Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Norlin era exaggerated?


Recommended Posts

Ive played about 6 norlin era instruments, to be honest, only had 1 bad experience and it was on a country western acoustic that needed a neck reset. The les pauls, (deluxe and custom) both played flawless, and the sg i played looked and sounded great also and i owned a j-50 was spectacular and like a dummy i sold that when i needed cash and not my taylor ugh. Am i missing something here? Ive heard the quality control was very poor those days and that gibson was trying to save money, but nearly every example ive played be it electric or acoustic was great save the one git that needed a reset. Is there any chance these may be collectible one day? So is all the norlin era a little overstated? Will collectors ever come back around on them?

Edited by Gibson Artist
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 75 sq. shoulder Southern Jumbo 2x bracing and giant bridge plate ……….. but it sounds just fine and always has, so I've kept it. BUT! It's scary when you look inside the sound hole with a mirror and see all that extra wood. Also have a 78/79 The Paul I have hung onto cause it plays and sounds great. BUT! It's a basic slab and no more. Too late to let them go now anyway!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 75 sq. shoulder Southern Jumbo 2x bracing and giant bridge plate ……….. but it sounds just fine and always has, so I've kept it. BUT! It's scary when you look inside the sound hole with a mirror and see all that extra wood. Also have a 78/79 The Paul I have hung onto cause it plays and sounds great. BUT! It's a basic slab and no more. Too late to let them go now anyway!

I have heard people on Craigslist swear the 90s Gibsons are 10x better than today and the quality control was much better then, on the rhode island and mass CL 90s gibsons have a Cult like following, people say dont buy new! Well, i bought es 335 new and it was flawless, i even had a friend in a band try it. He loved it, and said it was perfect. The 2010 goldtop i got was played by the guitar guy in the beaver brown band, he said that its a very good one, he loved it. So, maybe sometimes quality control isnt great, and i know Gibson did some mistakes on their acoustics of the 70s, like they always cracked because of something to do with when they sprayed the nitro over the pickguard or something.

 

Still, if i see a gibson of 70s or modern day, i play it, look at the neck, if its straight, i dont feel any dead frets its usually a keeper to me. I try to judge each guitar on its own merits, rather than disdain an entire era.

Edited by Gibson Artist
Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to judge each guitar on its own merits, rather than disdain an entire era.

This for sure... Theres always good ones and bad ones...

 

I think its a mixed bag with the 70s ones.. Some of the reasons people don't like them is they started getting a bit weighty, that I think is true.. And the pancake bodies and possibly a few other odd things they did then... But even those things don't tell you if a guitar will feel good or not in your hands.. That is very guitar specific regardless of era.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the Norlin models I love the look of. I always wanted a Les Paul Artisan and a natural 3 pickup LP Custom from that era. What about the cool Spotlight Special and amazing looking 'The Les Paul'. In terms of Les Paul's a lot of snobs didn't like that they started using 3 piece caps around that time (as well as the pancake body already mentioned), but sound wise could anyone really tell the difference? I have a book somewhere that says 3 piece tops don't sound any different to 2 piece. There were also a things like the depth of the carved top being different from the originals. SG wise the shape changed and bevelling was wrong compared to the 60's models. Can't say I've ever tried a Norlin Gibson, but I imagine there are many great ones.

 

This one looks amazing to me...

 

Edited by cody78
Link to post
Share on other sites

I always wanted a Les Paul Artisan and a natural 3 pickup LP Custom from that era.......

 

Yes yes. For me the Artisan with the 3 pickups and/or the LP 25/50.

Artisans getting rarer now, hard to find an unmarked or unmodded example - all sold!

25/50 - still some about, price has near-doubled in last 5 yrs.

My 1st Gibson was a mid-70s L6 deluxe just like this, should have kept it:

 

http://www.12fret.com/no-longer-available/1975-gibson-l6-s-deluxe/

 

I borrowed a wine-red 1970s Custom with the 3-piece top for a couple of weeks in the 90s, always remembered it - amazing guitar - and eventually got a Custom because of that.

 

In 2015 Gibson made a 1974 Custom RI:

 

http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2015/Custom/1974-Les-Paul-Custom-Reissue.aspx

Edited by jdgm
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting old so I grew up in the Norlin era.

They made some crappy models (just like today) but overall the guitars were just fine.

I recall reading about the ES line back then and what stuck in my head is "they pretty much just left us alone", all of the screwing around was with the solid body electrics.

 

Acoustics, I have no idea but I've seen some strange stuff from back then.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting old so I grew up in the Norlin era.

They made some crappy models (just like today) but overall the guitars were just fine.

I recall reading about the ES line back then and what stuck in my head is "they pretty much just left us alone", all of the screwing around was with the solid body electrics.

 

Acoustics, I have no idea but I've seen some strange stuff from back then.

They fudged up a number of acoustics. I love the slim necks tho, it sucks because today you gotta pay a small fortune to get a vintage reissue for a slim neck. Everything gibson today in acoustics is 1.725 nut width, the 70s had 11/16th slim necks and they played like butter to me. Today, i have to pay thousands to get a neck a like in the Gibson brand.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I walked past the television which was showing an old episode of The Partridge Family.

Keith was playing an acoustic GIbson 12 string with a trapeze tail piece like they were putting on the 335s back then which looked kind of unusual.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The problems with QC during the Norlin era is greatly exaggerated today.

 

Serious issues really only applied to a few years from the late '60s to the early '70s and even then only on some models. The Les Paul Artisan, 25/50 and (especially) The Les Paul mentioned in earlier posts were not affected at all as these models were built by a completely separate division - roughly stated think Custom Shop as opposed to USA-line where the former was allowed to craft the finest guitars which would be sold for a premium price and the USA-line had to churn them out production-line style. In the case of the premium-price "The Les Paul" I believe I'm right in saying all the work done on all the guitars crafted was down to just one luthier; D1ck Schneider.

 

Things weren't helped by there being a SERIOUS amount of employee dissatisfaction with the way the factory was being run. Many workers had trained and worked during McCarty's stewardship and they could sense that the way Norton Stevens and Arnold Berlin thought the company should be governed was going to be disastrous. In interviews many have stated that the only reason guitars built at the start of the '70s weren't even worse was that the workers ignored many of the directives being handed down to the shop floor from the management.

 

Notably there were a few truly terrible cost-saving measures introduced which resulted in some of the most ungainly solid-body Gibson models ever made; especially the 'Type III' SG range. The atrocious sales of these instruments resulted them being hastily redesigned and the type III's were withdrawn only two years after they were introduced.

 

If I may quote what has turned out to be a very prophetic observation made by Ian C. Bishop in his book 'The Gibson Guitar from 1950' published back in 1977;

 

"It is evident from the guitars being produced now that Gibson have largely managed to overcome the problem of high production levels and now maintain a good standard. A black cloud, however, hangs over the instruments being produced during the period 1967-1972 and the reputation Gibson gained, even in that short time, will persist for quite a while."

 

Lasty, on a personal note;

One of the first Les Pauls I ever played was an early-to-mid-'70s Custom and it was absolutely superb. On the strength of that experience the first Les Paul I ever owned, back at the start of the '80s was also an early-to-mid-'70s Les Paul Custom and it was an absolute dog.

 

Pip.

Edited by pippy
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're an acoustic player, many specimens from the 1970's leave a great deal to be desired. Having said that, however, if you run across a good one, it's still a good one - just don't count on any degree of consistency.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Partridge Family, what a goof.

I switched to a monster roof top antenna and the programming is just bizarre.

One channel has The Adams Family, another will have programming from Japan featuring rap stars performing in Japanese, an animal/discovery channel in Spanish, all sorts of weird crap.

 

I had an SG Standard from 73, a 75 ES335, a 79 or 1980 ES335, a 79 Les Paul Special reissue a 1980 Lucille Deluxe and a Les Paul 25th Anniversary.

They were all really good, no quality control issues at all. In all honesty, the workmanship and quality of those guitars is as good, if not better, than what you're getting today.

 

If you look at the Joe Bonamassa clip posted a bit ago he said he's 1970s Firebird is every bit as good as the one from the 60s, just half the price.

 

I believe OldCowboy about the acoustics, I've read on this and other forums that they went downhill for a bit back then.

Edited by SteveFord
Link to post
Share on other sites

My 25th spent most of it's life in that weird chainsaw case. Where's the lock?

I'm certain if the internet existed back then people would have been screaming (typing?) bloody murder about everything.

 

I do remember that Les Paul as being astonishingly heavy.

You wouldn't think such a small guitar could possibly weigh so much but it certainly did.

 

I also remember how good that old SG sounded, I had no idea about nibs or bevels back then.

 

All of my Norlin-era guitars came through without any physical imperfections, I just assumed that's how Gibson did things.

Maybe I just got lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My Norlin era guitar is my 1981 "The V" and quite frankly, it's the best sounding and playing guitar I've ever touched.

 

The funny thing is, the whole 2015 debacle has people saying how Gibson quality has gone down and how bad it is these days. I couldn't be any happier with my 2017 Standard, 2017 Tribute and 2018 Traditional. If there's quality issues these days, I haven't seen it. It probably got started with a couple guys saying it and has spread like wildfire. I'm sure there were some duds out there somewhere but mine, other than the bad PCB which was replaced, have been amazing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 75 sq. shoulder Southern Jumbo 2x bracing and giant bridge plate ……….. but it sounds just fine and always has, so I've kept it. BUT! It's scary when you look inside the sound hole with a mirror and see all that extra wood. Also have a 78/79 The Paul I have hung onto cause it plays and sounds great. BUT! It's a basic slab and no more. Too late to let them go now anyway!

A The Paul was my first real guitar. Wished I still had it for sentimental reasons. But The stuff I own now BB King and LP Trad Pro II es muy bueno'er.

Link to post
Share on other sites
...My 2 "Norlin" era Les Paul's. 1976 Deluxe, and 1980 Custom! Both weigh a LOT, and both sound/play GREAT!

So…???

So as we have seen, CB, the problem with Norlin instruments is exaggerated. It really is as simple as that.

 

Not to labour the point but as Ian C. Bishop said in '77 (and I quoted earlier);

" ...A black cloud, however, hangs over the instruments being produced during the period 1967-1972..."

 

The USA-line models mentioned by forumites have been from 1973, '75, '76 '79, '80, '81. The Firebird Joe Bonamassa was talking about was a '76 Bi-Cenennial re-issue and as such was, effectively, a 'Custom Shop' guitar - as were the various 25/50s, Artisans, Active Artists and a great many other instruments. No-one in this post has mentioned a single instrument made during the 'problem period' as defined by Mr. Bishop. As can be seen these 'problem years' for QC under the post-McCarty regime were largely over by '72 but Norlin still owned Gibson for a further 14 years and even during the '67-'72 period it's a pretty fair bet that the majority of instruments manufactured were absolutely fine in every respect as far as QC is concerned.

 

Why the surprise that all these 'post-problem-period' guitars are OK?......eusa_think.gif......

 

Pip.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting old so I grew up in the Norlin era.

They made some crappy models (just like today) but overall the guitars were just fine.

I recall reading about the ES line back then and what stuck in my head is "they pretty much just left us alone", all of the screwing around was with the solid body electrics.

 

Acoustics, I have no idea but I've seen some strange stuff from back then.

I have an ES 175 D Norlin from 1979 with the neck volute. It is unusual as the sunburst finish is not just on the top but back and sides too.

The guitar has had had a somewhat hard life but I would not part with it as it is such a lovely instrument to look at and play.

Chris.

Link to post
Share on other sites

And yet, if you see them on E-bay, they tend to command much lower prices, than almost any Gibson made after that era!

Regardless of actual quality.

 

So, it shows you what a perceived, or misperceived notion can do, to resale values. Even in the 50's and early

60's "Golden Era," of Gibson electrics, there were Great guitars, and total Dogs, in every model range. I know,

as I've play both...some that were outstanding, in every way, and other's WAY less so, as well as those that might be

considered "average" for the time. So...???

 

Given the much larger quantities, that are made now, in every model, I think Gibson is far more "consistent"

now, in both quality, and QC, overall. But, sure, some are bound to get out the door, when they shouldn't!

That's mass producing, in general, and (maybe?) with Gibson, more due to internal problems between management,

and those tasked with the production. Unhappy, disguntled workers, can/do effect build, finish, and QC.

Even if/when it shouldn't.

 

Bottom line, IMHO, is if you love your guitar(s), that's all that really matters! [thumbup]

 

CB

Edited by charlie brown
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Bottom line, IMHO, is if you love your guitar(s), that's all that really matters! [thumbup]

 

CB

 

The trouble is CB, I love your guitars too......those LPs....mmmmm [love]

 

[biggrin]

Edited by jdgm
Link to post
Share on other sites

The trouble is CB, I love your guitars too......those LPs....mmmmm [love]

 

[biggrin]

 

[biggrin] Thanks, jdgm! They've served me well, for decades, now. In fact, I've been playing

the '80 LP Custom, for several days now, and am again reminded what a lovely version it is! The

Neoprene bass stap REALLY helps with the weight, too! [thumbup][biggrin] I use that, on both

the LP Custom, and the '76 LP Deluxe, as it weighs a "ton," too! [crying][biggrin]

 

CB

Edited by charlie brown
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...