The Norlin era Les Paul bashing is based on a myth or fact?

Discussion in 'Norlin Years' started by HOT-BRIT, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    The Norlin ownership of Gibson is often bashed & blamed for making modifications and changes to the original 50's Les Paul design and these modifications to the original design are looked down on and frowned up on by purists and cork sniffers, which led to the bad feeling towards Norlin era Les Paul's. when in fact these changes took place before Norlin took over the ownership at the end of December 1969.
    The first Les Paul Deluxe was introduced in 1968 had mini humbuckersm a one piece body and a three piece neck, in the beginning of 1969 it was updated with the laminated pancake body design and also a small volute was added to the back of the headstock, so all the modifications blamed on the Norlin ownership of Gibson are actually pre Norlin modifications!
     
  2. dwagar

    dwagar V.I.P. Member

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    true, but I think "Norlin" has become the term to describe the changes, even though the changes were pre-Norlin.

    People seem to forget these changes were being made to try and save Gibson from bankruptcy, a lot of the cause being union and quality control issues.
     
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  3. acstorfer

    acstorfer Senior Member

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    Norlin bashing came about by rediculous people who depend on others to decide what is good and what is bad. The ironic thing is that Norlin era Gibson is still blamed as being so horrible in quality control, while today people look at what Gibson is doing quality wise and still won't admit it's awful. They choose to say what great customer service Gibson has while ignoring the fact they had to call customer service to fix a flawed product.

    I guess my point is, if people actually tried these 30+ year proven guitars for themselves, they wouldn't come across as such idiots.
     
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  4. roodyrocker

    roodyrocker Senior Member

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    My short version of it is, Norlin era bashing is based on myth AND ignorance!

    Rudy
     
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  5. acstorfer

    acstorfer Senior Member

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    Ugh, and blaming Norlin for changes. Considering the changes done pre and post Norlin, my god, what a completely failed argument.
     
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  6. Progrocker111

    Progrocker111 Senior Member

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    Yeah, but then came another modifications as maple neck, short neck tenon, steeper neck angle, almost no carving on top and much heavier mahogany. Interesting is, that for example in 79 the average guitarist took all these changes as regular Les Paul trademarks, because the "classic" Les Pauls Standards and Customs from 50s, early 60s and 68/69 were very hard to find and only few thousands were made. So i can imagine myself, that most guitarists considered Norlins as regular Les Paul until early 80s, when many reissues and return to some older specs occured.
     
  7. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    This kind of stuff goes on all the time. Pick a topic and there will be those that have a different varient that swear their model is "better, more reliable, better looking, more valuable" and on it goes. To some extent Norlin owners are this way too. :naughty:

    Case in point. I am a firearms dealer. I specialize in Colt 1911's. Now if you follow the design changes in the 1911 .45 pistol you will see changes that the purists shun. Changes that absolutely better the platform are poo pooed as not being "original".. You will see some terrific flame wars go on in those forums.

    The thing that eludes some is that when a product is first introduced it is already absolute. Pick any product and you can see it's evolution in design. My question is why is this shuned upon in the Gibson Les Paul world? It seems to me that if there is a design flaw that caused a neck to break something needs to be down to fix that.. Otherwise after a short time no one will buy that product. Can you imagine the bad rap early Gibsons would have gotten it there was such a thing as the internet and internet forums.
     
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  8. cmh6122

    cmh6122 Senior Member

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    Myth. I came of age when the vintage gibbys were just old guitars, and as a teen I played them all. All of the new gibbys I played at the store I have traded with for more than 40 years were made while Norlin owned them, and were all good guitars (suspect the boys at Steam didn't keep any that weren't). One of the first things Henry and crew did when they bought Gibson was make it impossible for the little hometown store I trade with to remain a dealer.
    I surf the historic section for guitar porn, and am blown away how much time they spend badmouthing 'Norlins', but they spend almost as much time bitching that their R9 weren't made with the right glue.
     
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  9. efria

    efria Member

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    I'm going to say "Myth", because I have yet to see any negative argument about Norlin era guitars based on fact.

    Unfortunately, people are generally lazy and too willing to accept opinions as facts. Compound that with the ease at which anybody with an opinion (and ego issues) can express themselves on the internet and the consequence is unfair/unsubstantiated reputations formed.

    Fact: Statistics mandate that the normal distribution of any manufacturing process lends itself to 'good' and to 'bad' products.
    Subjective opinion (myth): '50s era guitars are the best and all other era's are subjugated to those as the quintessential Les Paul.

    Fact: Gibson's manufacturing processes have always been in a state of transition.
    Subjective opinion (myth): Any changes from the '50s era guitars (which is utterly absurd because none of those guitars are alike!) are bad changes.

    I, for one, appreciate the knowledgeable folks here who educated and helped me make an informed purchase of a wonderful guitar (my '75 custom).
     
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  10. River

    River Senior Member

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    I believe it's based in fact, but blown all out of proportion.

    I'll take a nice, light, surviving Norlin any day of the week, but I ain't gonna pay vintage price for it. And that's what it comes down to: money and envy.

    Brit, I appreciate what you're saying about the myths surrounding the timing of ownership and methods/materials changes, but to me a Norlin is identified by the latter, not the former. It's just a convenient, evil-sounding name to give to the guitars, regardless of when the deals were sealed.
     
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  11. acstorfer

    acstorfer Senior Member

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    That's just the thing, Norlin era Gibson Les Pauls are still actually priced quite reasonable. Are they more expensive than current Les Pauls? Sure, but more than anything, that is due to their rarity. Still, they aren't tremendously more expensive. In particular, ones that have been modified. Get a Deluxe that has been modified by having the pickup spaces routed out. Something like that runs $1,500.00 or so, (which is in line to a used modern Standard and Traditional) and for all intensive purposes they are Standards. If you find a Deluxe non-modified, they run $2,300.00 to $3,000.00, depending on the color. That is about what modern day Gibson Deluxes run and the Standards (non-modified run about $3,000 to $3,500 which aren't tremendously more than modern Les Paul Standards. Okay, Customs will be around $1,000.00 more or so than a new Custom, but I think a big part of that is Randy Rhoads (sorry if I butchered the name).

    They are quite a bargain really. For example, my modded Deluxe was $1,500.00, which no doubt I could have gotten cheaper, but it was exactly what I wanted. If I had more patience and let the auction run it's course, I probably would have snagged it for $1,300.00 or so. What makes it a bargain, in my eyes, is that it is a 38, actually 39 next month, and it's proven that it will not obtain any issues, such as neck warping. Also, while this may be nothing but a wives' tale, but older wood just sounds better. At least that is my opinion anyway.
     
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  12. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    Yes it all comes down to value and price, you can find a nice 70's Norlin Les Paul in excellent condition for less than $3000 were as a late 50's Les Paul in good condition would cost you $100000, now is the extra cost equal to the increase in playability and tone of the late 50's Les Paul, sure the 50's vintage Les Paul's may have the edge over the later Les Paul's but douse that justify the price difference? And most players will never be able to afford a late 50's vintage Les Paul, but many can afford a Norlin era Les Paul and appreciate them for what they are great players and a piece of rock and roll history!
     
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  13. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    I think it's a mix of preference, myth, ego, and a little fact.
     
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  14. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy I am no longer @ Gibson V.I.P. Member

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    The "Norlin era" started before the official name change, but the cast of characters were the same:

    Stan Rendell
    Marc Carlucci
    Berlin
    Bruce Bolen

    They were the major decision makers during that era.
     
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  15. acstorfer

    acstorfer Senior Member

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    I should hope this will always be the case :)

    I would love it if everyone thought their LP was the best and that's why they bought/play it. It's sad to think anyone feels they "settled" on their guitar. How can you be at your best thinking, "I wish I owned something else".
     
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  16. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Problem is people don't know what they want and "chase" whats "best" in the moment. If anyone is quilty of that it's me. I do that all the time.. Do you have any idea how many things I sold in search of that "better thing" only to find out that what I had already was the better thing..
     
  17. zontar

    zontar Senior Member

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    Plus interpretation of the facts--facts still need to be interpreted.
    Check out any court trial--the prosecution & defense will give you different interpretations of the facts.

    In the case of a Norlin era guitar it is a fact that many of them had volutes--but the interpretation is whether that is a good thing or not.
    Some will put down a guitar with a volute as inferior, some will say that makes it better, others will say it makes no difference.
     
  18. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Yeah, interpretation I've broken down into the first three parts of my answer; those are all filters of judgement.
     
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  19. Cookie-boy

    Cookie-boy Senior Member

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    Yep, valid points. I was buying, selling and generally frigging around with electric guitars from the 1960's through the '70's and I can assure you 99% of players at that time had no interest in obtaining 1950's ANYTHING, cars, guitars OR crumpet!:naughty: We had all grown up on secondhand/handmedown inferior crap and wanted NEW, NEW, NEW!!!! A new Gibby or Fender was the Holy Grail and when you walked into a shop and bought one you floated, baby!!! Floated!!!:thumb: Nothing looked, played or sounded better and that's a fact!
     
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  20. marantz1300

    marantz1300 Senior Member

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    Its all cork sniffing.
    Norlins are bargins.Much cheaper ghen a 69,yet both have a volute and pancake body made of the same wood by the same workers in the same.factory.
    The early Norlin and last Gibsons must play,feel and sound
    VERY alike.
    Maybe the "Vintage" cut off will change to Kalamazoo only when the pre 70s guitars become too exprensive.
     
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