Below are some of our most popular questions asked. If you still have a question about our guitars and can't find the answer here, feel free to email us at : firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be happy to help you.
Q. What strings are recommended for my guitar?
Godin strings are recommended as they are made specifically for our acoustic brands including Norman. Designed by Robert Godin and the leading American string manufacturer, our strings come in three sizes of high quality phosphor bronze. Norman guitars are fitted with A6 Lite strings and these are recommended for continued use, but Medium and Extra Lite are also available to fit your desired tone and functionality.
Q. Can I use a heavier string gauge other than the Phosphor Bronze Lights you ship the guitars with?
Yes. You can go up or down one gauge, usually without needing to readjust your truss rod. However, if you use a much heavier or lighter gauge, this will put different amounts of tension on the neck, so an adjustment may be needed. When changing string gauge, allow some time for the guitar to settle and then, if needed, have the truss rod adjusted by a qualified technician. From the factory, our Norman guitars are equipped with:
6-String Acoustics : A6 LT 'Phosphor Bronze' Light (.012,.016,.024,.032,.042,.053)
12-String Acoustics : A12 LT ‘Phospher Bronze' Light (.010,.010,.014,.014,.023,.008,.030,.012,.039,.018,.047,.027)
Q. Can I buy a Norman directly from your factory?
Although we do not sell directly, we manufacture and distribute our guitars directly to our dealers in North America. This makes for a great hand-crafted instrument, which your local dealer then receives directly from our factory. We take great pride in the consistency of our guitars, however, visiting your local dealer and picking out a guitar that particularly suits your needs is well worth the effort. Feel free to check out our dealer list on this site.
Q. I will be visiting Quebec this summer, does Norman offer factory tours to the public?
Since our factories are located in different parts of Quebec, a complete tour would entail about one thousand kilometres of driving and at least a complete weekend. We are hoping to offer tours in the future, but at this point we haven't worked out the logistics.
Q. What is the difference between Cedar and Spruce?
Cedar tends to produce a warmer sound and ages faster than spruce. Spruce is brighter and ages more over a longer period of time. Visually, cedar is darker in colour with a fairly tight grain pattern. Spruce tends to be very blond with a slightly wider grain pattern.
Q. What does "handmade" really mean?
We recently came across a disposable plastic lighter that was being promoted as a “Limited Edition”. Likewise, we find ourselves surrounded by products that are touted as being “handmade” and when it comes to guitars you’ll have a tough time finding one that isn’t described as such. Our dictionary defines handmade simply as: “made by hand, not machinery”. If you accept that definition, then it’s safe to say there is no such thing as a handmade guitar! In any case our recommendation would be to forget the whole “handmade” thing and focus on more relevant considerations such as: finish material, type of wood used (and whether it is genuine), and most importantly, focusing how it feels and sounds to you.
Q. Should I loosen the strings on my Norman if I'm going to take it with me on vacation?
Yes. It is a good idea to loosen the strings just enough to reduce tension on the neck. This will avoid extra stress which can cause damage to the headstock if the guitar is dropped while in its case.
Q. What do you recommend I clean my Norman with?
Do not use any wax based products on the guitar, especially on the top! This will cause unwanted wax build up over time, which will impede the top from vibrating. Instead use a small amount of soap based guitar polish sprayed on a cloth (never directly on the guitar) and gently wipe off your guitar—we also recommend our Luthier Grade Guitar Polish. For the fingerboard, we suggest removing the strings and applying Lemon or Danish oil to a cloth and then working it into your fingerboard. Let the oil soak in for a few minutes and then wipe off the excess. This should be done once a year on rosewood or ebony fingerboards only. Doing so not only cleans, but conditions your fingerboard against cracking and keeps it from losing its lustre.
Q. What is "cold-checking"?
Cold-checking refers to that spider web like effect that sometimes occurs in wood finishes that have been subjected to severe temperature changes. It is also common in older instruments where the finish has dried out to the point of becoming brittle. For many years we have worked with our finish supplier to develop a lacquer formula that retains a degree of elasticity and resists cold checking.
Q. The fret edges are sticking out of the side of the neck. Why? And what should I do?
This is not nearly as big a problem as some people make it out to be. Once again, the culprit here is humidity. In the case of the protruding fret edges, this is because the fingerboard has dried out slightly and shrunk. The frets are metal (nickel/silver) and do not shrink from a change in humidity. The problem is easily fixed by a good guitar tech with a file.
Q. What is a truss rod?
A truss rod is an adjustable metal rod that sits inside of the neck, underneath the fingerboard. The truss rod is used to adjust regarding changes in the neck, which can be caused by humidity or changing string gauges. Norman guitars employ an advanced double-action truss system.
Q. When should the truss rod be adjusted?
Your truss rod should be adjusted when your neck develops a bit of a bow in it. The reason for the bow is a combination of the string tension that is constantly applied to the neck along with changes in relative humidity. Humidity is the most important part of this equation. Wood reacts to changes in relative humidity when it absorbs or loses moisture. Absorbing moisture causes the neck to expand which results in a back-bow in this case loosening the truss rod slightly will allow the neck to return to its original form. When a neck dries out, it will under bow, which can be treated by slightly tightening the truss rod (Click here for pdf diagram). WARNING: Over adjusting your truss rod can cause irreparable damage to your guitar and therefore, truss rod adjustments should only be handled by a qualified guitar technician.