Re: Would you play . . .
I voted for playability.
1. Because if you have to physically struggle with a guitar there is no way that you'll be able to get into the actual artistic part of it.
2. Playing better is sounding better, regardless of your gear you'll sound like crap if your playing is crap. It's easier to play on an easier playing guitar.
I must preface this next one by saying, that I am in no way trying to diminish the craftsmanship or the quality of any guitar. I'm also very keen on beautiful woods and I know there is a sonic difference in tone woods that is more than subtle.
3. Many times (not always) a lot of things about the most popular or most exotic and expensive guitars are overly hyped. I believe there is something about them that is great and many of the differences and benefits of those guitars do exist. However, I think it has been talked up over the years and now has been blown out of proportion. That has trickled down into the community and now we can sometimes be sold on something because of the sum of its parts instead of the product as a whole.
This, in my opinion is behind what sells a Dean or Schecter guitar. Mahogany body, maple/mahogany neck, figured tops, neck through construction, DiMarzio or Duncan PUPs. Sounds great especialy for the price, but to me they feel cheap and aren't well made enough to be worth the money.
Same with a few Gibsons, however many more Gibsons do feel great and are made with absolute precision and can be wonderful, they just have a problem here and there with QC. But I've said many times before that can be avoided if you just play and inspect the guitar you buy before you buy it like any person with common sense would.
If you disagree with me that's fine. If your Dean or Schecter is amazing then I'm happy for you and I would love to be proved wrong someday.