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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all (sorry for my not so good english)
Following yesterdays thread regarding an old C-20 Norman,
Maybe I can add some informations on the history of Norman guitars.
This was also posted on AGF.
I’m trying to be as accurate as possible, so here we go...
Robert Godin met Normand Boucher on a hunting trip to La Patrie around 1969-70, maybe 71. Robert was then a salesman at La Tosca music store in Montreal.
Normand guitar no1 was completed in 1967, the guitar still exist today and still owned by the Boucher family.
Nomand Boucher was than a carpenter, door and windows and cabinet maker in La Patrie.
Building / designing guitars took more and more of is spare time.
He wanted to design an adjustable angle neck so that musicians could adjust their guitars as needed in a few minutes.
Normand also played guitar since is youth, owning a 00-40H Martin converted to spanish.
Normand Boucher and Robert Godin both started working together in 1972, Normand running his shop, Robert being the exclusive distibutor through his company Sibécor.
In fact even before that Robert started to sell Norman guitars through La Tosca.
Norman guitars were a smash hit in the province of Quebec, every player wanted one, tons of artists using them.
Robert Godin started to build is own guitars in 1979 with Claude Boucher son of Normand : Kamouraska and Lys which later became LA Patrie and Seagull.
Claude designed and ran the shop, Robert on the road selling.
Now we had in La Patrie the Unisonic shop up the hill (Robert Godin/Claude Boucher) and the Norman shop down the hill (Normand Boucher),
All distributed by Sibécor (Robert Godin).
The shop up the hill was suppose to produce only classicals but when they started the acoustics, Normand Boucher ended the distribution contract to start is own network
Through « Les Instruments de musique Norman inc »
Also originally, Normand wanted mostly high end quality, Robert wanted to sell high volume, different visions, so they went each their own way.
When you go to todays Norman web site, it says « It all started in 1982 », in a way it is true.
The early 80’s were tough times for the acoustic guitar industry.
In 1982 the Unisonic / Sibécor companies were shut down, Claude Boucher left and Robert with fresh investors restarted under a new company structure :
Guitabec (the shop) / Lasido (distribution), that is when the Kamouraska / Lys lines changed names to La Patrie / Seagull.
Meanwhile down the hill in september 1980 the Norman shop burned down to the ground completely.
This here a message for all eBayers trying to sell a « salvage from the fire » Godin guitrar : there are none and there was no other guitar shop fire in the village!!!
Normand Boucher rebuilt the shop and tooling, and tried to restructure a decent distribution network.
Claude Boucher came back to the Norman shop in 1983.
Times were hard as there was also an general economic recession.
Eventually Normand Boucher lost control of his shop around 1986 and the new management who had no experience in the making of musical instruments
Struggled trying to survive, eventualy, Robert Godin ended up bying Norman in 1989.
Claude left Norman in 1986 and bought the village’s restaurant.
Richard Boucher (Normand’s other son) stayed at the Norman shop till the end.
Richard and Claude would years later start up the « Boucher » line of guitars, run today by Robin Boucher, Normand’s nephew.
So is the story of those two pioneer :
Normand Boucher, guitar maker and brilliant tooling inventor.
Robert Godin, guitar nuts and brilliant business man.

Dan
 

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Thank you! Very interesting.

I tried a Boucher acoustic at Mojo Music in Oakville and was VERY impressed.
I wish I could psychologically permit myself to pay that much for a guitar. Maybe someday.
 
L

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I enjoyed reading that.
Beats trying to piece together bit's here and there through google as I was researching my '90 B20 cutaway.
 

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Very interesting and enlightening, I always wondered about the how, why and who of the Godin, Norman, Seagull, La Patrie connection. Thanks for posting.
 
L

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I always wondered about the how, why and who of the Godin, Norman, Seagull, La Patrie connection.
Godin line of acoustics ... which sort of resembles a guitar version of General Motors.
You can buy a Buick (Seagull), or an Oldsmobile (Simon & Patrick) or a Pontiac (Norman) or a Chevy (Art & Lutherie).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Happy to share !
Yeah the idea being, quoting M. Godin here "Any guitar sold in a city has to be one of mine"
Clever, spreading the lines across different dealers in each markets.
Dan
 
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