Tell me about my les paul

jrjones

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,856
I have a 79 les paul custom, silverburst. Don't really know a lot about it other than that I love the way it looks, sounds, and feels. Any quirky things about these (aside from the volute)? Cool specs? I assume mahogany body/neck, ebony board?
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
40,984
likely maple neck = cool, especially or more hard rock/metal stuff and the headstock won't break if you look at it funny

likely 300k volumes and 100k tones = suck, switch 'em for 500k audios and that thing will explode to life
 

mrfett

Member
Messages
1,482
if you like how it sounds i'd keep a soldering gun away from it.

you got all the major details already: T-Top pickups, solid mahogany body (pancake stopped sometime in '77 (thanks 27sauce)), 3 piece maple neck, probably a 3 piece maple top, ebony fretboard and yes 300k volume/100k tone pots.

the thing is, these guitars have a sound. it's possible you would like the sound better or find the guitar more versatile with new 500k pots, but you might also miss what you had. if you had a black or wine red one i wouldn't sweat changing parts but the Silverbursts are a little more rare and a little more collectible. If you can keep it all stock you should. I've A/B'd my '81 (with the "crappy" pots) with my '90 Custom that I've put the same pickups in (by '81 they had Tim Shaw PAFs in them) and the '90 is certainly more versatile but not necessarily "better". Those old Customs have a character to them that I've learned to respect. It's a different thing from a vintage-styled LP. I'll get off my soapbox now and just demand some pics!

I'll even start:
IMG_3874.jpg
 
Last edited:

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
40,984
the thing is, these guitars have a sound. it's possible you would like the sound better or find the guitar more versatile with new 500k pots, but you might also miss what you had.
man, i gotta disagree here; no magic in those goofy dull-sounding late '70s pots, that was just a bad idea from the corporate office. is it a coincidence that this era of gibson is considered the "dog" years for the company? i think not.

hell, gibson hung on to the 300k volumes until like two years ago for their regular factory stuff, even after it became a common mod everywhere to convert them back to 500k. as far as i can tell it was just corporate inertia, even though they had already bowed to public pressure and put 500k audios in the historic pauls.

if you actually prefer that darker sound, all you have to do is roll your 500k tones back to like "6", it's electronically the same thing.
 

mrfett

Member
Messages
1,482
i'd prefer 500k pots, and i did change the wiring harness in my '90 Custom (and got rid of the 490R/498T pickups). i'm jus sayin' that original untouched Silverbursts are one of the few Norlin models worth a premium, and they're worth more unmolested. If he likes how it sounds already (i like how mine sounds), why screw with it? My '90 had those terrible (to me) pickups so i had to break solder joints anyway. he's got a great sounding guitar already... leave it alone!

:hide2
 

jrjones

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,856
if you like how it sounds i'd keep a soldering gun away from it.

you got all the major details already: T-Top pickups, solid mahogany body (pancake stopped sometime in '77 (thanks 27sauce)), 3 piece maple neck, probably a 3 piece maple top, ebony fretboard and yes 300k volume/100k tone pots.

the thing is, these guitars have a sound. it's possible you would like the sound better or find the guitar more versatile with new 500k pots, but you might also miss what you had. if you had a black or wine red one i wouldn't sweat changing parts but the Silverbursts are a little more rare and a little more collectible. If you can keep it all stock you should. I've A/B'd my '81 (with the "crappy" pots) with my '90 Custom that I've put the same pickups in (by '81 they had Tim Shaw PAFs in them) and the '90 is certainly more versatile but not necessarily "better". Those old Customs have a character to them that I've learned to respect. It's a different thing from a vintage-styled LP. I'll get off my soapbox now and just demand some pics!

I'll even start:

My guitar is so original I brought it home and pulled the original strings off of it. I'll try and add some pics later. I play zeppelin, Aerosmith, etc. with it in my band and it sounds crazy good. I don't really have a lot of interest in modifying it. If someone were to give me an original set of PAFs or the famous timbuckers I'd try them just for the sake of it, but I'm not going out of my way to fix what isn't broken. My dad just got a new LP studio and his is noticeably brighter than mine and less compressed but I don't mind.
 

mrfett

Member
Messages
1,482
My guitar is so original I brought it home and pulled the original strings off of it. I'll try and add some pics later. I play zeppelin, Aerosmith, etc. with it in my band and it sounds crazy good. I don't really have a lot of interest in modifying it. ...I'm not going out of my way to fix what isn't broken.

This is not a dig at anyone here specifically, as I generally agree that changing out low value pots is a good idea. Still, there is a disease that infects these guitar forums where people get new Les Pauls, come onto the internet and then all of a sudden think they need to modify their guitar to make it "correct", "get rid of the mud", "tame the highs" or "add some zing". Look I get it, my Studio has new (old) pickups, a fancy wiring harness with push/pulls, new knobs, new tuners and a complete Faber Tone Lock kit. But it's a 2004 STUDIO.

If you have a big money Custom Shop Gibson or a nice original vintage LP you should've done your due diligence when you purchased it, not after the fact. If you didn't like the sound, playability or looks of your $3,000+ guitar, why the hell did you buy it?!?! Most of these complaints could be fixed by changing your picking style, altering how and where you pluck the strings, adjusting your pickup/polepiece height, adjusting your amp's tone controls or even trying a different plectrum. In other words, you gotta practice not pontificate.

sorry, rant off lol. and remember there's nothing wrong with the Nashville bridges either, they don't need to be changed in order to make a guitar sound good (the Studio's Faber kit came off a vintage LP I got cheap and restored).

115413701.jpg
 
Last edited:

fuzzyguitars

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,644
so anyone know which years are the most desirable?

i inly ask because there were so many changes from 77 to 84.
 

mrfett

Member
Messages
1,482
so anyone know which years are the most desirable?

Totally depends on the player!

A maple neck/heavy pancake body LP with T-Tops (70-77) is it's own thing. 78-80 had heavy solid bodies, maple necks and T-Tops and they were different still. One with Tim Shaws, a maple neck and a solid but heavy body (81-83) is another variation. A later one (post '83) with Shaws, a mahogany neck and a heavy weight-relieved body is still something else.

Some people are looking for the T-Top sound, some prefer the Shaws. The maple necks simply sound different. In my experience a guitar's neck is the piece of wood that most contributes to it's sound although many obviously feel otherwise. The colors are also a factor in desirability. White Norlin Customs seem to demand the biggest premium, with Silverbursts coming next. Sunburst ones like Frank's above with their 3 piece tops are iconic as well.

Norlins in general have not been highly sought after, I think because fewer young people are interested in buying Gibsons and older players can't sling 10+ lbs of guitar on their shoulders anymore. While I don't believe weight = sustain I do think these Norlins have a rigidity to them that often translates into really great sounding guitars. Some of course suck lol.

I'm a big believer in approaching these guitars with respect for what they ARE, not what they are not. They aren't vintage LPs and they aren't Reissues. Lots of our favorite players made some of our favorite music on them so we should respect them for being well-built quality instruments that were beloved by many in their time.
 
Last edited:

jrjones

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,856
I have another question - is there an easy way to set intonation on these? I can't figure out how to get to the screws to adjust with strings on it.
 

blong

Member
Messages
2,688
I agree with everything mrfett has stated. I like these old Norlins. I read the history of Jimmy Page's iconic guitar, and it's been modified heavily to "sound better." Some consider it punishable by death, but the neck was shaved to be thinner before he got it, the pups and pots were all changed, neck was broken several times, and new tuners and bridge. Yet, everyone wanted a '58 or '59 LP pretty much b/c of him and Peter Green (reversed pup, and who knows what else), Jeff Beck who leaves nothing unaltered, or Joe Walsh, whose LP was the one that made Jimmy Page want one b/c of the thin neck on it. I state all of this b/c who knew it would be the most sought after electric guitar back then? They were modded. Still, if I like a guitar's tone, I don't start chasing better tone. My 1981 LP standard is 100% stock, minus the pickguard, weighs a ton, and sounds killer. I ain't touching it. I bought it from the owner of the store in 1984 or so, and he had it custom ordered. I like it, so I ain't messin' with it. 300K pots, factory brass nut, whatever pups are in it, it just sounds killer.

Enjoy yours. I'd keep it stock if you like the tone.

Bob
 

Bluesidae

Member
Messages
782
Mods... Good or bad? If you are famous the mods are good. If you are like most of us (not famous) mods are bad!
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom