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info on 70's deluxe goldtop please

billywade

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Dec 12, 2001
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I recently located a deluxe goldtop serial # 1754xx in VG+ condition. It is stamped made in USA under the serial number. I have a couple of questions. I currently own a '93 custom and an '00 classic and they're both great guitars. The Duchossoir book I have places this serial # anywhere between '70 and '74. The book doesn't tell which models were available in what years. Was the deluxe goldtop available all of these years. If so what features may help me determine the actual model year of this guitar. Also, was the goldtop deluxe produced during the norlin years? What were the norlin years anyway? If it is a norlin will it have any distinguishing features that may help me out. You guys are the experts on this stuff so any help would be appreciated. BTW he's asking $1500. Help me out here so I don't get burned. I already am aware I can get historic goldtops for just a little more cash but I wanted to know any info on this particular guitar. Also, I haven't actually made an in hand survey of the guitar so I'm not sure about the volute.
 

Big Al

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billywade said:
I recently located a deluxe goldtop serial # 1754xx in VG+ condition. It is stamped made in USA under the serial number. I have a couple of questions. I currently own a '93 custom and an '00 classic and they're both great guitars. The Duchossoir book I have places this serial # anywhere between '70 and '74. The book doesn't tell which models were available in what years. Was the deluxe goldtop available all of these years. If so what features may help me determine the actual model year of this guitar. Also, was the goldtop deluxe produced during the norlin years? What were the norlin years anyway? If it is a norlin will it have any distinguishing features that may help me out. You guys are the experts on this stuff so any help would be appreciated. BTW he's asking $1500. Help me out here so I don't get burned. I already am aware I can get historic goldtops for just a little more cash but I wanted to know any info on this particular guitar. Also, I haven't actually made an in hand survey of the guitar so I'm not sure about the volute.

You might be able to date it by pot codes. The Deluxe's of 70-74 are allmost impossible to nail down due to inconsistant and duplicated #'s. I can sometimes tell by the volute as it is larger in 74 than the 70-71.

All original Deluxe's were Norlin Les Paul's. At first Goldtop was the only finish, but Cherry Finish and Cherry Sunburst soon followed. Later Tobbacco Sunburst, Basalt Blue and Rocket Red Glitter, Ebony Black, Wine Red and Natural became finish options.

Norlin owned Gibson from 69- about 87.

IMO original STOCK Goldtop Les Paul Deluxe's are very cool and hard to find! A good clean original example at that price is a deal IMO. The original sandwich bodied, three piece mahogany necked Deluxes with mini hums are some of the best Les Paul's I've played. Everything works in that model and I really like it's voice.
 

Ed Driscoll

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Al,

>> IMO original STOCK Goldtop Les Paul Deluxe's are very cool and hard to find! A good clean original example at that price is a deal IMO. The original sandwich bodied, three piece mahogany necked Deluxes with mini hums are some of the best Les Paul's I've played. Everything works in that model and I really like it's voice. <<

You guys have probably done this topic to death, but how do the Epiphone-style mini-humbuckers used in the Deluxes sound compared to P-90s?

Ed
 

Big Al

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Third Wave said:




You guys have probably done this topic to death, but how do the Epiphone-style mini-humbuckers used in the Deluxes sound compared to P-90s?

Ed

OK here are my impressions.
First of the Mini Hum sounds alot like a Big Humbucker. Same creamy feel, smooth distortion and full tone. They are powerful and clear. To me they have less midrange than a PAF, so that the highs and lowend are predominate. Compared to a P90 they are smoother and sweeter. The notes flow together, a kind of sonic smear in a very good way. P90's have greater string definition to my ears.

P90's have a similar output strength but a much different tone. Lots of mids. Great big, fat ol honkin' growlin' mids with teeth! The treble is defined and present and the bass is big but not focused as much. P90's have that clear ringing singlecoil responce with unbelievable dynamics. They get very grainy and violin like sustainy overdrive with a noticeable midrange girth. kinda like that.
 

Ed Driscoll

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Al,

Thanks! I have a feeling my next LP is going to have P-90s in it...

Ed
 

Wilko

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That early 7-0's goldtop is very cool. I had one with factory P-90's. I would easily pay 1500 for a clean on eof those. With Mini HUmbuckers, a tad less. Mini HUmbuckers are more common on tyhose guitars, but the P-90 is the original Les Paul setup. And like Big Al says, they growl.
 

billywade

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mini buckers

Thanks for the info. Especially you Big Al. In my original question I intended to ask about the sound of the mini buckers. You've answered my question before I even answered it. Anyone want to buy a Taylor 610 and a '70 es335? Just joking, kinda.
 

Big Al

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Well don't write of the mini-hums! I like them alot and find alot of inspiration in their tone. They have a very balanced tone and the combined pickup setting is a twangalicious spankadoodle chimeathon!! That Mini-hum in the neck has a great capacity for singing tones in an overdriven setup without the mud. hell ya gotta have all three, Paf's, Mini's and P90's.!!
 

Ed Driscoll

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Al,

>> a twangalicious spankadoodle chimeathon!! <<

Wow, what an incredible phrase! :wow :dude

Seriously, it's rare to see someone say nice things about the mini-humbucker LPs. Those guitars always seemed like black sheep of the Les Paul family to me.

Ed
 

Big Al

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Black Sheep maybe, but not the sheeps choice. If the sheep would remove the wool from their ears they might find a gem of a pickup.
 

jono

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Big Al said:
Black Sheep maybe, but not the sheeps choice. If the sheep would remove the wool from their ears they might find a gem of a pickup.

Now that sounds like the old Big Al!
 

bluestein

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Gotta agree with Big Al - I love the sound of the early 70's Deluxes.:dude
 

TruelasDougblood

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'71-72 gibson's had "Gibson" embossed on the pickup covers, it's
one way to date them. Real cheesy lookin' imho.

Also while the mini's were originally used on Epiphones' they were not from the Epiphone Factory pickups. When Gibson first started building Epi's they used the leftover stock; as the parts ran out, they switched to Gibson hardware. Seth Lover designed the mini's to be smaller version's of his PAF design. He may have been the only person to ever feel that tho ;) . But I suspect that given 1961 amp choices and styles of playing it was probably less obvious they weren't the same...

I had a goldtop deluxe ( probably early 1970, I bought it used in 1972 ) for most of the 70's. Cool guitar, the only issue I had w/ it was the goldtop finish had severe weather checking when I bought it. It fell off in large flakes right down to teh maple top and I got sick of that I did a Kossoff to it and striped it to the bone. Even better looking that way, I wish I had a picture of it...
 

Litcrit

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Here's a dissenting voice. Obviously Big AL knows about the pickups and I agree about those, but I heartily DISAGREE about the '70's Norlin guitars. These are most often inert, rather toneless, shoulder breakers (HEAVY). The pancake body suffocates the resonance. Simply compare the acoustic tone of these to any 1 piece body guitar and you'll see. Yes, there are some exceptions: I had a really nice 70's standard that played well and sounded good, but most of these are like the 70's strats: corporate bean counter guitars made cheaply by a demoralized workforce. These are the guitars that STARTED the vintage craze becasue they were (and are) SUBSTANDARD. If you can buy one cheap, do it. Are they worth the $1000 plus prices? NOT TO ME. Better off with a 1 piece body post-Norlin guitar.
 

bluestein

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?????

Do you really think that Norlin walked out on the floor and ordered the workers to start making crap guitars?

The early 70's were fantastic years for music, guitars and especially Gibson - who were the hottest guitar brand in a surging marketplace.

Demoralized? Not a chance.
 

Butch Snyder

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Big Al said:
Black Sheep maybe, but not the sheeps choice. If the sheep would remove the wool from their ears they might find a gem of a pickup.
:dude

I have to agree with Big Al; wholeheartedly. The mini-humbuckers, especially the ones Gibson is producing now as well as the Duncan Antiquity models are fantastic. To my ears, they have a definite humbucker quality to them. They're very smooth and warm. They're also a tad brighter than the full-size humbuckers. What I have found, however, is that the bridge pickup can be a bit thin. With some adjusting, especially lowering the pole pieces, the thin bridge pickup issue can be resolved.

I have just aquired a Heritage Gary Moore model. I am now replacing the mini's on my Deluxe with a set of Duncan Custom soapbars. I can't wait to hear the results.

Butch
 
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pauldeluxe

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I think one of the reasons why those guitars get a bad rap is because when Gibson started making LPs again in 1968, people were comparing them to the last batch that was made -- the sacred 58-60 LPs. Not a fair comparison no matter how good the 70s LPs really were.

Granted, there are a few construction oddities about some 70s Les Pauls, but they're still fantastic guitars. And yes, the LPs being made today are probably better. But that doesn't mean Norlins are dogs.
 

Litcrit

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I grew up with 70's guitars and played them for a living, 6 nights/week. They were serviceable instruments, they sounded okay through a good amp and they played in tune. BUT>>> I stand by my claim that these were the worst Les Pauls (SG's and others) that Gibson has made. The current guitars are much better. Gibson itself acknowledges this in their own webite! They refer to the "dark days of Norlin". Thus, they were OKAY but clearly substandard. Multiple mismatched pieces of heavy wood = substandard guitars. Everyone knows this, why argue the point? I had an SG Standard made from 5 pieces!!! YIKES! The irony is that "Real" vintage guitars have gotten so expensive that the 70's guitars which everyone was trying to get away from are now "vintage" and are commanding high prices. When I see 3 bolt strats going for $1500, I shake my head...Same for the Deluxes: SUBSTANDARD and any modern guitar will kill it dead.
 

Heritage 80

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I agree with all of you Deluxe/minis fans. They are brighter than full sized 'buckers, but they sound so cool thru a "dark" amp. I get beautiful tone thru 60's Ampegs - a great combination; no pedals required (as long as you dime the amp).
 
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