FAQ: Norlin History

Lester

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A question on the "1965... chrome replaces nickel..." in the original post.

Was that the standard from them on? In other words, aside form some historic repro from the Custom Shop, were all LP's after that sporting chrome hardware instead of nickel (gold notwithstanding).
 

CalyxRai

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This. I have a 76 LPC and the tone is so different than my 1980 and my 70-72. It's overly midrangey. I'd sell it but the neck is the thinnest LP neck I've ever played. So back on topic, when did they stop making them with maple necks? Is it probable my 76 w an exaggerated mid range tone has a maple neck? Thanks -

So whats the deal with maple necks? When did that stop? 1983?
 

marantz1300

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This. I have a 76 LPC and the tone is so different than my 1980 and my 70-72. It's overly midrangey. I'd sell it but the neck is the thinnest LP neck I've ever played. So back on topic, when did they stop making them with maple necks? Is it probable my 76 w an exaggerated mid range tone has a maple neck? Thanks -
Thats the maple neck. I like the extra cut.
 

Kastrodamas

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I verbally bashed my '78 LPC a while back on another thread here... It was a gift from my now ex wife. I've been fighting this guitar since day one; changing out the bridge and stop bar for tone pros, several sets of electronics, an entire refret, and more recently locking tuners. It's getting closer to what I want to hear and feel when I play a LP... Mine has a three piece maple neck that I'm not too crazy about, a bit thin for my taste. I lean towards the baseball bat profile. There's a good guitar in there somewhere, I'll find it eventually... Norlin era Gibsons are getting more pricey here in Texas, selling for as much or more than new in some places. Just my two pennies.
 

LesPaul667

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This. I have a 76 LPC and the tone is so different than my 1980 and my 70-72. It's overly midrangey. I'd sell it but the neck is the thinnest LP neck I've ever played. So back on topic, when did they stop making them with maple necks? Is it probable my 76 w an exaggerated mid range tone has a maple neck? Thanks -

I believe the maple necks were replaced with one-piece mahogany in 1982-83, but there are some anomalies out there. I've seen early 1982's with maple necks with the volute and the usual 14 degree headstock pitch.


I love the maple necks on these guitars.:)
 

Bohemian Troubadour

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Hello, I am new here and can only assume I know what I am doing. I own 4 Les Pauls but my favorite was purchased yesterday. A 1984 gold top standard which according to its serial # was made in Nashville. This incredible guitar is such a great player but what I love most is how it is 100% original. No changes have been made at all and other than a little buckle rash and some checking this lady is perfect. I know nothing about this year model so any help would be appreciated. My other Les Pauls are a 2007 Studio, a 79 "The Paul", and a 97 Special and I will likely sell all 3 as I am not a collector. I play my guitars and dont care to have them just sitting in their cases ignored. Anyway, as I stated, any info on my 84 Standard would be great.
 

bscenefilms

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My pots indicate a 77 build. Embossed serial number is 7228XXXX - Earlier in the thread it is stated that 77 should be prefixed with 06... Anyone know what the deal is there?
 

dwagar

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My pots indicate a 77 build. Embossed serial number is 7228XXXX - Earlier in the thread it is stated that 77 should be prefixed with 06... Anyone know what the deal is there?
You missed an important digit, number 5, I'd guess it's a 7?

1977 is when Gibson started the modern numbering system, so you can find 77's with both style serial numbers.
 

cooltouch

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As a player and lover of Gibson guitars for almost 45 years, I feel a huge amount of gratitude toward Messrs Juszkiewicz, Berryman, and Zebrowski for rescuing the company. Gentlemen and saints, they surely are.

My first new Gibson was a 1st year of reissue Les Paul Custom, a "fretless blunder" as SoK66 so aptly described it. In fact, when I bought it, that was the only Les Paul Gibson offered in the original archtop body style, as I recall. Prior to the LP, I'd owned a second-hand SG Special, probably a '63 or 64, and after the LP I owned a '68 SG Standard. Nowdays I own a '99 LP Jr and an '88 SG Showcase Edition, basically a '62 reissue with EMG pups and black hardware. I've never owned a Norlin Gibson. But I sure have played a lot of them.

A good friend of mine and the drummer in my band owned a music store (still does: Artie Niesen, Front Porch Music, Bakersfield, CA) and from the late 70s until 1985 his store was a home away from home for me and several other friends. During that time, I played on just about every piece of Gibson inventory he had, especially the Les Pauls. And what I noticed was that by the late 70s Gibson was really trying to get its act together and crank out quality guitars once again. Those from the early 70s were complete dogs IMO, but by, say, 1979, they were fine playing and fine sounding instruments. I wasn't a big fan of the volutes, even though I understood their purpose, however I particularly recall how nicely the LP Customs played with their jumbo frets compared to the fretless blunder I had owned.

So I'm really curious. Given that Gibson was once again producing decent guitars, at least in my minds eye, what was it that caused the company to be just a few months away from closing its doors in 1986? Was it all poor management decisions? Because somehow the build process seemed to have been surviving whatever else was going on.
 

BlackSG91

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I didn't know Gibson necks had volutes! They should have kept that! Then my Gibson wouldn't have suffered BNS (Broken Neck Syndrome).:hmm:
 

alexmcginness

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Hi, Id like to add a bit to this. I have a white Les Paul Custom that I bought in June of 1974. ( $610 CDN ) I believe G Gruin said in an article that all white 74s had the 20th anneversary inlay on them. The store that I bought the guitar from had 6 white ones to choose from so together with the salesman we picked out the nicest one, but all of them including mine did not have the 20th anneversary inlay! I still have the guitar though its been modifyed over the years, and its still the nicest one Ive got sound wise and playing wise. Anybody have any info on when Gibson started with the 20th year inlay? Its obvious Mr. Gruin is incorrect about all of them having the inlay as I can personally attest to witnessing 6 of them that didnt and still have my guitar to prove it.
 

TateTheGreat

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Hi, Id like to add a bit to this. I have a white Les Paul Custom that I bought in June of 1974. ( $610 CDN ) I believe G Gruin said in an article that all white 74s had the 20th anneversary inlay on them. The store that I bought the guitar from had 6 white ones to choose from so together with the salesman we picked out the nicest one, but all of them including mine did not have the 20th anneversary inlay! I still have the guitar though its been modifyed over the years, and its still the nicest one Ive got sound wise and playing wise. Anybody have any info on when Gibson started with the 20th year inlay? Its obvious Mr. Gruin is incorrect about all of them having the inlay as I can personally attest to witnessing 6 of them that didnt and still have my guitar to prove it.
I don't ever recall seeing anyone ever say that about them, but could be wrong. Records are lost during this period. Gibson has a couple for only black and white Les Paul Customs, like 60 if I remember, thats it. I made some posts about it with all the correct info. Not all had the inlay, and even some early '75 LPC appeared with them. They made the 20th Anniv models in White, Black, Cherry Sunburst, Tobbacco Burst, Wine Red and Natural. I have a Natural one, Natural and Wine Red are very hard to find, not many with inlay were made. Mine also has stock a harmonica bridge and is a one piece top, very rare. During this period all of Gibsons records are gone for the most part. They only did the 20th Inlay in 1974, and some of the last batches were done in very early '75 had them.
 

dwagar

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Lots of them don't have the inlay. Mine didn't, there are others on here too. And, of course, the most famous white 74, Randy's, didn't have it.
 
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All the Kalamazoo made LesPauls had a vintage long tenon or the slightly shorter, but still the same, modified tenon missing only the little lip at the end. All the Kalamazoo made Lesters had the stamped serial numbers. As I remember this Kalamazoo made lesters also sport the ABR bridge.

Rocker tenons and oval stamps are from Nashville made lesters. As are the aptly named Nashville tunamatic bridge.
After the Heritage Series Standard 80's, they returned to mahogany necks, and smaller headstocks without volutes, around 81 or so, as I remember. One piece necks soon followed.
 

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