FAQ: Norlin History

dwagar

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On Dec 19, 1969 Ecuadorian Company Ltd (ECL) bought controlling interest in Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI) which owned Gibson. The new company was named Norlin. Gibson was Norlin's last musical company asset to be sold off, in January 1986.

Changes timeline (note: changes don't happen on Jan 1st, there are always variants):
PRE-NORLIN
- 1965 - headstock angle changes, chrome replaces nickel hardware, brazillian is no more.
- 1968 - re-release of the Les Paul, GT with P90s and Black Custom. Long tenon. Wide binding.
- 1969 - wide headstock, wide binding, 3pc neck, pancake body, trans tenon. Deluxe introduced to use up the mini hums left over from sending Epiphone offshore.

NORLIN
- 1970 - volute, Made In USA stamp, confusing serial numbers start.
- 1974 - (?) Standards reintroduced, 'white' Customs, 20th Anniversary Customs (the first anniv issue from a guitar mfg).
- 1975 - necks change to maple, short tenon introduced, Nashville plant starts building LPs in conjunction with Kalamazoo. Serial number changes to decal.
- 1977 - end of pancake body. Decal serials still used, also the start of the modern 8 digit serial numbers.
- 1981 - end of volute
- 1983 - start of weight relief holes
- 1984 - final production at Kalamazoo in June
- 1985 (?) - end of 3 pc neck

Please add changes and corrections, and I'll edit this thread as we go
 

Boleskinehouse

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Also from '75 to the first part of '77, they used an oval decal for the serial number, model name, and Made in the USA.

'75 serial #s starting with a bold "99".
'76 with a bold "00".
'77 I don't remember, but I'm sure someone does. :laugh2:


An example from '76..



I'll take a better pic later.
 

dwagar

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I've got another thread on IDing a Norlin, it's detailed in there. 75's can have both I believe, older 6 digit and newer decal.
I'll add the serial number change to this list, thanks man.
 

diceman

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Good stuff! Pancake body did start during '69 (I saw your "?") - during '69, you had some mix and match of 1/3 piece necks and 1/pancake bodies (mine is 3pc neck 1pc body).

Long tenon in '68, Trans tenon in early '69.
 

dwagar

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Good stuff! Pancake body did start during '69 (I saw your "?") - during '69, you had some mix and match of 1/3 piece necks and 1/pancake bodies (mine is 3pc neck 1pc body).

Long tenon in '68, Trans tenon in early '69.
great, thanks man.
 

rick13

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I have a late 69 early 70 goldtop with volute, but no made in usa, 3pc neck,pancake body,transitional tenon.
Rick
 

dwagar

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cool, so it must've been shipped just prior to their starting the Made In USA stamp?
 

rick13

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I have some good pictures ...let me get them together. Don't know if it's Norlin or not?
Rick
 

dwagar

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while it may have been made prior to the Norlin takeover, it seems to meet most of what we define as Norlin era.

(if you note in the timeline, a lot of the changes happened prior to the actual stock purchase by Norlin, but we refer to them as the Norlin era. Most might be better defined as the Rendell era - he took over from McCarty, to cut costs, cut production problems and warranty claims, etc.)
 
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Also from '75 to the first part of '77, they used an oval decal for the serial number, model name, and Made in the USA.

'75 serial #s starting with a bold "99".
'76 with a bold "00".
'77 I don't remember, but I'm sure someone does. :laugh2:



An example from '76..



I'll take a better pic later.
.....'77 started with a bold "06"
 

murkat

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"- 1974 - (?) Standards reintroduced, 'white' Customs, 25th Anniversary Customs (the first anniv issue from a guitar mfg)."

it is actually 20th anniversary.
later on they did the 25/50 anny.

:)
 

dwagar

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and guess who has one?

nice catch.

er, I'll have to get BB to fix it, I can't edit the initial post now.
 

Kenny

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Does anyone know when they switched back to mahogany necks?
 

icsm

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trans tenon is mid/late 1969.
I have an early 69 with long tenon, one piece neck and one piece body with crossbanding layer between maple and mahogany.
Hope this helps
 

dwagar

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does that layer show on the outside, or just in a cavity? Can you post a pic? I've heard of this but don't think I've ever seen a pic of it.
 

zamdrang

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I havent x rayed my 83 custom, but my serial # is april and I cant imagine it has weight relief holes, its a beast. Any other way to tell? Knocking on it sounds solid. Theres always exceptions, of course. Just thought id throw it out.
 

Thundergod

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Wasn't called Ecuadorian Company Ltd. it was called Cervezas Nacionales del Ecuador, and it's to date the main beer producer of Ecuador and most of Latin America.

(I'm from and live in Ecuador and my family's had stock of what now is called Cervecería Nacional del Ecuador for a long time).
 




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