Yep, only in the 60s. I sorta like greenburst finishes and often wonder why there aren’t many guitars painted like this anymore? Is it ugly? Fugly? Pea soup green isn’t your color? I’ve actually seen this shade in diapers, and you parents know what I’m talkin’ ’bout!
I’ve often wondered if this was a mistake, like one of the shades in the burst weathered or “morphed” into this green. Under the guard of this guitar, I saw more browns, so who knows. I do know that some sellers will claim that an oddball color like this was a factory one-off or a special order of some sort. But I can guarantee you that sort of thing just didn’t happen in Japan back in the day. The factories there were cranking out so many guitars that more often a mistake would happen, and business would keep on keeping on.
But I must say I dig it anyway. This here old guitar was branded a Norma, most likely from 1967, like right after Norma stopped importing Tombo made guitars and started using various manufacturers. Paging through a Norma catalog is like examining a cross-section of Japanese builders. Strum & Drum bought guitars from all over Japan, since they had employees there who would act as buyers. Norma guitars used at least 6 different builders, by my count. A guitar like this would’ve been an entry level model, and at wholesale something like this would’ve cost between $20 and $30 at the time.
This one didn’t have an adjustable truss rod or a tremolo (which is sorta nice sometimes), but it did have a nice fat neck profile and those good gold foil pickups. They weren’t made by Teisco, but still sounded great and read out in the 5k range. The guitar was easy to set up and since the neck profile was so big, the neck had stayed relatively straight. Totally easy project that didn’t need much to get it going again.
You know how the old Gibson Les Pauls faded over time, losing the cherry finish. It’s where they get that “faded” word. The finishes just didn’t retain the hue for very long. Any finish people out there know what I’m talking about?
And not having a tremolo really contributed to this guitar’s sound. This was one of the best sounding old Japanese guitars I ever laid hands on. Seriously, sometimes you just have to use the ear test, and this darn guitar just sounded good! Check it out below…