Gibson LP Custom 1985

wjlim22

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I just picked up this Custom because I've always wanted a Custom. I don't know much about the Norlin era guitars. This one was just a total impulse purchase. I played it for about 45 minutes and loved the sounds that came from it. I guess at this age it is considered a vintage. I was on my way to buy one of the new Customs but saw this and grabbed it instead. Since I don't know much about Norlin era Gibsons, I thought I would post it here to see what you guys think about this one. The ebony fretboard is in amazing condition.

DUH: "It has all cracked paint under the finish"
CORRECTION: It has checked finish all over the guitar. I learned that changing temperature causes this type of checking. Looks fine to me.

Open to hearing all good and bad opinions on this guy.

EDIT: I was told it was a 1986, but I just looked up the serial and it is actually a 1985.

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wjlim22

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Lovely guitar. But if you’re correct on it being an 86, you’re out of the Norlin era. They sold the company to Henry J in I think 84
Got it. I guess I should move this post somehow. I was going by the heading of the Norlin Years label on this thread that says Les Pauls from 1969 - 1987.
Thanks for the info!
 

mudface

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Yes,...Norlins did go into 1987...... the sale was 1986 and was actually final in 1987.

The Kalamazoo plant was closed in 1984....2 years before the sale.


Got it. I guess I should move this post somehow. I was going by the heading of the Norlin Years label on this thread that says Les Pauls from 1969 - 1987.
Thanks for the info!
Lovely guitar. But if you’re correct on it being an 86, you’re out of the Norlin era. They sold the company to Henry J in I think 84
 
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mudface

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I just picked up this Custom because I've always wanted a Custom. I don't know much about the Norlin era guitars. This one was just a total impulse purchase. I played it for about 45 minutes and loved the sounds that came from it. I guess at this age it is considered a vintage. I was on my way to buy one of the new Customs but saw this and grabbed it instead. Since I don't know much about Norlin era Gibsons, I thought I would post it here to see what you guys think about this one. The ebony fretboard is in amazing condition. It has all cracked paint under the finish. Probably not stored well over the years. It is beautiful in the light though. Open to hearing all good and bad opinions on this guy.

View attachment 506055

View attachment 506054
Your instrument is a Fantastic Norlin example.....and yes you posted in the correct section....:cheers:
 

wjlim22

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I think this guitar was originally supposed to have the Tim Shaw pickups. I'm not sure if they still do, but the pickups in them sound great. They are the most versatile pickups I have ever played (not saying much, I haven't played many old guitars).

Supposedly, the neck pickup is stamped. So it is possible that the neck is still a Tim Shaw. The bridge is a tar back which I'm not sure what it could be. In any case, both sound great to me and I'm not planning on changing anything on this guy.
 

Josh_of_CYWG

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Yes,...Norlins did go into 1987...... the sale was 1986 and was actually final in 1987.

The Kalamazoo plant was closed in 1984....2 years before the sale.
Went all the way into 87? I read January of 86
 

Josh_of_CYWG

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I think this guitar was originally supposed to have the Tim Shaw pickups. I'm not sure if they still do, but the pickups in them sound great. They are the most versatile pickups I have ever played (not saying much, I haven't played many old guitars).

Supposedly, the neck pickup is stamped. So it is possible that the neck is still a Tim Shaw. The bridge is a tar back which I'm not sure what it could be. In any case, both sound great to me and I'm not planning on changing anything on this guy.
Tar back is an upgrade in my books, out of a mid 70’s something
 

mudface

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Went all the way into 87? I read January of 86
It wasn’t 1984 was it?..... and yes there was no change in production or personnel till 1987.

Also I didn’t write the header for this section.... so I’m not the only one who knows this.
 

wjlim22

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The hardware on this guitar is pretty beat up, along with the headstock, but no wood breaks. The fretboard is pristine. The frets look like they are original based on all the fret nubs. I can't wait to plug in again but I'm at work right now.

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mudface

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The hardware on this guitar is pretty beat up, along with the headstock, but no wood breaks. The fretboard is pristine. The frets look like they are original based on all the fret nubs. I can't wait to plug in again but I'm at work right now.

View attachment 506081
It seems to have had an active life or very poor storage with all the weathered lacquer...... but that just adds to the charm.

My 1978 Custom was heavily in use when I was playing in the 1980s.... I guess I treated it with kit gloves because I couldn’t afford to replace it.... no heavy aging on my 42 year old LP... which is kinda sad cause I like checking and yellowing like yours.

My 1977 on the left, my ‘78 in the middle and my newer 2011 on the right.

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wjlim22

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It seems to have had an active life or very poor storage with all the weathered lacquer...... but that just adds to the charm.

My 1978 Custom was heavily in use when I was playing in the 1980s.... I guess I treated it with kit gloves because I couldn’t afford to replace it.... no heavy aging on my 42 year old LP... which is kinda sad cause I like checking and yellowing like yours.

My 1977 on the left, my ‘78 in the middle and my newer 2011 on the right.
Nice collection. Thank you for posting. Your '77 is my birth year guitar. I need to find myself one of those!

Yes, the accelerated aging was not expected. I didn't see all the checking until I looked at it outside of the store. It's actually very hard to see.
 

bblooz

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A '77 is likely to be a different animal than your mid-80s LPC. Maple neck, volute, pancake body and T top PUs (vs the Shaw/Tar back combo you have now). A lot of those '70s LPCs also were awful heavy (some over 13 lbs!). Personally, I like yours - congrats on your new Norlin!
 

ARandall

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Nice guitar, the checking looks super vintage too!!

Even if you were to ignore the incorrect info in this thread about the timing of the end of the 'Norlin era', the fact remains that save for fitted pickups, there is absolutely zero structural difference between the end of the Norlin guitars and the first half decade of the HJ era. It took until the start of the custom shop in 93 for the logo to be changed to a version of the 50's logo for example. And the short tenon, 9 hole weight relief and nashville bridge were unchanged for multiple decades and its easy to see that the supposed improvement once HJ took over was a change in perception rather than reality.

Of course for the more 'extreme' Norlin-ites the 90's are maybe a less interesting time, but ironically save for the Reissue line, it was a markedly less vintage accurate decade than most of the 80's.
 

mudface

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A '77 is likely to be a different animal than your mid-80s LPC. Maple neck, volute, pancake body and T top PUs (vs the Shaw/Tar back combo you have now). A lot of those '70s LPCs also were awful heavy (some over 13 lbs!). Personally, I like yours - congrats on your new Norlin!
My 1977 does not have a pancake body....that ended in mid-77.
 

wjlim22

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A '77 is likely to be a different animal than your mid-80s LPC. Maple neck, volute, pancake body and T top PUs (vs the Shaw/Tar back combo you have now). A lot of those '70s LPCs also were awful heavy (some over 13 lbs!). Personally, I like yours - congrats on your new Norlin!
Thanks! These pickups are definitely the highlight for me. I think the word that describes them best is definition. From smooth and creamy tones to high gain sounds, I can hear each note. I never met a neck pickup that I liked until now!

I haven't weighed it yet but I'm guessing 10 lbs from how it feels. I never liked weight relieved bodies but I think 12 lbs is about the limit for my back.
 

wjlim22

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Here's some shots that capture the checking. It was actually tough to take pics of. This thing looks like it belongs in the 70s. The checking is all throughout the back too. I looked at the pickups and it is a Shaw in the neck and a Tar back in the bridge.

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wjlim22

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I played it more today and yesterday and my question is this... why did they stop making pickups this good? What would be the comparable pick up the Shaws and tar backs that are made today?
 


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