The Norlin Threat

soundboy57

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With the cost of plywood these days, it is ironic that the Norlins are more expensive, too.
 

eric ernest

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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
It's not of question of looking down ones nose. It's of question of selling what you are truly enthusiastic about.

I cannot get excited about "offset" Fender's....as such...you will seldom see me with one....and they're a very current "trend." They are GREATLY benefiting from the increased demands for old Strats and Teles....undeservedly so.

That being said, there are many guitar salesmen (anyone with a computer) that are a cut above a carnival barker....everything is the greatest guitar in the world....if they own it. :laugh2:
 

dasherf17

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As others have stated, they are affordable vintage, but no doubt the value of them will go up as there will always be 'mystique' around older gear, as well as the fact that more of these guitars will pop up on stage and drive interest from the general public (think of the ES-325's rise in value due to Kings of Leon).

My background is in vintage electronics and one trend I've seen (along with other areas of collectability like cars etc) is that the era of popularity in collector's circles (and as such increase in price) is usually determined by the generation that is reaching a point in life where they have the ability to afford items they coveted when they were younger. As these generations then pass on and the nostalgic value passes out of living memory, values will drop again. 20 years ago 'all american five' tube radios were extremely collectible, yet today only the really rare ones hold value to the right people. Same can be said for the classic car market, where for example 70s Corvettes have a greater following than the ones from the 50s (a recent trend).

Golden era Gibsons Fenders Martins etc will always command value, but its possible we will see a levelling off point, in addition to an increase of the less valuable periods of manufacture (Silverface Fender amps come to mind).

I think there is some snake oil in 'all older things are better,' but there is some merit to some basic facts:
The cost of skilled labor will always increase
The cost of raw goods will always increase and the quality available will decrease (look at wood prices)
Machines create a more uniform product. This is not to say hand built is better or worse, but a hand crafter instrument's variation can create the connection to a player in a more unique way than 1000 identical cnc made guitars that differ only in finish.

There will always be 'lawyer rockers' and investment buyers that will keep the bursts and pre war martin's out of reach of the average joe so I think those dealers are safe, but Norlins and CBS era Fenders will no doubt steadily go up in value for the foreseeable future.
My un-"edumacated" rule of thumb is pieces go: new, new-old-stock, used, and at some time used becomes vintage; as mentioned here, the various "eras" of vintage become significant.
 

eric ernest

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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.
That's like saying food is just a mixture of animals, vegetables, oils, and spices....

No difference in an oven baked pizza from a mom & pop pizzeria in NYC and a frozen pizza. :laugh2:

It all boils down to your level of fascination and discriminating tastes.
 

Blacksheep1

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Music to my ears…as a collector and player of Heritage 80s, I have long said Norlins are great guitars with their own swagger. It is the sound that matters, right? I have never really understood the scrutiny Norlins faced, as time after time they have been a part of incredible music creation. My thoughts? It’s about time they become more appreciated.
Rock on!
 

AlbinB

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It does seem that simply age is a strong factor in appreciation and collectable appeal. Sometimes people just want something from an era that is important to one's past. At the end the market will drive prices, if there is demand, price increases will follow. For me personally, the age of a guitar is not as important as how well it plays and sounds. This could be a chance for some folks to realize a profit or recover costs. To at least get something out of Gibson and Fender guitars from what is generally regarded as the low point of quality control, sound and playability.
 

mudface

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Sure I think a $4000 guitar buyer competes directly with a $500,000 guitar buyer.
It kinda does when you can sell 100 $4000 guitars and sell only none of $500,000 guitars.

How many $500K guitars can you sell when there is only 1500 of them?....and not all of them worth the premium. Then you gotta buy them to sell them.

Many of them just sit and collect dust.
 
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Axeman56

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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?
The more I read these posts, the more I worry about this country! Doesn’t anyone use their brain anymore? Sheeple following the herd!
The “lowly Nordin” ? I have several Lowly Norlin LP customs that I bought new that I wouldn’t give up for any price
If you find any guitar that plays and sounds great to your ear, who gives a FF what the logo says?
 

mudface

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The more I read these posts, the more I worry about this country! Doesn’t anyone use their brain anymore? Sheeple following the herd!
The “lowly Nordin” ? I have several Lowly Norlin LP customs that I bought new that I wouldn’t give up for any price
If you find any guitar that plays and sounds great to your ear, who gives a FF what the logo says?

So have I............
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I love all my Gibsons........some i have owned for over 40 years.....in fact i love all the eras.....i don't sell amigo....I'm a consumer.

IMG_0038.jpg
 

steviegitar

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It sure as hell is, plus the boomer contingent defending their nostalgia and idols. It really is that stupid... well, apart from the market and historical values too, which'll always be there anyway. Can't beat that.

But then, I've played at least one 50's Lester & have owned a bunch of pre-CBS Fenders too, and yet, the '73 Norlinski Deluxski (all original apart from pots changed) I now own, wipes the fucking floor with ALL of them. So how's THAT for your money's worth?

Most Norlins were TOO HEAVY - that is the main compalint. Some were crap but almost all LP's were over 11 pounds. As has has been said some were good guitars.I worked at a Gibson dealer in the 70's and some of the reissues were amazing-- It seems fair to say that a 70's Gibson was usually better than a 70's Fender.
 

jccfreeman

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I guess I got lucky when I started playing. Used to trawl the local family owned music shops (anyone remember those) in the early 80s. I never spent more than $500 and ended up with a 1972 LP custom. Never knew it was a “crappy Norlin” till I was told decades later. Love the damn thing. Sounds great, plays sweet, sustains forever. Kinda glad the prices are rising a bit, so my beneficiaries will get a few $ for it after I'm gone, cause I'll never sell it. Also found a 1967 335 12 string for $500, and my only regret not buying the matching 6 string.
 

TyrellJunior

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Never mind Norlin prices going up, it seems ALL used Gibson prices have skyrocketed since Covid; basic entry level Les Paul and SG Tribute models used to be on sale on ebay any given day for and average £450, now the sellers are asking up to £900 for them. I'm not sure if they actually sell for that, but most are going for around 600 to 700, which is some markup on the pre-covid prices. I was picking them up for as little as £300 sometimes, around 2014 to 2019.
 

blee57

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I own four Norlin Black Customs. 71, 72, 74, 74. They are by far the best sounding Classic Rock Guitars I've ever heard. They play awesome and just have a great vibe. I also like the weight. All 10 pounders, All Mahogany necks. Witch Hats, which are hard to find and replace. Christ the knobs alone sell for 100 bucks each if you can find them. I have yellow and purple cases which are valuable and the 72 with the embossed pickups. Wouldn't part with them unless I needed the money. I paid respectable prices for them and they have gained value. They are art work which cannot be replaced.
 

100thdeuce

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My avatar pic is my 25/50 I bought new. It has been one of my favorite guitars for decades. When I took it to NYC in 2003 to meet Les at the Iridium Club, I wasn't sure the reaction I'd get from the great Les Paul about my lowly Norlin. When we sat down at the table back stage and I handed Les my guitar, he was immediately struck by the weight. He put it on his knee and played it a bit and I saw a smile emerging. He said he would like to hear it plugged up because the body was so resonant and the neck was so fast and smooth. Everything about it spoke of a fine instrument and it had to be a screamer. I told him how much I enjoyed the feel and tone and that it was my favorite solid body ever.

We then went into a brief discussion about it being a Norlin. He said 'Norlins were not Gibson's finest hour, but not for the reasons most folks are saying'. He told me that Gibson had pretty much screwed the pooch for years and needed saving. So the fact that Gibson almost self destructed was what we should have recognized as the true negative. He compared it to praising the tow truck driver (Norlin) for coming to haul Gibsons ass out of the ditch because they weren't paying attention to the road. Norlin came in and were it not for them, we probably would not have a Gibson today. Then his wisdom hit home....'If Norlin had not been producing a better instrument, Gibson wouldn't have been saved'. Were they heavy? Yes. Were the necks different? Yes. Were they taking chances with some of the PUP's and electronics? Yep.

He explained how Norlin changed things up...took some chances (some popular, some not so much). But ultimately, Norlin did most things better than had been done for a while, and THAT is what saved our Les's. They moved the bell curve up the scale. Any time you have nature involved, there will be variables. During the Norlin days, there were still some poor examples. It happens. Wood will be wood....people will be people. Overall, the average Norlin Les Paul was better, and the ones at the top of the curve had the potential to be much better than in the recent past.

So when the snobs and sniffers want to dis Norlin to follow the popular internet opinion, I'll take Les Paul's personal opinion over theirs every hour of every day. He was grateful for those 'odd' instruments and the path Norlin took. He felt that's what ensured today there is a Gibson company and they still make Les Paul guitars.

Not many of us 'regular' players ever got to meet the great one. I am fortunate to have done so. That 15 minutes sitting at the table chatting with Les rocked my world in so many ways. When I asked him to sign the guitar, he asked how I wanted it signed. I said it was up to him. He asked if he could include my name. I recall asking if when I decided to sell would that not limit the list of potential buyers to guys with my name. He gave me the greatest little smile and said 'Son, you haven't sold it in over 20 years. Now that I've played it, signed it and told you how fine it is.....do you really think you'll let it go? Just order a bigger casket...you're gonna need it'.

18 years later and he's still right!
 

c.hinkelmann

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I don't think Norlins are going to be a major impact on the "Golden" market because they are just too different. People put the Bursts on a mythic level and each one of those are subtly different from each other due to who carved the neck, the body or wound the pickups. Like five watt world said people are chasing a tone that their heroes have. five watt world: The Bursts

For me as a player and collector, I look more at the guitar itself than what model or era it is. I'm turning 40 this year and started kicking around the idea of getting a guitar from 1981. I looked at Reverb for a few weeks and kept thinking of what I really wanted within my finances and would be awesome in general. I ended up picking an '81 Heritage 80 Standard in cherry burst that according to the seller, a store in Seattle, it has all original hardware including pickups and pots. The hardware does have some pitting and patina along with nicks, scratches and marks, but it is going on 40, so we match. I was able to buy the guitar with help from a friend, who owns a pawn shop, but they were pretty strict on the price and only budged $200 down from $5,000 to $4,800. Shipping was a bit wonky, a screw was missing from the back cavity cover that hadn't been missing and the bridge was removed, so I had to get it setup again. I've since picked up an original case for it and am hoping to piece meal the case candy of the model too. That might increase the value a bit, but that's a further down the road opportunity.

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mudface

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My avatar pic is my 25/50 I bought new. It has been one of my favorite guitars for decades. When I took it to NYC in 2003 to meet Les at the Iridium Club, I wasn't sure the reaction I'd get from the great Les Paul about my lowly Norlin. When we sat down at the table back stage and I handed Les my guitar, he was immediately struck by the weight. He put it on his knee and played it a bit and I saw a smile emerging. He said he would like to hear it plugged up because the body was so resonant and the neck was so fast and smooth. Everything about it spoke of a fine instrument and it had to be a screamer. I told him how much I enjoyed the feel and tone and that it was my favorite solid body ever.

We then went into a brief discussion about it being a Norlin. He said 'Norlins were not Gibson's finest hour, but not for the reasons most folks are saying'. He told me that Gibson had pretty much screwed the pooch for years and needed saving. So the fact that Gibson almost self destructed was what we should have recognized as the true negative. He compared it to praising the tow truck driver (Norlin) for coming to haul Gibsons ass out of the ditch because they weren't paying attention to the road. Norlin came in and were it not for them, we probably would not have a Gibson today. Then his wisdom hit home....'If Norlin had not been producing a better instrument, Gibson wouldn't have been saved'. Were they heavy? Yes. Were the necks different? Yes. Were they taking chances with some of the PUP's and electronics? Yep.

He explained how Norlin changed things up...took some chances (some popular, some not so much). But ultimately, Norlin did most things better than had been done for a while, and THAT is what saved our Les's. They moved the bell curve up the scale. Any time you have nature involved, there will be variables. During the Norlin days, there were still some poor examples. It happens. Wood will be wood....people will be people. Overall, the average Norlin Les Paul was better, and the ones at the top of the curve had the potential to be much better than in the recent past.

So when the snobs and sniffers want to dis Norlin to follow the popular internet opinion, I'll take Les Paul's personal opinion over theirs every hour of every day. He was grateful for those 'odd' instruments and the path Norlin took. He felt that's what ensured today there is a Gibson company and they still make Les Paul guitars.

Not many of us 'regular' players ever got to meet the great one. I am fortunate to have done so. That 15 minutes sitting at the table chatting with Les rocked my world in so many ways. When I asked him to sign the guitar, he asked how I wanted it signed. I said it was up to him. He asked if he could include my name. I recall asking if when I decided to sell would that not limit the list of potential buyers to guys with my name. He gave me the greatest little smile and said 'Son, you haven't sold it in over 20 years. Now that I've played it, signed it and told you how fine it is.....do you really think you'll let it go? Just order a bigger casket...you're gonna need it'.

18 years later and he's still right!
That was an awesome story.....thank you for sharing that...:cheers:
 

zdoggie

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I started my les paul craze in 1983 and steered clear of the norlin era never owned one so I really can't commwnt in earnest .

zdog
 

shawn7

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The Norlins are no better or worse than any other decade IMO. I've played Les Pauls, good ones ones and bad ones from every decade. I think what most, not everyone, like and are willing to pay for is more driven by what the current offering is when they were during their "peak" development. it's more driven by what was new or "good" around that time, along with what that age market can afford to spend on a guitar, typically more money the older the player is. The guitars of each decade were altered to fit what the market demand was. I'm not talking about the materials/cost labor at this point, more the neck styles and features, tone, etc.

I think it was the current president of Gibson, and also Trogly, some people talked about drooling over the sparkle finish Deluxes. Not me, I never saw one or don't remember seeing one, I would have mentally rejected it instantlly. The vast majority of people that I grew up with were nuts about Cherry sunbursts because of Jimmy Page.

There is no reason the Norlins should have any different pricing outside of the typical collection/supply-demand/price cycle. I prefer the 70's Les Pauls to the 80's, 90s, 2k, up until the most recent. The new ones are good, as good as the Norlins. I can't say they're better, just different, and on par. So I guess it's more subjective. Me, I personally dogged LP Deluxes from the 70's for years until I got some playing time in on a good one my buddy had. And I converted. Super fast low action, pinch harmonics, super tone. I got an early 70's Deluxe and have not played more than a few "better" (read different but really good) since that time, about 1980. It's more what you are into I guess. People repeat stuff without any practical experience with it. So I've been a basher myself until I learned better. I've played 60's Black Beauties and 50's gold tops that were pieces of c*** compared to my Deluxe. There's a ton of BS going around. Always has been, always will be. It's about the money, not the actual instruments.
 


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