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Buying Norlin Unseen

Equilibrium8

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Jun 18, 2020
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From the information I've gleaned, Norlin's are not as bad as they are made out to be but the QC in that era was bad, and the mid 70's was some of the most inconsistent years. So there are both gems and duds in that era.

My question is would you buy a '76/'77 LP sight unseen?
 

Bob Womack

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Apr 8, 2002
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2,054
Remember that there was no Plek machine at the time. Plek has made it possible to expect at least a decent neck. My '74 Kalamazoo-built "Small Script" LP Standard had a slight compound bow in the neck when I bought it used in 1977. The treble side could be pulled virtually flat with the truss rod and the bass side would still have too much relief. We tried hot pressing it, etc. and never got anywhere. It took pulling the frets, planing the neck, and refretting to fix the problem. I would consider that the worst mechanical casualty you could expect from a Norlin LP. If the guitar plays and is functional, I'd just mentally factor in the cost a refret once it arrives. But my '74 is loved by many of my friends and I've gotten offers on it.

paulybody3.jpg


Now, with that said, I've always considered Gibson guitars to be inconsistent. You'll find all kinds of sound character within a single model type. In 1977 was in a band with a guy who had a virtually identical '74 LP Standard. My guitar had a wonderful, sweet sound. By contrast, I struggled to get anything usable out of his - it was sort of brash and honky to my ear. But his neck was great.

Bob
 

fred dons

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Jul 20, 2001
Messages
298
I might have more pragmatic approach, I would need to see detailed pictures , especially along the neck ,but if it has survived the last >40 years and looks to be regularly played then I assume that any kinks have been weeded out in the meantime
 

Equilibrium8

New member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
29
Remember that there was no Plek machine at the time. Plek has made it possible to expect at least a decent neck. My '74 Kalamazoo-built "Small Script" LP Standard had a slight compound bow in the neck when I bought it used in 1977. The treble side could be pulled virtually flat with the truss rod and the bass side would still have too much relief. We tried hot pressing it, etc. and never got anywhere. It took pulling the frets, planing the neck, and refretting to fix the problem. I would consider that the worst mechanical casualty you could expect from a Norlin LP. If the guitar plays and is functional, I'd just mentally factor in the cost a refret once it arrives. But my '74 is loved by many of my friends and I've gotten offers on it.

paulybody3.jpg


Now, with that said, I've always considered Gibson guitars to be inconsistent. You'll find all kinds of sound character within a single model type. In 1977 was in a band with a guy who had a virtually identical '74 LP Standard. My guitar had a wonderful, sweet sound. By contrast, I struggled to get anything usable out of his - it was sort of brash and honky to my ear. But his neck was great.

Bob
Thanks. It seems quite a risk. That is a lovely looking guitar.
 
Last edited:

Equilibrium8

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Jun 18, 2020
Messages
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I might have more pragmatic approach, I would need to see detailed pictures , especially along the neck ,but if it has survived the last >40 years and looks to be regularly played then I assume that any kinks have been weeded out in the meantime
That also makes sense.
The two 70's ones I'm interested in are these two:
https://www.ishibashi-music.jp/category/select/pid/57603
https://www.ishibashi-music.jp/category/select/pid/57643

The 76 is reasonbly priced but the 77 is the same price as some of the R8s there. I am whittling down the favorites on my shopping list: those 2, some R8s, and a few standards.
 

DutchRay

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Mar 15, 2015
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The ones I'm looking at are around the same price as R8s, so quite pricey.
IMO you'd be better off with an R8. The guitars you're looking at are in Japan, shipping and tax will make them way overpriced and you can't play them beforehand (assuming you're not in Japan).
 

Equilibrium8

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Jun 18, 2020
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IMO you'd be better off with an R8. The guitars you're looking at are in Japan, shipping and tax will make them way overpriced and you can't play them beforehand (assuming you're not in Japan).
I'm in Taiwan. Looking at options in Japan because Taiwan is Telecaster country and there are very few LP options in he used market. Shipping isn't too bad, but I have no idea what import tax is on instruments. They have some nice looking R8s there.
 

charliechitlins

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Nov 16, 2021
Messages
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To pay the same as an R8, I'd have to play first.
I figure, whoever made 58 Lesters might have still been working there 20 years later!
My '71 feels so much like a '58/'59 it's crazy. I went crazy for it from the first time I held it
 

Bob Womack

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Apr 8, 2002
Messages
2,054
Prices? It depends on the year and origin of the particular guitar. Kalamazoo-built customs and especially Standards (they were a small and poorly documented group) are going through the roof right now.

Bob
 

Wilko

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Mar 11, 2002
Messages
20,149
I wouldnt buy any after about 74. The rocker tenon just kills it for me. Would have be a great deal for me to buy one. Sight unseen doesn’t bother me. I can make any guitar play well. I’ve bought several guitars off eBay/Craig’s without playing first. Even 12k for a ‘56 Les Paul!
 

fred dons

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Jul 20, 2001
Messages
298
Ishibashi is a great seller , I have bough a few R9, R8 , ESP's and PRS from them and you can really trust them on their appraisals of the guitar
 

fred dons

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Jul 20, 2001
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298
btw I prefer the look of the tobacco burst but the price of the natural one is ofcourse a big factor as well, still I would go for the burst
 

Equilibrium8

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Jun 18, 2020
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btw I prefer the look of the tobacco burst but the price of the natural one is ofcourse a big factor as well, still I would go for the burst
The only attraction to the natural for me was I thought it would be cool to have a birth year guitar. But I don't really like the natural look. The Tobacco looks incredible.
 

Equilibrium8

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Jun 18, 2020
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Have you played a similar year LP? Maple neck may not give you the tone you are after if you are used to mahogany.
That is a good point. My 2014 LPJ has a maple neck and that could be a contributing factor in not being satisfied with the tone.
 
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