FAQ: Norlin History

ajory72

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This post is huge and probably one of the most fact based and intelligent ones on this thread....one thing that needs to be cleared up is that NORLIN wasn't even a word until 1974!!!!!! Obviously not common knowledge if 70-74 if they are called NORLIN. This is simply just incorrect, and this is how misinformation becomes facts on these forums...
Thus, from '70-'74 should state something like "ECL owned CMI" or "Pre-merger period"
Gibson remained under the control of CMI until 1974 when it became a subsidiary of Norlin Musical Instruments. Norlin Musical Instruments was a member of Norlin Industries which was named for ECL president Norton Stevens and CMI president Arnold Berlin.
So yes, CMI still ran the show, even while "owned" by someone else..if you look at brochures from 70-74..still says Gibson, INC. Then by '75, will say NORLIN...
So it's very important for people to know that it was NOT called NORLIN right off the bat.
The above comment is probably the most interesting thing i've read all year on the Norlin subject.... like other Internet savvy lads i just assume what I read is 90% correct - as is often spouted as a period correct term on this forum: ie: the whole of 1970's Gibson Les Pauls being refered to as Norlins..
I wouldnt' be confident to try and rename the Gibson periods. But it would be informative for people reading this sticky if the actual periods are named accordingly. Having the years outlined would help too as what we refer to as "Norlin" period guitars from say 1970 or 1973 should by the sounds of it be refered to as "ECL owned CMI" or "Pre-merger period" Gibson guitars ?
 

powerslide

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I have been a member/lurker on this forum for years but first time poster, had to say this is one of the most interesting and informative threads I have come across regarding Norlin LPs, on this site or any other. I own several Les Paul's but none from this era. Recently a non guitar playing friend took possession of what he says is a 78 deluxe and asked me if I was interested, he is bringing this guitar back with him from out of town so I have yet to see or play it, researching these guitars in anticipation of this deluxe is what led me to this thread. Want to thank the people here for taking the time to post and making me better informed about LP's from these years. Many thanks to the posters and MLP!!
 

HardCore Troubadour

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hope you get it and join the club brother....if you have any questions just ask, someone here will know.
 

powerslide

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hope you get it and join the club brother....if you have any questions just ask, someone here will know.
Thanks HCT, I'm hoping to have this deluxe in my hands by this weekend. Based on what I've read about them thus far I hope I can put the pieces together to validate year/model/build etc, but I'm sure I'll have some unanswered questions and will be interested to hear what the experts here think about condition, originality and fair market value, although I'm not sure if this is the proper thread to post such questions.

Thanks again!
 

HardCore Troubadour

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you do not have enough posts to use the PM feature yet so make if you need help make a thread in the general Norlin section....if at all possible, provide pictures for the best help.
 

mrfett

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It'd be great to have more info here on the transition from maple to mahogany necks, especially serial number info (examples of '82s with mahogany necks).
 

DarrellV

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It'd be great to have more info here on the transition from maple to mahogany necks, especially serial number info (examples of '82s with mahogany necks).
I have an 82 standard made in February of that year. It has No volute, maple neck, and no weight relief (11 lbs of Lester). Smaller head stock and thin neck.

I don't see any mention yet of the 'pre-historics' and 'Heritage 80's' from this time period. I'm waiting in anticipation..... This was supposedly the start of a time when Gibson 'started makin' em like they used to'.

Here's the serial number. Would REALLY like to know about the edition number '23'....

I have more pics in my album if any need to see more.
 
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DarrellV

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[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Heritage 80 Les Paul Models[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]

With the exception of a few Kalamazoo-built prototypes or “one offs” in circulation, all Heritage 80's were made in the Nashville plant between 1980 and 1982. These LPs have a unique sharp and wide cutaway at the horn, Grover kidney tuners, and an eight digit serial number with four digit second number beneath it.
[/FONT]There does not appear to be any pattern to the second four digit number – it was used for marketing reasons to distinguish these guitars as limited editions by Bruce Bolen, then head of R&D. They have a unique headstock shape. They are generally on the heavy side (high 9's to high 10 lbs.), have the thin binding in cutaway, small black side dot markers, and a Nashville bridge. The back plates for the control cavity and switch are brown.

yup!
answered my own question..
[/FONT]
 

dodger916

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I don't see any mention yet of the 'pre-historics' and 'Heritage 80's' from this time period. I'm waiting in anticipation..... This was supposedly the start of a time when Gibson 'started makin' em like they used to'.
I owned an '84 Pre-historic for several years; sold it two years ago. It was a well-playing, high-quality instrument with thin horn binding, rounder horn, amber knobs, tall bridge pickup ring, no volute, narrower head stock, small-dot neck markers (ala Nashville), ABR bridge, and Shaw pups. It also had the printed "Les Paul" head stock script closer to the Gibson logo like the 59s.

It was the first "high-end" LP I'd bought. I sold it because I was thinning the herd, I just didn't play it very much, and it was the most valuable guitar in my collection (brought the most $$ !). It was good looking too, though the dealer pic (below) overstated it's beauty.

 

DarrellV

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I owned an '84 Pre-historic for several years; sold it two years ago. It was a well-playing, high-quality instrument with thin horn binding, rounder horn, amber knobs, tall bridge pickup ring, no volute, narrower head stock, small-dot neck markers (ala Nashville), ABR bridge, and Shaw pups. It also had the printed "Les Paul" head stock script closer to the Gibson logo like the 59s.

It was the first "high-end" LP I'd bought. I sold it because I was thinning the herd, I just didn't play it very much, and it was the most valuable guitar in my collection (brought the most $$ !). It was good looking too, though the dealer pic (below) overstated it's beauty.

:wow: He says "Overstates the beauty!??" Are you kidding? That's really nice!

This particular era is a passion of mine because I had the 34 yr love affair (read GAS) going on that I recently remedied with the C.A.R. 1982 Standard that I first tried to buy in 1983.

I have done a TON of research into this time frame just to find out more about them. Quality, numbers made, where made, were they worth a crap any more or less than other Norlin Period Gibsons.

Yes that argument was rooted in the typical Norlin bias as a baseline, just to be fair. I honestly had nothing to compare by, so only took it a face value.

If it were true, then how does this period compare.

Looked very favorable from what I could find. The sleeping giant was awakening from a bad dream...

Found lots of great info that leads me to believe that while not completely correct by historic standards, they still were damn good guitars and most owners really like them. Yourself included :D.

I've been tempted to start a 'prehistoric' thread just cause I love mine so much and what I've found in my research. It's one of the biggest reasons I took the plunge and joined this forum. I want to know more about them, because info is scarce.

But I would like it to have a lasting value, like this sticky, if possible, since this thread is already started.

It seems to me a logical ending chapter of the Norlin Years and is pre-acquisition by Henry and co.

Or is it an orphan thread topic, neither fish nor fowl? You guys are the experts and old timers here. You tell me...:)

pic
 
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HardCore Troubadour

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I think it would make a great thread (don't know if they would make it a sticky) but why not just include it here since it is a part of Norlin History?

There are several pre-historic threads here if you want to look.

that guitar is really great man....did it have the 4 digits stamped into the lip of the cavity?

There was also some metallic CAR Standards during this time that did NOT have the extra digits, TP-6 style tailpiece and had BL Humbuckers.....

and 83-84 is not considered the end of the "Norlin Era"...86/87.
 

DarrellV

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I think it would make a great thread (don't know if they would make it a sticky) but why not just include it here since it is a part of Norlin History?

There are several pre-historic threads here if you want to look.

that guitar is really great man....did it have the 4 digits stamped into the lip of the cavity?

There was also some metallic CAR Standards during this time that did NOT have the extra digits, TP-6 style tailpiece and had BL Humbuckers.....

and 83-84 is not considered the end of the "Norlin Era"...86/87.
You are the MAN! I've been hoping for a chance to talk with you since before I joined the forum. You know, browsing days!:wave:

Talk to me about the cavity numbers. I'll go pull it out from under the bed and take it apart to see.
It DOES have the extra 4 under the serial number (posted on previous page) Mine is number 23, but I don't know the end number of the series.
In my search I found Guitar joe sold one with a number higher than 300 ( I want to say 389) I can find it to confirm. Saved all that stuff.

 
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HardCore Troubadour

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some of these early pre-historics had the serial stamped into the lip of the cavity, where the shield screws down....I think it was the Guitar trader's but maybe strings-n-things or Leo's also??



lol, I don't know about the man, as I am just a drummer first/hack guitarist second, with a Norlin Era LP Fetish....but I do enjoy talking about the era, and learn something new all the time.

Here is a couple of good reads, if you haven't read them already....

http://www.vintageguitar.com/16462/gibsons-first-reissue-les-pauls/

http://www.lespaulforum.com/slubarticle/vgarticle.html

http://www.vintageandrare.com/blog/2012/04/gibson-les-paul-heritage-series-standard-80-model-information/
 

DarrellV

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some of these early pre-historics had the serial stamped into the lip of the cavity, where the shield screws down....I think it was the Guitar trader's but maybe strings-n-things or Leo's also??





lol, I don't know about the man, as I am just a drummer first/hack guitarist second, with a Norlin Era LP Fetish....but I do enjoy talking about the era, and learn something new all the time.

Here is a couple of good reads, if you haven't read them already....

http://www.vintageguitar.com/16462/gibsons-first-reissue-les-pauls/

http://www.lespaulforum.com/slubarticle/vgarticle.html

http://www.vintageandrare.com/blog/2012/04/gibson-les-paul-heritage-series-standard-80-model-information/
Nope, no serial numbers.
From what I've read up on them this doesn't appear to be a guitar trader model.

Best explanation I could find was these were the first production runs after the Heritage 80 series had finished.
They used the same patterns and tooling as the 80's.
One source said this was the reason for the second serial numbers.
Another said these were used for sales and promo tools for salesmen.
The 2nd numbers made tracking easier.

Some had Ebony (like mine) some had Rosewood. Mine has a blond streak near the body area. Could be less than grade A custom stuff but still usable?
Could be another example of using up what was at hand. I can say mine is slicker than grease and incredibly smooth.



 
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dodger916

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some of these early pre-historics had the serial stamped into the lip of the cavity, where the shield screws down....I think it was the Guitar trader's but maybe strings-n-things or Leo's also??

Mine did not




lol, I don't know about the man, as I am just a drummer first/hack guitarist second, with a Norlin Era LP Fetish....but I do enjoy talking about the era, and learn something new all the time.
Me too, on all counts...
 

DarrellV

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Mine did not






Me too, on all counts...
OK Guys, I guess its up to us to officially kickoff the 'pre-historic' sub-chapter on this thread! Looks like I'm in good company. Hopefully more will follow.
 

DarrellV

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product description

1982 Gibson Les Paul Standard Limited - Candy Apple Red

Rare and ultra clean 1982 Gibson Les Paul Standard Limited in Candy Apple Red. The guitar dosn´t have any visible playwear, only some little fade of the gold plated hardware keep it from beeing "Mint" condition. This model was limited to only 300 instruments and features a second 4-digit serialnumber like the famous Heritage series. It also has many vintage-style apointments similar to a Gibson Heritage Reissue, such as the deep vintage top carve, small headstock, no headstock-volute, thin cutaway binding, the legendary "Tim Shaw - PAF Pickups", etc. The med-size mahagony neck has a bound ebony fretboard, the hardware is gold plated. Rare Les Paul, allready over 30 years old with moderate weight and great sound! Comes including its original Gibson protector case and lots of case candy such as Les-Paul strap, Instruction manual, waranty-card etc.

Not so. This is from Guitar Joe's CAR 1982 Standard.

Number 389.



The quest continues!
 
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Bravo4

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I found a Unicorn!

Advertised as a 1979, received new as a gift in 1982 and was literally never played since new. Condition confirms that this is pretty much true. I cut the rusted original strings off two hours ago, and there is not a mark on the guitar anywhere. The guy never even owned an amp.

Here's where it gets pretty weird.

Serial number dates to 1-9-79, 6th guitar produced. SN 70099006

Made in USA stamp

Center seam solid maple flame top. Center seam wasn't in common use in this era except for the Strings-N-Things, Guitar Trader, Leo's, K.M. and Heritage 80 series.

Narrow cutaway binding. From what I find the KM and some Strings-N-Things did not have narrow cutaway binding.

Sunburst front, brown back. All the backs I've seen were sunburst in '79 if the body was sunburstexcept for the above mentioned special runs.

One piece Mahogany body. Three piece maple neck.

Giant volute.

Large headstock consistent with 79-81

No Les Paul script on the headstock and no sign it ever had one.

Pots date to the 32nd week of 1981. 1378132

Control cavity routing matches the one in this thread, but is completely different than all other 1979's I've looked at.

Wiring is completely backwards. Lead volume pot is connected to the neck pickup and works as a master volume in the middle position. Rhythm volume is connected with the bridge pickup. Poker chip was upside down to indicate switch direction. Solder joints look undisturbed.

Pick guard appears to have been a deluxe modified to fit a standard.

Humbucker routes are original.

Pickups are patent number. One is ink stamped April 17, 1979. The other is patent number, but no ink stamp.

Wired ABR-1 bridge with brass posts and stud mounts

Stoptail is chrome on the front but flipping it over you can see someone polished the gold off of the front

My first instinct is leftovers made into an employee guitar, but the factory "2" for second is missing.

What do you think? I have contacted Gibson, but they have not responded.
 

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