So my 15 year-old son got his upscale Seagull two months ago, and our older daughter was jealous, and wanted an “heirloom’ of her own, so we got her a Seagull S6. Then I learned something: the Seagull S6 has a neck that is slightly wider than a standard steel string acoustic guitar. No wonder I liked playing the Seagull so much! I have big-guy fingers, and have never had an easy time with skinny necks. That S6 just fit my fingers like a champ. Suddenly I was a better player.
However, my daughter has petite little digits, and once she got the Seagull S6 home, great as it sounded, she immediately wanted to change into a guitar that sounded as good, but had a standard-width neck. We went back to the very patient dealer, turned in the Seagull S6 (hard to want to do, at least for me, anyway), and started auditioning or makes.
Enter the Norman line of acoustics. My daughter likes the cutaway look, but couldn’t care less about built-in electronics, so she started looking seriously at the B-18 CW model in the Norman line. Voila! Suddenly she was happy!
I was still a little suspicious because I have become a raging Seagull fan — such a killer sound for a low price — so I started asking questions and checking the Norman out.
Now, I may not have all my facts straight here, but the guitar-maker sales guy said that the Normans had exactly the same design as the Seagulls, at least as far as internal bracing, and the construction elements that determine the sound quality of a guitar. Honestly, the Normans sounded like a million bucks, too, just like the Seagulls. I was told something to the effect that Norman and Seagull used to be the same company, but somebody had a falling out, so the companies split up into Seagull and Norman.
No wonder the two guitar lines both sounded so good.
So here’s the main differences, as far as I could tell:
The Norman has a standard neck, while the Seagull is a little wider (better for big-handed types like me).
The Seagull has a tapered headstock, which is touted for helping the strings not catch and then slip above the nut, thereby helping the guitar hold its tuning better. The Norman, squarish, not tapered. How much difference does that make? I have no idea.
The quality of sound in both guitars was stellar — you’d have trouble distinguishing between them for quality, fullness and sparkle.
So there’s my assessment as the guy who actually bought these kids their guitars. I hope this little comparison helps if you find yourself choosing between the Norman B-18 and the Seagull S6 acoustic guitars.