Help dating and confirming 70’s les paul custom white

Yompi1972

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hi everyone i’m new to the site and got here looking for help regarding my recently adquired norlin gibson lp custom white.

Here’s the thing, i’ve been doing lots of research about this and just got more confused.

Goes like this:

I bought my lo custom and it was sold to me as a early 70’s. That seems pretty acurate since it has all the common features: volute, pancake body, serial number and “made in usa” stamped on the back of the headstock, abr1 bridge, etc.

So, since it is white (turned to yellow actually) i guess i couldn’t be a pre 74 (i’ve read about special order colours but no one seems to be sure).

It has a mahogany neck (i know that for a fact cause i can see the wood through a couple of scratches) but i can’t track the 3 pieces, wich makes no sense caise in that era all the necks were 3 pieces, even the maple ones starting in 75. A saw a couple of 72 54 reissues made of a 1 piece mahogany neck but with no volute.

The electronics and pickups are not original so no luck on dating the guitar that way (it has what i believe to be late 70’s patent number stamped pick ups).

The control cavity seems to be almost identical tonthe one in my 73 black beaty, maybe not that clean. And it also has the square channel routing just like the 73. (I read that in 74 it changed to the rounded one).

The neck pickup cavity shows the transitional tenon, again just like the 73 but not as clean.

So, 73 features, 74 colour, the neck construction is an enigma and on top of all it has a 17 degree peghead wich most claim is a pre 68 or post 2000 but sone say norlinwent back to it in 73. I saw a page from the 73 catalog and it says clearly they have a 17 degrees angle. In any case, my 73BB has a 14 degrees peghead.

I don’t know what to think, i’m even considering crazy stuff such as being a copy, or a replaced neck, a repaired one, or a refinished guitar. Even being a 20th anniversary who lost the 15th fret engraving due to several refrettings!

This is as far as i got using the web, maybe someone could help me, specially to clear out being a real gibson or not. Thanks!

I’m posting some pics for you to evaluate.
 

bblooz

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First of all - nice score! That LPC looks awesome. I sounds like you have a '73 that was finished later to me, perhaps HCT can shed some more light on it?

BTW - :welcome: to the forum!!!
 

Yompi1972

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First of all - nice score! That LPC looks awesome. I sounds like you have a '73 that was finished later to me, perhaps HCT can shed some more light on it?

BTW - :welcome: to the forum!!!
Thanx!
Excuse my ignorance but who`s HCT? some kind of an expert on this matters?
 

kakerlak

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Thanx!
Excuse my ignorance but who`s HCT? some kind of an expert on this matters?
HTC is member @HardCore Troubadour and he's pretty sharp at keeping all the Norlin timeline of idiosyncrasies straight, lol. I wonder, given the funky stamp, if this was refinished and somebody tried to chase/deepen the original stamping to avoid losing it under the new finish. If so, it wasn't done recently -- but it looks like there might be a little black lurking in the crevices of the neck pickup route/tenon area. Not sure what to make of the headstock angle, but I'm not the most knowledgeable guy. If it's original finish, then it's only ever had those Grovers on it, which might really help narrow it down, b/c I believe they went from the waffle-back Kluson Sealfast tuners to Schallers pretty quickly, which might mean the Grovers showed up for a year or part of a year in-between.
 

Yompi1972

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HTC is member @HardCore Troubadour and he's pretty sharp at keeping all the Norlin timeline of idiosyncrasies straight, lol. I wonder, given the funky stamp, if this was refinished and somebody tried to chase/deepen the original stamping to avoid losing it under the new finish. If so, it wasn't done recently -- but it looks like there might be a little black lurking in the crevices of the neck pickup route/tenon area. Not sure what to make of the headstock angle, but I'm not the most knowledgeable guy. If it's original finish, then it's only ever had those Grovers on it, which might really help narrow it down, b/c I believe they went from the waffle-back Kluson Sealfast tuners to Schallers pretty quickly, which might mean the Grovers showed up for a year or part of a year in-between.
Cool. So far no one breaking my heart with the infamous "that`s a fake".
I can live with the "this guitar has a strange story" as long as it is a gibson.
Let`s hope HTC shows up and slams his mighty hammer on this matter!
 

kakerlak

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Cool. So far no one breaking my heart with the infamous "that`s a fake".
I can live with the "this guitar has a strange story" as long as it is a gibson.
Let`s hope HTC shows up and slams his mighty hammer on this matter!
One other thing that makes me think refin is the headstock binding on the treble side, closest to the nut looks a little like it's gotten rounded over, which sometimes happens if somebody is a little heavy-handed in sanding.
 

Yompi1972

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One other thing that makes me think refin is the headstock binding on the treble side, closest to the nut looks a little like it's gotten rounded over, which sometimes happens if somebody is a little heavy-handed in sanding.
Yeah, by the way i forgot to mention that the truss rod cavity is painted black (oops) even when the truss rod looks like a gibson with the brass thing there.
 

Yompi1972

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I have this horrible fear of maybe being a good japanese copy with the headstock veneer changed for a gibson one. but so far i`ve only seen mij with rosewood fretboards and no volute so i`m lost
 

bblooz

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I have this horrible fear of maybe being a good japanese copy with the headstock veneer changed for a gibson one. but so far i`ve only seen mij with rosewood fretboards and no volute so i`m lost
Yeah, the Orvilles had mahogany necks, but cheaper plastic block inlays and rosewood finger boards, so pretty hard to modify into a "Gibson".
 
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kakerlak

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I have this horrible fear of maybe being a good japanese copy with the headstock veneer changed for a gibson one. but so far i`ve only seen mij with rosewood fretboards and no volute so i`m lost
There were some good Aria Pro II Customs with lip-top headstocks, ebony fretboards, pancake bodies and volutes... Yours looks legit to my eyes, though.
 

HardCore Troubadour

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I am no expert.......but I would say early-mid 1974 and factory color........I just don't see anything that leads me really think refinish, especially on the body....from the tennon cavity, I do not think it has been disturbed/re-necked.

Nothing wrong with it being black inside the TRC, they did it all the time.

I will say the the shot of the headstock from the back bothers me...it looks extremely WIDE but I think that is because of the Grovers, which I do not have a great explanation for other than they were close to using the milk-bottle grovers on a regular basis and maybe were trying out some to see how they would work???


I have seen some crookedness and varying depths on serial numbers before so that does not bother me too bad, but I am not real crazy about the MADE in USA font etc. etc and would like better pics of the entire back of the headstock, and the neck.....

I think it is a Gibson....


Use a black light on it and take some pics......
 
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Yompi1972

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I am no expert.......but I would say early-mid 1974 and factory color........I just don't see anything that leads me really think refinish, especially on the body....

Nothing wrong with it being black inside the TRC, they did it all the time.

I will say the the shot of the headstock from the back bothers me...it looks extremely WIDE but I think that is because of the Grovers, which I do not have a great explanation for other than they were close to using the milk-bottle grovers on a regular basis and maybe were trying out some to see how they would work???


I have seen some crookedness and varying depths on serial numbers before so that does not bother me too bad, but I am not real crazy about the MADE in USA font etc. etc and would like better pics of the entire back of the headstock.....

I think it is a Gibson....


Use a black light on it and take some pics......
Thank you so much, apparently you`re the cavalry when it comes to this things. I apreciate taking the time.
I will take more pics of the headstock, unfortunately i don`t have a black light. what do you think about the 17 degree angle and the possibility that is not a 3 piece mahogany neck but a 1 piece one?
thanx again!
 

HardCore Troubadour

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Black lights are cheap and worth a fortune if you buy used Gibsons, you should invest.

I think it is a 3 piece neck....matter of fact, I think it may have sat there a while and received a wider (1975-ish) headstock/neck....remember necks are made in batches and sometimes parts sit there etc. etc. before getting put in, there are plenty of 75's out there that still have the 6 digit serials like the early 70's....

I think you should check the angle again very carefully, how does it play at 17 degrees?
 

Yompi1972

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Black lights are cheap and worth a fortune if you buy used Gibsons, you should invest.

I think it is a 3 piece neck....matter of fact, I think it may have sat there a while and received a wider (1975-ish) headstock/neck....remember necks are made in batches and sometimes parts sit there etc. etc. before getting put in, there are plenty of 75's out there that still have the 6 digit serials like the early 70's....

I think you should check the angle again very carefully, how does it play at 17 degrees?
I`ll take the advice on the black light (what do i do with it???) regarding the headstock i measured a couple of days ago because the angle was larger than the other 2 norlins i have in the pictures (the custom 73 and the standard 80) and it measured a flawless 17 degrees. It plays great but it is really ankward beacuse it shouldn`t even exist, right?
 

HardCore Troubadour

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anything can exist with Gibson.......

go into a dark room and turn on the blacklight, it will show any and all imperfections/modifications/repairs/scratches etc. etc. on your guitar....it will glow with the old paint and show anything else.

@Trogly is a wealth of knowledge here and has a great video on blacklighting a guitar.....

 

XpensiveWino

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Not that anyone needs it, but I concur on the 'made in USA' font. Something is odd there. ( Headstock repair, local refin?). I also agree that there are '75's out there with earlier stamps on them. Lots of examples to note.

Here's one of my old ones that had an early stamp, but was clearly a later guitar when one took al of the evidence into consideration:

 




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