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Heard an interesting theory about Norlin era Gibson acoustics…...


onewilyfool

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So….sixties and seventies……guys were using acoustics in "electric" guitar environments no longer just acoustically, and acoustic pickups were in their infancy…….so apparently Norlin did the double "X" bracing, NOT to kill the acoustic sound of the guitar, but to stifle the feedback that acoustics are prone to. I don't think they had this sound hole covers, and again, all of this was new stage wise and recording wise…..anyway, sounds reasonable….Probably same reason the J-160 was plywood and ladder braced…..so they could get a more electric sound out of the acoustic guitar without the feedback……comments????

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Mmmm, , , I would call it a brave, bold and creative attempt from your side to defend the Norlin-era.

 

There's a logic to the theory, but would they gamble their acoustic reputation to gain robust electrified acoustic guitars just after the birth of the acoustic singersongwriter-wave.

 

Why didn't they go half'n'half, , , , and why should Martin have ignored such a new way of thinking.

 

I don't buy it and stick to the common thought that Kalamazoo went balalaika and threw themselves off a cliff in order to make stronger (less fragile) guitars for warranty reasons.

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I started playing guitar in 1969-1970. IME the double-X bracing was not to stifle sound nor to appease electric players but purely to reduce warranty costs associated with top sink and other problems. They went to a heavier X-bracing well before the double X for the same reason. Top sink was kind of a new thing with the square shoulder dread bracing & design starting with the H'Bird. Top lift was more prevalent with earlier bracing but really not much of a real world problem with 40's-early '60s Gibson dreads. More of a potential deal with abused lightly braced L-OO etc...

 

Some of the double-X guitars actually sounded pretty good in spite of everything we read on the Internet, but it was mostly a tone stopper. The heavy X-bracing that preceded it in '68 was actually worse as far as 'open tone'.

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While bracing is the heart of a guitar there are a whole lot of other things that come into play - top thickness, the bridge plate and so on. As big a problem with Gibsons from the late 1960s on as the heavy bracing were the oversized often laminate diamond shaped bridge plates.

 

Something that always leaves me scratching my head thugh is that of you read enough of these forums it appears that the 1970s saw more consisently good sounding Gibsons produced than any other decade. So I guess I have the worst luck in the world when it comes to guitars because those few guitars that sound like they are stuffed with old t-shirs seem to be the ones that land in my hands.

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As said many times before, the difference between my pre-1967 squares and the 68/69 ditto is remarkably big.

 

Long time since I played a Norlin apart from a J-50 a few years ago.

 

That one wasn't loud, but it still sounded deep and very good in the Gibsonian way. Then again it was some 35-40 years old.

 

No need to repeat the J-45 and 50 Deluxe I got around 1980 was one of the most dissapointing issues of my entire teens. . .

 

And nobody, , , NOBODY here had insight to tell anybody why. .

 

 

 

 

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Ahhh, but I will bet you when you bought that 68/69 you sang its praises long and loud.

In a way you are right - The 1968 Southern J was my first Gibson re-buy and naturally I was intrigued.

Just to get close to the vintage woody sound was a thrill.

But I could hear'n'feel there was something missing, , , that it kind of under-projected compared to what I had in memory of other old G's.

Primarily I experiened it as an alternative to the Mart. D-35 and the 2 was/are like salt and (not so strong) pepper.

Still the SJ sings like a bird capoed on 3rd or 4th fret and fingerpicked.

 

It's one of those guitars that might/might not go - guess it could be traded if at some point a real stunner flew by. . .

 

 

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I don't think the demographic of the onstage, electric playing, acoustic wielding, public performance artist is very large. I would be surprised if Gibson skewed the entire construction of their acoustics to help out with feedback at live concerts. Live artists have been plugging up and taping over acoustic and semi-acoustic instruments onstage for years.

 

Plus, I think the heavy bracing was in an effort to keep the guitars from splitting and reduce costs of warranty replacement and repairs. They built them like tanks and they sounded like tanks. I know, I owned a 1977 Gibson Hummingbird POS.

 

3340249185_c33f9a742e.jpg

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I don't think the demographic of the onstage, electric playing, acoustic wielding, public performance artist is very large. I would be surprised if Gibson skewed the entire construction of their acoustics to help out with feedback at live concerts. Live artists have been plugging up and taping over acoustic and semi-acoustic instruments onstage for years.

 

Plus, I think the heavy bracing was in an effort to keep the guitars from splitting and reduce costs of warranty replacement and repairs. They built them like tanks and they sounded like tanks. I know, I owned a 1977 Gibson Hummingbird POS.

 

3340249185_c33f9a742e.jpg

 

is that you drathbun?

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Let's face it, the attractive early Gibsons were very light thus pretty fragile.

 

It's understandable that they to a certain degree wanted to make the instruments stronger, fx to compete with the more robust Martins (which had done the same thing some years before).

 

Never the less the absurd fact is that while fortifying the wooden guitars, Gibson went over (under) the top and destroyed its acoustic reputation. .

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