The Norlin Years at Gibson

R Paul

I just realized I have a Norlin Gibson - a 1984 Designer Series Flying V. I bought it because I always wanted a Michael Schenker guitar. It is a great guitar, especially when I bought it new for $400 in 1984. It is still in pretty good shape and plays wonderfully. I love the neck and action, and did some gigging with this guitar right before the demise of the band I was in. Flying V is bottom left next to my Univox LP copy (lawsuit era guitar). More recent picture is the second photo.

Gibson Flying V 1a web.JPG
Last edited:


I love Norlins! This is my 1976 Les Paul Custom Black Beauty, it’s my holy grail guitar and if I could only have one axe this would be it.:dude

I will gladly take this over any Custom Shop historic or Gibson from another era. Not sure if it’s the heavy pancake body, multipiece maple neck, or the T-tops but my Norlin just has this powerful in your face tight sound that seems to be unique to Norlin era LPs and it’s a beast for hard rock which is what I typically play. Icing on the cake is the fast and slim neck as I don’t like thicker neck profiles and most current production LP Customs tend to have thicker neck profiles.

I recently posted a video comparing Norlins to modern day Custom Shop historics and why I picked the Norlin. it’s prob not universally liked but for me, it’s everything I could want in a guitar.
Last edited:

Buck Woodson

View attachment 623573
when i commented in 21 i couldn't post stuff. now i can. here's one of mine. 45 now. original although the bridge is showing just a touch of sag like some of the bridges from this era could do. i'll change it. frets still holding up :munch

3 humbucker Les Pauls are underrated/underappreciated. I've been trying to find a 3 humbucker ES-355 but no luck. I'm thinking that may be my grail.

When all us geezers are gone there will be a thread about the cream of the Henry era Gibsons.


My first 335 was a Norlin-era walnut finish with trapeze tailpiece and the stock coil tap switch in the treble side upper bout.

I just remember you could back down the tapped neck volume and strum it like a chimey acoustic and then switch to the bridge pickup full out and it would just sing with this beautiful attitude, and then that guitar got me through all my middle school, high school and college jazz big bands as well, doing my best to imitate everyone from McLaughlin to Wes to Freddie Green

I basically learned to play on that guitar. I would give *anything* to have it back.

Well, except the two 335s I have now...


I use my 76-ish Custom as a tester for my wall hangers and stands. They survive that they'll hold up anything I have.

Not bad...per-say...but nothing to drool over. Workhorse but not tone least my example. Has all the Norlin era mojo's.


aka GearPig
Silver Supporting Member
I've owned three Norlins, '78 LP Custom, '81 LP Custom, and '78 SG Standard. The SG was fine, nothing to say about it either way except the narrow nut was not my preference. But both customs were fantastic guitars and I really prefer the three-piece maple necks on them; really strong and stable and added punch to the tone. They were both quite heavy, but I'm a home player and play sitting so it was not an issue for me. They all had been refretted with bigger frets, that was my only consistent Norlin complaint is the stock fets are very flat from that era.


  • 001 (2).JPG
    001 (2).JPG
    353.1 KB · Views: 6
  • 019.JPG
    142.8 KB · Views: 10
  • 020.JPG
    399.1 KB · Views: 6


Silver Supporting Member
Ive owned 3 LP’s in my lifetime. A 75’ bought used in 77’, an Ibanez bought new in 78’ and a 99’ R9 bought used in 2001. The 75’ wasn’t a bad guitar by any means but were IMO being outdone by Ibanez in the late 70’s. I sold the 75’ Gibson not that long after obtaining the Ibanez which I played for years and still have. The R9 is in another league altogether.


I had a L-6S from the Norlin era. I sold it in 1982 and have never seen another one in the flesh. Wish I had it back.


I bought my 81 LPC in 81 used for $400 and have had it for 40 years. Wore the paint off the neck and eventually sanded and tung oiled it. SS refret and nib removal it plays wonderfully and sounds even better.
A few years later I got my current 1973 LPC for $350. I recall at the time really wanting the brand new 1984, but all I could afford was the old beat up’73...

Trending Topics

Top Bottom