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Norlin Era Noob question

#1 User is offline   Thunderchild 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

I've just been here for a little over a year, and keep hearing about "the Norlin Era" could you all explain it to me? I know I could google it but you guys & gals are real and I'm sure I'll get the real story. Are guitars made then good, bad, worth more, different styles than now etc.? Thanks for helping out a dummy. [thumbup]
TC

#2 User is offline   ksdaddy 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:20 PM

Gibson was owned by Norlin from the late 60s(?) to the early/mid 80s. They made some changes to the construction of Gibsons that many people found unpalatable, for example the headstock volute, Les Pauls with layered ("pancake") bodies, the introduction of many models that weren't well accepted, etc.

It was an era, is all. Any company can go through a phase like that. I personally have owned many MANY Norlin Gibsons and I can't say they were necessarily any worse than non-Norlins. I would have no issue buying another one. I'm not real hip on some construction they did on the SGs of the era but that would be my own personal sore spot.

I've owned about 15 Les Pauls and the only one I currently own is a Norlin 1971. it's simply the best Les Paul I have ever played. The second best was a 1980, also Norlin.

#3 User is offline   Thunderchild 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

View Postksdaddy, on 27 February 2013 - 03:20 PM, said:

Gibson was owned by Norlin from the late 60s(?) to the early/mid 80s. They made some changes to the construction of Gibsons that many people found unpalatable, for example the headstock volute, Les Pauls with layered ("pancake") bodies, the introduction of many models that weren't well accepted, etc.

It was an era, is all. Any company can go through a phase like that. I personally have owned many MANY Norlin Gibsons and I can't say they were necessarily any worse than non-Norlins. I would have no issue buying another one. I'm not real hip on some construction they did on the SGs of the era but that would be my own personal sore spot.

I've owned about 15 Les Pauls and the only one I currently own is a Norlin 1971. it's simply the best Les Paul I have ever played. The second best was a 1980, also Norlin.

So this is kinda like when AMF owned Harley Davidson? from what I understand about that, the quality was suspect and sales dropped. What do you think makes the 71 so good? Thanks for the reply [biggrin]
TC

#4 User is offline   ksdaddy 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:31 PM

Yeah that's kinda a good way to think of it.

But you need to question how much of the AMF stigma was real and how much of it was just talk. Ditto for the Norlin Era.

If a company makes a model people don't like or makes some change that people don't agree with the first thing they do is blame that 'era' and the company that owns them at the time. They did the same thing with CBS/Fender... although many of the weird changes Fender made were developed and/or decided upon before Leo sold the company.

Funny how that works.

The '71 is just magic, that's all. No reason I can point at. It's ungodly heavy with the dreaded volute and sandwich body but it just comes alive in my hands like no other LP ever, and I've owned models from 1955 to 1999.

#5 User is offline   Grog 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

The Norlin name came from combining the first syllable of ECL chaiman Norton Stevens with the last syllable of CMIs founder Maurice Berlin. I also have & have had many Norlin era guitars, most of which play as good as many earlier Gibsons. My 1972 Les Paul Custom is a great example of a good Norlin era guitar. The early 70's SGs are good example of guitars that were made with cost cutting features in their design. The SG Deluxe is a good playing guitar, but not real popular.............. Fugly [scared] They also had a lot of new models that were expensive to develope but didn't sell well.

#6 User is offline   Thunderchild 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:34 PM

View Postksdaddy, on 27 February 2013 - 03:31 PM, said:

Yeah that's kinda a good way to think of it.

But you need to question how much of the AMF stigma was real and how much of it was just talk. Ditto for the Norlin Era.

If a company makes a model people don't like or makes some change that people don't agree with the first thing they do is blame that 'era' and the company that owns them at the time. They did the same thing with CBS/Fender... although many of the weird changes Fender made were developed and/or decided upon before Leo sold the company.

Funny how that works.

The '71 is just magic, that's all. No reason I can point at. It's ungodly heavy with the dreaded volute and sandwich body but it just comes alive in my hands like no other LP ever, and I've owned models from 1955 to 1999.

Wouldn't the "Dreaded Volute" make the headstock stronger and prevent breakage?

#7 User is offline   Thunderchild 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:37 PM

View PostGrog, on 27 February 2013 - 06:32 PM, said:

The Norlin name came from combining the first syllable of ECL chaiman Norton Stevens with the last syllable of CMIs founder Maurice Berlin. I also have & have had many Norlin era guitars, most of which play as good as many earlier Gibsons. My 1972 Les Paul Custom is a great example of a good Norlin era guitar. The early 70's SGs are good example of guitars that were made with cost cutting features in their design. The SG Deluxe is a good playing guitar, but not real popular.............. Fugly [scared]

They also had a lot of new models that were expensive to develope but didn't sell well.
Kinda like the CBS/Fenders & AMF Harleys, huh?

#8 User is offline   ksdaddy 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:45 PM

View PostThunderchild, on 27 February 2013 - 07:34 PM, said:

Wouldn't the "Dreaded Volute" make the headstock stronger and prevent breakage?


I guess that was the intent but they broke anyway!

#9 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:26 PM

Just to back up what's already been said
Go hear then look about 1/3rd down, or search for "norlin"

http://en.wikipedia....Gibson_Les_Paul

#10 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:01 PM

"Norlin Era" Gibson, was NOT the company it was, in the 50's and 60's...or, what it's become,
since. But, there were still some great guitars, produced. And, some real "Turkey's," too...
just like now, and every other era. LOL "MY" biggest objection, with a lot of the Norlin era
guitars, was the ugly (IMHO) "wider" headstocks, the near abandonment of "Beveling" (on some years),
of the SG, and just the overall cheapening, of the brand's luster, due to "cutting corners."

Still, there were some great guitars made, during that period...maybe inspite of themselves? [tongue]
I happen to own 2 "Norlin Era" guitars, myself. My '80 Les Paul Custom, and my '76 Les Paul Deluxe.
Both, are wonderful examples!

So, if one's careful (as with any purchase), you can find some great "Norlin Era" guitars, and
some real bargains, in the process.

Cheers,
CB

#11 User is offline   Thunderchild 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

Thanks everyone for the info [thumbup] I knew I came to the right place. And welcome back CB, was starting to worry that the igloo might've collapsed [biggrin]
TC

#12 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:32 PM

View PostThunderchild, on 27 February 2013 - 09:16 PM, said:

Thanks everyone for the info [thumbup] I knew I came to the right place. And welcome back CB, was starting to worry that the igloo might've collapsed [biggrin]
TC


Thanks TC...Things were "uncertain" for a time, as they always are, in that kind of storm.
But, we're on the Melt!! [biggrin] [thumbup]

CB

#13 User is online   btoth76 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:39 AM

Hello TC!

It was between 1968-1986. Personally I always liked those - never had one before, tough. I like the look/feel of the volute. Some of those LP's came with maple necks - which are (supposed to be) stronger. Some of the greatest Gibsons came then: L5-S, L6-S, LP Deluxe (not to mention the Recording ;)). Can't think of a nicer guitar than the '74 cream Les Paul Custom (like Randy Rhoads').

I heard rumours about inconsistent built quality of Norlins - but again: how often we hear the same nowadays?

Cheers... Bence
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#14 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:15 AM

View Postcharlie brown, on 27 February 2013 - 09:01 PM, said:

Still, there were some great guitars made, during that period...maybe inspite of themselves?

For his excellent book on Ted McCarty and his time as CEO of Gibson (Gibson Guitars : Ted McCarty's Golden Years 1948-66) the historian Gil Hembree interviewed a large number(*) of employees / ex-employees from that period and beyond.

A great many of them recalled how, after T.McC. resigned and the company came under the Norlin umbrella, the quality was only maintained as high as it was by the workers ignoring 'performance' decrees from the Top and kept on trying to make the guitars as good as possible. Eventually, however, by the early - mid '70s the company's attitude allowed for no more of this behaviour and, finally, overall quality suffered to a larger extent than had hitherto been the case.

This is seemingly why there tends to be a greater variance between instruments produced in this period.

P.

* EDIT : 46

#15 User is online   btoth76 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:48 AM

View Postpippy, on 28 February 2013 - 05:15 AM, said:

...the quality was only maintained as high as it was by the workers ignoring 'performance' decrees from the Top and kept on trying to make the guitars as good as possible...

P.



Thanks for that Pippy! (Must buy this book). What a great attitude from the Workers! All my respect to them! Cheers... Bence
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#16 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:26 AM

Bence!

Your mailbox is full!

P.

#17 User is online   btoth76 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:39 AM

View Postpippy, on 28 February 2013 - 07:26 AM, said:

Bence!

Your mailbox is full!

P.


Thank You, Pippy! I wasn't aware of the messenger at all. It's corrected now.

Cheers... Bence
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2010 Gibson LP Studio 50's Tribute GT - 2011 Gibson LP Classic Custom AN - 1978 Gibson LP Recording WB - 2011 Gibson L6S SB
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#18 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:45 AM

[thumbup]

PM sent!

P.

#19 User is offline   Eracer_Team 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:55 AM

also I like watching
http://www.solidbodiesthemovie.com/

its sort of a condensed guitar history lesson

#20 User is offline   cvmaparadog 

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 10:01 AM

I have no problem with the Norlin era. I have a '72 Deluxe and a '79 Standard. Both are fantastic guitars that play and sound amazing! I have non-Norlin era Gibsons that aren't nearly as well made. Sadly, it seems the only way to get a decently made new Gibson is to get one made in the Custom Shop...for way more money.

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