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Old 11-03-2016, 03:06 AM
Jabberwocky Jabberwocky is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 853

The Sealfast tuning machines with their peghead ferrules alone are worth about $800 to $1200. Those early Sealfast Bullseye tuners without the conical ferrule and teflon washer are worth that much to a restorer. The pickups might not be T-Tops but being 1974 Gibson, could be worth $500 to $800. The L5 tailpiece is worth about $500.

The headstock break is not itself an issue when it is well-repaired and solid. The lacquer chips look nasty but do not affect the sound.

$2000 seems like a good price for an American archtop. It is cosmetically flawed but if structurally sound will make a fine gigging guitar that you can gladly play and not have to worry about. You cannot but worry when you are holding a $6000 to $7000 L5CES.

Worse comes to worse, for $2000, you can strip it for parts and get your money back.

Norlin Gibson gets a bad rap. But their archtops were mainly left unscathed by the Norlin association. The maple may be plain looking but it is quality maple without any blemishes or pockmarks or mineral streaks. That is expensive maple to those in the furniture trade. Plain maple without defects is just as valuable as curly maple. The plain maple of this era displays fine silking when you look at it closely. Smooth as butter and not easy to find. And yes, among luthiers there is agreement that plain maple makes great guitars. It is just that the public likes too see curly maple.

Norlin Gibson archtops are great guitars, devalued in part because of its Norlin reputation, in part because the maple shows no curl and the public wants curl.

For $2000, a solid player's L-5CES. Not worth anything more. You can put in some money to refinish it. It is already devalued.
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