Are Gibson/Norlin Era Guitars Collectable?


I Bleed Orange
May 10, 2015
There are certain models that are only available in Norlins and later, lots of Les Paul variations


Oct 18, 2015
Average asking price for a 1968/69 LP Custom EUR 17.000,- over here.
Average asking price for a 1972 Medallion Flying V EUR 25.000,-.
Average asking price for a 1975 to 1980 Flying V EUR 7.000,-.
And these are all usually incredibly good sounding and good feeling guitars. Well worth the money spent, IMHO.
There are recent Customshop Gibsons that will cost you the same.(THAT is a questionable price for a new instrument. Honestly....).


Dec 19, 2015
Charlotte, NC
I see some really high prices on the Norlin LP's, and even on their re-issues. But if I were in the market for a LP, that would be where my search would start. I bought a '69 new ($325) and wish I still had it.


Friend of Fred
Jun 5, 2012
I've got a 1978 Les Paul Deluxe that I paid about $450 in 1985..
The intertubes tell me they are selling for around $3000 - $4000 now which surprises me.
It's a decent guitar but heavy, and the previous owner installed Dimarzio Super Distortion pups in it which I don't care for.
Thinking about putting in some P90s 🤔


Oct 18, 2015
Why is it that when the three-bolt Fenders and the Norlin Era Gibsons came out we all thought they were junk. Now they are collectible and pricy.
I recently had to change my opinion towards 70ies three-bolt Fender Strats.

I used to own quite a handful over the years and they all had in common that they were heavy as boat-anchors, had clumsy shaping on their bodies, incredibly sloppy neck routings and thin tone without sustain.

Whereas the first blemishes still hold true the tone of many of these has improved greatly over the years.

I blame it on the aging of the wood which obviously has a massive effect.

(Sidenote: I recently talked to a violin-builder. He told me that a newly manufactured instrument has a lot of internal stress coming from processing the wood in the phase of lumbering and building the instrument.
These tensions will remove when letting the wood rest for a very long time before the built and playing it for a very long time then.
An old instrument has a different structure in it`s wood because of having found an advantagous balance with internal and external humidity and crystalizing of it`s resins.
He confirmed my opinion that playing an instrument constantly will open up it`s tone. Especially on acoustic instruments. That`s why many builders use devices like the Tonerite or big speaker-cabinets to "shake" a new instruments for weeks "activating" it in the process.)

My Norlin-era Flying V is by far the best-playing guitar I ever had the privilege to own.
If it weren`t a modified player-grade instrument I would have never been able to afford it.
And I am very thankful for that.
Although the built quality is laughable in some places this guitar is total magic.
After trying it once I would have saved every penny for years to buy it, even if it would have cost me six times the price I paid for it.


Feb 12, 2011
Iowa City, IA
^ cool about tone-shaping. Did something similar with a Les Paul build I did- placed in front of a speaker for a few weeks playing good recordings of all genres including strings and jazz, and I feel it was justified. The guitar just sounds better. YMMV, and maybe a fool's errand, but glad I did it.

Anyways, I think Norlin-era and CBS-era guitars are getting high prices due to nostalgia, not great sound or playability or quality. 20-year olds arn't seeking these out, but 50 and 60 year olds. "My first guitar was xxxx and I miss it". Ah, memories. Still kicking myself for not buying an early 70s cream-colored Norlin at a pawn shop. I came in a few times, then the guy jacked the price double! No Les Paul for me for another 30 years.

charlie chitlins

Aug 4, 2008
The Berkshires
Why is it that when the three-bolt Fenders and the Norlin Era Gibsons came out we all thought they were junk. Now they are collectible and pricy.
Because, as the REAL cool stuff becomes out of reach for the working stiff, they (we) set their (our) sights a step down, trying to capture a little vintage vibe in a way we can afford.
Then that stuff becomes desirable, and the price goes up.


The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
Why is it that when the three-bolt Fenders and the Norlin Era Gibsons came out we all thought they were junk. Now they are collectible and pricy.
You make a great point. I know from firsthand experience that late ‘70s Strats were heavy and nothing to write home about, sound wise. Gibsons of that era were hit or miss. My 55/77 Les Paul was an ok guitar, but my Johnny Smith had a crack in the top, which is pretty disappointing for a top-shelf axe.