Price paid: $ 800
Sound — 9
This is really a great instrument to critique this because mine is in mint condition, all stock and virtually untouched. Being that this guitar was built when Norlin owned Gibson says a lot. Many say that when they owned the company the quality was at an all time low. They basically bought this company knowing very little about guitars and moved from Kalamazoo to the current Nashville location. The neck joint has gaps and the fret edges were poorly filed. The silver finish was done well, however the laquer is slightly streaky in the right light as if it was applied by a paintbrush. The nut is a little rough. These are things I have seen on new high end Gibsons. So being that this is a Norlin Gibson and knowing that this was intended to be an entry level Gibson I will rate this quite high.
Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing for twelve years and the last five professionally. I own several electrics as well as two amps. I simply bought this because it was an excellent buy for its condition, feel, and look. This guitar isn't a workhorse, but rather it's fun to play and looks cool with its silver finish and black pickguard. My favorite feature is the vibe.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I can definitely depend on this guitar. Own several electrics as well as two amps.I simply bought this because it was an excellent buy for its condition, feel, and look. This guitar isn't a workhorse, but rather it's fun to play and looks cool with its silver finish and black pickguard. My favorite feature is the vibe.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Have not used this guitar with my own equipment since I disassembled it to study. However before I purchased it I tried it on several amps at the music store. The pickup is hot and very punchy and very bright. With others in the store playing I couldn't hear any overbearing noise, but up close I do not know yet.There is limited tonal variety with this instrument unless you alter tone via volume/tone knob or alter your picking attack. I know this guitar lacks a multitude of tones, but to me it's like a cool eighties tribute to a Junior or a Melody Maker. Definitely something different than the norm.
Features — 8
My Challenger was made in 1983. It is an American made instrument that Norlin marketed to be an affordable beginners alternative to the higher priced Gibson models. It features a 22 fret(thin) rosewood fingerboard with Dot inlays over a five piece maple neck. The nitrocellulose laquered Les Paul shaped body is a two piece which appears to be mahogany. This guitar only has one bridge position pickup but is routed to accept a neck position as well. The stock electronics consist of one passive bridge pickup as I mentioned which I have been told was manufactured by Bill Lawrence, but this I cannot prove. It features one volume knob and one tone knob. The bridge is a bizarre German made(Schaller)Tune-O-Matic style with no tailpiece. The neck is similar to the 1960's Gibson slim taper style.