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

El Gringo

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Apr 8, 2015
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Why THANK YOU VERY MUCH EG, I appreciate that!

I don't know what I was thinking back in the '70s when I put the black "Speedies" on her? It was probably because I like "Speedies" better, but I didn't really care for the amber/gold color? I definitely like the "Reflectors" much better!


Thanks again and
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Just beautiful !
 

jrgtr42

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speaking as someone whose |#1 is a Norlin era - a 1980 SG Firebrand, I will say I don't dislike all of that era's guitars - there are some good ones and good models out there.
I didn't (don't) like the moves to pancake body construction, the maple necks or the super-thin neck profiles that came through the era.
I think a lot of people don't like them simply because they were post-sell out from the ownership that had them in the "golden era" - which was also a corporation, Chicago Musical Instruments (CMI.)
 

marshall1987

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Having owned several Norlin-era Les Pauls from 1970 to 1983 plus one 1983 ES 335, my recollection is that the instruments were consistently ....inconsistent. A few were very good overall, however several exhibited significant quality control defects stemming from poor workmanship.
 

IMMUSICRULZ

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Although I think Norlin Gibsons sounded better in the studio than they did in concert.
 

rockabilly69

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I often find myself (as does everybody else on this site) asking, "Why do people dislike the Norlin tenure of Gibson?" I have heard reports of the headstocks of Gibson Norlins falling off, that Norlin era Gibsons had trouble staying in tune, etc. But Norlin also owned Moog during this time, and the Minimoog and Polymoog of the Seventies wasn't that bad.

I know that was a time when Gibson was doing unorthodox things to the LP line, like maple bodies and necks, and adding lots of unnecessary electronics. I have heard some of you guys say stay away, while others really love them. I'm not looking at buying it, I was just curious. I actually own a Norlin era Epiphone acoustic guitar, and a 2000s sunburst Epiphone Les Paul.

No guitar is perfect, and I just wanted to provide a few examples of Norlin players.
Lindsey Buckingham and Bob Welch of Fleetwood Mac both played Norlin Lesters, as did Kerry Livgren and Richard Williams of Kansas (who also played an SG and an ES 335.) Even the solo on My Sharona by The Knack was through Mesa/Boogie amps and a black Norlin Les Paul played by the group's guitarist, Berton Averre. Either you like Norlin Gib or you don't. I see a lot of Norlin Les Pauls and SGs in guitar stores and often wonder if I should spend money on those instead of the REO Speedwagon records I love so much. :)

But if you have something kind to say about Norlin Gibson (and if you own any Norlin Gibson Guitars), please post it here. I'd love to hear about when you got them and how much the Norlin tenure meant to you.
How many Norlin guitars have you personally played and compared to the other eras of Gibson guitars? To me they sound and feel very different than the other eras of Gibson, and generally the quality was a bit lower, and the weights were heavy.

But some killer guitars slipped through the cracks in the Norlin years, and many people have made some great music with them. I own two Norlin Era L5s guitars and they are spectacular. No they don't sound like Les Pauls, and why would they, as the bodies and necks are all maple, but I love them. And of the many guitars I own and play regularly, these have the two best, lowest, actions of all of them. The tones are clean and lend themselves to the way I play, mostly fingerstyle. My guitars are lighter than most L5s guitars, which many times went well over 10 lbs, with the weight of both of mine being under that. The 1975 Cherry Sunburst weighs 9.2 lbs and the 1978 Fireburst (Gibson's color nomenclature of the day) weighing in at 9.8 lbs.

mfBiRSw.jpg


The slide guitar in this song in my R7 Goldtop, but the electric fingerpicked fills are the 1978 L5s!

 
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rockabilly69

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If it's a good guitar it doesn't matter when it was made.
That's true, but it's in comparison to the Gibson guitars or other eras it's easy to see there are quite few difference construction and tone wise. For better of worse, they are different guitars. I think most people would say it was for the worst. Because if you were expecting the sound of the vintage spec guitars of earlier, many times you would be in for a shock! Although many any people ran with those differences and made some great music with the Norlins.
 

IMMUSICRULZ

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The Edge from U2 played a Norlin 1976 Gibson Explorer for some of his songs. Mostly through an Eventide Harmonizer pedal.
 

MikeSlub

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I own a number of Norlin era Gibsons and am happy with them. There are great Gibson guitars in every era. If I had one critical comment to make about the Norlin era, let's just say that they weren't paying much attention to the weight of the guitars during that era. :cool:
 

Ed Driscoll

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I own a number of Norlin era Gibsons and am happy with them. There are great Gibson guitars in every era. If I had one critical comment to make about the Norlin era, let's just say that they weren't paying much attention to the weight of the guitars during that era. :cool:
When I started playing in 1982, the myth that "Les Pauls have to be heavy for the sustain, maaaan" had fully taken hold. I love my 1983 Custom, but it's definitely a boat anchor:

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Midnight Blues

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How many Norlin guitars have you personally played and compared to the other eras of Gibson guitars? To me they sound and feel very different than the other eras of Gibson, and generally the quality was a bit lower, and the weights were heavy.

But some killer guitars slipped through the cracks in the Norlin years, and many people have made some great music with them. I own two Norlin Era L5s guitars and they are spectacular. No they don't sound like Les Pauls, and why would they, as the bodies and necks are all maple, but I love them. And of the many guitars I own and play regularly, these have the two best, lowest, actions of all of them. The tones are clean and lend themselves to the way I play, mostly fingerstyle. Both of these guitars are heavier than most L5s guitars, with the weight of both being under 10 lbs, with the 1975 Cherry Sunburst being 9.2 lbs and the 1978 Fireburst (Gibson's color nomenclature of the day) weighing in at 9.8 lbs (many of these were much heavier than that).

mfBiRSw.jpg


The slide guitar in this song in my R7 Goldtop, but the electric fingerpicked fills are the 1978 L5s!

One of my all-time favorite players used to use an L5s:

dsiDbRq.jpg
 

Midnight Blues

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I used to love that band in its heyday! I loved listening to Paul Simon play his too. And I also meant to say in my original post that my L5s guitars are lighter than most not heavier :) I corrected my original post.
Me too (of course). They were bashed quite a bit back then because of the Terry Knight hype, which, while I could understand it, I personally thought it was unfounded. They (mostly Mark) wrote some really good music and it was the first Grand Funk Live album (Mark's playing), along with Peter Frampton's playing on Humble Pie's "Humble Pie Performance Rockin' The Fillmore" album, which I bought when it was released in '71 that made me want to start playing guitar. Still, after all of these years, two of my favorite live albums and I listen to them both all the time.
 

Midnight Blues

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Alex Lifeson from Rush is another great Norlin era player. His main (and gorgeous) 355 is from 76, and I believe he also owned a 70s LP Standard
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!

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