Norma Guitars was a Japanese guitar brand that emerged during the 1960s and gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. The guitars were manufactured by the Tombo Musical Instrument Company, which also produced harmonicas and other instruments. Norma guitars were known for their affordability and unique designs, often featuring offbeat body shapes and retro aesthetics. While not as widely recognized as some other brands of the era, Norma guitars found a following among budget-conscious musicians and collectors seeking quirky vintage instruments. Though the brand ceased production in the late 1970s, Norma guitars continue to intrigue enthusiasts and capture a nostalgic appeal for their distinctive charm.
Notable players associated with Norma guitars include Peter Buck of R.E.M., who played a Norma solid-body electric during the band’s early years, contributing to the jangly sound of their music. Another notable musician associated with Norma guitars is David Lindley, who played a Norma 12-string acoustic on various recordings and performances. These artists, among others, embraced the unique character and affordability of Norma guitars, contributing to the brand’s legacy and appeal among musicians seeking distinctive vintage instruments.
1960s Japanese Electric Guitars
Japanese electric guitars from the 1960s have become highly sought after by collectors and musicians for their quality craftsmanship and unique designs. During this era, Japanese guitar manufacturers, such as Norma, Teisco, Yamaha, and Guyatone, produced a wide range of electric guitars that often emulated popular American models. These guitars were known for their affordability, making them accessible to aspiring musicians. While some models closely resembled iconic American guitars like the Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul, others showcased innovative and distinctive designs that reflected the creativity of Japanese manufacturers. Today, ’60s Japanese electric guitars are celebrated for their vintage charm, excellent playability, and the unique character they bring to a player’s collection.
Notable players of ’60s Japanese electric guitars include artists like Jack White of The White Stripes, who has been known to play vintage Japanese models such as the Teisco Del Rey Spectrum and the Yamaha SG-5A. Artists like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, have also been associated with Japanese guitars from the 1960s, incorporating their distinct tones and aesthetics into their music. These artists, among others, have helped generate renewed interest in the 60s Japanese electric guitars and highlight their contribution to the evolution of guitar culture.