Real or counterfeit 70’s Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Norlin Years' started by Gary, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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    What do you think about this one? I spotted it in a shop and grabbed it for $180. Before paying for it, they told me it wasn’t a real Gibson but a copy. Looking at the body, I’ve never see a copy done to that type of period correct construction. Three piece maple top and a “pancake” Norlin body?


    I’m traveling and it will be a few days before I’m home to open it up to see the pots, neck joint and pickups.


    The Gibson logo inlay, brown plastic, nut and knob pointers got me intrigued. Obviously it is a refinished guitar. But is there a diamond under that finish, or did I waste $180?

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  2. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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  3. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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  4. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    No serial #? A peek under the truss rod cover could help.
     
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  5. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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    Sorry. No photos of that or under the covers until I get home to a screwdriver in three days.
     

  6. lunchbox

    lunchbox Senior Member

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    $180? That's a score +++++.

    I've never seen copies that are pancake construction, but it's missing a volute if it's a '70's. I don't doubt that it's real, but maybe a neck replacement?
     
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  7. Who

    Who I'm back. Back in the New York groove.

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    Body=seems legit.
    Neck=replaced.

    Neck heel shaved down too far. Not grain-filled near heel.
    No "wings" on headstock. Binding yellowing doesn't match body at all.


    This doesn't make it a bad guitar. I'll give you $190 for it.

    Also looks like the checking is man-made.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  8. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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    Thanks guys! The more I stare at it, the more it looks like a neck replacement. It heavy, like a 70’s LP. The neck pickup cover is pretty pitted and the screw slots look rusted. I’m hoping it’s a T Top. The tuneomatic looks legit to me.
     

  9. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    No wings,

    rtrtrtr.JPG

    Looks like numbers(?) stamped at the bottom?

    numbers.jpg

    Yep..

    70.JPG
    pancake.JPG

    opolop.JPG
     
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  10. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Those maybe numbers would be in the wrong place.

    upload_2018-7-11_19-5-16.png

    The body looks legit. Appears to be the correct bridge too. I have a pancake bodied '73 Custom.

    The neck is the real question. A one piece neck? As stated, where are the ears? Did Gibson add any sort of numbers or marking to a replacement neck? That I do not know.
     
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  11. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    A 1973 bridge. Yours is a bit different. The stud holes are off center on mine. They very well could have changed that during the run of the Norlins.

    The date code on the pots will be very helpful.

    upload_2018-7-11_19-14-32.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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  12. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    At the bottom of the headstock? Don't think i've ever seen pictures of that.
     

  13. Greco

    Greco Senior Member

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    The easiest way to tell is to look in the cavities and check that the body is setup entirely like you would expect from a Gibson, with USA hardware sizes, not metric. It does look like someone did a fairly decent job on that neck/headstock rather than completely bodge it. I would just be cautious as there were some Asian copies of pancake bodies (as posted above). It's not unknown for people to turn a Tokai or Greco into a Gibson.
     
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  14. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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  15. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Similar. Your bridge appears a bit wider with the stud holes more or less centered.

    Hope there are dates stamped into the original pots.
     
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  16. mdittman

    mdittman Junior Member

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    Maybe I'm seeing it wrong but the binding in the cutaway looks too thin and the placement of the jack looks too far back. In any case I would guess it is a copy but a very nice one. I wouldn't have hesitated to buy it. I think you did fine. Let us know how it plays and sounds.
     
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  17. DarrellV

    DarrellV About as sharp as a bowlin' ball! -NPM Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Agreed! For that price even if it is a copy its pretty darn good! The big question is does it play good for you?

    No fret issues or wonkiness... Pickups can always be changed if your not happy.

    The action and playability are the important things, followed by good intonation and sound.

    Let us know if you find your bliss!
     
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  18. judson

    judson Senior Member

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    its a no brainer at $180

    since you could not examine more closely, you take a gamble and worse case you part it out or just keep it as a beater....interesting the store told you it was a fake but kudos to them for not trying to hose someone for serious $$$$$

    the shop probably opened the cavity and did a quick internet search and found it was a copy or somehting they knew wasnt legit....

    but here is a crazy thought...play it and have fun with it...who cares if it feels and sounds good..

    i have had higher bar bills and all i got out of that was a headache....and didnt get laid..
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018

  19. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    For $180 why not..

    Just as long as you know what it isn't.

    Give credit to the shop for being up front about it.

    Course if this was a thread about the shop listing this(Reverb/eBay etc) guitar as some kind of oddball "real" Gibson refin-repair-mashup..

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    Some still might have a problem with the logo..
     
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  20. Gary

    Gary Senior Member

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    On the way home today, I dropped off the guitar at my luthier's shop. It will need a refret. He also mentioned that it looks like the burst finish was applied with a brush. Yuck.

    We opened the control cavity and the wiring is not original. The # on the volume pots looks like R137910X. The cavity routing look legit to me. I still think it was worth $180. My luthtier will take pictures of the botton of the stop bar and bridge when he gets to it.

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