B20 review by Norman

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.1 (32 votes)
Norman: B20

Price paid: C$ 350

Purchased from: lauozon

Sound — 8
Since I play a lot of basic songs with a little bit of finger picking, it seems to suit my style quite well. It sounds very good for the price I had paid for it. I would have liked to get one with a pre amp and pickup installed already, but for the amount of times any of my guitars are played through an amp, it wasn't worth it to me. Sounds great though. Remarkable volume and sounds great even low on the fret board.

Overall Impression — 8
I am very happy with the purchase. This guitar is awesome. Sounds great and it's an awesome price. I was thinking of getting the HG (high gloss) version of the B20 but the traditional sounded so much better. I'd recomend it for someone Who want's an awesome sounding guitar and Who doesn't want to break the bank.

Reliability & Durability — 9
It stays in tune, sounds good everything is tight. Once I get it set up and put a bone bridge and nut, it'll be perfect. All of the hardware seems to be very solid. It stays in tune for quite a while. It's pretty dependable, and there isn't much to go wrong with this thing.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar hasn't been set up yet. The action is a little high right from the factory, but nothing too extreme. Norman uses a breathable finish to allow the wood to breath in order to provide a better quality sound. The thing sounds great, but looks relatively plain. The one that I had picked up does not have any gloss finish to it at all. It looks quite nice with a real nice dark wood grain on the sides and a really light top to it. Norman only uses really old wood so you get a lot of the grains visable. My only complaint is that the wood that they used seems to have little imperfections to it. It almost looks like the piece of wood that they used had worms at one point, and they weren't able to sand the piece completely to get the imperfections out. Oh well, it's hardly noticeable but it's something that I really notice.

Features — 7
The Guitar was made in Quebec like all of the others. I picked up the traditional dreadnaught style without a pick guard. It seemed to sound the best in the store. The guitar is a solid top and has a finish that is designed to let the wood breath. No electronics or pickups. Just a campfire machine.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hi all, I still have my B20(6). It was my idea of an engagement present instead of a ring. That marriage is over now (If I knew at the time I'd have chosen a Martin D-28) but anyway, It does sound good but it is hard to play ie. high action. I never took it anywhere in all this time (2001-2002 it was bought) and it can sound in tune lower end but out at 5th fret. Its never been abused but should I get it serviced at a shop does anyone think or do I have a dud?
    Just a reply to Mouley1: Absolutely, yes. I had a different acoustic, but I thought it was ok. It had high action like I thought an acoustic should. Brought it to a good tech - his exact comment when seeing the guitar out of the case was "Do you shoot arrows with this thing?!". When I got it back it was a different instrument, playing-wise. The action was much lower and it tuned better. I played it more because I could actually play it! A proper setup will help with tuning stability, playability, and intonation. Even a lower end instrument will sound/play worlds better after a good setup.
    I don't know if my B20 is special but everyone who hears it thinks it sounds incredible. I love it. Spent a long time browsing the wall at my music shop and out of all of the guitars (within my budget, which there still were a lot of) I chose the B20.
    Same here, I have a B20 I picked up 6 or something years ago... I put extra light strings on it & this thing just sounds wonderful & plays so easily... Really a wonderful guitar, and I also think it sounds better now than ever.
    My second B18 ceder top has had nothing but issues,the same as the first one .lifting bridge,a neck that moves around alot,they truly suck since Godin took over.
    Have had mine since 1985 B20(6). Only replaced the tuners in 2006. Never abused. Sounds better now than ever. Always reliable, stays in tune, looking at the st68 soon as my up grade, the B20 has stood it's time without fail. Tried a lot of different strings over the years and I keep Martin lights on it for performance and tone. For your best bang for your buck, you won't be disappointed. A proper set up is always a good choice by a professional if you're a beginner.
    I have a norman encore b20 I just picked up brand new 2 days ago and I am absolutely in love with it. I have a epiphone aj100 that I can't stand, very difficult to play simple chords, the action is high starting on the 7th fret. In any case the Norman perfect! The sound, the tone, the playability everything,... no complaints! I am planning on picking up a b18 in a month or so!
    I ordered a new Norman Encore B20 off of eBay sight unseen from Mississippi, USA, as it was impossible to find anywhere in the Northeast. It's a very well constructed guitar, with a beautiful sitka spruce top with feathering and a nice cherry laminate back, book-matched on the back so it looks solid. I don't know why Norman or other Godin acoustic companies don't use solid cherry, but no matter as the Norman B20 acoustic guitar sounds pretty darn good. The cherry laminate is of high quality. As others have mentioned, the action on the guitar when it arrived was quite high. The guitar needs a minor adjustment at the nut and saddle. I think Tusq makes good enough nut and saddle material. I can easily play open chords and they are quite bright and “chimey” at the moment, like a maple guitar. I like the sound, though. It will sound better as it ages, when the top gets more opened up. I think it will be a better campfire guitar than the A&L Ami (love the Ami for home use!) because it gets really quite loud, with decent string articulation and intonation. I assume the intonation will remain good when the saddle and nut get adjusted. I definitely recommend this guitar for the money. If you can get it from a seller that will set it up nicely, then even better.