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1978 Les paul custom


Mister P

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Hello all!

 

First, my best wishess for 2014 to you and all the people you love :)

 

I'm a newbie on this forum and for now I'm still no Gibson owner... But I'm getting closer every day! I'm looking for a Les Paul, and I have the opportunity to buy a 1978 Les Paul custom WR. I will try it in a couple of days but I was more generally wondering about this period for LP custom.

 

Does anyone has some info to give me?

 

The guitar seems in good shape but the back is deeply scratched at the back (no paint on a 10cm "circle" -> I guess belts may have cause that). Ant good advice on how to manage this?

 

Thanks in advance for your answers!

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Sounds like it has classic buckle rash. Other that getting that area refinished I am not sure how to take care of it.

 

It seems indeed like a "buckle rash" (I'm not native english speaker... so thanks, I've learned a new word ;)

But the wood seems "unprotected"... I don't care about the look but maybe the wood would appreciate a protection (against humidity for example?).

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Hello and welcome Mr. P!

 

Some might call them crappy Norlin-era anchors, but it's not me! They are great. Heavy ones, but with great neck profile and tone.

 

She's going to be 36 in a month:

 

Cheers... Bence

 

Hey hey! She looks great :)

 

Thanks for your opinion and the keywords! Very helpfull for my research!

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Whilst it is true that the decade of the '70s is generally accepted as being a low point in the history of Gibson the situation had improved greatly by 1978.

You will still need to evaluate the instrument personally and as impassionately as possible; don't be fooled by any 'Vintage' or 'Old Wood' sales-pitch.

If possible take along a friend well-versed in terms of Les Pauls so as to get an informed opinion.

 

As far as the buckle-rash goes; just ignore it.

The mahogany slab is a very stable lump of wood and, in addition, you don't need to worry about the guitar acquiring 'The First Ding'.

 

Let us know how it turns out.

 

P.

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Hello!

 

Nice wine-red Custom. As far as I can see, it has all the period-correct features: the higher-placed "Gibson" logo, the pointy venetian cutaway, the flat heel.

 

The knobs...well...they aren't original. Probably, You could talk down the price a bit due to this. ;)

 

The buckle rash: if it bothers You, the back of the guitar can be refinished. Probably, I would do that, but most of the people here (99%) would, - as Pippy said - just ignore it. At least, You can see how fine material was used in construction of this guitar.

 

This one is a nearly 36 year old guitar, don't expect it to be dead-mint. Depending how You look at it, as a collector, or as a player, You should check the neck carefully, especially at the neck-headstock joint. What You should look for, is the signs of a headstock repair. 70s Les Pauls were notorious for neck breaks. Someone - with more experience - here, should give You hints on how to find out whether the guitar had such an accident or not.

 

Good luck... Bence

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Without offending the others, I would strongly recommend you avoid vintage guitars until you've had a few Gibsons and have some idea what you are doing with them. Vintage does not mean good, judging them is completely subjective and based on the experience of the judge, the "stories" behind that guitar that people get all misty about are someone elses, and the idea that they will readily resale for more money is not as realistic as some would have you believe.

 

Just my few cents. If I was you, and I'm not, I would put that 78 Les Paul money to a new one, it'll more than likely be a better guitar and it will be yours. I say it'll more than likely be better because modern day Les Pauls are consistently much better overall than my 70's Les Pauls were.

 

rct

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Hello!

 

Nice wine-red Custom. As far as I can see, it has all the period-correct features: the higher-placed "Gibson" logo, the pointy venetian cutaway, the flat heel.

 

The knobs...well...they aren't original. Probably, You could talk down the price a bit due to this. ;)

 

The buckle rash: if it bothers You, the back of the guitar can be refinished. Probably, I would do that, but most of the people here (99%) would, - as Pippy said - just ignore it. At least, You can see how fine material was used in construction of this guitar.

 

This one is a nearly 36 year old guitar, don't expect it to be dead-mint. Depending how You look at it, as a collector, or as a player, You should check the neck carefully, especially at the neck-headstock joint. What You should look for, is the signs of a headstock repair. 70s Les Pauls were notorious for neck breaks. Someone - with more experience - here, should give You hints on how to find out whether the guitar had such an accident or not.

 

Good luck... Bence

 

Thanks for your answer, very helpfull!

 

Why do you say that the knobs aren't original?

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Without offending the others, I would strongly recommend you avoid vintage guitars until you've had a few Gibsons and have some idea what you are doing with them. Vintage does not mean good, judging them is completely subjective and based on the experience of the judge, the "stories" behind that guitar that people get all misty about are someone elses, and the idea that they will readily resale for more money is not as realistic as some would have you believe.

 

Just my few cents. If I was you, and I'm not, I would put that 78 Les Paul money to a new one, it'll more than likely be a better guitar and it will be yours. I say it'll more than likely be better because modern day Les Pauls are consistently much better overall than my 70's Les Pauls were.

 

rct

 

+1 On the highlighted part. And the rest should be seriouly considered too. Still, if You love it and You are comfortable with the guitar, buy it. If it's the vintage status of the guitar that makes You want it, they aren't as desirable as the earlier, and latter made ones.

 

I personally like the Norlin-era. It gave us so many exciting new models and variations of legendary instruments, but I am a minority here regarding this.

 

Cheers... Bence

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WellI can only speak for myself and my experience with a 1977, "Norlin" era LP Custom that I've owned since new. Simply put, the guitar has been wonderful since day one, and continues to be 37 years later. It was heavily used (and somewhat abused I might add) the first 10 years of its life while I was playing out with my band at all manner of venues. It has suffered lots of buckle rash, dings, nicks, scratches, etc, but through all these years still plays and sounds fabulous. Its completely original save for a bone nut and has never required a neck re-set.

 

I know that era has a somewhat dubious reputation but my experience has been nothing short of excellent with this guitar. If you have the chance to play it for a while before buying, and perhaps even enlist the services of a good luthier or setup tech to give it a once over before you buy, that would be money and time well spent.

 

Good luck!

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I have two Norlin era LPC's and new Gibson Les Pauls and all have their own little characteristics..... I have a 77 and 80 Gibson Les Paul Customs and other than the low flat awful frets there is nothing not to like about them.... Ya they are heavy but I dont recall anyone ever complaining about Norlin made Les Pauls while I was playing in the 70's....lol.... It wasnt until I joined guitar forums that all the *****ing started.

 

If I may propose, if you can get your hands on a 2013 Gibson Les Paul Traditional, go give it a spin..... I have one and it's one of my best players.

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Whilst we're in the Highlighting mood...

 

...If I was you, and I'm not, I would put that 78 Les Paul money to a new one, it'll more than likely be a better guitar and it will be yours. I say it'll more than likely be better because modern day Les Pauls are consistently much better overall than my 70's Les Pauls were...

 

It's been said here before but I'll say it again anyway;

I bought a s/h 76-ish LP Custom in the early '80s because I had often played a friend's identical example which was absolutely fantastic.

Unfortunately 'mine' was an absolute turd.

 

It is vital that you try before you buy and know yourself - or has a friend who knows - exactly what is on offer here.

 

P.

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I'll agree with you Pippy.... When it comes to an older instrument its best to play it first..... I'll be honest both my Norlins went in for fret replacements because from the factory they leveled/dressed the hell out of the frets and it made bending impossible for me...... Typically the Norlins with the maple necks rarely have any issues..... Maple is super strong and it takes an act of god for it to bow or twist out of shape

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Whilst we're in the Highlighting mood...

 

 

 

It's been said here before but I'll say it again anyway;

I bought a s/h 76-ish LP Custom in the early '80s because I had often played a friend's identical example which was absolutely fantastic.

Unfortunately 'mine' was an absolute turd.

 

It is vital that you try before you buy and know yourself - or has a friend who knows - exactly what is on offer here.

 

P.

 

I think I should have been clearer. I loved my 70's Les Pauls, all of them. There wasn't anything wrong with "Norlin Gibsons" at all to me, they served us all very well. As much as I dearly loved them, I wouldn't spend that kind of money on one today, I'd put it to a new one myself. I was trying to generally steer the OP away from the Vintage trap as a first Les Paul, first Gibson even. I say trap only because it can be, not always, but can be.

 

rct

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I think I should have been clearer. I loved my 70's Les Pauls, all of them. There wasn't anything wrong with "Norlin Gibsons" at all to me, they served us all very well.

I agree in the main and up to a small point, rct.

 

I've probably only played a couple of dozen 'Norlins' in 39 years of playing but of those the vast majority could accurately be described as 'fine'.

One was a turd (mine); one was outstanding (my friend's one) and the rest were 'fine'. No better; No worse.

 

P.

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I agree in the main and up to a small point, rct.

 

I've probably only played a couple of dozen 'Norlins' in 39 years of playing but of those the vast majority could accurately be described as 'fine'.

One was a turd (mine); one was outstanding (my friend's one) and the rest were 'fine'. No better; No worse.

 

P.

 

I think we are in violent agreement. I can't stand to see a 25 year old telling people they were awful. They were just like they are today, some great, some not so great. Great is relative, but awful we can usually all agree on. I just didn't experience all that many awful Gibsons back then.

 

rct

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I have two Norlin era LPC's and new Gibson Les Pauls and all have their own little characteristics..... I have a 77 and 80 Gibson Les Paul Customs and other than the low flat awful frets there is nothing not to like about them....

 

It is the "low brilliant frets" that I love about them!

 

Re OP - my 1978 25/50 is a superb albeit very heavy guitar.

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I think we are in violent agreement. I can't stand to see a 25 year old telling people they were awful. They were just like they are today, some great, some not so great. Great is relative, but awful we can usually all agree on. I just didn't experience all that many awful Gibsons back then.

 

rct

Serendipitously I can affirm that we are, indeed, in violent agreement............LOL!

 

Just to clarify one point which might have been open to mis-interpretation; when I described the vast majority of the Norlins I had played as 'fine' I meant 'fine' as in 'it was a fine instrument'.

Not to be confused with 'It was a mediocre instrument'.

 

Carry On!

 

P.

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Serendipitously I can affirm that we are, indeed, in violent agreement............LOL!

 

Just to clarify one point which might have been open to mis-interpretation; when I described the vast majority of the Norlins I had played as 'fine' I meant 'fine' as in 'it was a fine instrument'.

Not to be confused with 'It was a mediocre instrument'.

 

Carry On!

 

P.

Thanks all for your answers!

 

First point, I would not buy a guitar without playing it. The feeling with a guitar is something that can't be confirmed through Internet.

Second, having the opinion of a luthier is part of my process. It's a big amount of money for money and I need some insurance.

 

What surprises me in your answers is that most of you agree to say that it's better to buy a new guitar instead of a 40 years old one. Vintage look is one thing, old wood and old t-top mics were two valuable points from by “newbie point of view”.

 

More generally, I don’t like to buy brand new guitars: I prefer at least 2/3 years old guitars. The price is more interesting and I also have an issue with the new cellulosic varnish that makes the neck sticky (I had it with my brand new Telecaster and it took 2/3 years to go through). For the price of that 78 LP Custom, I can find a 2012 LP R08 for example… I already planned to test it so that I can compare. I now put those 2 guitars on a equal basis. Long process...

 

Anyway, thanks for your inputs!

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First point, I would not buy a guitar without playing it. The feeling with a guitar is something that can't be confirmed through Internet.

 

What surprises me in your answers is that most of you agree to say that it's better to buy a new guitar instead of a 40 years old one. Vintage look is one thing, old wood and old t-top mics were two valuable points from by "newbie point of view".

 

For the price of that 78 LP Custom, I can find a 2012 LP R08 for example…

Taking these points in order;

 

1. Excellent viewpoint.

 

2. Most folks with plenty of experience agree where electric guitars are concerned 'Old Wood' is completely irrelevant. A Myth.

An acoustic guitar is a different case entirely but an electric? Nope.

Very briefly;

The most revered, iconic, classic Les Paul tones are, first and foremost, Clapton on the 'Beano'; Bloomfield; Green; Page and their ilk.

When these players first recorded their landmark albums not one of the LPs was more than ten years old. Claptons was five or six. The equivalent today would be a 2008/09. Is that "Old Wood"?

 

3. Given the choice of either a '78 Custom and a '12 R8 I wouldn't need to think twice. Recent R-Is are generally considered to be among the best LPs made since the Golden Years of the late '50s.

 

P.

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Hello All!

 

Pippy is right, as always.

 

The term "vintage" is a pathetic, romantic synonym of used and old.

 

Seriously: 36 of wear...If that guitar went through hands of caring owners, and it was built well at first, it's likely a well-matured, settled instrument. If not, it might have not received the necessary maintenance duties to avoid any permanent damage.

 

Also, purchasing a vintage guitar can bring You constant hassle. It's likely that nut, the bridge saddles, and the frets are already worn. You might have to spend lot of money to recover the guitar's playability. That (should) not be an issue with a brand-new, or a few years old guitar.

 

What's left that charms people towards vintage instruments? The worn look? Meh! As I understood, You don't like that buckle rash on the back either... The uniqueness? A '78 Custom is not a rarity. It is very unlikely, that it will ever become a profitable investment.

 

What are pros then? To be honest nothing. Old stuff is only interesting when it's rare. My Recording is rare and unique. What else from that era? An "Artisan" ('77-'80), or a "25/50", a "The Les Paul" - these are desirable guitars for a collector. But then, are You about to establish a collection now? Or You are a player? That makes a huge difference!

 

Cheers... Bence

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Taking these points in order;

 

1. Excellent viewpoint.

 

2. Most folks with plenty of experience agree where electric guitars are concerned 'Old Wood' is completely irrelevant. A Myth.

An acoustic guitar is a different case entirely but an electric? Nope.

Very briefly;

The most revered, iconic, classic Les Paul tones are, first and foremost, Clapton on the 'Beano'; Bloomfield; Green; Page and their ilk.

When these players first recorded their landmark albums not one of the LPs was more than ten years old. Claptons was five or six. The equivalent today would be a 2008/09. Is that "Old Wood"?

 

3. Given the choice of either a '78 Custom and a '12 R8 I wouldn't need to think twice. Recent R-Is are generally considered to be among the best LPs made since the Golden Years of the late '50s.

 

P.

 

I'd say you have a solid outlook and plan. Good luck and do keep us posted.

 

Im in total agreement with Pippy and Btoth.

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