I'm writing an article about the NORLIN era at Gibson (roughly 1969 to the early 1980s). This is an era that most "experts" think is notorious for designing, manufacturing and selling bad Gibson guitars. My article is concentrating on just the OPPOSITE and I'm trying to show that the NORLIN era produced some wonderful guitars. You might have a NORLIN Gibson and not know it. Was it made in 1969 to the early 1980s? Do you know how to read the serial number? If you are not sure, let me know or click here: http://home.provide.net/~cfh/gibson.html#serial I have four NORLIN Gibsons in my collection, a 1978 Les Paul Goldtop Standard, a 1973 Johnny Smith Blonde, a 1978 ES-175 blonde and a 1974 Johnny Smith Cremona burst. All picked up for a song. All four are magnificent guitars made in an unmagnificent time. If you are reading this and know what the NORLIN Era was, if you have an instrument, can you describe it and what you think of it (good or bad)? If you have no clue as to what I'm talking about, I'm sure that a Google search will help you figure it out or click on this non-pro NORLIN history timeline: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/norlin-years/38456-faq-norlin-history.html My NORLIN Les Paul is without a doubt the BEST Les Paul I've ever played. On the surface it has everything wrong with it. As a guitar dealer told me as he turned up his nose at it: It was made in the dark year of 1978, it has one of them there Maple three piece necks, a shallow cut top, heavy Mahogany body, chrome hardware, it has the evil (but I don't know why) volute and it has that wacky injection molded machine gun chainsaw case thingy. Cost me $200.00 from a friend. It also has the best amplified sound I've ever heard from a Paul and I've heard hundreds of them live, trust me. It's a screamer. Yikes, it cuts through any other guitar. When this dealer played the thing his expression changed and he said: "Well, maybe you got a good one but for the most part....." My NORLIN Johnny Smith Artist is from 1974, made right at the Heart Of Darkness and even true jazz players who have tried it have sung it's praises. It has a wonderful acoustic tone and the mini-bucker just lights up the sound through an amplifier. It's like a Jazz Sparkle machine. (OK, the wood grain is more boring or plain than on a 1960's version, but so what?) This hand-carved axe is every bit as good or better than my 1967 JS Double. Half the price 'cause the dealer told me (whispered to me) that it was made in the "1970's". Like he didn't want others to hear the date or something. Heh, I could see the NORLIN/GIBSON serial number tag through the F hole. I tried it anyway and I'm glad I did. Now if I see the "dreaded NORLIN Sticker" I for SURE try the guitar. I've never been disappointed. I can't be the only one. Is it just a snob thing among collectors or what? I can't imagine a $300,00.00 1957 Goldtop Les Paul owner to ever want to admit that the $2,000.00 1978 Goldtop kicks his butt. I've never heard a bad sounding NORLIN era Gibson! What about you? Post here, and thanks. ------------------------------- Photos: One way to tell a NORLIN era Gibson guitar: Look at the GIBSON inlay on the headstock (see photo). The "i" is NOT dotted on the NORLIN product. On a 1968 or earlier it would be (bottom photo of my 1967, see the "i dot"?) Geez. A silly way to save money.