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Norlin LPC - to mod or not?

mateias

New member
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
2
Hello fellow Lester aficionados - just looking for some sage advice from the Les Paul crowd.

I have a new (to me) Norlin-era LPC which is in stock condition, complete with ashtray. It has been used fairly extensively, I can see that it has its fair share of dings and scratches, but the norm for a 40+ year old instrument. It has been very well maintained however.

I really like the feel, look and overall vibe of this funky '70s fiddle - however the tone is not doing it for me. It sounds like it has a cold, it is a weird congested tone, especially compared to my other Lesters. Granted, they have different pickups (Burstbuckers, Sheptones etc) but the Norlin's tone isn't even in the same ballpark.

I've heard good things about T-tops (assume it has these rather than Shaws) - so I was thinking that perhaps swapping the pots for different spec would help? I'm loathe to disturb what is essentially a factory-stock soldering job though... for you boffins that pore over details, would swapping things like this out affect the value in the future? (fully realise that I've got a Norlin LPC, rather than a '59 burst!)

Pot codes are 1377919 on the volume and 1377902 on the tone.
 

brandtkronholm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,223
Hello fellow Lester aficionados - just looking for some sage advice from the Les Paul crowd.

I have a new (to me) Norlin-era LPC which is in stock condition, complete with ashtray. It has been used fairly extensively, I can see that it has its fair share of dings and scratches, but the norm for a 40+ year old instrument. It has been very well maintained however.

I really like the feel, look and overall vibe of this funky '70s fiddle - however the tone is not doing it for me. It sounds like it has a cold, it is a weird congested tone, especially compared to my other Lesters. Granted, they have different pickups (Burstbuckers, Sheptones etc) but the Norlin's tone isn't even in the same ballpark.

I've heard good things about T-tops (assume it has these rather than Shaws) - so I was thinking that perhaps swapping the pots for different spec would help? I'm loathe to disturb what is essentially a factory-stock soldering job though... for you boffins that pore over details, would swapping things like this out affect the value in the future? (fully realise that I've got a Norlin LPC, rather than a '59 burst!)

Pot codes are 1377919 on the volume and 1377902 on the tone.
What is an ashtray?
(Old Telecasters have them, but Les Pauls?)
 

DutchRay

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
369
Leave it and if you don't, start with the volume pots. They are likely 300K and upgrading them to 500K might make the pickups sound more alike your other guitars.
 

mateias

New member
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
2
Thanks guys... I'm inclined to leave it be as it stands and appreciate for its, emmm, odd sonic quality :)
 

Bob Womack

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
1,987
Start with pickup height. Those pickups weren't particularly hot so people were taught to jack them up close to the strings. Unfortunately, that left you with a flat sounding upper end and rolled off bass. If you back them off from the strings the upper end comes up and they are quite sweet sounding. You'll possibly need a clean boost to drive an amp but it is worth it. Also, don't be afraid to tilt the pickups, lowering the bass side a bit to kill some of the mud on the neck pickup.

Bob
 

Elmore

Active member
Joined
Jul 10, 2003
Messages
1,775
If you really like the guitar acoustically and action-wise, install 500K audio taper pots with Jensen paper-in-oil caps. Keep the old parts.
 

Progrocker111

All Access/Backstage Pass
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
Messages
3,957
As Big Al said - audio 500k pots and betrer caps may help, cause these late 70s Les Pauls had 300k linear pots. And try to mess with pickups and to raise the stopbar too, as these can have very steep neck angles, so reducing the string tension on the bridge may help to open the tone a bit.
 

gibson-r8

Active member
Joined
Jul 15, 2004
Messages
462
I don’t think changing pots has any affect on value For this era. Keep the old pots in the case, but by all means adjust pup heights and swap to 500k pots. Neither of my customs (75 and 76) have original pots installed.
 

murkat

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
489
Swap the CPA (pots, jack, ) out for 500k pots, new input jack. Check ground wire if any. if no ground wire, have one installed, not a hard job.
 

Phoenician

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
48
If it doesn’t belong in the Smithsonian, mod away. However, many of the above suggestions are the place to start. I took my old 73 LPC to my new guitar tech and he got it working just right.
 
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