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Rare Norlin Les Paul Deluxe

Bryansamui

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Jul 1, 2022
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46
I just got this via a contra deal..
I've Never seen one like this . Has anyone seen a 1974 Norlin Deluxe with a half inch thick 2 pce highly flamed maple top. I've owned a ton of early 70s Deluxes through my shop but nothing that looks like this.
I think it possibly was a custom order in 74? It's light at 8lb 6oz..It's seen little use last 25 yrs.. just a bedroom instrument.. I Will move it on I think .It's got a bent tuner original frets and a case with little wear.
 

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Bob Womack

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If I didn't know better I might think that this guitar was a product of the Strings n Things campaign of buying stock K-zoo LPs in the early '70s and modifying them to better specs, including the two-piece tops. Calling @Big Al

Bob.
 

Bryansamui

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If I didn't know better I might think that this guitar was a product of the Strings n Things campaign of buying stock K-zoo LPs in the early '70s and modifying them to better specs, including the two-piece tops. Calling @Big Al

Bob.
This hasn't been re topped... It's not a vaneer.. It's a big slab of maple..Too big a job to do that mod.
 

Bryansamui

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Pic as requested..If you google image search Norlin Flametop or similar..You'll come up empty handed..I'm not suggesting it's as rare as a Gibson Moderne, but it might not be far off
 

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Bryansamui

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Amp360

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345
Could it be a case of them just using what they had that day to fill an order? it's really pretty!
 

Bryansamui

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Could it be a case of them just using what they had that day to fill an order? it's really pretty!
I was going to move it on, but now having 2nd thoughts .I have a "Brand New " ( never retailed)1998 Wine Red Standard/Gold Hardware.In storage since new from when I was a custom Shop dealer..Might be better to sell that 'time capsule' than the 74?..I need to move one.
 

charliechitlins

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453
Interesting!
Very light for that big chunk of maple.
It's a fine line between rare and oddball...sometimes even a one-off doesn't fetch premium coin, but it's damn cool!
 

Bryansamui

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Interesting!
Very light for that big chunk of maple.
It's a fine line between rare and oddball...sometimes even a one-off doesn't fetch premium coin, but it's damn cool!
It's only a matter of time before the vintage Deluxes start going into the 'stupid price'range...There has been a disproportionate focus in years past on the of the more common place (dime a dozen) Standards imo , and that the Deluxe has been largely forgotten...It was a successful model for Gibson in the day, and it's only a matter of time before the market wakes up to itself and realise $5000 for a 50 year old Gibson is somewhat of a bargain..It's already happening with 70s Fenders... These Deluxes are undervalued and will be next to move I'm thinking..
 

Bob Womack

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It's only a matter of time before the vintage Deluxes start going into the 'stupid price'range...There has been a disproportionate focus in years past on the of the more common place (dime a dozen) Standards imo , and that the Deluxe has been largely forgotten...It was a successful model for Gibson in the day, and it's only a matter of time before the market wakes up to itself and realise $5000 for a 50 year old Gibson is somewhat of a bargain..It's already happening with 70s Fenders... These Deluxes are undervalued and will be next to move I'm thinking..
With respect, the Standards that happened between 1973 and 1975 are FAR more rare than the Deluxes of the same period. The Deluxe was a catalog model at that point, the Standard wasn't. The Standard wasn't even a Gibson idea. Dealers called them up and harangued them because they weren't offering a large-humbucking-pickup Les Paul, you know, a Standard one. Every Standard made between 1973 and 1975 was a special dealer order. As I recall, only about 3200 of these special order Standards were built in that time frame, all in Kalamazoo. The official Gibson Standard didn't debut until 1976, and it was built at he Nashville plant as its premier piece.

Bob
 

Bob Womack

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This hasn't been re topped... It's not a vaneer.. It's a big slab of maple..Too big a job to do that mod
BTW, the Strings & Things guitars had complete new slab caps, not veneers. However, yours still has the LP Custom-sized headstock and the S&T guitars had their headstocks cut down to '50s size.

Bob
 

Bryansamui

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Jul 1, 2022
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With respect, the Standards that happened between 1973 and 1975 are FAR more rare than the Deluxes of the same period. The Deluxe was a catalog model at that point, the Standard wasn't. The Standard wasn't even a Gibson idea. Dealers called them up and harangued them because they weren't offering a large-humbucking-pickup Les Paul, you know, a Standard one. Every Standard made between 1973 and 1975 was a special dealer order. As I recall, only about 3200 of these special order Standards were built in that time frame, all in Kalamazoo. The official Gibson Standard didn't debut until 1976, and it was built at he Nashville plant as its premier piece.

Bob
Yes , you're correct Bob re the older instruments. We were talking at at cross purposes though.. I didn't make my point clear..I was more referring to the plentiful supply of modern standards and the like (traditionals, classics etc)which for not much more money ,one can buy something with some vintage appeal. I take your point on the early 70s standards...I had a further look at my new aquisition.The good news is it isn't a ReTop or a Gold Top re scrape.
Probably some flame maple lying around and theyd run out of the crappy plain stuff ?
 

charliechitlins

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Another point that might be in favor of early 70s Deluxes...my '71 has a dead on 58/59 neck carve that starts at about .88" and is a full 1" by the 9th fret.
I assume it's not an oddball.
I've not played other Gibsons from this era with a neck like that.
 

Bryansamui

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Jul 1, 2022
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46
Another point that might be in favor of early 70s Deluxes...my '71 has a dead on 58/59 neck carve that starts at about .88" and is a full 1" by the 9th fret.
I assume it's not an oddball.
I've not played other Gibsons from this era with a neck like that.
I don't know the measurements of mine Charlie, but it's quite wide but yet a slim taper like a 60s profile as opposed to a chunkier 59.. Super comfortable and easy.
 

Big Al

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I've seen plenty retopped Les Pauls from 70's. I knew folks that did it, did a couple myself. Looks like one too me. It would have to have the thin maple veneer between body and top, which I don't see. Bottom of cavity looks reworked. Anything is possible, but if original it would be noted as CUSTOM ORDER and serial number recorded in day logs and shipping records.
 

Bryansamui

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I've seen plenty retopped Les Pauls from 70's. I knew folks that did it, did a couple myself. Looks like one too me. It would have to have the thin maple veneer between body and top, which I don't see. Bottom of cavity looks reworked. Anything is possible, but if original it would be noted as CUSTOM ORDER and serial number recorded in day logs and shipping records.
It's a thick maple cap...A good half inch or so ..Since taken to a Luthier who said it's original not a ReTop....I wondered if it may have been a Goldtop (scraped) as the finish is in remarkably good shape?.. He confirmed that was impossible as you can never eliminate 100 % of gold from the guitar..Always tell tale signs somewhere like in cavities etc.
He's as good an expert on Gibson as the next guy and suggested they'd possibly run out of wood for the day and used this to fulfil an order...There are a few mineral streaks running through it, it doesn't book match perfectly , so albeit it is highly figured,it probably wouldn't make the grade for a celebrity or custom Instrument. It's probably "B Grade" highly figured maple .
..
 
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