Norman’s Rare Guitars, as its name might suggest, is an absolute paradise. A longtime authority on vintage guitars and a household name in the music industry, the shop is like a theme park for guitar geeks! We had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the store and speaking with the man himself, Mr. Norman Harris. To top it off, I had the chance to jam and chat with my friend Tim Pierce who was kind enough to introduce me to Norm. Tim’s a fantastic session player who’s worked with Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, and Michael Jackson to name a small handful.
Growing up, I can remember reading imported issues of Guitar Player magazine and seeing ads for the shop, which Norm opened when he was 25. Initially, he told us, he was reluctant to use his own name for the store. At his wife’s suggestion, however, he agreed that a personalized moniker like Norman’s Rare Guitars would stand out from the other generic “Guitar Shops” out there. It undoubtedly has, though Norm and his team’s vintage guitar expertise is unparalleled, which certainly hasn’t hurt either! Oddly enough, as a player himself, Norm prefers a Hammond B3 organ over a guitar. He does love the instrument, though, and admits a guitar’s vocal-like expressiveness and note control is tough to beat. That, and he runs arguably the best vintage guitar shop in the world!
The instruments at Norman’s Rare Guitars are just a fraction of his complete collection.
What’s amazing is that Norm’s guitar collection extends well beyond what’s hanging in the store. Which, as you can see here, is an impressive display itself. Not on display are about 150 more guitars in the back of the store, and another 600 in a warehouse! It’s easy to see why Norman’s Rare Guitars is the go-to for artists, collectors, and enthusiasts. For a closer look at some of the instruments in his extensive collection, Norm curated especially choice pieces which are featured in a 276-page book.
Jamming with Tim, I chose a gorgeous Gibson Barney Kessel that immediately caught my eye. Tim played a 335 which he had purchased at Norm’s not long before this session. Needless to say, it was all an absolute treat!
Please enjoy an afternoon with us at Norman’s Rare Guitars, and as always, have a marvelous time recording and mixing.