The Norlin Threat

mudface

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The growing Norlin popularity & prices a threat to the business-side of 'bursts' or vintage 335s and Juniors? No.

Expensive Norlins are roughly 5% to 10% the price of a 'burst' (correct me if I'm wrong). They clearly cater to different market segments.
I agree..... though I also believe that high end golden era dealers could miss out on a great opportunity if they don’t embrace the Norlin market.... by dismissing them as crap.

Of course not all of these dealers and collectors do....

Then there are a few that keep denying Norlins and dismissing people who buy and play them as uneducated or newbs in the vintage market.

Which at the very least disappointing and wrong.
 
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Central Scrutinizer

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When I worked at a Harley aftermarket dealership, there was always bashing of the AMF Harley-Davidson’s, much like Norlin owning Gibson.

The lament was always the AMF bikes sucked and were basically shit. “The new owners ruined the quality of the product.”

What people seem to forget is AMF and Norlin both saved the established companies they bought from bankruptcy.

The period of the 70s and early 80s were noted for some poor manufacturing be it cars or other things as well.

I love my Norlin’s and would love to have a wall full of them.
 

msalama

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I love my Norlin’s and would love to have a wall full of them.
Quoted for truth.

And the salient point for me as regards Norlins? Well, the neck profile above everything. Hell, ya folks just call me all kinds of garbage under the sun if you must, but the slim / flat neck with low jumbos on my '73-74 DLX is still the fastest and most comfortable I've ever played anywhere. So you can keep your baseball bat necked old Gibsons and Fenders for all I care :D
 

1981 LPC

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I agree..... though I also believe that high end golden era dealers could miss out on a great opportunity if they don’t embrace the Norlin market.... by dismissing them as crap.

Of course not all of these dealers and collectors do....
I think by now they would be late to the game. Collector-condition and high profile Norlin Les Pauls are passed the point of being easily found and cheaply bought.

Access to information is another factor. Bursts were scooped up in the 1970s and 1980s when relatively few people were in the know. Internet forums and YouTube make that impossible now.

I think HCT cornered the market 5 years ago and is laughing all the way to the bank.
 

mudface

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I think by now they would be late to the game. Collector-condition and high profile Norlin Les Pauls are passed the point of being easily found and cheaply bought.

Access to information is another factor. Bursts were scooped up in the 1970s and 1980s when relatively few people were in the know. Internet forums and YouTube make that impossible now.

I think HCT cornered the market 5 years ago and is laughing all the way to the bank.
Yes he is.
 

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I don't know...I moved 2 Norlin Customs and a 68 RI Custom last year at the beginning of everything.

That is also why I say that the market has somewhat plateaued...asking prices have steadily increased but actual selling prices are right around what I got.

The 78 Silverburst might bring another 1K today, but that would probably be it.

I do not even own a Custom at the moment.......you guys are the ones with the Big Guns!!
 

Jeremiah

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I feel like this would be a good time to bring up the fact that even on this forum, we're relegated to our own section like the Untouchables in India so we don't sully the "real" vintage Les Paul section. I just have always found that amusing. It didn't bug me as much as it does now when I could get a Deluxe for 14 or 1500 like I did my 3. The reason it bothers me now is because fkers are on Reverb selling a run of the mill '76 Standard for 7k. Like WTF are you doing? I realize people aren't buying at that price but GMAFB

To top it all off, this dude is in Italy and it is a fkn nibless refret...
 

mudface

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I don't know...I moved 2 Norlin Customs and a 68 RI Custom last year at the beginning of everything.

That is also why I say that the market has somewhat plateaued...asking prices have steadily increased but actual selling prices are right around what I got.

The 78 Silverburst might bring another 1K today, but that would probably be it.

I do not even own a Custom at the moment.......you guys are the ones with the Big Guns!!
I have a wish list of what I want for my personal ownership. I don’t sell or flip so its what I can afford or want to spend.

I would love to have a ‘75 Sparkle Top Deluxe..... a ‘82 Leo..... a 1973 ‘54 reissue..... but I don’t want to spend $8k+ for one.

Even The Paul is getting pricey.... another wish list item.

A 1974 Standard..... if I keep thinking about it.... the list will keep getting bigger.
 

HardCore Troubadour

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I get it....I just decided that I had to many Customs for a drummer....and then ended up with none.

I didn't need the cash (it was nice though), it was just the right time and place fore each.

I had the 82 listed for over a year before the right guy came along.....guy that bought the 82 met me in the hometown (halfway between us) of the guy that I bought the 68 from so I did back to back deals etc...the guy that bought the SB actually called me to ask about the 1982.

TBH out of the 3, it is the 1999-1968 RI that I bought and only had a few weeks that I wish I would have kept.

It had a really great neck.
 

eric ernest

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I get routinely lumped in with the "cork sniffing" crowd....but I've owned my share of Norlins over the decades. Bought my first Heritage 80 in 1984. I've always had a weakness for 25/50's. Maybe my favorite of the lot are the early to mid 70's V's and Explorers.

Some Norlins were good, some Norlins were bad.

Some models I like, some I avoid like the covid...:laugh2:

Threat to vintage? Nope. Different animal....like 80's Floyd guitars....different crowd.

guitar_Gibson_1982_Les_Paul_standard_82_b_small.jpg

Special Les Paul all the way around. Insane top!


guitar_gibson_1973_les_paul_sparkle_smaller.jpg

This Deluxe had a back-bow in the neck. Terrible guitar...but sure was a looker.


guitar_gibson_1971_Les_Paul_deluxe_phil_keaggy_glass_harp_b.jpg

Owned by Phil Keaggy and used during the Glass Harp days and beyond.


1977_gibson_les_paul_custom_ace_frehley_b_small.jpg

Used during Frehley's Comet....middle pickup rout hacked in by Ace. (He chopped the PU selector wire. LOL!)


1975_gibson_les_paul_standard_guitar_1959_strings_and_things_ace_frehley_kiss_owned_a.jpg

Maybe the best mid 70's Les Paul on the planet....but Gibson accidentally cut the body on a Marauder template....look at the horn. LOL!!!!


1978_les_paul_2550_anniversary_w_small.jpg

I've had many 25/50's over the years....several had neck issues.....


1980_Gibson_Les_Paul_Standard_80_mine (5).jpg

My first Les Paul. Bought it in 1984....formerly owned by Artemus Pyle.
 

LtDave32

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I agree....when those poochie lip cork sniffers hear the word Norlin those keyboards start pounding....the internet loves an argument....:rofl:

Players know the truth.

(no offense to poochie lip cork sniffers,...we need them too......i wonder if the got their own flag)
What really amuses me about those keyboard-pounders is that among some of them, there are those who have never owned any of them. You have to own a guitar to truly know it. Spend time with it.

Yet that little bugaboo of zero credibility never seems to slow down their furious activity on the keyboard..
 

pmonk

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The difference is: I can afford any Norlin that is for sale if I wanted to buy it.

I cannot afford a Les Paul Standard, Custom or a Hollow body from 1957-1960
 

LuthierVandross

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I’ve owned about 10 or 12 Norlin. Just like any current line, there are some that feel/play/sound better than others, though current line up is way more consistent.

I’ve had heavy pancake bodied, multi piece necks, I’ve had a few really beautifully sounding and articulate ones that didn’t weigh too much too.

I don’t think they’ll ever reach Golden Era magnitudes, but they are creeping up in prices.

Side note:
Mike Ness would rather nobody buys Norlin, he fancies them at a decent price.

0ADCDE3B-A573-4BC8-B998-729F3648F7EE.jpeg
 

CB91710

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This is something that has me thinking,,,,do golden era vintage dealers find the upturn in Norlin interest and pricing causing concern in their business?

My honest opinion..... it could.

The whole idea of the "Golden Era" was that Norlin Les Pauls sucked so bad that everyone wanted one of the originals. The sounds on those early blues and heavy rock records (Eric Clapton Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page) were produced with the original humbucker Les Paul.

Truth be known not all those sounds were Les Pauls.

If it becomes that players interest shift toward the lowly Norlin because they find their own tone in these instruments it may affect their fan base, and peak their interests in that direction.

Leaving these vintage golden era dealer/collectors with inventory that is less interesting to newer buyers who are focusing on something more obtainable and related to the players they admire.


Though as long as cork sniffers keep bashing Gibson Norlin era instruments it keeps the "golden era"........Golden.

What do you think?...........Are Norlins a threat?
Seeing the same thing with Fender.
The market is not going anywhere for pre-CBS and pre-Norlin, it's just that the prices have gone so insanely high that "Joe Average with a few extra bucks" can no longer afford them.
So the next best thing to adding a "vintage" guitar to the collection is to move into the less desirable years.

10-15 years ago, you couldn't give away a CBS era Strat.
Today, models in good condition are fetching $3000... up 50% from 18 months ago.

The vintage dealers just gained a new batch of inventory that's "not being made anymore" *AND* their pool of customers just tripled.
Every kid who got their first guitar between 1970 and 1980 is a potential buyer for a CBS/Norlin.... THEY know the truth of how good/bad those guitars actually were because they actually owned one before the internet told them that they were pieces of junk.

I wish I still had my '78 Strat.
 

LtDave32

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I wish I still had my '78 Strat.

Well, my best friend, back in 77 was hot on a guitar buying spree with his father. He really wanted this 1961 strat that was in Dale Fortune's shop back then. Dad was in tow with some "help" money. Dad says, "you don't want an old one Steve, let's get you a new one", much against Steve's desires.

So he showed up with this strat, covered in heavy poly, and he just hated it.
 

eric ernest

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The vintage dealers just gained a new batch of inventory that's "not being made anymore" *AND* their pool of customers just tripled.

Every kid who got their first guitar between 1970 and 1980 is a potential buyer for a CBS/Norlin.... THEY know the truth of how good/bad those guitars actually were because they actually owned one before the internet told them that they were pieces of junk.
Which is EXACTLY why I (as a predominately vintage dealer) will be buying older Dean, Hamer, BC Rich, Kramer, Boogie Bodies, Charvel, & other late 70's guitars before I'll pick through a pile of 300 1970's Fenders to find a couple of acceptable ones. :laugh2::laugh2::laugh2:
 

CB91710

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Well, my best friend, back in 77 was hot on a guitar buying spree with his father. He really wanted this 1961 strat that was in Dale Fortune's shop back then. Dad was in tow with some "help" money. Dad says, "you don't want an old one Steve, let's get you a new one", much against Steve's desires.

So he showed up with this strat, covered in heavy poly, and he just hated it.
I'm not sure exactly what that paint was. Always heard that Poly was impervious to everything except heat.....
I softened and damaged the upper bout on my Antigua by playing shirtless it with a sunburn after spraying on Solarcain.
It darkened slightly, and got a bit of a "craze" on the surface.
It resembled that skin/oil residue that can build up on the plastic parts in a car, so I thought that it was just congealed Solarcain and oil from my skin.
It didn't respond to a cloth with guitar polish, but I felt some "give", so I scratched it with my thumbnail.
Went straight through and took a line about 1/16th wide off down to the wood. The stuff had softened.

I never noticed any discoloration of wrinkling anywhere on the back or the elbow relief, just that top curve above the neck.

Have no idea what was in the stuff that did it or what made the paint sensitive to it.
 


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