Most of what I'm interested in playing is hard rock, metal, and blues if that helps any.
I like the Les Paul body style but I don't know if I want a Gibson. I was thinking maybe a PRS or ESP with a similar body style. Any suggestions?
the name gibson is pretty overrated these days, with the exception of their finishes. THE absolute best finishes on any electric guitars. the quality of the "crappy" and lower tier instruments around the industry has risen dramatically and for what you used to pay 1500-2000 for, you can get for 400-700. you can get an esp ltd eclipse, les paul shape, carved top, jb-59 duncans, tunomatic pro locking bridge, ebony fingerboards with binding, gotoh locking tuners, set neck full mohagony for 500-850 depending on the deal and finish. thats a third to half of what gibson charges for their version of that same guitar. the cheapest humbucker, non studio les paul is 999 and has no carved top, no binding, gibson brand tuners, and a very thin body. Image: http://www.themusiczoo.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ec1000t.jpg width=500
vs Image: http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/18/999/148/997/DV016_Jpg_Large_1350920019790_A.jpg width=500
the one exception is their sg faded line which can be bought for 500 if you catch it at the right time. its not the greatest guitar, but if you just want to say you own a gibson, its just about the most inexpensive way to do it.
if you go prs se, you have a lot of options, the terero is a superstrat 80's style with floyd rose and emgs, the tremonti has a les paul style setup. most of the se's can be nabbed for 500-800 depending on the deal. check hello music, daily to find insane deals.
sound gearz has esp/ltd gear with b grades, factory returns, and nick scratch items for fractions of the cost.