Other Guitars

Gibson Les Paul advice


I'm looking at a 1979 black Les Paul Standard guitar. Apparently it is from the Norlin era, I've never owned one and have absolutely no clue as to whether this is a desireable or undesireable era for Les Pauls. The guitar is a player with signs of wear but no major issues and comes with the original case which is covered with stickers.

Any Les Paul players out there that can give me some advice would be appreciated, he wants $1,600.


The late '70s/early '80s Gibsons have one distinguishing characteristic-they're very,very undistinguished.Ebony and gold-top are entry-level finishes on LP Standards. The $1600 asking is optimistic at best.OK,if the guitar is a real Gibson (a lot that say "Gibson" aren't),really speaks to you playing wise and it's The One,you can spend any amount you like,but this one stops being a bargain at about $1350.


I would agree with what DaveH is saying. I might jump on that guitar if the price was < $1000. I think the sandwich body went away in 77, so you should be safe in that respect. Good luck


I've always like Gibson Les Pauls, having owned a few myself!

I had a 1977 Custom (Very heavy) which was a great player, great "ebony" neck, feel and sound, a 1973 Standard Sunburst, which is a fantastic player and lighter, and a 74' Cream Custom, all which have been modified with other humbucker pickups like 57 Classics, Seth Lovers,

I think all the Gibsons are of uptmost quality, build; and all you need to do is hear and see if it "Speaks to you"!

  • I did have, at one time a Cream Les Paul Custom from 1981 and did not like it,

It just didn't seem near as nice as my 1977.

I offed it,

I think all the new Gibsons are great too but they are Waaaay Tooo exensive and grow on trees!

Good Luck!


I have a 1976 Les Paul Deluxe Pro (P90 model). I think the negative press towards the Norlin era is questionable. I'd say this particular Les Paul is one of my better guitars. As far as price...tough to tell. There is still some anti-Norlin sentiment in the market. I was fine with that...it kept down the cost of a really nice P90 Les Paul!!


The P-90 models are awesome. I didn't know anything about Norlin era when I started my research, and like mshehan sez, if it keeps the price down on an otherwise great guitar, who gives a flyin' ratzazz.


I have a 79 Standard sunburst. I put 2 split coil Duncans in it and am very happy with it.


I have a '77 that plays so good most people can't put down once they pick it up, until it gets too heavy. I got it stripped of paint and hardware for 150 bux!


Thanks everyone! I have been playing guitar since 1965 and I've owned 20+ Strats, 19 Gretsch guitars and numerous others over the years but never a Les Paul. While I have admired many guitar players that played them I never really wanted one. The closest I have got is a Guild Bluebird that I picked up last week. It is a pretty nice guitar and a lot lighter than the Les Paul. With the information I now have, I think I will pass on the Les Paul.


I wouldn't touch any lezza from between the years 1974 & 2002, when they started making them properly again. Late 70s ones were heavy & shoddily made. Gibson also decided to open up the cutaway & that just looks wrong to me, plus customs had them tiny frets (fretless wonder 8-o ) which I can't get on with. Having said that they usually sound good.


I bought a 60's tribute gold top P90 some months ago and it is a real player. I think all Gibson's are way overpriced. The one I bought was cheap for a Gibson but you won't miss a thing exept bindings. These are sold for € 699,00 here in germany. I don't think the more expensive LP's are better sounding guitars.


This is the only LP that I've ever really wanted:

Expensive tastes, I know. Maybe I'd get one in white a la Mick Jones and put in the P90 and Staple pups.


I've played a lot of LPs but never could get over the high prices. I was able to get my hands on a Tokai Love Rock LS-135. It is a beautiful guitar(heavy at over 11 lbs.) and perfect neck. I got it in November of 2010 and because of the quality, don't think I'd ever really consider an LP. t's the warmest LP I've ever played and one of the most tonally balanced guitars also. Do yourself a favor and check them out first.

Ultimately, I love the Gibson R8 but at $3k+ used, I just can't validate the price. I do think the tribute 60s and 50s models though a re a good deal and wouldn't mind grabbing one and instally some Pearly gates pups in it.


I probably concur with many of the comments regarding personal desirability, but a '79 LP Standard for $1600 (assuming good or better condition) is not a bad price at all. I think you'd be hard pressed to find one for less, and generally, they list for a good bit more than that. It is what it is, but I'd go check it out if i was in the least bit interested.


The Norlin era of Gibson is a lot like the Baldwin era of Gretsch. Both were takeovers by big companies trying to cash in on the growing demand by cutting corners and speeding up production, resulting in a lack of consistency (as well as some ill-conceived design ideas). There are some great Norlin-era Gibsons out there, just as there are some great Baldwin-era Gretsches, but there are also a lot of turkeys, so it behooves one to make sure a particular guitar is a winner before plunking down any serious coin.


Here's my '71 ... started as a black beauty fretless wonder, later became leopard skin covered then "naturalized" with jumbos ... Plays great, sounds incredible ... just too heavy for my aging frame so I take it to sessions but play my lighter guitars on gigs. I've often wondered what its worth, even though not interested in selling it ...


The Norlins I've owned were all backbreakers at 10-12 lbs. The construction and materials were odd i.e. sandwich body, multi piece maple necks, etc.

But these guitars have a sound very different then a 50's or historic and made their own new sound. They are less airy, but more focused on the fundamental and usually play like butter. The couple I've owned sustained very well.


Norlin Era Les Paul's are a hit or miss thing. Ya have to play it then make your decision. I played both dawgs and ones that were just amazing.

1600 is not out of line for a nice standard, maybe a tad high for ebony. That said, Gibson's are just way too pricey for the level of workmanship. A lot of the dollars is just for the name on the headstock.

They are heavy too which gives them a mountain of sustain. A gel pad bass player strap is a must with the 10-12 lb monsters.


Once I bought my first Historic in the 90's there was no turning back at the time. Wow, One piece bodies again! Bookmatched tops! Light weight! Nickle hardware! One piece neck! Whoooo!

Stupidly, I wound up selling my 'good' Norlin's, a superb Heritage '80, and a first year LP Classic which I really regret doing today. The 70's LP's just have a unique tone flavor.

There was a book on the History of Les Paul guitars. Might have been a History of Gibson book but it has great details on the Norlin era. Basically, Norlin stopped purchasing 'tone grade' mahogany and figured cost could be cut by ordering smaller blanks. Believe there was some detailed information from Jim Deurloo who was the Kalamazoo plant manager and went on to co-found Heritage guitars. Major conflict between the business people and guitar people over the product mostly in the name of saving labor/material dollars or reducing warranty work. Same story that happened at CBS/Fender and Baldwin/Grestsch. Also happened in the 70's when Harley Davidson was owned by AMF. In spite of this, some of the guitars sounded different but still good!

Think about those examples. It took a management and/or family 'buy back' of the brand to allow these companies survive at first and then thrive based on their strong American heritage. All of this history is reflected in the excellent product we enjoy today.



I had an early 2000's faded, which I liked, but ended up part of a trade that lands me my current duo jet. If I ever went back, I suppose I might consider a lp jr, or one of those new melody makers. SOmething light and beefy that I use for slide work perhaps? The higher ends: too heavy, and grow on trees! Haha!


The best Les Paul I have ever played belongs to a fellow GDP member. 1973 Les Paul with mini-hums. What a sweet guitar. Well balanced and full of lively tone. It is a very slick guitar.

I once played an incredible vintage Les Paul Jr. That was also a wonderful little guitar.

I played a Norlin era Les Paul and found the guitar to be far too heavy for my tastes. I also disliked the fretboard radius. It was simply difficult to play. I also found the pickups to be far too muddy for my tastes.

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