Mystery '78 Standard Norlin "Orange Crush"

unit3021

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Howdy--long time troller, first time poster here. Actually, I just nabbed my first US LP, so until yesterday I didn't have much to contribute. Anyhoo, I have a bit of a mystery on my hands, albeit one that is lovely to play.

So I just bought a 78 Standard that I can't make heads or tails of, and I'm throwing this out to the hive mind for some insights. Here are the deets, with pics to follow:

- One piece body, 2-piece bookmatched maple top;
- 3-piece (presumably maple?) neck, with volute. Short tenon;
- no “Made in USA” stamp;
- serial # indicates production in Nashville in December 1978;
- although Nashville production, guitar has an original install (read: no maple plugs) "Gibson ABR" bridge, not Nashville Tune-o-matic;
- tailpiece is simply stamped “Made in Germany” (probably standard issue Shaller or Kluson, and presumably zinc/chrome?);
- original tuners look to be Klusons, later replaced with Grovers;
- control cavity plate stamped Nov. (unreadable) 197(unreadable);
- side of control cavity has a small (about 1/2") stamp beneath the finish--appears to read “FL”;
- illegible script in pickup cavities beneath the finish;
- T-Top humbuckers are patent-stamped and ink-dated November 27, 1978. They are open coil but appear to have been originally covered, based on broken solder joints;
- 3 pots are CTS and date from November 1978;
- one pot replaced with a 500k mini-pot;
- delivered with amber speed knobs--I added the amber top hats (temporary until I get period-correct reflectors);
- the store informed me that they were told the guitar was a Guitar Center exclusive (did they have that in the 70s??)

So... wtf???

Cheers, Hive Mind!
 

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horand

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Welcome to the forum. Can´t help you out on your questions, but your guitar looks good!
The two-piece centered flamed top existed in the 70´s even if kinda rare. I´ve never seen an (original) ABR bridge on a 78 before though. The colour indicates special run/or other kind of exclusive order. Are you sure the top/finish & ABR is original?

Lovely looking guitar, thanx for sharing.
 

69 Goldtop

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this...

So I just bought a 78 Standard that I can't make heads or tails of, and I'm throwing this out to the hive mind for some insights.

If you cannot make heads or tails of, why buy?

the hive mind
 

LeftyF2003

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For me, that horn looks rather pointed? Also the headstock looks odd - may be the picture but the points look rounded off?



 

malcostuart

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Too much of a flare on headstock? Control caverty cover looks a bit strange, but I can't expand the pic enough for a proper look, as I say , I hope I'm wrong. Keep us updated mate.
 

LeftyF2003

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Whatever it is, it looks great! Bet it sounds good too with the T-Tops. I still regret giving away the ones I had in a '74 SG. HNGD :thumb:
 

unit3021

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Thanks for the feedback, everybody! I have a handful of days left in the return policy, so I'm appreciative of your timely help. The Gibson guys want some pics of the routing, so I'll post those here, too.

I can say that I'm pretty confident the top wasn't plugged for an ABR conversion, but that doesn't rule out a full refinish. As for the possibility of it being a fake, the decidedly un-paddlelike headstock does seem to favor that theory. But in terms of build quality, fit and finish, and electronics, it would be quite a good fake. And at the risk of sounding naive, I just didn't figure on reeling in a faux Norlin.

Anyway, I'll update the post with pics and info as I get it. Thanks again, folks!
 

grumphh

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faux Norlin....
I don't have an opinion on your guitar (that would need far more pics), but i can tell you that the japanese did do pretty good copies of norlin features such as pancake bodies, minihums, and, as is the case with my 70's "Ganson" even the "goof rings" surrounding the minihums.
Copies of norlins do definitely exist. *

Also, they did know how to build guitars, so the "feel" can be deceptive.

If someone unscrupulously exchanged the logo on one of those copies many people could be deceived...



* here is a thread (with pics) by me on my budget copy, the Ganson mentioned above:
http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/other-single-cuts/350032-ngd-ganson-kasuga-introduction-forum.html


.
 

moreles

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Strings and Things have mahogany necks, no? Have never seen that color top on a Norlin. I would suspect either a refin top on a real Gibson -- maybe that nice flame was lost under the original! -- or a Gibson overlay on a reworked, non-Gibson LP. As others suggest, shots of the control cavity or PU cavities might help, as those unseen areas tend to show the presence or absence of standard Gibson build practices. Nice looking guitar. Sounds like?
 

unit3021

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this...

So I just bought a 78 Standard that I can't make heads or tails of, and I'm throwing this out to the hive mind for some insights.

If you cannot make heads or tails of, why buy?

the hive mind
Short answer: return policy. Plus, this has turned into quite a nice mystery! In addition to picking all y'all's brains, I'm taking it to Wildwood in the morning to get their take.
 

unit3021

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Too much of a flare on headstock? Control caverty cover looks a bit strange, but I can't expand the pic enough for a proper look, as I say , I hope I'm wrong. Keep us updated mate.
Cheers man! Yes, something is definitely amiss with the headstock. But it's snowing in Denver, so it will be a good weekend to stay inside and obsessively investigate.
 

unit3021

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I don't have an opinion on your guitar (that would need far more pics), but i can tell you that the japanese did do pretty good copies of norlin features such as pancake bodies, minihums, and, as is the case with my 70's "Ganson" even the "goof rings" surrounding the minihums.
Copies of norlins do definitely exist. *

Also, they did know how to build guitars, so the "feel" can be deceptive.

If someone unscrupulously exchanged the logo on one of those copies many people could be deceived...



* here is a thread (with pics) by me on my budget copy, the Ganson mentioned above:
http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/other-single-cuts/350032-ngd-ganson-kasuga-introduction-forum.html

Thanks for the link--"Ganson" is a new one to me! And I'll be posting more pics, in case you are interested.

Your point about swapping out the logo is a good one; unfortunately, my eye is not yet good enough to spot anything but a mediocre or crap job. On that note, the logo looks spot on except for the discoloration--it's one of the darker Gibson M.O.P. logos I've seen.
 

unit3021

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Here's the first post of a flood of pics.

So the open book is definitely not period correct. Weird. Also, to me, the neck and body binding seem really thick, but for all I know that's typical of the time. And the silkscreen signature looks brand new. Also weird.

More pics to come...
 

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