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Norlin Era Questions / Discussion

58junior

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Sep 14, 2007
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I know the first comeback standards from 1976 had pancake bodies (3 piece tops and necks and 2 piece backs), but when did they change going forward?

But:

When did they change to a one piece back?

When did they go back to a one piece neck?

When did they go back to a two piece top?

Did they have different neck profiles between 1976 - 1980?

Did the deluxes follow the same changes?

When did they stop the deluxe?
 

shred

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Nov 13, 2003
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'76 is the transition year. They still had pancake bodies until mid-late '76. The 3 piece top and 3 piece maple neck stuck around a long time after that... 80s I think but don't quote me... I'm really well versed in 68-74 --my favorite era... Don't know much about 77 on out...
 

58junior

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was 1976 the only year with the 2 piece pancake back (looking down the sides, not down the middle of the back)?
 

Texas Blues

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Don't reckon I can answer all the questions.

I can tell you about my '78 LP Pro.

1 piece back. 2 piece offset top. No pancake. No volute. P90's. Far as I can tell a one piece neck. Originally came with a TP-6 tailpiece. Gibson Grover style tuners. Ebony board. Super slim neck.

The guitar went through an apartment fire with damage to the headstock(blistering) and ruined tuners and electronics. The dude doing the repairs remarked that the guitar was made originally from a deluxe body but who can say for sure.

The guitar now sports Lollar P90's and RS wiring, pots and Jensen PIO caps. She ain't all that pretty but is a real players guitar. Still the fastest neck on any LP I have ever laid hands on and built like a brick shithouse.
 

Big Al

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TEX, the Les Paul Pro was a production model. Ebony fingerboard. Three piece maple neck, large headstock and volute. TP6 wasn't stock I believe, but mighta come with one. GREAT GUITARS!!!!!!!!!

Standards, Deluxe and Pro all shared the same build and body specs except the pickup routs of the Standard and ebony fingerboard of the Pro.

None of the 70's stock versions have one piece necks except the Heritage Standard 80 Elite which was a ltd edition and not a stock production model. To the best of my knowledge they never made one piece maple necks and certainly none without a volute at that time.

Was the guitar purchased new as a Pro? What was the original finish, goldtop or black? Should be a three piece top but it did vary a bit with 4 and 2 pc tops showing up uncommonly. What you describe doesn't match specs for any 70's Les Paul Pro that I am aware of.
 

Texas Blues

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TEX, the Les Paul Pro was a production model. Ebony fingerboard. Three piece maple neck, large headstock and volute. TP6 wasn't stock I believe, but mighta come with one. GREAT GUITARS!!!!!!!!!

Standards, Deluxe and Pro all shared the same build and body specs except the pickup routs of the Standard and ebony fingerboard of the Pro.

None of the 70's stock versions have one piece necks except the Heritage Standard 80 Elite which was a ltd edition and not a stock production model. To the best of my knowledge they never made one piece maple necks and certainly none without a volute at that time.

Was the guitar purchased new as a Pro? What was the original finish, goldtop or black? Should be a three piece top but it did vary a bit with 4 and 2 pc tops showing up uncommonly. What you describe doesn't match specs for any 70's Les Paul Pro that I am aware of.

Thats some interesting info Al.

I bought the guitar in '78. Naive at the time and it was most likely stolen as it didn't come with a case and the guy was also hawking a Tele with no case. I didn't realize it at the time though and I feel kinda' bad about it upon seeing the light of it much later.

I can only say what I have but you most likely would know better on the specifics. As per the neck, it may be multi piece but I have no way of knowing without taking the 'thang apart which I ain't gonna' do. In the whole time I've had and played the shit out of it, only one time has the truss rod needed to be adjusted. Once. Going back and forth between Alaska, Seattle and Texas. That's gotta' be a record or some sheeit.

The guitar has a black finish and from what I can tell is a 2 piece as I've mentioned. If it has more than that, and it surely may have, I can't tell.

This is an older pic but I should take some newer.



Might have to break out the camera tomorrow as this merits more research and I am now more curious.
 

Big Al

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Tex those are seriously cool Les Pauls, I sold a ton and they were quite popular. They still have a pretty hardcore fan base. The black ones are my faves although they had cherryburst and tobaccoburst by the end of the run.
That should have the wide headstock and most definitely a volute. Looks pretty sweet.
 

lonesomesheik

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Nov 18, 2009
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1,217
Hi Tex,
That's a nice piece of gueetar with those Lollar I love, just show us the head of that warior, the body sure looks clean! Did you ever think about golden knobs? ( bonnet or barrel would be fine for my own taste!):spabout & bona fide single or double ring Klusons???
 

moonweasel

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Jan 20, 2004
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Tex,

On 69's you can spot a 3pc neck by looking around the serial number under a very bright lamp. That is a KILLER guitar, awesome that it hasnt needed a neck tweek!
 

Bob Womack

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Apr 8, 2002
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'76 was the transitional year from Kalamazoo as the basic LP production plant to Nashville. It was also the year for transition from 3-piece mahogany (K-zoo) to 3-piece maple (Nashville).

Bob
 

guitplayer

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Pretty sure 74 was the last year of a Mahogany 3 piece neck.
But I`ve been wrong before.
 

Texas Blues

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Here's some pics.

I never really noticed it before but under the light of the camera its apparent the headstock at least is a 3 piece and I reckon the neck probably is as well. Check the lines at the 2 and the 3 on the serial.



Not a big headstock.



No pancake.



She's a dirty girl.

 

Bob Womack

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Pretty sure 74 was the last year of a Mahogany 3 piece neck.
But I`ve been wrong before.
That was my opinion until someone pointed out that there were a few '75 Kalamazoo small-script standards with mahogany necks shipped. I based my comment on that factoid. :wah Of course with all things Gibson, mileage may vary...

Bob
 

Big Al

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I've never seen a 76 mahogany neck, and only a very few 75's.
 

Progrocker111

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Dec 10, 2003
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I know the first comeback standards from 1976 had pancake bodies (3 piece tops and necks and 2 piece backs), but when did they change going forward?

But:

When did they change to a one piece back?

When did they go back to a one piece neck?

When did they go back to a two piece top?

Did they have different neck profiles between 1976 - 1980?

Did the deluxes follow the same changes?

When did they stop the deluxe?

So here is my version :punk

-pancake bodies ended in very late 76/early 77 (definitely i have never seen pancake body with the newer 77 serial numbering system, but i have seen some with the earlier 77 oval sticker serial nr.)

-one piece neck occured in late 81/early 82

-two piece top as a standard was here again in Henry era, in early 90s

-the necks varied a bit during whole Norlin era, but mostly they were fairly thin and tapered, especially in early 70s sometimes there were fairly chunky ´59 style necks too

-Deluxe was made until 1985

And btw., the transitional year (new Nashville factory, maple necks, short tenon etc.) was 75, not 76. :)
 

FretsAlot

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Jan 22, 2003
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-pancake bodies ended in very late 76/early 77 (definitely i have never seen pancake body with the newer 77 serial numbering system, but i have seen some with the earlier 77 oval sticker serial nr.)

The last four digits of the serial # on my '76 Custom is 12xx (xx to protect the innocent :) ). It's a pancake body. Anybody know about how many Customs may have been made in '76 so I can get a handle on it's place in the line-up?

Fretsalot/Scott
 
Last edited:

Uncle Gary

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Oct 15, 2006
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It's been a while since I owned her, but here is what I remember about my '78 Standard, FWIW.

one piece mahogany body (tobacco sunburst), three piece top with no attention paid to matching the wood grain, color or centering the seams on the top (typical of the era). Wide binding in the cutaway (tops were carved after binding in those days).

Three piece maple neck (five piece across the headstock) with volute and large headstock. Nine digit serial number (no record of it now). Metal button tuners (similar to Klusons, but not exactly).

Chrome hardware with Nashville bridge (neck set was good and bridge sat quite low IIRC). Chromed metal jack plate and gold reflector cap knobs.

Never weighed it, but it was HEAVY, and the sound was thin. My '81 "Standard '80" weighed about 10..5 pounds and felt light as a feather compared to that '78.
 

cliffclaven

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Dec 16, 2006
Messages
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My 78 standard is an anchor- 12lb 1oz! Two piece top, 3pc maple neck. I know it's blasphemy around her but its got emgs and sound absolutely killer for metal/hard rock thru a Marshall. Bought it for $400 in 85 as a 15 yr old kid. Still have it. A crazy note- frets are so worn that the neck radius is 12", but the actual frets are almost 15"!! Still intonates and plays like a dream. Can't play it more than a set anymore tho. Back can't take it!!
 
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