The Norlin questions always come up in discussion of vintage guitars because what were, at the time, mainstream production instruments are now old, and in unmodified condition, even rare. If you want to know what features were made as improvements, what ones were just different alternatives, and what ones were cost-cutting, do your homework. The shorter-tenon stuff is absolutely a production shortcut. You can decide for yourself how you feel about the claims of tonal significance, but it is simply true that the shorter tenon is easier to assemble to spec (neck angle.) The rocker tenon is the joke/debasement of this design. The pancake body does not save production cost, because it's an extra step; it was intended to save possible warranty replacement costs for cracking, which Gibson feared but which proved never to be a problem, so the pancake went away. The multi-piece tops and backs were mostly a supply issue, as Gibson modified their production method to utilize the board size most consistently available. That's sort of a money issue, but it was really more a matter of working with what their suppliers had. The mini-hums were indeed a matter of cheaping-out by using old Epi parts, and some of the installations are awful, but some of us like those PUs. Red Robb Lawrence's book if you are interested in simple facts rather than insults or mythology. Norlin owners are a defensive lot because people slag on their guitars, but to be honest, these were really popular in their day, and when you see some of the abominations Fender was committing -- "thick-skin" finishes, anyone? Big headstocks? -- Gibson looks pretty good. Lots of the guitars are terrific; every company does some things to speed production, cut costs, etc. And some -- like that freaking L5S shown above, which, if you've seen, touched, or played one, is one heck of a gorgeous, wonderful guitar by any standard -- and a Norlin! The one shown here is the best I've ever seen.