Tops and Custom Polished Finishes
The sound of an acoustic guitar depends on the vibration of the guitar's
top. Solid tops are made from a very select grade of spruce or cedar
harvested from trees more than 600 years old. The tight, straight grain
in these woods makes them exceptionally strong in the direction of the
grain and therefore able to withstand the string tension. At the same
time, these handpicked tops are very flexible across the grain, which
allows them to vibrate. A solid top instrument will produce richer sound,
more harmonics, and better dynamic range. Virtually every aspect of
the sound of a solid top guitar will be superior to that of a similar
instrument with a plywood top.
important to the selection of the guitar's top is the material used
to finish it. The thick polyester finishes typically found in all but
the most expensive guitars negates all of the potential benefit of a
solid top instrument. This is why we spend several days applying a very
special Custom Polished finish to every Norman guitar. This special finish encourages
maximum vibration and therefore, excellent sound. Perhaps even more
compelling than the great sound of a solid top guitar with a Custom Polished
finish is its capacity to get even better sounding. This is called ageing.
The best violins are generally instruments that date back more than
a hundred years because these instruments have aged and have become
even better sounding over time. The same phenomena exists in solid top
guitars. But unlike the great violins, you will not have to wait several
decades to hear your guitar at its best. The ageing process in your
acoustic guitar begins as soon as you start playing.
Neck Attachment and Integrated Set Neck
The angle of a guitar's neck attachment—often called 'neck pitch'— plays
a crucial role in the instrument’s tone. Simply put, if the neck is
too far back the guitar will lose its bass and sound tinny. On the other
hand, if the neck angle is too far forward the guitar will lose its
high frequency and sound muddy. The Norman neck attachment system ensures
consistent neck pitch. It also produces the added bonus of superior
neck/body energy transfer because the neck is attached to the body wood-to-wood.
There is no glue or finish to impede the vibration between the heel
of the neck and the guitar's body.
All Norman guitars also include the our Integrated Set Neck system, adding extra resistance and reinforcement to the crucial area where the body and top meet the neck. The Integrated Set Neck system allows for more consistent and stable action while significantly reducing warping and twisting of the neck, largely attributed to changes in climate. All models also feature compound curve tops, where the top is arched slightly in the area above the sound hole and levels out in the area around the bridge to further heighten the structural integrity and overall projection. Also, in combination with a compound curve top, the Integrated Set Neck system eliminates downward pressure from the fingerboard on the top.
The body of an acoustic guitar works in a way similar to a speaker box.
In this case the solidtop serves as the speaker and the back and sides
play the part of speaker cabinet. The back and sides of Norman guitars
are made from a three-part hardwood lamination. This special lamination
retains all of the properties of superior tonewoods and provides a solid
foundation for the top. Other standard features on all Norman guitars
include: high-ratio sealed tuning machines, real wood rosettes, double-action
truss rods, custom Tusq nuts and fully compensated saddles by Graphtech.