Were DeLuxe's more commonplace in the UK in the 70s than other Les Paul's?

Discussion in 'Norlin Years' started by Angus Blackmore, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. Angus Blackmore

    Angus Blackmore Member

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    Hello everyone, I'm a bit of a history freak. I live in the UK, and a friend of mine who was around in the 70s, let me play a couple of his Les Paul deluxes from that era (nice enough wasn't that amazed). Also, I know that many of my 70s UK heroes such as Adrian Smith, Scott Gotham, Townsend, Kelly from Girlschool, and plenty of the punk brigade and others played DeLuxes, or at least started out on DeLexes before modding them or moving to standards. As the UK had a protectionist government in the 70s, could it be that De Luxes were somehow cheaper to import and more popular because of that? Could it also be that the DeLuxes were considered lower quality than standards? Were standards the same price back then?

    Apologies for the boring topic, but for some reason De Luxes rub me the wrong way, and it could be because I've always considered them to be lesser than the standard or trads (if one piece backs are the ticket, Who would want a pancake body, unless you were broke). Is my prejudice justifiable?

    My theory is that Gibson could get higher margins out of UK distributors than back home, and conveniently dump unpopular DeLuxes on Gibson hungry brits at the same time. Any 70s dudes care to shed some light?
     
  2. efstop

    efstop Senior Member

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    Gibson was building all the LP bodies with that construction till about '77 or so, not just the Deluxes. My '73 Custom had a pancake body. If you don't like a Deluxe, that's fine; mini-humbuckers aren't for everyone, but they defined a lot of the sound of rock in the '70s I don't believe they were ever lower quality than the other models. For me and many others, a '69-73 Deluxe in near mint is our holy grail guitar.

    As far as UK Deluxes in the '70s, that sounds like a tough research project.
     
  3. Progrocker111

    Progrocker111 Senior Member

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    Deluxes were always 100% the same as Standards in specs, only difference were the pickups. Even Customs had the same pancake body construction until late 76/early 77...
    And yes - they were quite plentiful in Europe, very often played by lesser known progressive rock and fusion bands especially in Italy, France, Germany etc...

    They were used nearly so much than Customs during 70s, if not in same amount.

    Minihumbuckers are from my experience fairly versatile pickups, they can only have some problems with bigger distortion cause they can be often microphonic.
     
  4. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    I can't say anything about the availability of various models there, but having owned a 73 for 15 years, I'm thinking that your bias is misplaced. They're of similar build quality as most other Gibsons of the era.

    I love the minihumbuckers, m'self. Very versatile.
     
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  5. Angus Blackmore

    Angus Blackmore Member

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    Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it.
     
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  6. Angus Blackmore

    Angus Blackmore Member

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    Great insight, thanks. I think I've been too influenced by other message boards that somehow tend to look down on the deluxes.
     
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  7. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    They may still not be your cup of tea, and that's cool. Some don't care for the pickups, and others assert that Norlin's QC was subpar (it wasn't on my guit). It's a shame there's no easy access to the old ones so you can see and hear for yourself.

    The modern Deluxes have ceramic pickups, so they're not really a good stand-in so far as testing etc goes. Those can indeed be shrill.
     
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  8. efstop

    efstop Senior Member

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    Buy an '18 Classic GT and swap in Gibson's own mini humbuckers. That's what I want to do :dude:
     
  9. Angus Blackmore

    Angus Blackmore Member

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    Thanks for the knowledge. Would you know why prog bands would opt for this model over others, sound wise ? Perhaps because of the pickups? Thanks again.
     
  10. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    The standards were very rare....only a few until their proper re-release in 76 I think. And almost all would have stayed in the US. After the re-release who knows what would have gone on with the way the distributor did the ordering.....or beyond that, what part of their order actually got fulfilled. Lets face it the demand for the full size humbucker guitars locally could have been such that none made to overseas orders.
    Factory routed ones would be the same, as no importer would have specially ordered such a thing for a customer all the way to the US....so that is another US only guitar.
    Coming from Aus, even now most of the guitars available don't get over here. And practically none of the limited editions make it here even if the importer puts in an order.

    As to the band choice - the deluxe was always cheaper than the Custom....a LOT so. Even a quick thought on the typical amount of money that starting bands would have available and the prices of anything coming from the US (let alone Gibson) would make it obvious as to why a Deluxe would have been the choice. Many UK bands played VOX and Marshall due to the price of Fender amps. And Fender is cheap when it comes to guitars.
     
  11. Angus Blackmore

    Angus Blackmore Member

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    Very interesting post. I work in Procurement so I understand pricing strategies. I didn't know they were that much cheaper (after all, for most people the word Standard would infer a cheaper priced product than the same item called DeLuxe). Great stuff ARandall.
     
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  12. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    The Standard and Deluxe were essentially on a par.....as the only change construction wise was pickup rout shape. But they were very rarely on the spec sheet at the same time commanding their own space. Hence there was only perhaps a 4-5 year window in the entire Gibson history where there might have actually been a legit choice. And of that overlap we don't know whether there was any choice in this short period presented to prospective buyers in the UK.
     
  13. XpensiveWino

    XpensiveWino Senior Member

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    @ARandall nailed it. There were TONS more Deluxes than Standards made in that era. No need to overthink this one.

    As far as quality and all of that, well, it's all been said. Not one bit substandard.
     
  14. grumphh

    grumphh Senior Member

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    Just to add to it, Customs were the same guitars as well, just with more binding and a different fretboard.
    In the 70's all 3 common LP models* were built in the same way, and all that differed between them were the decorative appointments and the pickup routes.

    I had a '78 Deluxe that felt exactly like my '79 LPC and acoustically sounded exactly the same - in a blind test you wouldn't have been able to feel which was which - but of course looking at them, the Custom just looks so much better/more luxurious :)

    * Excepting LP Recording, LP Personal, special runs and reissues of course...
     
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  15. Progrocker111

    Progrocker111 Senior Member

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    As there was said, perhaps lower price and overall weak choice possibilities in countries like Italy or France resulted in heavy use of Deluxes. Everybody wanted Gibson Les Paul and Deluxe was a Les Paul too in those times, not so expensive as Custom and often only choice. :acoustic:

    Here are as example some clips from lesser known bands with LP Deluxes, they could make great tones with them:





     
  16. 1969 weatherman

    1969 weatherman Senior Member

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    the deluxe were the standard of the time..the custom ,like today ,was more expensive.
     
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  17. 1969 weatherman

    1969 weatherman Senior Member

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    AMAZING PAF LIKE TONES OUT OF THESE OLD DELUXES
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
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  18. geddy

    geddy Senior Member

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    In the mid to late 70s I don't recall seeing many LPs in local guitar shops in Cardiff and at that time your choice was from whatever the store had. London stores probably had a better selection. The ones I did see were v expensive hence the availability of Japanese copies at a 5th of the price.

    Also as has been said, I thought the deluxe was the only option in that time frame as they were using up stock of mini humbuckers.
     
  19. grumphh

    grumphh Senior Member

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    Complete crap :D

    The reason all those deluxes were routed for full size humbuckers was of course that the mini humbuckers don't give you anything remotely resembling a proper fat humbucker sound.

    ...i know this is the internet, and on the internet, if it is old it is always good, but trying to make minihums out as being like PAF's is just trying to rewrite history.
    They do not deliver the traditional fat humbucker sound that people had heard on the famous records that were done with LP's in the 60's - and that is also a major reason why people hate "norlins" - people at the time didn't realise (no they didn't - they didn't have the internet to tell them what's what) that the minihumbuckers were in fact not the humbuckers that the classic LP's came with, and the myth of the bright unsustainy "Norlin" was born - all due to the choice of using rather crappy pickups on a guitar people expected to sound differently...
     
  20. 1969 weatherman

    1969 weatherman Senior Member

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    FIRST I SAID PAF LIKE NOT PAF ...THE EARLY MINI HUMBUCKERS 69 70 WILL BE ON PAR WITH ANY PAF OR EARLY T TOP WITH A LITTLE NUANCE PARRTLY BECAUSE THEY ARE BUILT A LITTLE DIFFERENT. ..
    NOT EVERYBODY AND THEIR WIFE PLAYED ORIGINAL 1959 LES PAULS WITH PAFS. ALOT PLAYED DELUXES AND RECORDS ARE FULL OF DELUXE TONE .
    ALSO ALOT OF PEOPLE CHANGED THEIR LES PAULS WITH T -TOPS FOR A SUPER DISTORTION AND SUCH AS WELL.. THAT DOES NOT MAKE THE T TOP A LESSER PICKUP...PEOPLE ALWAYS LOOK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT BUT NOT BECAUSE ITS CRAP...
    MY DELUXE WITH THE MINI WILL HANG WITH ANY 50'S LES PAULS WITH HUMBUCKERS ...AND YES I HEAR A LITTLE DIFFERENCE BUT THE PAF LIKE TONE IS THERE FULL AND STRONG....TONE FOR DAYS.
    CHEERS

    AGIAN MY KEYBOARD IS SHOT SO EXUSE ME FOR THE CAPITAL LETTERS
     

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