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Norman Acoustic Guitars appreciation thread!


dougbeens
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I stopped on the way home to play the Normans in a local shop. While the web site is not clear on model specs, it appears that the B18's have a cedar top. I found the B18's to suit my ear. The B20.s were beautiful, but too bright for me. Apparently the combination Cedar tops and ??? backs on the B18 works! It has a rich warm tone like sruce w/mahogany and these two had the sweet overtones that seperate the good ones from the rest. I loved them.

 

IMO - Though not an expert, I find cherry to be as hard or harder than maple. To my knowlegde, cherry is a generic name and it does not come from cherry trees. I think have seen 16+ inch cherry stock with no sap wood, and fuit wods are generally pale white with narled grain. Cherry turns a biy orange even with a clear sealer in it. The Normans have less color than that on the cherry backs,

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Originally posted by Joe Chiovari

Lot of chatter going on about Norman guitars I see. People comparing them to Martins and such. Rule of thumb...if you like the sound and feel of the guitar, then that's the guitar for you. I have a Martin, Guild and Norman. The Martin is a DM of recent production. The Guild is an F-412 I have been playing for 30 years. Yea, I am an old coot. I am a fingerpicking fool (all 5 fingers). Flat picks I just never could get the hang of. Ended up in the sound hole many times. The Norman (B20/12) is a great playing and sounding guitar. I won't agree that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Martin or the Guild in playability or sound. I do agree that it comes close and, for the money, I would send anyone off to try a Norman product before they consider the higher priced makes. The Norman 12 I bought has laminated cherry sides and back, solid spruce top, maple neck and rosewood bridge and fingerboard. Maple sides/back are the hardest woods used on guitars and produce the brightest resonance through the spruce top. That is how the Guild is made and, quite honestly, it drowns out the Norman. No matter, the Norman has it's own sound and that sound is good. Guild makes the best 12 string guitars, Martin makes the best 6 string guitars, and the rest are just that. Specifically speaking, the neck of the Norman is just a bit larger than the Guild F-412. I find the Norman a little weak in it's treble. It takes a little more effort to "throw" a bar chord and strike to sound off those higher notes. One has to compensate by holding back the base sound a bit. But, hey, no two guitars of different manufacture play them same anyway. I still agree that the Norman is a great guitar for the money and that's why I bought one. But, I have read alot on this forum about Norman ranking in the same league with Martin or other pricey guitars. Well, it may be a good guitar but it ain't there yet.

 

I totally agree with you, but I think some people are getting at that they don't hear 5 times the price difference between the Normans and the upscale guitars. I know I don't. There's more refinement and complexity in a high-end Martin, but I don't think it's $1,500-$3,000 worth of difference.

 

That's just me, though.

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Ruffled a few feathers about comparing Normans to pricier guitars, did I? No intention to do that. Nor am I comparing apples to oranges. There are just better apples. I do agree that the difference in quality of construction, sound and playability between a Norman and much higher priced makes becomes a non-issue considering the price (affordability). On the flip side, if money was not a problem...you guess which guitar we would all send our butlers out to buy while we practiced with a lesser quality guitar, say, a Norman. I have absolutely no sentimentality wrapped up in any guitar. I bought my Guild F-412 for $799.00 in 1974 because it was the ONLY 12 string I enjoyed playing (still do) and I was willing to go that distance to have it. The same held true with the Martin D-35 I bought in 1973 for $735.00. My pop thought I was completely whacko but he wasn't a guitarist, either. What I did not do is poo-poo other even higher priced guitars of that time simply because they were out of my financial reach. If the guitar one really would like to have is expensive, then so what? Save up and get it. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth so many hours as a construction laborer went into my guitars. I have had many guitars over the years and enjoyed them all, even that Ovation Glen Campbell that sounded like it was in the next room while I played. But, they are just guitars. Some people put scads of money into their cars, money they will never get back when they sell it, but look in horror at the price of a high-end Martin even though it will only appreciate if held onto. So, get the guitar you really want, and deserve.

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  • 5 years later...
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Hi,

Has anyone ever heard of a Norman Folklore-3?

It's an old 12 string model made by Norman.

I am quite familiar with Norman guitar models (new & old) but have never heard of that model ever.

Thankfully I own one otherwise I probably would not even believe that such a model even existed.

 

Here is how it looks like:

 

guit_acoust_norman_12.jpg

 

It's an amazing instrument with quite a wide neck and a very unique bright organic sound.

 

Does anyone here ever heard of this model?

I searched all over the web but never found the slightest allusion to any "Folklore-3" series from Norman.

 

Please feel free to comment.

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Has anyone compared a Norman B20 Folk to a Seagull S6 + Folk? They are very similar, and of course, corporately affiliated. I'm wondering what the differences are. The one thing I don't like about the conglomerate is that none of their websites give particularly comprehensive info, and price quotes are hard to find.

 

Norman B20 + Folk = solid spruce top, narrow neck

 

Seagull S6 + Folk = solid cedar top, wider neck except if it says "slim neck".

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Hi,

Has anyone ever heard of a Norman Folklore-3?

It's an old 12 string model made by Norman.

I am quite familiar with Norman guitar models (new & old) but have never heard of that model ever.

Thankfully I own one otherwise I probably would not even believe that such a model even existed.


Here is how it looks like:


guit_acoust_norman_12.jpg

It's an amazing instrument with quite a wide neck and a very unique bright organic sound.


Does anyone here ever heard of this model?

I searched all over the web but never found the slightest allusion to any "Folklore-3" series from Norman.


Please feel free to comment.

 

It might be an old Norman that has been made before Godin bought Norman. Try to email Norman to see what they have to say about it! email: info@normanguitars.com

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It might be an old Norman that has been made before Godin bought Norman. Try to email Norman to see what they have to say about it! email:
info@normanguitars.com

 

Good idea.

I know it's definitely a "pre-Godin" Norman instrument.

We used to buy "our Normans" at "La Tosca" to Mme Fillion ;-) in Montreal looong time ago when Harmonium was just starting to appear...

 

I'll check with Norman/Godin to see if they know something about the old Folklore-3.

 

Will keep you posted if I find something.

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  • 1 month later...
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OK, Norman, the official guitar of the granola post hippie phenomenon. I heard they got their start as a window manufacturer. The original owner, Normand Boucher, was pictured on the original labels, and the drawing showed that he had extraordinarily long arms. He figured that windows and guitars weren't that much different from each other, and being from around Sherbrooke he went into Levi Bouliane's music store and rented a D28 for the weekend. He took it home, disassembled it, took notes and measurements, and glued it back together. The people at the music store wouldn't take it back, and made him buy it.

His grandsons now make Boucher guitars, which are a lot closer to the Martin ideal, and are priced accordingly.

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On 10/2/2003 at 3:09 PM, Dean said:

I have a Norman B20 (6). I bought if for 330 (CAN) two years ago. Absolutely nothing in that price range can beat it. Taks, Yamahas, Washburns, nothin!! And, it's got a solid spruce top and the quality, in general, is great. At the time, $600 Washburns paled in comparison.

 

Nowadays, I'm looking to get the top-of-the-line model, the ST68, I think it's called. Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and laminated rosewood sides. I think it costs less than 1000 CAN (about 740 US). The user reviews look very positive.

 

I may spring for the extra 600 bucks to get the all solid Larrivee D03(Rosewood) for 1600(CAN). But, 600 bucks is 600 bucks !!! Another fine Canadian guitar. I compared it the Martin D16 (about the same price). If I had to choose, I would take the Larrivee. Martins are nice but a bit too mellow sounding for my taste.

 

If I had the monry, I would choose the Martin D28 over everything BUT they go for about $2800(CAN). All of sudden 1000 or 1600 dollars for high quality guitars looks really good!!

 

I may keep the B20 though - it will only get better with age!!

It bothers me when I  see a lot of people compare Norman guitar vs Martin's. If your going to do that to be fair ,you can not compare any of the plywood models like Norman b18 or b20. If you want a true comparison try their studio line ,

st-40 cutaway ,cedar top mahogany secondary woods. or the

st-68 cutaway. spruce top rosewood secondary woods. These are both $1000 less than Martins . I own a d15 and a j40 and the two Normans mentioned above. BTW the rumour is that the founder Norman boucher ,when younger rented a d18 took it home dismantled it and and made templates. But when he tried to return it they caught on and made him pay for the martin. So basically they are made the same construction. and Norman bought a lot of old barns in country side for the 600 year old quarter sawn beams for their tops. I know they are not better than Martin's but for the money they are pretty close. Give them a try. Btw It seems the farther away from Quebec the more they cost. And I believe they keep the best ones in Quebec. 

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I also believe that a Norman guitar like the b20 will not sound better as it ages. It's laminated . IMO the b20 or the b18 are waste of money and just a tease .their good value for entry level  but for a few dollars more you can get their studio models which are all wood. These will improve as the wood ages and opens up. Laminate will not. 

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Holy Zombie thread, Batman!

 

I had a pre-Lasido Norman B-30. It was an excellent guitar, kept me going through the darkest days of my youth. Not in the same league as a Martin, and no reason why it should be. I've also had a B-20C, and B-20-12. That guitar was absolutely worth the money.

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All The Norman's are deffinatly worth the money . but if you look on kijji here in Ottawa there's always about a dozen  used b20 and b18 . you almost never see studio models   .I conclude from that nobody wants to sell the st40 cutaway or the  St68 cutaway. I sure dont .  I understand Norman has discontinued the st68 now (2019) and are going in a different direction, ...guitars under $700 for the masses. Hard to see how they will continue with solid wood at those prices. 

*2004 b-18.                          I bought used and abused $50 kijji

*2006 b-18.                         I bought used and abused $60 kijji

*2012 st-40 acoustic         I bought new $589 

*2014 st-40 folk 

I bought new $426 

*2014 st-40 folk

I bought used $300 kijji

*2014 st-40 cutaway 

I bought mint $600 kijji 

*2012 st-40 cutaway

I bought mint $500 kijji

*2014 st-68 cutaway and tric case

I bought mint kijji $850 

*2003 jdp limited Martin 

I bought new $4000 

*2004 d15e Martin 

I bought new $2000 

- if I can figure out how to post pictures I'll post them.

On 10/2/2003 at 3:09 PM, Dean said:

I have a Norman B20 (6). I bought if for 330 (CAN) two years ago. Absolutely nothing in that price range can beat it. Taks, Yamahas, Washburns, nothin!! And, it's got a solid spruce top and the quality, in general, is great. At the time, $600 Washburns paled in comparison.

 

Nowadays, I'm looking to get the top-of-the-line model, the ST68, I think it's called. Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and laminated rosewood sides. I think it costs less than 1000 CAN (about 740 US). The user reviews look very positive.

 

I may spring for the extra 600 bucks to get the all solid Larrivee D03(Rosewood) for 1600(CAN). But, 600 bucks is 600 bucks !!! Another fine Canadian guitar. I compared it the Martin D16 (about the same price). If I had to choose, I would take the Larrivee. Martins are nice but a bit too mellow sounding for my taste.

 

If I had the monry, I would choose the Martin D28 over everything BUT they go for about $2800(CAN). All of sudden 1000 or 1600 dollars for high quality guitars looks really good!!

 

I may keep the B20 though - it will only get better with age!!

It bothers me when I  see a lot of people compare Norman guitar vs Martin's. If your going to do that to be fair ,you can not compare any of the plywood models like Norman b18 or b20. If you want a true comparison try their studio line ,

st-40 cutaway ,cedar top mahogany secondary woods. or the

st-68 cutaway. spruce top rosewood secondary woods. These are both $1000 less than Martins . I own a d15 and a j40 and the two Normans mentioned above. BTW the rumour is that the founder Norman boucher ,when younger rented a d18 took it home dismantled it and and made templates. But when he tried to return it they caught on and made him pay for the martin. So basically they are made the same construction. and Norman bought a lot of old barns in country side for the 600 year old quarter sawn beams for their tops. I know they are not better than Martin's but for the money they are pretty close. Give them a try. Btw It seems the farther away from Quebec the more they cost. And I believe they keep the best ones in Quebec. 

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5 hours ago, Northern lights said:

I also believe that a Norman guitar like the b20 will not sound better as it ages. It's laminated . IMO the b20 or the b18 are waste of money and just a tease .their good value for entry level  but for a few dollars more you can get their studio models which are all wood. These will improve as the wood ages and opens up. Laminate will not. 

A friend has a B20 that I like a lot. The back and sides are indeed laminated but the top is solid, which means it will improve with age about as much as any guitar will. I'm not a big believer in guitars "opening up" with age in the first place but the main factor is the top.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Interesting reading all of your comments. I found my way to this thread by trying to research what the $$value would be of my 1999 Norman B20 Folk. It is such a beauty. I am it's sole owner thus far having purchased from Long and McQuade Vancouver in 1999. I decided on this guitar after discussing frustration I was finding as a novice with shorter fingers so this model was suggested as it has a narrower neck. I was impressed that it was Canadian made too. Sadly, I have tinkered with it over the years but have not had the pleasure of truley learning to play and am considering selling. It is in stellar condition, appears as new. I am still struggling with letting it go, especially having just read all of your positive reviews. Any input as to how I could get it valued? I have heard of them listed for $200...far too low in my opinion, to the $350 range. Times are tough, but man, letting this go may be a big regret.

Edited by Laura Lummers
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The Reverb listings are usually a fair indication...have you looked on kiiji? To be fair, condition is everything on guitars...so if you have not spent much time on yours, we can guess the condition is close to mint.

Letting it go is a 'regret'?

Sorry, letting a guitar sit unused for two decades is a regret.

Not learning to play after buying a decent instrument is a regret. 

Selling it to someone who will appreciate it should not be a regret.:wave:

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I think ol’ Laura’s regrets encompasses all you’ve mentioned.   But what the heck,  I’m thinking of a 20 year old guitar purchased new, fawned over for a few weeks, put back in the case and forgotten for years and years.  No maintenance like that on a National or Martin/Gibson, etc., it may be worth the neck reset and work to bring it up to speed...Norman?  Not so much.  

Hey, may be pristine though.  I can be an optimist!  Optimism doesn’t have to be realistic!   Laura, hows the neck angle?  Frets poke you?  Binding, if any, still flush?  
 

Y’see, musical instruments that DO have value need to be maintained, air too dry, well, 20 years of that takes its toll, add to the story the string tension and neglect over years of wet/dry, and a lot of times those old pristine instruments have some issues a simple setup won’t address.  But maybe not!

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I found a Norman St68 CW at a thrift store for $140.00,., I didn't know anything about it other than it looked like it was never used and the action was light (given the ancient strings). I brought it home, changed the strings and was totally blown away. Rich deep blended sound that resonates through my chest. Can anyone tell me more about this guitar? It was built in 99 according to the serial number (if I'm reading that correctly. 

I haven't owned great guitars so this is hands down the best ever for me. Any information on that year would be great great. 

Tha

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On 11/27/2021 at 3:16 AM, Tom Kenny said:

I found a Norman St68 CW at a thrift store for $140.00,., I didn't know anything about it other than it looked like it was never used and the action was light (given the ancient strings). I brought it home, changed the strings and was totally blown away. Rich deep blended sound that resonates through my chest. Can anyone tell me more about this guitar? It was built in 99 according to the serial number (if I'm reading that correctly. 

I haven't owned great guitars so this is hands down the best ever for me. Any information on that year would be great great. 

Tha

 

Lucky man!!!! One of the top end Norman guitars from Godin:

 

https://www.chorder.com/acoustic-guitars/norman-guitars/st68-cw-16230

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On 11/26/2021 at 9:16 PM, Tom Kenny said:

I found a Norman St68 CW at a thrift store for $140.00, . . .

. . . I haven't owned great guitars so this is hands down the best ever for me. . . .

Congratulations on a great find and Happy New (to you) Guitar Day. I got to play a friend's Norman several years ago and I was impressed.

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