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Some Norlin love - '71 ES 335


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My very first guitar, in 1986 when I was 16, was a walnut brown '72 ES 335. $600 or 650 at Sam Ash or Manny's in NYC. Was transitioning away from bass bc I heard BB King Live at the Regal, and that was pretty much that for setting my on my life's pursuit.

Broke the headstock, it was a pencil neck, and one day probably before I was 20 I had sold it and moved on to strats (which I abandoned shortly after) and Teles, which have been home base for electrics ever since. All the while I've wanted another ES of some sort. Had one of the short run ES 139s. OK but meh. Lucked into a very old and sweet 175, but not my bag, and recently a gorgeous ES 137 that I love but it is heavy and has a very fat sound that I think I want to tame w some HB sized P-90s. Tried a million Epis, meh. Got a frankenstein Epi body/82 Gibson dot neck that had been done on the homemade side. Put some better pickups in it. Close, but no cigar. About 20 years ago a guy sold me a 67 330 that I used for a couple of years. Sounded great but pencil neck and tuning instability eventually caused me to sell it way too cheap. Had another 330 (69) but got it cheap and sold it quick to pay for the record, and I didn't love it. But I always remembered the really sweet woody tone of that 67 330 w the chrome dogears...

I tried a number of 335s, none were inspiring enough to get me to part with the cash or they were out of my range. Tried a 347, too heavy and didn't like the pickups. Tried my buddy's early 70s 355, a true pencil neck, couldn't use it. And a lot of the 335s I played also sounded too dense, fat in the wrong places and totally lacking the chime and sweetness of that 330.

So the other day after selling the frankenstein, I walked into International Vintage Guitars here in N.O. There was a 1960 tobacco burst 335 w factory Bigsby and the original PAFs. Very nice sounding and playing guitar. Ain't got $18,000 tho..

Right next to it was this '71. Picked it up, plugged it in, played a few minutes and handed Steve the owner the envelope with the cash from the frankenstein, went and got the rest of the cash, and danced into the sunset carrying this puppy. And thanks to a well repaired headstock break (cause I never had a Gibson electric that did have one before or after I got it)it was less than a used, recent production matte finish "satin" red 335 can fetch.

So those damn Norlins, tho, with their maple necks (mine is 1 piece as far as I can tell) and thin sounding T-Tops and half size center blocks.

Well lemme tell ya, it's like the perfect cross between a 335 and a 330 to my ears. the T Tops (I'm presuming that's what they, the covers have never been off and they have the pat # sticker) sound light and sweet but full, and the guitar resonates beautifully but does not squeal. Controlled feedback occurs right where it should, and there is none of that "too fat in the wrong place) feeling I've gotten from a lot of more modern ES guitars. Ive had it a week, gigged it at least 3 times including an "acoustic" gig where it performed well. Had some tuning issues, took it apart again and relubed everything with graphite, did the string lock twist trick, and she goes from standard to open tunings and back with minimal fuss and stays as solidly in tune as any electric I bend whole steps on. The neck is slim but more reminiscent of my "60 RI Les Paul Classic than a real pencil, and it feels good in my hands. Enough room to finger pick and play slide, , open position chords are a hair tight when fingerpicking requiring note movement withing the chord, but a gig or two and I should be fully acclimated (or get a new nut cut with a tad more string space, as I think the one on there is after market bone).

Here she is! Anyone else got some love for the puppies?

post-73864-065215800 1461529557_thumb.jpg

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