Kalamazoo vs Nashville plant

Progrocker111

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Pancake body blanks came from thinner SG body wood being used. The larger shapes for the headstock meant you kept 1 shape no matter whether it was a bound Custom or a Deluxe/Standard. The thicker cutaway binding for all models after 1975 was for the same streamlining effect.
This theory is interesting, but why would they put the extra pancake layer just under maple cap? At first it started in 69 before the second center layer appeared. :hmm:
 

Progrocker111

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Kalamazoo Les Pauls were still very similar to 68/69s in 1970 and 1971. The same electronics, the same lower neck angles (generally got higher in late 71), often fat necks on 70 and 71 Les Pauls. Still wood veneers on headstock etc. Same finishes...

In later 70s, both Kalamazoo and Nashville produced had both different woods, different construction specs, much higher neck angles, more plasticizers in finishes etc.

So, i prefer early 70s Kalamazoo production over later Nashville, but i nearly dont care if the late 70s Les Paul is Kalamazoo or Nashville made, because simply the differences in that era are minimal.
 

ARandall

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This theory is interesting, but why would they put the extra pancake layer just under maple cap? At first it started in 69 before the second center layer appeared. :hmm:
I've got no idea why they did it even going through back into the 1 piece body days in the 80's and 90's......let alone when they had pancake.
Even if you think that occasionally there might have been a little too much machining on an odd body or two, it certainly doesn't account for every one that has been photographed having the addition.
Maybe there was a certain type of new glue involved in this joint where a strip of the thin maple helped with the bond or absorbing extra glue that might not have squeezed out so readily??? I mean they'd dropped the oven cured glue method -and that technique was only ever used for that particular wood union in the 50's......and this strip appeared shortly after starting LP construction again and stayed for a long time.
 

Reflect_ion

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So no real consensus then on the "Kalamazoo kept the original shape and Nashville introduced the sharp horn from '78 till '82"?

Also, I'd think the short bodies would imply the sharp horn and vice versa, no?
Found another '79 without the sharp horn. And guess what... it's Kalamazoo made. Too bad there's no good pic of the cutaway binding also

Gibson79LPCstCSB70719056_2-900x1200.jpg

Gibson79LPCstCSB70719056_19-1200x900.jpg

Gibson79LPCstCSB70719056_7-1200x900.jpg
 

ARandall

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Also of interest are the two different logo types that occur in this era.
There is the typical 70's logo, which has a join between the o and the n which is at the bottom of both letters, and then a logo where the join between the letters is at the top.

In addition is the recurrence of the early 70's logo where the edges of the letters are very squared off......its like a 71 or 72 logo, which also got trotted out for a batch of 75 deluxes in sparkle finishes.
 

blues4jesus

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I got nothing against Kalamazoo made Gibson's....... I just don't believe that they are better than Nashville made Gibson's.

It's the player that makes the guitar great,..... not the other way around.

;)
Everybody is entitled to an opinion Though I dont see anything coming out of Tenn thats gone up and over the $100.000 price tag value.
 

mudface

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Everybody is entitled to an opinion Though I dont see anything coming out of Tenn thats gone up and over the $100.000 price tag value.
Market value doesn't make it a better guitar......just more expensive......... There are some privately owned Norlins I imagine are worth more than $100K.

It's the rarity and association that make those 1950's models expensive, not the build quality.

Besides, Joe B. Is probably the only buyer that play those high dollar vintage instruments.... the rest is non-player collectors that keep that market price in the stratosphere. So it doesn’t matter how they are built.

I don't care how much someone’s guitar costs,.... it won't make anyone a better player if they suck..... as a player that is. They should use that money for lessons is a better option.
 
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Bgej

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Hi guys, this is an interesting topic. I have different Les Paul and Gibson from both Kalamazoo and Nashville but what could be interesting in comparison is that I have 2 early 78 Les Paul Custom from both plants.
The first one is a Nashville made on the 31st of January 1978. It has a very thin neck 3 piece maple neck with an Ebony Fingerboard, a quite small volute, and I need to check for the body size and horn shape. But it has a large binding in the cutaway. The original color was white but it is now crappy yellow I will say... , The neck is like my 1972 ES355 or my 1991 Firebird V. So it should be like a thin 60's
The second one is a Kalamazoo made on the 22nd of February 1978. It has a much more beefy 3 piece maple neck with a maple fingerboard, a big volute and I also need to check the body size and horn shape. The binding is even larger than the Nashville one. Ther color is Ebony., The neck is like my 1990 Les Paul Standard or 1988 Les Paul Studio Lite or even a 1976 Les Paul Deluxe. So I assume it is closer to what they called a 59 profile.

I thought that the spec were quite consitent even between both plant but here the difference are quite big, in something that is important for me : the neck profile. Even if I start to like the slim taper neck, I really learn to play on the 59 profile and this is the one I prefer.
Maybe this was a transitional timing from thicker neck to Thin one (I read that 78 and 79 are quite thiner neck) or just an example out of 2 guitars that is not the truth on all the production.
Maybe the one with maple fingerboards are different, I don't know and I only see Kalamazoo made one with Maple fingerboards... Is it true or just I didn't find thta much maple fingerboard Les Paul from then ?

I come back to my 76 Deluxe, it has a thick neck, thick binding, pankage body and the 3 piece mapleneck with roswood fingerboard. I don't know were it was made, do you know haw to find it on these era with 00 XXXXXX serial ? It has the same volute as the 78 Nashville Custom but the neck profile of the 78 Kalamazoo one.


Then I can't say if one or the other is the best, I love both. My opinion here is thta there shouldn't be that much quality difference in both plant in theory but working in the automotive industry, I can tell you that you can figure it out which is the plant of some car just checking the assembly, so it could be the same for Kalamazoo and Nashville back then.
 

Reflect_ion

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Hi guys, this is an interesting topic. I have different Les Paul and Gibson from both Kalamazoo and Nashville but what could be interesting in comparison is that I have 2 early 78 Les Paul Custom from both plants.
The first one is a Nashville made on the 31st of January 1978. It has a very thin neck 3 piece maple neck with an Ebony Fingerboard, a quite small volute, and I need to check for the body size and horn shape. But it has a large binding in the cutaway. The original color was white but it is now crappy yellow I will say... , The neck is like my 1972 ES355 or my 1991 Firebird V. So it should be like a thin 60's
The second one is a Kalamazoo made on the 22nd of February 1978. It has a much more beefy 3 piece maple neck with a maple fingerboard, a big volute and I also need to check the body size and horn shape. The binding is even larger than the Nashville one. Ther color is Ebony., The neck is like my 1990 Les Paul Standard or 1988 Les Paul Studio Lite or even a 1976 Les Paul Deluxe. So I assume it is closer to what they called a 59 profile.

I thought that the spec were quite consitent even between both plant but here the difference are quite big, in something that is important for me : the neck profile. Even if I start to like the slim taper neck, I really learn to play on the 59 profile and this is the one I prefer.
Maybe this was a transitional timing from thicker neck to Thin one (I read that 78 and 79 are quite thiner neck) or just an example out of 2 guitars that is not the truth on all the production.
Maybe the one with maple fingerboards are different, I don't know and I only see Kalamazoo made one with Maple fingerboards... Is it true or just I didn't find thta much maple fingerboard Les Paul from then ?

I come back to my 76 Deluxe, it has a thick neck, thick binding, pankage body and the 3 piece mapleneck with roswood fingerboard. I don't know were it was made, do you know haw to find it on these era with 00 XXXXXX serial ? It has the same volute as the 78 Nashville Custom but the neck profile of the 78 Kalamazoo one.


Then I can't say if one or the other is the best, I love both. My opinion here is thta there shouldn't be that much quality difference in both plant in theory but working in the automotive industry, I can tell you that you can figure it out which is the plant of some car just checking the assembly, so it could be the same for Kalamazoo and Nashville back then.
Cool, do check on the body and horn shape. Though I’m not sure when the first sharp horns appeared... somewhere in ‘78 or earlier already?
 

TheWhigs

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^ There are certainly some interesting and iconic design features from this timeframe. The SG had the differing bevels and neck joint, Fender changed the Strat and Tele with the oversized headstock and body cutaways in this period as well.


I think much of the period was about 'improvement' from the post war designs. Bold new shapes were being developed all throughout these decades. And guitars not only had new fashion and musical trends to inform design change, but the supply of natural product as a constraint.
Other changes were for convenience. Pancake body blanks came from thinner SG body wood being used. The larger shapes for the headstock meant you kept 1 shape no matter whether it was a bound Custom or a Deluxe/Standard. The thicker cutaway binding for all models after 1975 was for the same streamlining effect.


But Gibsons weren't the 'legendary' model back then either, such that the shape was sacrilege to alter. It was only the advent of the early to mid 80's that saw the start of shift back toward vintage being the modus operandi of all the iconic models. But the Les Paul was a dying model in the late 80's even after the changes of the early 80's, and only got a kickstart due to GnR in 1988/89. And even then it took until 1993 for the 3-piece top to be phased out completely, and the vintage logo shape to return for example.

So its only by applying hindsight that the late 70's features look like a blip.
While the 80's did see Jackson, Hamer, ESP, BC Rich, Kramer, Ibanez, etc. rise in popularity, I still think the Les Paul, Flying V and SG were holding their own. I do agree GnR (Slash) help revive the Les Paul to a certain extent. Many of those glam/rocker bands who wanted "the look" went with LP's (don't remember seeing too many, if any with Flying V's or SG's) .
 

msalama

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glam/rocker bands who wanted "the look"
Well, just an unimportant aside, but AC/DC before their fame was actually very much a (bad) clothes / glam band. And Angus played SGs already by that time...
 

TheWhigs

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Well, just an unimportant aside, but AC/DC before their fame was actually very much a (bad) clothes / glam band. And Angus played SGs already by that time...
True, true. I think they were more of a "bad clothes" band more than anything else.
 

Stinky Kitty

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Also of interest are the two different logo types that occur in this era.
There is the typical 70's logo, which has a join between the o and the n which is at the bottom of both letters, and then a logo where the join between the letters is at the top.

In addition is the recurrence of the early 70's logo where the edges of the letters are very squared off......its like a 71 or 72 logo, which also got trotted out for a batch of 75 deluxes in sparkle finishes.
Here's a 72 example

 

msalama

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more of a "bad clothes" band more than anything else
Indeed! Mal's cringeworthy platforms and Angus wearing the gorilla suit, even if just once or twice... LoL
 

01GT Eibach

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I am a little late to this thread ... I have a '79 SG Standard that came to me in 1981-ish, owned previously by someone famous (who eventually wanted it back). It has always been the nicest playing SG that I ever played, by a long way. Thinking that it was just "one of those magical guitars", I came to realize there were distinct differences between mine and all the other '79 SG Standards that I saw. Decoding the SN, mine was a Kalamazoo-made guitar, while most are Nashville. Also, mine is very clearly a 1-piece body (not 3 as is typical), and the placement of the Pickup Selector Switch is in front of the volume knobs (not above the neck pickup knobs as is typical).

 

Big electric cat

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My preference is the Kalamazoo made Gibson guitars. I'm not saying they're better than a Nashville Gibson. I just prefer the Made in Michigan guitars.
 

msalama

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worth more than $100K.
Please expand on this. Norlins worth more than 100K? What would those be, factory protos and one-offs perchance?
 


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