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J50 Deluxe

#21 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:28 PM

View PostBoyd, on 05 October 2017 - 05:50 AM, said:

But you will not find much love around here for these 70's Gibsons. One of our esteemed forum members frequently says they sound like they are "stuffed with old t-shirts". ;)



I just finished reading the history of Gibson and as I understand it Norlin very nearly destroyed the company so I get the sentiment. One theme that did stand out in my reading though is how innovative Gibson has been from the start and how that theme weaved throughout their history. The way I view it the XX fits right in the pocket of Gibson being innovative and based on my experience playing these guitars, I'm no expert but I like em!
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#22 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:35 PM

View PostTellyzGuitars, on 05 October 2017 - 05:28 PM, said:

I'm no expert but I like em!



That's the only thing that matters.
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#23 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 05:49 PM

View PostTellyzGuitars, on 05 October 2017 - 05:28 PM, said:

I just finished reading the history of Gibson and as I understand it Norlin very nearly destroyed the company so I get the sentiment. One theme that did stand out in my reading though is how innovative Gibson has been from the start and how that theme weaved throughout their history. The way I view it the XX fits right in the pocket of Gibson being innovative and based on my experience playing these guitars, I'm no expert but I like em!

Tellyz - not to put salt in your sugar-pie, but the trouble with the double-X is that the 2 cross-constructions take too hard a grip on the top.
The sound of an acoustic to a high and vital degree is connected to the zone between the lower bouts (the hips of the guitar if U like). The freer the better.
Another aspect about this theme is the actual size/thickness of the braces. Again the logic is the same - the lighter the freer the more sound.
These virtues - the light either scalloped or thin sliced bracing plus the single X - were major factors behind what we know as the classic Gibson sounds, , , and were reintroduced after the Gibson-ship was kept from sinking and regained its masts'n'flag in later half of the 1980's. (Though no extra-X Martin went through something similar).

The reason for the double X and thicker bracing was warranty. They simply wanted to fortify the instruments in order not to get too many back for repair.
The Norlin(era) in reality stands for the names of the 2 company-leaders back then. No secret these men didn't know much about acoustic guitar-making.
Some even claim they were into house-building and had their expertise in concrete and bricks. Time to look into that, he he. . .

Please promise not to let all this stuff bring you down or burden your feast.
But now you know and can follow the dialog here and elsewhere closer, , , almost from inside. You are welcome. Enjoy ^


You just can't keep coincidences down. .
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#24 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 08:02 PM

View PostE-minor7, on 05 October 2017 - 09:41 AM, said:


New tuners still tulips ?


No. Had these in my cupboard.

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#25 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 08:05 PM

Some more pics

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#26 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 08:12 PM

View PostE-minor7, on 05 October 2017 - 05:49 PM, said:

Tellyz - not to put salt in your sugar-pie, but the trouble with the double-X is that the 2 cross-constructions take too hard a grip on the top.
The sound of an acoustic to a high and vital degree is connected to the zone between the lower bouts (the hips of the guitar if U like). The freer the better.
Another aspect about this theme is the actual size/thickness of the braces. Again the logic is the same - the lighter the freer the more sound.
These virtues - the light either scalloped or thin sliced bracing plus the single X - created what we know as the classic Gibson sounds, , , and were reintroduced after the Gibson-ship was kept from sinking and regained its masts'n'flag in later half of the 1980's. (Though no extra-X Martin went through something similar).

The reason for the double X and thicker bracing was warranty. They simply wanted to fortify the instruments in order not to get too many back for repair.
The Norlin(era) in reality stands for the names of the 2 company-leaders back then. No secret these men didn't know much about acoustic guitar-making.
Some even claim they were into house-building and had their expertise in concrete and bricks. Time to look into that, he he. . .

Please promise not to let all this stuff bring you down or burden your feast.
But now you know and can follow the dialog here and elsewhere closer, , , almost from inside. You are welcome. Enjoy ^





I understand all of the "theory" and the reasons behind it. This is obviously an emotive topic and a bit of a hot potato. Maybe one best left alone :)
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#27 User is offline   scriv58 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 03:08 AM

soundclip? pics are fun but gits are made to hear!
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#28 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:20 AM

 Buc McMaster, on 05 October 2017 - 06:43 AM, said:

Looks to have some mojo on it. The bridge appears to be shaved..........quite low and relatively flat profile..........or is that typical of the era?

Pretty typical as the necks tended to be underset, so thinner bridges compensated (?) for that. They also split on many guitars, often soon after purchase in some cases.
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#29 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:30 AM

 zombywoof, on 05 October 2017 - 09:20 AM, said:

Someplace in the deep recesses of my mind, I recall something about bridges on 1970s Gibsons, for whatever reason, being inlayed into the top. Could just be a fig newton of my imagination though.

Have seen a boatload of 70's Gibsons sans bridge during replacement and/or reglue, but never an inlay. Could be possible, though - if you happen across any documentation for that, I'd really appreciate a heads-up. Thanks!
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#30 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:34 AM

 j45nick, on 05 October 2017 - 05:35 PM, said:

That's the only thing that matters.

For sure. I've played one or two that were rather exceptional and a bunch that weren't.
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#31 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:40 AM

 TellyzGuitars, on 05 October 2017 - 08:12 PM, said:

I understand all of the "theory" and the reasons behind it. This is obviously an emotive topic and a bit of a hot potato. Maybe one best left alone :)

All depends on the sound,volume,tone - and such - that makes you happy. No need to be shy about initiating discussion; most of us are mostly civil😄
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#32 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 05:54 AM

I have to add, I own a number of vintage and newer Gibsons and Epiphones and being well aware of the logic, etc. my 1972 Gibson SJ Deluxe does have the fullest tone of all of my guitars. However, it has also had the most (actually the only one) that has over the years had a number of issues that I have had to have a Gibson authorized repair person address. (Including a heat press to put the neck back to its proper shape, a neck reset, top cracks fixed, and a broken headstock fixed (my fault, I dropped it). However, it is after all these years alive and well and the fullest sounding of all my guitars. On a negative note, it is the highest action guitar I have due to its neck angle. But, it is a keeper in my collection!

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#33 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 07:30 AM

Whoa, first off I hope you had the crack running own fro the edge of the board to the soundhole checked out. That one would keep me awake at night worrying.

If nothing else the 1970s was an incredibly innovative period in Gibson history. The R&D guys were going nuts with both electrics and acoustics. But in the case of the acoustics, other than the Mark Series, it had nothing to do with making a better sounding instrument. As somebody already noted, it had everything to do with avoiding any potential warranty issues. Not that Gibson had not done this in the past. Always worried about those big tops on the J-200, Gibson added a second wide angle brace above the soundhole in 1955. In late 1964 they seriously beefed up the bracing on the B45-12 which up to then had the same bracing as six strings and were found to be literally twisting themselves apart. With both guitars though it had to do with survival. In the case of the J-200 I think it improved the sound. With the B45-12 it hurt the sound.

But I remember the double X braced Gibsons when they were new because whenever I was in mid-town Manhattan I would wander down 48th St. with the thought of buying me a spanking brand new Gibson. Back then I did not know squat about bracing and bridge plates. Only differences I could figure out was what I could see, feel and hear. My ignorance made me totally unbiased. I was planning on trading in my 1959 J-45 which would get me maybe $75 off of a new version. All I know is I always returned home empty handed. I liked nothing out there better than what I already owned.

While I know it is no way to evaluate a guitar, I cannot help but compare the 1970s Gibsons to those built in the 1940s and 1950s. And to my hands and ears they come up way short. But I always wonder what would I think if I had not been raised on a steady diet of old Gibsons. Not sure if it is a blessing or a curse.

What does always get me though is that the conventional wisdom is that a few gems snuck out of Kalamazoo in the 1970s. Thing is everybody who owns one of these guitars managed to get one of the gems. That would make the 1970s, if nothing else, the most consistent decade in the history of Gibson.
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#34 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 07:39 AM

 zombywoof, on 06 October 2017 - 07:30 AM, said:

Whoa, first off I hope you had the crack running own fro the edge of the board to the soundhole checked out. That one would keep me awake at night worrying.

If nothing else the 1970s was an incredibly innovative period in Gibson history. The R&D guys were going nuts with both electrics and acoustics. But in the case of the acoustics, other than the Mark Series, it had nothing to do with making a better sounding instrument. As somebody already noted, it had everything to do with avoiding any potential warranty issues. Not that Gibson had not done this in the past. Always worried about those big tops on the J-200, Gibson added a second wide angle brace above the soundhole in 1955. In late 1964 they seriously beefed up the bracing on the B45-12 which up to then had the same bracing as six strings and were found to be literally twisting themselves apart. With both guitars though it had to do with survival. In the case of the J-200 I think it improved the sound. With the B45-12 it hurt the sound.

But I remember the double X braced Gibsons when they were new because whenever I was in mid-town Manhattan I would wander down 48th St. with the thought of buying me a spanking brand new Gibson. Back then I did not know squat about bracing and bridge plates. Only differences I could figure out was what I could see, feel and hear. My ignorance made me totally unbiased. I was planning on trading in my 1959 J-45 which would get me maybe $75 off of a new version. All I know is I always returned home empty handed. I liked nothing out there better than what I already owned.

While I know it is no way to evaluate a guitar, I cannot help but compare the 1970s Gibsons to those built in the 1940s and 1950s. And to my hands and ears they come up way short. But I always wonder what would I think if I had not been raised on a steady diet of old Gibsons. Not sure if it is a blessing or a curse.

What does always get me though is that the conventional wisdom is that a few gems snuck out of Kalamazoo in the 1970s. Thing is everybody who owns one of these guitars managed to get one of the gems. That would make the 1970s, if nothing else, the most consistent decade in the history of Gibson.


Really interesting post, Woof. Iíve played a handful of good Norlin era acoustics (only two exceptional ones, both Gospels with the arched and unbraced back, but several good examples of J50s/J45s which I would be happy to own) but several that I wouldnít touch with a barge pole. In particular a Ď74ish SJ which sounded like absolute pants, totally muffled with no sustain whatsoever.

Itís all subjective, though. Someone who wanted a really thunky, dull sounding guitar would be cock-a-hoop with that SJ.
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#35 User is offline   Boyd 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:35 AM

View Postzombywoof, on 06 October 2017 - 07:30 AM, said:

Whoa, first off I hope you had the crack running own fro the edge of the board to the soundhole checked out. That one would keep me awake at night worrying.


Mine has the exact same crack, which hasn't kept me awake for a single night since I first noticed it over 30 years ago. ;) I asked the luthier about this when I brought it in and he shrugged and said he didn't think it was much of a problem, but IIRC he put a small cleat behind it just in case.

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#36 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 09:47 AM

 Boyd, on 06 October 2017 - 09:35 AM, said:

Mine has the exact same crack, which hasn't kept me awake for a single night since I first noticed it over 30 years ago. ;) I asked the luthier about this when I brought it in and he shrugged and said he didn't think it was much of a problem, but IIRC he put a small cleat behind it just in case.

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Same story with my SJ Deluxe. The Gibson repair person told me it was nothing to worry on, but put a small cleat behind it. (Made of maple). It was there about 30 years also before it was shored up.

Regarding the Norlin era, I've seen a number of real clunkers at vintage guitar shows. Never see anyone but them, either. The good ones are likely in players' collections or hands. I bought mine new and as much as I liked when I bought it new, I do remember telling other guitarists even at the time that as much as I liked it, something about it was different quality-wise than the earlier era ones. Later a lot came out about the Norlin changes, of course. But that guitar was my main one for about 30 years and served me well. Right now it's sitting in my living room as a guitar I pick up and play. But, I no longer gig with it.

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#37 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 11:20 AM

If you look at the guitar in the above photo, you will note the rosette is not lined up (like that in the photo of the OPs guitar). It could, of course be nothing. But that kind of damage could also be symptomatic of the neck block shifting. Always best to err on the side of caution. I wonder though, as this seems to be a not uncommon thing with 1970s Gibsons, if it is somehow related to the extremely stiff top. Hey, at present I am humidifying the heck out of a 1930s Schmidt Sovereign trying to get a buckled top to regain at least some of its former shape - a problem associated with the fact the guitar is lightly braced. Amazingly, after about a week it appears to be working. Unfortunately if the top actually flattens out I will probably be looking at a neck reset.
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#38 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:12 PM

View PostTellyzGuitars, on 05 October 2017 - 08:12 PM, said:

I understand all of the "theory" and the reasons behind it. This is obviously an emotive topic and a bit of a hot potato. Maybe one best left alone :)

The topic isn't a taboo at all - it's been discussed 200 times here (and Gibson has shoulders to take it). Hope you can say the same.
And you're not alone with these guitars. Paul Weller of The Jam seems to have chosen a Norlin as 1st priority. So has the guy from Low Anthem -

2012 ~

Btw. there was a stage before goin' XX. As soon as 1968 Kalamazoo introduced the bulkier braces, but waited 2 years before seeing double.
My square Southern Jumbo from that year is a heavy sweetie, but has developed a good vintage voice in its own right.
My Gibson-trip btw. started with 2 70's squares around 1980. Both fortified with XX and thicker sticks (and some would add stuffed with socks).
Wonder where they are today.

You just can't keep coincidences down. .
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#39 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:48 PM

I've seen heaps with these cracks. Mine has a cleat underneath.




View PostBoyd, on 06 October 2017 - 09:35 AM, said:



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#40 User is offline   TellyzGuitars 

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 04:54 PM

View PostE-minor7, on 06 October 2017 - 04:12 PM, said:

[size="4"]The topic isn't a taboo at all - it's been discussed 200 times here (and Gibson has shoulders to take it). Hope you can say the same.
[font="Times New Roman"]And you're not alone with these guitars.



Good to hear. I wasn't quite prepared for the wave, I'll be better preped next time....Peace yall
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