The Norlin Threat

CB91710

Not Michael Sankar
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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:
Mine was a good one.
It was a heavy beast... probably 12lbs.
It fretted out on bends. I strapped the case to my 10 speed like a surf board and rode out to Fullerton to the repair shop.
Guy looked at it and said it had the best neck he'd ever seen come out of the new factory and not to let anyone touch it.
Pointed out that I had set the action WAY too low when I upgraded the saddles... he raised the action a bit, plugged it in, noodled a bit, and told me to have a good day.

Ultimately traded it to Bob MacDonald at LaMirada Music for a Kramer DMZ.
I wish I still had that Kramer too :D
 

Nintari

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I'm confident that if you blindfolded people and played a 59 Les Paul and a current 50's Standard using the exact same wiring and pickups, almost no one would be able to tell which is the $100,000 guitar and which was the $2,500 dollar guitar. So for me personally, I don't get any of this. An electric guitar is so adherent to its wiring and pickups and it's insane to me that anyone pays anything more current, brand new guitar prices.
 

InTheEvening

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The prices of Norlins might go up, but I don’t think they’ll ever reach the prices of a “Golden era” Gibson.
I think they’ll increase but then settle somewhere below the 50’s/60’s model guitars in pricing. But who knows.
 

mudface

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I had a friend who wanted to sell me his 78-79 silver anniversary Strat,....it was his pride and joy and he needed the money.

I played it for five minutes through my Hi-Watt 100........i said sorry dude you couldn't pay me to take it.

Another guy i new had a 1975 three bolt strat in Black with maple board...... I tried to buy it and tried to trade for it.... but the guy wouldn't budge.....it was an awesome guitar.

I traded my "The Paul" for a 1976 Tobacco Sunburst Tele in solid ash for my dad who was a country picker.....he loved it and so did i.......after he passed away my sister got that guitar....she still has it.

There are some decent '70s fenders out there......not a lot.....but they are out there.
 
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CB91710

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I had a friend who wanted to sell me his 78 silver anniversary Strat,....it was his pride and joy and he needed the money.

I played it for five minutes through my Hi-Watt 100........i said sorry dude you couldn't pay me to take it.

Another guy i new had a 1975 three bolt strat in Black with maple board...... I tried to buy it and tried to trade for it.... but the guy wouldn't budge.....it was an awesome guitar.

I traded my "The Paul" for a 1976 Tobacco Sunburst Tele in solid ash for my dad who was a country picker.....he loved it and so did i.......after he passed away my sister got that guitar....she still has it.

There are some decent '70s fenders out there......not a lot.....but they are out there.
Same story here on the Anniversary model.
At one point, I traded the Antigua for the 25th.
After a week, I just couldn't get on with it.
It just didn't feel right, neck was slow, pickups had no sustain, the thing was just "thud"... Of course, I had put a set of DiMarzio SDS1's in the Antigua.
I knew that I couldn't make the guitar sound or feel decent without harming the value, and at the time I couldn't afford two Fenders. Bob was cool enough to trade back straight across.

I wish I had been able to keep that 25th, because today it would have remained virtually unplayed.
 

pmonk

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I have a 1979 Olympic white Strat with rosewood board.

Just not very comfortable to play due to the weight.
 

v-man

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Lol affordable vintage... try being a V fan instead. Ppl losing their mind over Norlin LPs topping $3k. Who do you gotta blow to find a $3k norlin V that’s in one piece or not on fire?! All that $$$ for a thin slab of hog that’s fraction of parts/labor costs of the old pancake LP.

Also to throw in: the 70s profiles were their own thing like ‘50s/‘60s making them uniquely (un)desirable to the individual. T-tops finally have had their long-overdue respect. Cramped slim-tapered necks may be the bane to this one’s existence, and the cat’s ass to that one. Apples to oranges of sorts when comparing to say, a ‘58
 
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Jeremiah

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Lol affordable vintage... try being a V fan instead. Ppl losing their mind over Norlin LPs topping $3k. Who do you gotta blow to find a $3k norlin V that’s in one piece or not on fire?! All that $$$ for a thin slab of hog that’s fraction of parts/labor costs of the old pancake LP.

Also to throw in: the 70s profiles were their own thing like ‘50s/‘60s making them uniquely (un)desirable to the individual. T-tops finally have had their long-overdue respect. Cramped slim-tapered necks may be the bane to this one’s existence, and the cat’s ass to that one. Apples to oranges of sorts when comparing to say, a ‘58

I'm glad you clarified what the difference was, I honestly for the life of me couldn't understand the price difference when I couldn't SEE a difference. Like with my Les Pauls, I've got the volute, the 3 piece maple neck, and pancake body all as visual cues that these were from a different time.
 

dc007

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I'm confident that if you blindfolded people and played a 59 Les Paul and a current 50's Standard using the exact same wiring and pickups, almost no one would be able to tell which is the $100,000 guitar and which was the $2,500 dollar guitar. So for me personally, I don't get any of this. An electric guitar is so adherent to its wiring and pickups and it's insane to me that anyone pays anything more current, brand new guitar prices.
So you can't afford a real burst??

Me either
 

CCK

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I think it is much the same as the phenomenon of the 3 neck bolt Stratocasters of the 70's going up in value. As the pre-CBS Stratocasters became basically unaffordable to "normal" folk, the 3 bolt versions from the early to mid-late 70's began to become more desireable, hence the increase in prices. I believe the same thing is/has happened with the Norlin Les Pauls. Just as not ALL the 3 bolt Stratocasters were junk, neither were the Norlin Les Pauls.
 

macaius

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I've got 2 Norlins actually and both are awesome. All this thing makes me remind all the hate people have shown for 2015 models. They were something so radical at some point that traditionalist people hated them. But generations will change, and somewhere in the future people will find them desirable for some reason. There are great instruments in every era and In many cases (not always of course) it's just a placebo. It's the way the world goes round.
 

DBDM

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Dealers just want to sell. Any dealer who looks down at a guy with $4k in his hand will not be in business long. Any dealer who has been in business long has seen trends come and go and come back
 

Recklessrog

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For what it's worth, this is my own experience with real vintage VS Norlin. In around 1972, I bought a '58 standard (possibly later owned by John Miles I have been told) This was a fabulous guitar for tone, sustain and playability. I did at one time change the pickups but put the originals back in when I stupidly sold it. At the time, the original PAFs sounded a bit like they were stuffed with cotton wool, but that of course is subjective. I either put shaller or di'marzio's in but can't rememeber which. They certainly were brighter and more powerful.
The day after I sold it, I knew I had made a huge mistake, felt like having lost an arm!!! I was then offered a Norlin Deluxe with the mini Epiphone pickups. It was so different from the original, it just felt WRONG. But of course I was comparing it to the '58. I didn't like the way the 14 degree headstock made it feel, I didn't like the 3 piece pancake back with 3 piece Maple top, the body to neck angle felt wrong and the pickups sounded so shrill.
I did like the idea of the 3 piece neck, because the thought was it would be less likely to warp. I stuck with it for a while then was able to get a '57 Goldtop, Man, that thing weighed over 12lbs!!! very dark sounding and would sustain for a week!!!! (Although this was closer to the '58, it was still a lot different from the '58 but in a way that was good)
Now all the above does not mean any more than that I could not get on with the Deluxe, it simply wasn't for me! Maybe it was a bad one? I was talking to Scott Gorham at an early Thin Lizzy gig at the Master Robert hotel just west of London. He had just bought a Deluxe brand new and loved it, it certainly sounded good.
So, are Norlins the new collectable vintage?? In my opinion NO. I'm sure there are people who just love them and they are really happy with them, but the general opinion at the time, was they were not a good era for Gibson and had a bad reputation.
 

Peter B

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Pre CBS and all that. There were good and bad in all years. As we get older so do the Norlins as previously stated. Older becomes more expensive in many ways. I would say marketing provides it's excuses to justify sales. Yes Norlin was a questionable period as I recall. But are they a threat? Just a way to sell medium vintage again and create that desire in buyers. I have a 1978 XLH Sportster. (AMF ) that is one of my favorite bikes. They said AMF sucked. Again, there were good and bad periods to survive the process of existing as a company and manufacturing was questionable. I don't think they were deliberately trying to build "poorer quality anything" as much as save money on the manufacturing process. However it is perceived you pick it up, play it and if it does the trick you buy it and love it. Many opinions out there from many experts. "But we decide which is right, and which is an illusion. "
 
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Wise Guy

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I've had a chance to play a wide array of Gibsons over the past 30 years and I actually prefer modern Gibson instruments. Including many from the Henry J era but the new original collection is spot on IMO.
Of course the only Norlin Gibson I currently have is a SG200 which isn't one of their best examples...
 

keys88

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I’ve owned 3 “old” guitars - my 1964 ES-330, my mid-to-late 60’s Supro Sahara, and my ‘74 LP Custom (still on the impossible quest of trying to find out if that one was Joe’s). I foolishly sold the 330 to buy a motorcycle years ago. But I love/loved all of those guitars. Other than weighing as much as a boat anchor, I don’t understand the hate for Norlin guitars. My 74 is hands down the best Les Paul I have ever played. I’m in my 40’s and it’s older than me, so yeah I consider it vintage. And any Les Paul older than that will probably never be attainable for me price-wise. It’s like “affordable vintage” lol.

Though to answer the actual question, no I don’t think they will ever really upset the value of the golden era instruments. Those guitars just have too much of a mystique about them. Norlins may increase in value over the years but I kinda think they’ll always be their own thing.
 
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