The latest word on the street about Normandy Guitars™
Normandy Guitars' Promising Pedal Debut
By Kevin Bolembach
from Premier Guitar
Posted on August 2013
The first time I heard of Normandy Guitars was at the 2009 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim. Normandy’s display immediately caught my attention, as it looked great and was über-functional. The entire booth was made out of chain-link fencing with swinging “barn door” gates on both sides. The fencing had guitars mounted all over it and the gates could be swung shut at the end of the day to secure the entire contents of the booth inside—genius!
Even cooler were the actual instruments the company was displaying. Normandy specializes in aluminum-bodied guitars and basses, and they had some wicked-cool instruments on hand, including hollowbody guitars and basses, as well as an aluminum Flying V bass that I was dreaming about long after the show ended...
Normandy Alumicaster Bass featured in audiofanzine (French)
Par julboc le 01/02/2013
Caractéristiques 4.5 étoiles
Basse fabriquée aux Etats Unis, à Salem Oregon. Elle est équipée d'accastillage Gotoh, d'un manche en érable fabriqué par Warmoth, plutôt typé vintage avec un diapason standard de 21 cases et de deux micros signés Norstrand (MM 4.2) reproduisant fidèlement ceux qui équipaient les premières Music Man Stingray. Le tout est contrôlé par une électronique classique: une tonalité générale, un volume par micro et un sélecteur pour utiliser soit le micro manche, soit celui côté chevalet, soit les deux. Rien d'ésotérique.
La grande particularité de cette basse, outre le fait qu'elle soit demi-caisse, c'est la matériaux utilisé: l'aluminium, et pas n'importe lequel apparement puisque Jim Normandy vante les qualités de son choix d'alliage normalement destiné aux applications aéronautique. Ça nécessite de la solidité, de la légèreté et de pouvoir passer le mur du son. La fabriquation de la basse s'inspire donc de ce modèle, deux poutres internes (mais légères, hein) suivant le manche de part et d'autre et permettant de fixer le fond et la table grâce à des rivets (apparents pour un look unique) les cotés étant ensuite soudés d'une manière extrêmement professionnelle et soignée. Comprendre: ça ne se voit pas et même quelqu'un qui s'y connaît (pas moi en tout cas) s'extasierait sur ce travail d'orfèvre.
Du bon et solide boulot en somme.
Normandy Alumicaster Bass featured in Premier Guitar
By Jordan Wagner
from Premier Guitar
Posted on December 2012
Aluminum has made quite a return to the guitar arena as of late. While the material did see some use in the ’70s for improving strength and sustain—most notably by Kramer—it never really caught on in the way that using different combinations of wood did. Despite not being embraced by the masses early on, guitars that employed aluminum garnered a cult following of enthusiasts, one of them being Jim Normandy. Normandy would eventually start working with the material, and in 2007, he released the world’s first aluminum archtop guitar, which he builds in Salem, Oregon. To complement his T-style Alumicaster and archtop lines, Normandy recently debuted the Alumicaster bass. This aluminum-bodied 4-string is quite the looker, as well as a fantastic instrument for holding down the low end.
By Michael Molenda
from Guitar Player Magazine
Posted on August 2012
I met the simultaneously cool and gregarious Jim Normandy quite accidentally at a NAMM show, when the blinding white lightning flare of his first chrome hollowbody pierced my eyeballs. When I could see again, Jim and I talked, and I ended up reviewing the Normandy ATG-CH in the February 2009 GP.
Since then, the crafty luthier has expanded his American-made product line to V Guitars and Alumicasters, basses, and pedals (see sidebar), and is considering manufacturing affordable models offshore (he solicited opinions on the plan via his Facebook page). Normandy’s Salem, Oregon, music store was also chosen as one of America’s Top Indie Guitar Shops in last month’s GP reader survey. (Call the shop, and it’s likely Jim himself will answer the phone— how cool is that?) Not bad for a cat I could have completely passed by had I been wearing sunglasses that fateful day.
Normandy Recognized As One of America's Top Indie Guitar Shops
By Bridget Oates
from Guitar Player Magazine
Posted on July 2012
A sea of guitars and amps, dogs running amuck, coffee, comfy couches- welcome to your favorite independent guitar shop. While giant chain stores have adapted, evolved, and found their own niches. They can also be community havens, learning centers, and places to hear great music. Recently, we asked the Guitar Player community - via our Facebook page - to vote for the best regional shops across the country. Here are their top choices.
Normandy Archtop Chrome Bass featured in Guitarist
By Romain Decoret
Posted on Wed November 16, 2011 at 09:48:18 PM PDT
La firme de Salem, captale de l'Oregon, à ne pas confondre avec Salem, Massachusetts, où sévirent les chasseurs de sorciÈres, produit des instruments qui sont À l'image de I'Etat de l'Oregon: gigantesques. L'Oregoo etal! surnommé par les Indiens Ia Terre des Géants, tout y est plus grand, les séquoias, les ours, Ies foréts. Jes montagnes et les rivieres. II en est de ~ pour Normardy, dont Ies modeles actuels sont uoe Flying Vet une six-eordes archtop dont la Chrome Bass semble etre la campagne.
By Salem Weekly Editors
from Salem Weekly, Section Music / Nightlife
Posted on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 09:48:18 AM PDT
Most people donate clothes and food to the needy during the holidays, but Jim Normandy, owner of Normandy Guitars, is donating, well, guitars.
"We're giving the gift of music. Give someone a fish and feed them for a day but teach them to fish and you'll feed them for a lifetime," says Normandy.
The beneficiaries are the teens at HOST Youth and Family Program, which shelters homeless, runaway and abandoned kids.
"They don't have any instruments of any kind, and instruments are cathartic, it's good therapy for them. It's an avenue to get their emotions out as opposed to throwing a rock through a window," says Normandy, who was approached by a proactive staff member at HOST asking for the instrument donations.
"I said, absolutely, and gave a whole bunch of them, and I asked customers if they had guitars they wanted to donate too. So many people have old guitars sitting in their closets that they haven't touched in twenty years! They've been coming in and donating and I have nine more guitars I'm ready to give away."
Normandy hopes the kids can personally own and keep the guitars as opposed to all of them staying at the center. "I want to encourage them to give them to the kids," says Normandy. He wants to continue taking donations and expand the donations to other local programs as well.
He is also planning on setting up a free weekly guitar class for HOST kids, which will start at the beginning of the year. Donations of electric, bass, and acoustic guitars and amplifiers are requested.
A fresh look at the luthiers featured in Premier Guitar's Modern Builder Vault section in 2010
Normandy Guitars founder and CEO, Jim Normandy, left of the white-collared world of banking for the land of luthiers and has never looked back. When Normandy was ensconced in the stringent corporate world, he adopted different rules and alternative methods to get the job done. So it’s no surprise that when he wanted to construct an acoustic bass for himself 15 years ago, he thought of everything but wood. He considered plastic, fiberglass, and other composite materials before landing on aluminum. "After I dialed in the perfect thickness and grade of aluminum, the instrument took on tonal characteristics all its own," Normandy says. "Aluminum is brighter and sustains longer than a wood guitar. It also doesn’t feedback like wood." Pictured: Alumicaster, Black Crow Engraved Alumicaster
by Jason Laughlin, Premier Guitar Magazine Normandy's Alumicaster breaks T-style traditions in more ways than just the material
In the last decade or so, luthiers have increasingly used non-traditional materials for constructing guitars, ranging from uncommon woods to composites and plastics, and more recently, aluminum. Jim Normandy of Normandy Guitars is one such pioneer. Jim has been producing aluminum guitars since 2007, and he truly believes that building with aluminum has something serious to offer to the world of guitar. These instruments, including the first aluminum archtop guitar, are manufactured and hand-riveted in Salem, Oregon.
I am a Tele guy through and through, and I'm pretty traditional when it comes to my definition of a Telecaster. I must confess that I was initially very skeptical when I found out I would be reviewing an aluminum Telecaster. However, I quickly realized that the Alumicaster differs from a traditional Tele in more ways than just materials—from the playability to the tones, this instrument goes beyond the shape it embodies.
by Chris Kies, Premier Guitar Magazine Builder's Vault spotlights Normandy Guitars
"If it isn’t fun, we’re not fucking doing it," says Jim Normandy. This was the motto that ultimately uprooted Normandy Guitars founder and CEO out of the white-collared world of banking and placed him in the land of luthiers. That and, of course, his love for guitars.
When Normandy was ensconced in the stringent corporate world, he adopted different rules and alternative methods to get the job done. So it’s no surprise that when he wanted to construct an acoustic bass for himself 15 years ago, he thought of everything but wood. He considered plastic, fiberglass, and other composite materials before landing on aluminum. "After I dialed in the perfect thickness and grade of aluminum, the instrument took on tonal characteristics all its own," Normandy says. "Aluminum is brighter and sustains longer than a wood guitar. It also doesn’t feedback like wood..."
Found an article written in Guitarist Magazine in Thailand. Very insightful and a great review!
Normandy Guitars Article - Thailand
Normandy Guitars Article - Thailand
The aluminum bodies of Jim Normandy’s guitars are intended to do more than just look cool. According to Normandy, who initially moonlighted as a guitar maker while working as a bank executive earlier this decade, the aluminum allows notes to ring longer and clearer.
Normandy, who is 45, made his first aluminum guitar for himself, in the 1990s, when he was in a punk band and couldn’t afford the bass guitar he wanted. Intent on playing an instrument that looked unique, he made his guitar’s body out of aluminum. In the process, he discovered the metal’s musical benefits. Normandy went into guitar making full time and established Normandy Guitars in 2007, in Salem, Ore., after cutbacks at HSBC cost him his job as a regional vice president for the bank.
Normandy now offers six-string electric guitars and bass guitars with archtop or V-shaped bodies—all made of aluminum and attached to a maple neck. The guitars are available in nine different colors and three different finishes and cost from $2,000 to $3,000.
Em Pauta-Empresa fabrica guitarras a partir de chapas de alumínio
(In Common-Company manufactures guitars from aluminum sheets) Portuguese
A fabricante de instrumentos musicais norte-americana Normandy Guitars, de Salem, estado de Oregon, substituiu as madeiras nobres pelo alumínio na construção de suas guitarras. A proposta, que partiu de uma idéia puramente estética do fundador da empresa, resultou em um instrumento que não apenas impressiona pela beleza e pelo aspecto exótico, mas também pelas qualidades únicas que o alumínio proporciona à sua construção e sonoridade, mesmo sendo esta uma aplicação aparentemente tão insólita para o metal.
English Translation: The manufacturer of American musical instruments, Normandy Guitars in Salem, Oregon, replaced the hardwood with aluminum in the construction of their guitars. The proposal, which started with a purely aesthetic idea the company's founder, had resulted in an instrument that not only impresses with beauty and exotic appearance, but also with unique qualities that gives the aluminum construction and sound even though this application is apparently unusual for the metal.
So what do coke cans, aluminum foil, and Normandy Guitars have
in common? It may be obvious on the first two, but all three are
made of aluminum. Yep, even Normandy Guitars. When I was asked
to review one I was like, "an aluminum guitar? I don't think so!" But I was
curious so I had them send me one. I'm glad I did because they are worth
consideration for someone looking for an old school thin-line Gibson hollow-
body sound with a futuristic Mel Gibson Mad Max look to it.
Body style: thin line arch-top
Body material: aircraft-grade aluminum
Color: School Bus
Neck: Maaple with rosewood fingerboard
Pickups: "Old School-Humbuckers"
Tailpiece: Bigsby (I love this!), individual adjustable rollers on the bridge
Controls: 3-way pickup selector, master volume control, on | off switch.
Playability: Right away I was impressed with how natural the
slender neck felt in my hand and how easy it was to navigate. The
guitar came from the factory setup just the way I like: low action so
every note is right there without having to manhandle the instrument.
Strings are Ernie Ball 11-48, which was a bit of a surprise because
they felt lighter than that. The Bigsby reaches forward and
settles perfectly into the palm of my right hand making it easy to activate
that dreamy guitar state.
Hunkering down at a Salem tavern, the artist and his protagonist plot the next installment of Psycho Guitar Killers.
Jim Normandy, founder of Normandy Guitars -- in the comic book and real life -- gets riled up at a news report about kids causing trouble at a punk show. The caricature attacks his TV in a fit of rage, convinced the evil Thought Police are the real culprits.
"Look at this. Want to see this?" the real Normandy asks, raising an arm and kicking a leg like the comic version drawn by Shawn Cruz.
"He cracks up when I act out his comic strip," Normandy says.
"You should see when I draw them," Cruz retorts.
Psycho Guitar Killers is both creative outlet and charity project for Normandy Guitars, an emblem of the company motto: "If it's not fun or cool, we're not doing it."
Whenever a member of the media attends The NAMM Show, they can expect to find a plethora of press kits once they venture into the press room. Some are special. You can often find press kits that fit in the palm of your hand on little thumb drives. In addition, once you remove the valuable information, press members can utilize the available memory if they so choose.
Of course, some press releases are printouts. And others are housed on CDs, which weigh little, take up little space, and provide a lot of information. But at this year’s NAMM Show, one press kit was especially different. It was unlike anything seen in the press room before. Sitting on the table was a Polybag-wrapped comic book with a CD inside.
A comic book? What could that be about? Well, the idea came from Jim Normandy, founder of Normandy Guitars.
Normandy found an artist and co-writer in the name of Shawn Cruz. Cruz, who works during the day as a warehouse manager, had penned comic books previously for Free Comic Book Day in Salem, Ore. Cruz wrote and drew a children’s story. “I penned two comic books,” said Cruz. “One was for teens. When I agreed to do the comic for the Free Comic Day, the storeowner told me he wanted to cater to teens that day. So he was wondering if I’d do a children’s comic book. So I did a little 10-page comic book. It was called “Voodoo Boogie.” It was about a girl who had a voodoo trick backfire on her. She became really ugly and got sour at the world.”
Bye-bye Suit; Hello Tattoos: Ex-banker is on a roll with rock
by Laura Oppenheimer, The Oregonian
If you met Jim Normandy the banker, you'd never guess he lived a double life.
As a regional vice president for the world's largest bank, he worked long hours from his $900,000 home in Salem. He flew all over the United States, managing managers.
But beneath the suit, you'd find an unlikely executive. Normandy covered his tattoos and resigned himself to a clean-shaven face. He grew up in hippie communes -- a better scholar of Bob Dylan than algebra or economics.
Music kept Normandy grounded. Away from work, he played in bands, blasted Rolling Stones tunes from the family stereo, invented his own aluminum guitar.
That guitar evolved into a company, which consumed nights and weekends. Last year, Normandy's side project began to attract attention from music journalists and well-known artists, including Jim James of indie phenomenon My Morning Jacket.
Premier Guitar Magazine reviews the Normandy Chrome Archtop Guitar
When Jim Normandy and his crew arrived in Nashville this summer for NAMM, they likely had no clue about the buzz their guitars would unleash. Normandy’s booth remained a hot spot the entire weekend, attracting equal numbers of curious players and voracious media types.
"The Normandy Chrome Archtop is a solid guitar with a great sound that just happens to be metal."
While the company wasn’t promoting any huge technological breakthrough, they were offering attractive guitars built entirely out of aircraft aluminum (save for a wood neck), and the fact that they actually sounded good was enough to arouse the interest of an industry jaded with “non-traditional” materials.
In recent days, aluminum seems to be getting a lot of play. Aluminum is attractive and lightweight, and as natures most abundant metal, is plentiful, easy to work with and readily recyclable. These features make aluminum attractive for a variety of consumer products.
Normandy Guitars to Feature Cutting-edge Electric Bass, Normandy V and new Finishes at Winter NAMM 2009
Look for Normandy Guitars at
NAMM Booth 1581
When Normandy Guitars introduced the first production aluminum archtop guitar at the 2008 NAMM Show, it won best of show honors. Now, Normandy is back with new instruments, styles and finishes that are sure to captivate musicians and industry personnel alike.
“At the 2008 show, I had one guitar to show,” says CEO Jim Normandy. “This time we’ll have three new instruments, including the first-ever aluminum archtop bass, several new finishes, and much more to share with the NAMM participants. We’ve expanded quickly in a short amount of time.”
After winning a best of show award at the 2008 NAMM Show in June and subsequently gaining international acclaim, Normandy Guitars generated a storm of interest from both the media and musicians. Features in national and regional magazines and newspapers have flourished because the Normandy is the first of its kind on the market; it is an intriguing story about a revolutionary new product.
Issue 23, Oct/Nov, 2008 Guitarist Australia Magazine
Guitarist Australia put their quality stamp of approval on Normandy Guitars. The overall test results from their 5 star rating system were outstanding.
Quotes from Guitarist Australia
"The Normandy features over-wound alnico humbuckers that genuinely rock. No matter which amp we used, it provided a solid tone with loads of gain. "... One thing it didn't do was feed back - we could make it happen but it took some effort. This is a boon for those who want to play a hollow body guitar at solid body levels through whatever amplification they prefer, and anyone with a Marshall will love this feature. The Normandy is a rock guitar by anyone's standards. There's nothing subtle about the big, bold tone, it plays well, feels solid, weighs about the same as a LP Standard, and looks truly fantastic...The internal structure adds to this equation directly coupling the arched top with the back to create a larger vibrating surface. In fact, we were surprised at how much natural vibration there was. That the bridge, a clever "roller" design somewhere between a Gibson Tune-o-matic and a Gretsch Space Control, is bolted and locked into the body certainly contributes to this ..."
Behind the Nameplate
Editorial •Making Music Magazine, November/December 2008
All Jim Normandy ever wanted to do was play rock ‘n’ roll music or be in the music business. Growing up in the 1960s, he’d hear his mom listen to Janis Joplin, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin and think “this is what I want.”
But like many other musicians, Normandy realized playing rock ‘n’ roll for a living would be difficult while trying to raise a family. “It’s difficult to do the band thing when you are starting a family and a career,” says Normandy. “So I let it go.” He played bass for a few punk bands in college and started building his own bass guitars. When he first started thinking of how to make a bass, he tried thinking of different materials to use than just traditional wood. He experimented with plastic and fiberglass but wasn’t impressed with the results. One day he asked a welder friend if he’d help him make an aluminum bass.
Aluminum Guitar Hits Market, Captures NAMM’s Best of Show
•Jazz & Blues Report, September 2008 , Issue Number 308
SALEM ORE – An Oregon-based guitar company has hit the market with the world’s first production aluminum archtop guitar. Introduced in July in Nashville, Normandy
Guitars instantly gained international acclaim and captured best of show honors at NAMM, the largest music trade show in the world.
Music & Sound Retailer, Volume 25, No. 10
by Brian Berk
Let's face it: If you're going to be a new player in the ultra competitive guitar manufacturing market, you'd better be different. Jim Normandy, founder and CEO of Normandy Guitars, believes he has that unique product end users will covet.
There's no question Normandy Guitars are different. The guitars are the first to feature lightweight aluminum archtops. Salem, Ore.-based Normandy debuted the product at Summer NAMM a few months ago. The launch came just one month after Jim Normandy obtained a U.S. patent on his product.
Winner of the Best in Show at the recent Nashville NAMM show, the "virtually indestructible" aluminum Normandy guitars are not far from arriving in Australia.
Here's some background on these sexy chrome beasts: you get classic arch top curves with a vintage Bigsby vibrato tailpiece on an aircraft-grade aluminum body which produces smooth warm tones with maximum sustain.
Normandy Guitars delivered one of its aluminum archtop guitars to Mike Squires, guitarist for Duff McKagen's band, Loaded. Squires played the guitar at the band's gig at Seattle's Hell's Kitchen last weekend. The guitar was an instant hit with musicians and fans alike. "Wow! Everyone from the other bands to the people working at the club to the eventual crowd at the venue was floored by the guitar," states Squires. "I received a number of emails from people asking me what that blinding beauty was!"
Jim Normandy of Normandy Guitars introduced his aluminum archtop this summer. Squires sought Normandy Guitars after searching online for guitars made of alternate materials. "I like this guitar for many reasons, explains Squires. "There is NO denying the alternate materials used in building this guitar from the second you open the case. From 10 feet away or 100 feet away, this guitar sends a glaring beauty. It is kind of like wearing a Nudie suit or having your own little micro-pyrotechnical show right in your hot little hands!"
Salem man builds award-winning aluminum guitars August 2, 2008 By K. Williams Brown • Statesman Journal
For 15 years, Jim Normandy worked patiently on his idea. Through 15 prototypes — thicker metal, thinner metal, different shapes, different aluminum grades — he slowly developed a lightweight archtop guitar with an aluminum body.
The Salem resident originally jumped into making instruments for himself in the early '90s.
"I'm a bass player, and back when all of the acoustic bass stuff was going on, I wanted an acoustic bass," he said.
Although Normandy couldn't afford the $3,000 price tag, he thought he could make one himself — out of plastic, wood or metal. After seeing his friends' reactions to his metal prototypes, he decided the idea could have some commercial merit ...
August 1, 2008
by Andy Giegerich •Portland Business Journal
Jim Normandy designs and manufactures an award-winning guitar that's both sleek and sensible. It's strong enough to be compared to an aircraft and cool enough that its users include cult favorites Frank Black of the Pixies and Billy Zoom of X. Yet when performing, the man who wants to make Oregon a guitar-making Mecca occupies a different part of the stage ...
August 2, 2008 By K. Williams Brown • Statesman Journal
Normandy Guitars are made at Zephyr Engineering in South Salem. When they're not making the world's first aluminum production archtop, Zephyr cranks out aircraft parts, wood-burning stoves, truck bumpers and more ...
Normandy Guitars Aluminum Archtop Takes A Hot Bath With Zincate
Salem, Oregon's Normandy Guitars will be at Summer NAMM 2008 with the world's first production aluminum archtop guitar. It's a lightweight aluminum guitar that CEO Jim Normandy has developed after a decade and a half of building aluminum bass guitars.
We see guitar manufacturers come and go a lot, but very few make the leap to your local musical instrument dealer that go beyond a smaller name knock-off of the guitar you might really want. In this case, seek out what you want and hold on to your strap when you hear the monster tone of Normandy Guitars.
Normandy Guitars Launches First Production Aluminum Archtop
Normandy Guitars, a new market player from Salem Oregon, introduced their new lightweight aluminum archtop guitar. It is made out of specially selected aircraft-grade aluminum and the company claims that the material selection results in sustain qualities that are superior to traditional wood guitars.
Another sublime was the launch of Normandy Guitars, aluminium archtop semi-acoustics that look jaw droppingly good and play just as well. The project is the baby of Jim Normandy, who has now established an efficient and sufficient production system that he hopes can meet the sort of numbers he hopes will be wanted.
Guitarras Normandy...guitarras de aluminio (Spanish Article)
Jim Normandy empezo fabricando bajos de cuerpo de aluminio, ahora una guitarra tipo Archtop que será presentada en la exposición de instrumento y equipo Namm del verano. La pregunta es... ¿para que buscar alternativas de materiales?
Normandy Video Interview 2010
PremierGuitar.com's Rebecca Dirks is on location at NAMM 2010 where she stops by the Normandy Guitars booth. In this video, we get to check out Normandy's Alumicaster.
Normandy Video Interview 2009
PremierGuitar.com's Brett Petrusek is on location at NAMM '09 where he stops by the Normandy Guitars booth. In this video, we get to check out two of Normandy's aluminum models; Chrome Archtop and the Rat Rod.
International Music Products Association
January 15-18, 2009
NORMANDY GUITARS TO FEATURE CUTTING-EDGE ELECTRIC BASS, NORMANDY V AND NEW FINISHES AT WINTER NAMM 2009