#1
I'm thinking of getting a Les Paul. I'm also guessing these things tend to happen a lot
anyways, I've tried a couple of new standarts & classics, then I tried a couple of older standarts (70's) from friends and I must say the old ones attract me a lot more.. in terms of playability & tone.
vintage looks won't be an issue.. I kinda like old looking instruments, and looking around Ebay, the prices for 70's LPs is pretty much the same as new ones where I live.

so the question- when looking at 70's LP's, what do I need to check ? were there different types of woods/pickups to choose from?
i'm looking for a straight-up ol' rock tone. ofc If i had the budget for something with real 59' PAFs i'd go for it, but I dont

thanks, and sorry for getting carried away with all the text..
#2
the biggest thing i'd look for would be the headstock joint.



because of the angle (13 degrees, i think) guitars with angled headstocks are at risk. and, of course, the longer the guitar's been around the more likely it's seen lots of stress.

anyway, whatever people try to tell you about ebay, i've always had good experiences with them. people are pretty honest about what they sell, even when it seems too reasonably priced. plus it would be awesome to own an old LP. what's cooler than that?

about woods and pickups, though, i don't know. i'm guessing PAF's pretty much across the board, but woods i'm not sure. mahogany is my guess, but there are plently of LP experts here who can say for sure
#3
One thing to watch out with the 70's ones are the wood. The Norlins were a lot poorer in quality and often had pretty bad wood (especially the 80's ones) that are also A LOT heavier and duller in sound.

My tip is otherwise to look for late 90's ones, they are great quality and sound fantastic!
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#5
I think any '70s gibson les paul will give you that straight up rock tone even if it's a variation of it. If you don't mind cosmetics you should really just check for wear and tear on the hardware preventing it from functioning correctly such as bridges with rusted saddle screws that won't turn or will be damaged from being turned, making intonation a frustrating task.

as far as wood goes, i think the '70s les pauls are all pretty much the same as each other but different from the more "traditional" builds. Some had pancake bodies which were a thin strip of rosewood (correction may be required here?) sandwiched between 2 thinner pieces of mahogany, then the usual maple top. a lot of necks were 3 piece maple necks as opposed to 1 piece mahogany, though some are 3 piece with maple sides and mahogany centre strips.. yeah, it's all a bit mysterious.

But i too love these '70s gibsons - a lot of people dismiss the norlin era as a bad era but they are certainly better than the new ones. They just have a solid feel like no other, which has a completely different charm to "golden era" gibsons.
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#6
'70's Customs (and the Black Beauty if you like P90's) are good but have tree-trunk necks. A more modern '60's re-issue would be nicer to play. 90's models are great but you really have to stick with Standards and Customs as there were a lot of 'experimental' (garbage) models released at that time.
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#7
Quote by Lurcher
'70's Customs (and the Black Beauty if you like P90's) are good but have tree-trunk necks. A more modern '60's re-issue would be nicer to play. 90's models are great but you really have to stick with Standards and Customs as there were a lot of 'experimental' (garbage) models released at that time.

not much has changed since the '90s then



edit: the pic was a holy explorer but i needed a more appropriate example - so i picked the les paul hd 6x pro - what has happened to this model? they hyped it like it was going to change the world, and then it just kinda.. disappeared and nobody has mentioned it for a long long time!
Rig Winter 2017:

Fender Jazzmaster/Yamaha SG1000
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Elixir Nanoweb 11-49 strings, Dunlop Jazz III XL picks
Shure SM57 mic in front of the amp
Last edited by Blompcube at Jul 11, 2009,
#8
yeah i never saw the point in those or the robot guitars they released... as far as i know all the robot did was tune itself, and if you can't tune a guitar yourself you really have no place playing one
#9
hmm.. thanks for the info.
my limited experience includes screwing around with a few new standarts, a 72' custom and a 74 standart. both the 70's LPs just felt a lot better..
i'll be going for humbuckers since I already have a P90 guitar (which I LOVE).

playing through a bunch of pedals and a Ceriatone HC-30, btw.
I want the LP as a second guitar. for the more 'badass' material..

i'll be enquiring about neck joints & hardware.. the electronics(pots&caps) will probably be changed no matter what I get.
#10
Quote by LifeIsABullet16
yeah i never saw the point in those or the robot guitars they released... as far as i know all the robot did was tune itself, and if you can't tune a guitar yourself you really have no place playing one

Yeah, I agree with you. I also never understood why guitars had frets on them. I mean, if you can't remember where all the notes are on the fingerboard, you really don't deserve to be playing.
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#11
Quote by LifeIsABullet16
yeah i never saw the point in those or the robot guitars they released... as far as i know all the robot did was tune itself, and if you can't tune a guitar yourself you really have no place playing one

the point of the robot guitar wasn't so that people don't have to learn to tune their guitar. it to allow people to change tunings rapidly and accurately - of course, you could argue that guitars like the variax do this function digitally but it's never as good as physically tuning the guitar to a different tuning. it's not pointless unless you can afford to hire a professional guitar technician and transport several guitars to each gig that are regularly checked over to be in full working order. though it is overpriced for what it is. That's the reason i picked the HD 6x pro instead of the robot. the HD 6x pro was just a strange concept that kinda took things a bit too far.
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Elixir Nanoweb 11-49 strings, Dunlop Jazz III XL picks
Shure SM57 mic in front of the amp
#12
Quote by Blompcube
not much has changed since the '90s then



edit: the pic was a holy explorer but i needed a more appropriate example - so i picked the les paul hd 6x pro - what has happened to this model? they hyped it like it was going to change the world, and then it just kinda.. disappeared and nobody has mentioned it for a long long time!


Wow... It's like an earlier version of the Gibson Dark Fire.
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#13
+1 Gabel, the most solid advice in this thread so far.

'70s les pauls have the problem with being tonally dead, mainly because when Norlin bought Gibson, they went into huge cost cutting mode and started making multi-laminate, pancake stacked bodies with whatever the hell wood they could find for cheap (usually two slices of mahogany with some thing random in the middle). If you like them though, more power to you, they might be your thing.

As for the PAF thing, I assure you that you can get a set of PAF replicas for a ton less than real '59 PAFs that will probably sound better as well.
#14
Quote by Xeron Brigs
Wow... It's like an earlier version of the Gibson Dark Fire.

It probably was TBH, just like an earlier prototype. They probably took it off the shelves because it was probably flawed, it when you watched the videos, it just was so complicated with a BOB and individual strings things and hoohahs.


Oh well. The Dark Fire looks a lot easier to use.
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#15
Quote by al112987
+1 Gabel, the most solid advice in this thread so far.

'70s les pauls have the problem with being tonally dead, mainly because when Norlin bought Gibson, they went into huge cost cutting mode and started making multi-laminate, pancake stacked bodies with whatever the hell wood they could find for cheap (usually two slices of mahogany with some thing random in the middle). If you like them though, more power to you, they might be your thing.

As for the PAF thing, I assure you that you can get a set of PAF replicas for a ton less than real '59 PAFs that will probably sound better as well.




I've played a lot of 70's Gibsons and most them has left a bad taste in my mouth. Often they were overly heavy and just very dull sounding. Gibsons are fat, but still have a lot of clairy, but these were often jsut very "dead" in feel...

So far, I say 90's are the way to go. They have great workmanship (my Les Paul beats out most mdoern days, even Standards), are cheap and fairly easy to find. You get a WHOLE lot of guitar for what you pay for.
Quote by stratman_13
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#17
Quote by Gabel


I've played a lot of 70's Gibsons and most them has left a bad taste in my mouth. Often they were overly heavy and just very dull sounding. Gibsons are fat, but still have a lot of clairy, but these were often jsut very "dead" in feel...

So far, I say 90's are the way to go. They have great workmanship (my Les Paul beats out most mdoern days, even Standards), are cheap and fairly easy to find. You get a WHOLE lot of guitar for what you pay for.

I agree on 90's, my 96 Lp plays like a dream and I got it for like $850
#18
Quote by Baby Joel
Yeah, I agree with you. I also never understood why guitars had frets on them. I mean, if you can't remember where all the notes are on the fingerboard, you really don't deserve to be playing.


actually this is very true, any guitar player worth their weight should be able to play at least half coherently on a fretless instrument. even if you were being sarcastic

but about the quick tunings, i suppose but if you're playing an LP with a fixed bridge there shouldn't be too much of an issue with tuning accuracy. i can tune mine down a whole step in 30 seconds or less
#19
Quote by Gabel


I've played a lot of 70's Gibsons and most them has left a bad taste in my mouth. Often they were overly heavy and just very dull sounding. Gibsons are fat, but still have a lot of clairy, but these were often jsut very "dead" in feel...


...

Well mine is AWESOME!


^^'
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#20
Quote by al112987
+1 Gabel, the most solid advice in this thread so far.

'70s les pauls have the problem with being tonally dead, mainly because when Norlin bought Gibson, they went into huge cost cutting mode and started making multi-laminate, pancake stacked bodies with whatever the hell wood they could find for cheap (usually two slices of mahogany with some thing random in the middle). If you like them though, more power to you, they might be your thing.

As for the PAF thing, I assure you that you can get a set of PAF replicas for a ton less than real '59 PAFs that will probably sound better as well.

i swear it's been rosewood in the middle of the pancake body on every '70s les paul i played. i forgot to mention that the necks were extremely inconsistent - more so than they are today. The bodied don't seem to have an awful lot of resonance but i haven't played one that i thought sounded "dead" so far, they didn't sound dead, just less "woody" than normal - still a good tone imo. I also agree with gabel that they are too heavy, which is where all the seemingly un-necessary complaints about les pauls being heavy comes from - the non-norlins are normally a reasonable weight, the '53 that i played was surprisingly lightweight, but the norlins are heavy enough to warrant complaints!

just as a side note i think norlin did the best job of capturing what les paul himself wanted - a very rigid guitar with very little natural resonance or "colouration" and a whole lot of sustain. that's probably why les paul has played a norlin for over 30 years. he also stated that the norlin era les paul deluxe is one of his favourite models due to its sustain.

but i do have to agree with you that the original PAFs found in a '58 sunburst les paul were nothing special. They are seen as the holy grail of humbuckers when that magical tone was all in the wood.
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Elixir Nanoweb 11-49 strings, Dunlop Jazz III XL picks
Shure SM57 mic in front of the amp
#21
well I might have Norlins seemed worse than they were. Thing is Norlins have a special tone and IMO they aren't as good for that classic LP tone. But if you want the Norlin tone, definetly worth checking out. Thing is I'm very classic style when it comes to LP. I know how I want them to sound like, a lot of resconance and wood in the tone. The Norlin lacks that and that's why I'm not too much of a fan of them.
Quote by stratman_13
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#22
Quote by Blompcube
i swear it's been rosewood in the middle of the pancake body on every '70s les paul i played. i forgot to mention that the necks were extremely inconsistent - more so than they are today. The bodied don't seem to have an awful lot of resonance but i haven't played one that i thought sounded "dead" so far, they didn't sound dead, just less "woody" than normal - still a good tone imo. I also agree with gabel that they are too heavy, which is where all the seemingly un-necessary complaints about les pauls being heavy comes from - the non-norlins are normally a reasonable weight, the '53 that i played was surprisingly lightweight, but the norlins are heavy enough to warrant complaints!

just as a side note i think norlin did the best job of capturing what les paul himself wanted - a very rigid guitar with very little natural resonance or "colouration" and a whole lot of sustain. that's probably why les paul has played a norlin for over 30 years. he also stated that the norlin era les paul deluxe is one of his favourite models due to its sustain.

but i do have to agree with you that the original PAFs found in a '58 sunburst les paul were nothing special. They are seen as the holy grail of humbuckers when that magical tone was all in the wood.
The PAF thing is just there it's foolish to spend a boatload of money on a real set only to find that they sound like ****, not every set of PAFs sound like Jimmy Page's or Eric Claptons. But you're right about the wood, it matters just as much as the pickups in les pauls and a classic rock rig.

About the Norlins, I always love that part in Led Zeppelin's TSRTS when Jimmy Page busts out that red sparkle Norlin after he breaks a string on his '59 sunburst during Whole Lotta Love, not that the guitar sounds bad or anything, but it sounds different from his sunburst no doubt, rougher around the edges.
Last edited by al112987 at Jul 11, 2009,