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I don't understand why people dislike Norlin era Gibson products so much...

Progrocker111

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Dec 10, 2003
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4,013
I personally consider the Les Paul sound a lot broader than just golden era Bursts.
This!
I have literally tons of 70s music played with especially early 70s Les Pauls. So many lesser known progrock or jazzrock bands used them especially in Europe with great results. Black Custom or Goldtop Deluxe were archetypal for these bands. Sure, they had different tone than Bursts, more "in your face", more focused, but that tone was great for that particular music genre and coupled with early 70s Marshalls or Hiwatts its the right Les Paul tone to me.
 

citson

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Feb 6, 2019
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46
You are correct citrson!

I'm a HUGE Alex fan and have been since the mid '70s. Been fortunate enough to meet him a number of times and he's a super nice guy! The first time I saw RUSH and met them was when they were on tour after "All The World's A Stage" album came out. From what I can recall, Alex mostly (maybe only?) used his original 335.

Having typed that, I'll never forget when I saw them on the "A Farewell To Kings" tour and Alex walked-out on stage with his 355. I had to have one! I did get one in '08 when Gibson released the Alex Lifeson "Inspired By" model. I love it, Volute issue and all!

TOBPXdM.jpg


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Beautiful guitar! How does it play? I'm a huge fan of Alex as well. I'm mostly a Les Paul player and don't own any ES yet, but soon, and my top two choices are an ES 355 (potentially that same one), and a 175 (big fan of Steve Howe as well).

I'm in my 30s so, unfortunately, wasn't able to see Rush nor Yes during their prime, but did manage to see them both in 2015 and 2010 respectively, magical moment for me, they did not disappoint one bit.
 

J.D.

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May 24, 2006
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9,924
The metal guys used to love those heavy Les Paul Customs with the 3-piece maple necks, generally retrofitting them with EMG pickups. I weighed one at almost 13 lbs. Never found a '70s Norlin-era Gibson that appealed to me personally. YMMV.

The great players mentioned who played them would likely have been successful on most any instrument.
 

Bob Womack

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Apr 8, 2002
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Dull sounding? The only dull sounding Norlins I heard were the ones with their pickups cranked up too close to the strings. Because the T-tops didn't have particularly high output pickups, players would crank them up close to the strings. The magnetic influence of the pickups would dampen the high-frequencies of the strings. It happened to me. Once I backed them down the guitar was bright and pretty.

Bob
 

guitplayer

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Mar 8, 2008
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Dull sounding? The only dull sounding Norlins I heard were the ones with their pickups cranked up too close to the strings. Because the T-tops didn't have particularly high output pickups, players would crank them up close to the strings. The magnetic influence of the pickups would dampen the high-frequencies of the strings. It happened to me. Once I backed them down the guitar was bright and pretty.

Bob
Bob, dull sounding ...unplugged.
 

Don

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Dec 1, 2001
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I was indoctrinated by my guitar teacher back in 1979 to dislike Norlin and CBS guitars. I never had the budget to experience enough of them for myself and form my own opinion and get over that bias and avoided them.
 
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Midnight Blues

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Feb 20, 2011
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1,589
Beautiful guitar! How does it play? I'm a huge fan of Alex as well. I'm mostly a Les Paul player and don't own any ES yet, but soon, and my top two choices are an ES 355 (potentially that same one), and a 175 (big fan of Steve Howe as well).

I'm in my 30s so, unfortunately, wasn't able to see Rush nor Yes during their prime, but did manage to see them both in 2015 and 2010 respectively, magical moment for me, they did not disappoint one bit.
Thank you very much citson. Despite the misplacement of the Volute, which Gibson despicably (IMHO) blamed on Alex, I love the way it plays. It doesn't really bother me, although I would type that if I had the disposable income though, I have and still would, consider sending it to Freddy Gabrsek, who worked on Alex's original 355 (as well as some of his other guitars), to have it put in the correct position. Since Freddy is in Niagara Falls, Ont., I should've done it while I lived in Central New York. I was much closer then than I am now being in Florida.

Since it's akin to an LP Custom, it has an ebony board, which is my favorite board material. It has a Gibson '57 Classics in it, which I like a lot and I love the different tones you can get with the Vari-Tone switch too.

I don't have a scale, so it might be just me, but I think it's heavier than any of the LPs I have?

I'd love to see Gibson to a replica of Alex's 335 someday. That would be at, or close to the top of my wishlist.

I'm a big Steve Howe fan too, crazy good player and I although I don't have a 175, I do have a Wes Montgomery L-5, which I love! Not that I'm a player (maybe someday?), but I've listened to Jazz since I was a kid and to me, Wes is the best. Having typed that though, Kenny Burrell is a very close 2nd. To me, they're 1 and 1A as far as Jazz Guitarists go.


Thanks again and
cheers.gif
 
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citson

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Feb 6, 2019
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46
Thank you very much citson. Despite the misplacement of the Volute, which Gibson despicably (IMHO) blamed on Alex, I love the way it plays. It doesn't really bother me, although I would type that if I had the disposable income though, I have and still would, consider sending it to Freddy Gabrsek, who worked on Alex's original 355 (as well as some of his other guitars), to have it put in the correct position. Since Freddy is in Niagara Falls, Ont., I should've done it while I lived in Central New York. I was much closer then than I am now being in Florida.

Since it's akin to an LP Custom, it has an ebony board, which is my favorite board material. It has a Gibson '57 Classics in it, which I like a lot and I love the different tones you can get with the Vari-Tone switch too.

I don't have a scale, so it might be just me, but I think it's heavier than any of the LPs I have?

I'd love to see Gibson to a replica of Alex's 335 someday. That would be at, or close to the top of my wishlist.

I'm a big Steve Howe fan too, crazy good player and I although I don't have a 175, I do have a Wes Montgomery L-5, which I love! Not that I'm a player (maybe someday?), but I've listened to Jazz since I was a kid and to me, Wes is the best. Having typed that though, Kenny Burrell is a very close 2nd. To me, they're 1 and 1A as far as Jazz Guitarists go.


Thanks again and
cheers.gif
I had no idea about the volute, but now that I look at photos of it, it does seem like it‘s in a weird position. An Alex Lifeson 335 RI would be amazing, let’s hope that Gibson has something with Alex on the pipeline now that they recently did the Epi LP.
 

IMMUSICRULZ

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May 25, 2021
Messages
616
To
Thank you very much citson. Despite the misplacement of the Volute, which Gibson despicably (IMHO) blamed on Alex, I love the way it plays. It doesn't really bother me, although I would type that if I had the disposable income though, I have and still would, consider sending it to Freddy Gabrsek, who worked on Alex's original 355 (as well as some of his other guitars), to have it put in the correct position. Since Freddy is in Niagara Falls, Ont., I should've done it while I lived in Central New York. I was much closer then than I am now being in Florida.


I'd love to see Gibson to a replica of Alex's 335 someday. That would be at, or close to the top of my wishlist.

I'm a big Steve Howe fan too, crazy good player and I although I don't have a 175, I do have a Wes Montgomery L-5, which I love! Not that I'm a player (maybe someday?), but I've listened to Jazz since I was a kid and to me, Wes is the best. Having typed that though, Kenny Burrell is a very close 2nd. To me, they're 1 and 1A as far as Jazz Guitarists go.


Thanks again and
cheers.gif
Alex Lifeson owns some property in Naples, FL.

Also Tommy Shaw of Styx played a Norlin white Les Paul, an SG, an ES 335 and an early Eighties Gibson Explorer.

Buck Dharma AKA Donald Roeser, Eric Bloom and Allan Lanier of Blue Oyster Cult all played Norlin Gibson equip. Buck Dharma (Blue Öyster Cult) played a 1969 SG and used an ES 175 for the guitar riff in "Don't Fear The Reaper". He also used a 1974 Les Paul. Eric Bloom played an SG.

Buck Dharma also lived in Florida for a time, but his family moved recently to Maryland.
 

Midnight Blues

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Feb 20, 2011
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To

Alex Lifeson owns some property in Naples, FL.

Also Tommy Shaw of Styx played a Norlin white Les Paul, an SG, an ES 335 and an early Eighties Gibson Explorer.

Buck Dharma AKA Donald Roeser, Eric Bloom and Allan Lanier of Blue Oyster Cult all played Norlin Gibson equip. Buck Dharma (Blue Öyster Cult) played a 1969 SG and used an ES 175 for the guitar riff in "Don't Fear The Reaper". He also used a 1974 Les Paul. Eric Bloom played an SG.

Buck Dharma also lived in Florida for a time, but his family moved recently to Maryland.
Yup, he does. I remember several years ago he and his son got in an altercation with someone and I think there was a court case that followed if I'm not mistaken? I seem to recall it was around the new year at the time?

Don't know if he still is, but Buck married a girl from the city (not real big) that I lived in for most of my life, until I moved to Florida and so did Brad Delp from Boston.

A lot of great players played Norlin's and a lot of great music was made with them: Mark Farner, Roger Fisher, Al Di Meola, Jan Akkerman, Mick Jones (Foreigner), Brian Robertson, Scott Gorham, Frank Zappa, Neal Schon, Randy Rhodes, Elliot Randall, just to name some. :)


cheers.gif
 

Midnight Blues

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Feb 20, 2011
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I had no idea about the volute, but now that I look at photos of it, it does seem like it‘s in a weird position. An Alex Lifeson 335 RI would be amazing, let’s hope that Gibson has something with Alex on the pipeline now that they recently did the Epi LP.

Yup, it's too far under the headstock, kind of between the nut and the first fret.

That would be amazing and since Alex has a good relationship with Gibson, you never know... 🤞


cheers.gif
 

IMMUSICRULZ

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Peter Cetera of Chicago also played Gibson Norlin basses: A Gibson Ripper bass, a Gibson Eb0 Bass, a Gibson Eb-2 and a Gibson Thunderbird.

Greg Lake of ELP also played a Gibson Norlin Ripper on Brain Salad Surgery.
 

LeonC

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Aug 30, 2002
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I worked in a couple music stores in the mid-70s through early 80s and got to play many Norlin era Gibsons. Some of them were excellent sounding guitars, some of them weren't. I did develop the belief that they were generally not made as well or with as much attention to detail as those that preceded them. The pickups didn't sound quite as good and the detail work (inlays, binding) was often not as good. The carves on the LP tops were not as nice and the LPs seemed to be generally heavier and less resonant acoustically. That said, I did play many that at least played well and sounded great if not, perhaps, look as great up close.

I did have one experience that kind of set up my general feeling about Gibson Norlin era. In '76, I bought a brand new Les Paul Custom. It was the second brand new guitar I had ever purchased. I loved that guitar and was quite proud to own it. About 5 or 6 weeks later, it was stolen, along with most other valuable items in my rental house. I was heartbroken. I filed a report with the police and my insurance company--which thank GOD I was smart enough to have taken out, following my dad's advice. After a bit of hassle and a delay of another few weeks, and much to my amazement, the insurance company came up with a few hundred bucks which I could use to purchase another Les Paul. "Unfortunately" it wasn't enough for another new Les Paul Custom...so I had to settle for a used one. I waited a few weeks until a decent used Custom showed up at one of the stores that I worked at. Seemed like a great guitar, if perhaps a little scratched and "used" looking. It was made in '68. Picked it up for something like 300 bucks.

After a couple weeks with that guitar--and half to my "chagrin"--I came to realize that it was a much better instrument than the brand spanking new one that was stolen. It played better, sounded MUCH better and even looked better in some respects. I soon considered myself really lucky to have stumbled into this guitar and this knowledge.

Coda: Perhaps 6 or 8 months later, I was contacted by the police--my stolen guitar turned up in a pawn shop!!! I could get it back by paying them what they had paid for it...like 175 bucks or something ridiculous. I quickly scraped the dough together and bought it back...and quickly flipped it for several hundred bucks and kept the '68!

A year or two later, I did buy some other Norlin-era Gibsons which I was quite happy with. I had a brown 335 for several years and really dug it. I've subsequently played a few Norlin-era Les Pauls which I thought were great guitars too, though on the heavy side. So generally, it may have been my least favorite era...but they did make some very usable guitars. Stereotypes and generalizations can be useful sometimes, but it's best not to blindly accept them.
 

AbozzNorlin

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Nov 16, 2021
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Oh! I dislike them so much that I have two! For me are the best TONE, That is my opinion. And about quality, not one complaint. Is my first post here, then hello to all members!
1976 standard with all the horror feautures, volute, laminated maple, pancake, big Headstock, T tops, and a perfect finish and quality. Tone is a sweet beauty.
1973/4 Custom, better year, Kalamazoo, more handmade, more tone, more more more. A monster.
 

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IMMUSICRULZ

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I also think the rosewood fingerboard on Norlin Gibson products are very nice looking.

After all, it’s a Gibson. It’s supposed to look nice.
 

El Gringo

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Peter Cetera of Chicago also played Gibson Norlin basses: A Gibson Ripper bass, a Gibson Eb0 Bass, a Gibson Eb-2 and a Gibson Thunderbird.

Greg Lake of ELP also played a Gibson Norlin Ripper on Brain Salad Surgery.
Very good knowledge ! Peter Cetera , what a voice ! Greg Lake =wow
 
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