars, I think you don't pay that much for the sound or the feel any more. You pay for the special features (like looking really cool). A $1000 guitar can sound and feel as good as a $2000 guitar. But it will just look uglier. You will notice more differences between a $100 and a $300 guitar than a $800 and a $1000 guitar. Let alone a $1800 and $2000 guitar.

It's all about what you are willing to pay and what you are after. If I was willing to pay $1000 for my guitar, I would most likely pay it and not look at some crappy Chinese knock off because you couldn't somehow justify the $900 price difference. Bang for the buck and quality are different things.

You just have to pay for quality. I would buy the guitar that feels perfect to me and not care about the price (if it just fits your price range).

There are models like Les Paul Studio that don't cost that much. Then there are more expensive ones that just look cooler. The differences are in how "vintage-correct" the guitars are and that kind of stuff.

I think value is never objective. It depends on how much people are willing to spend on it. A guitar costs what it costs. I'm sure building one costs nowhere near its selling price. You are the one that decides if it's worth the money or not. If you find the perfect guitar for you, I think it is worth the money. I wouldn't buy a $300 Squier if I could spend $1500 on a guitar, unless the Squier was absolutely the best sounding and feeling guitar I could find in the price range (which I doubt). I wouldn't make compromises just because you could get almost as good a guitar for a bit cheaper.

My point is, go and play one. That way you'll know if it is worth it or not. If it really feels and sounds like the best guitar you have tried (and has all the features you want), yes, it is worth the money. Decide what's your budget. Try as many guitars as possible in the price range and pick the one that sounds and feels the best to you.

The only way to know if it's worth the price is if there's another guitar that feels and sounds the same. As chrismendiola said, he hasn't found one and doesn't want to compromise. So for him, yes, a Gibson Les Paul is worth it.

For me a Gibson Les Paul is not worth it because I'm not really into Les Pauls.
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#33
I love them for short scale guitars !! ..... but the price just kills me , I'm just too practical to get there but will someday .... I could buy two Reverends , a Bayonet and Sensei and a good amp for what a real LP cost , or buy a Carvin California Carved Top and California Single along with a nice amp for what a real LP cost's , I'm not talking about Epi's or Tokai who make good LP copies , you could even argue that the Tokai LP is better than 80 percent of the Gibson LP's out there ... you could get a PRS and a nice amp for what a really nice Gibson LP cost (I'm talking sweet LP's not the stripped down models) ....

it's the excess money to get into the LP that keeps me from getting one ..... this is basically the same reason why I choose G&L over Fender , you get twice the guitar (or more) for the same money with G&L over Fender
#34
I own two Les Pauls and I won't play anything else.
Everyonce in a while I'll buy another brand and it just sits on the stand.
Lesters do it for me, I am brand loyal to Gibson. They hold their value and they make a good product.
I work hard for my money and I want to know that if I buy something I will have a return on my investment.
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#35
Quote by mogo22
I've avoided gibson for so many years. I just recently picked up a 2014 studio. I have to say I really enjoy playing it. It is in great shape. Nothing wrong with the frets or anything.

Now what I think the original question has to do with is, is it worth twice the price for a standard or 7 times the price for a custom.

I plan on getting a Standard. I've flirted with the idea of a custom. I don't think you with get a better playing or sounding guitar from say a standard to Custom. It's all about the build at this point. You are paying for man hours.

I've saved thousands of dollars buying satin finish guitars with no binding that look plain but play and sound as good as the models 1000 plus more.



Are you talking LP Custom or Custom Shop LP? 2 totally different things here.
USA Standard LP
- fibre board headstock veneer (which is why the nitro sometimes bubbles around the tuners)
- Corian nut (till 2015)
- Thick neck & body binding with plain black dot markers
- Mahogany Neck set angle 5 degrees
- Chrome hardware
- Nashvile TOM
- usually 2 piece body weight relieved
- thick Nitro finish

A Custom Shop LP
- Holly (wood) headstock Veneer
- Nylon Nut
- thin neck and body binding with tortise shell dot markers
- 1/4 sawn mahogany neck set to 4 degrees
- Nickel HW
- ABR1 TOM
- Single piece, solid mahogany body
- thinner Nitro finish

I've owned USA and Custom Shop and for me the 2010 R7 & 2012 R8 (which really only cost me $500 & $600 more from the US than my 2010 Trad+ did from L&M) are a significant step up from the Trad which I sold sometime ago because it didn't get played once I had the other two.
R9s & R0's are much more money and you're paying $2K for a highly figured maple top against the R7 & R8 but that's about all you're getting for the step up to them.
Moving on.....
#36
I have an older Epiphone that is just as good as any Gibson I have heard So funny enough I have never felt the need to get a Gibson , Now I would never get a guitar made from china I can understand why people do but for me the quality from china is not good enough .
#37
They are nice but just like others will swear by Strat's or Tele's, different strokes for different folks. It's really all in the personal preference and the sound/tone you are going for. I've had the pleasure to playing a few, I didn't mind them however I have always been more of a Strat type myself.
#38
God, I would kill for a Gil Yarron 59 Replica... literally kill...... Luckily I don't know of anyone who has one so that's keeping me out of jail for now. Failing that, I have two LP's, one Gibson, the other an Epiphone. The Gibson SHITS on the Epiphone in all ways. But just like every other consumer product, you need to find the one that suits you, and maybe none of them do.
#39
It is very important to play instrument before you buy. Guitars that may appear to be visually identical in reality may be very different.
#40
if your a les paul guy then it is worth it to you. i played an epi les paul and i did enjoy the layout of the instrument very much. was it ideal for me?

no. so i built myself a carvin, basically a PRS clone, which fixed a majority of my "wish i could change" items about les pauls.

so its down to personal preference. do i think gibson is worth it quality for price? not at all. i think they are expanding thier line with some models down in price and some going higher. a majority are expensive. i think for that money a music man spanks almost any gibson in quality. i think carvin spanks them in quality. i think for upper end ones, PRS spanks them in quality.

but if you really want a les paul les paul, gibson pups any everything, your gonna just have to buy a gibson.
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