Norman Harris Shares the Story of Guitars with Music Connection

Norman Harris, co-author of Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer, sat down with Music Connection to discuss his latest book and adventures. Confessions of a Vintage Guitar Dealer is an intriguing memoir from a man who has spent a lifetime getting extraordinary instruments into the hands of extraordinary artists.


00149884You’ve been dealing in guitars for 40 years. Is it still a thrill?

The thrill never goes away. There’s always something, a rare custom guitar or a hard-to-find model, that still excites me.

Why write a book?

Well, I published a book about 10 years ago, Norman’s Rare Guitars, but it was a picture book. I could have included stories, but I didn’t think anyone cared. Then I discovered that people liked to hear the stories and even asked about them. So, I decided to tell my story and the stories behind the guitars.

You came to Los Angeles to be a musician.

Little Richard brought my band out here and we were signed to a small deal. Plan A was to become a professional musician. Plan B was selling guitars for extra money. Although I did well as a player, Plan B took off and became Plan A.

You got a shout-out in the movie This is Spinal Tap. How did that happen?

Christopher Guest (who played Nigel) is a regular customer. He told me about the film and wanted to use the store in a few scenes. He also wore one of my T-shirts in the movie. I watched them shoot and it was total fun.

Do you get involved with a lot of films?

It never occurred to me to do that, but then I was asked to and it was great PR and brought in additional income. The first film I did was Bound for Glory. David Carradine (who played Woody Guthrie) wanted a period correct guitar. Now, I supply guitars and accessories for films and videos whenever needed.

Why aren’t you located in Hollywood where all the action is?

I didn’t want to be in the middle of all the craziness. Besides, the store is close to my house and it’s a place where professional musicians, rock stars and celebrities can browse without being bothered by paparazzi.

In your book you describe guitars, ones that you had never seen, in exquisite detail. How did you acquire that knowledge years before the Internet?

A lot of it was word-of-mouth. I established friendships with old players and picked their brains. I also nurtured relationships with people who worked at guitar companies. I just talked, listened and learned.


Read the rest of the interview here.

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About HLPAPG

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on October 14, 2016, in Music Fans, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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