1960s Supro Normandy Electric Guitar

Presumably, I've bought this guitar for myself, though it may come up for sale at some point. It has no serial number at the headstock, but it's clearly a mid-'60s Supro and while it looks like a single-pickup version of their Lexington model, it has the specs (non-whammy tailpiece) of a Normandy guitar. They're almost the same instrument save for cosmetic details, so I'm assuming that at some point Valco/National (the makers of these Supros) ran out of the white Normandy pickguards and instead used the tortoise Lexington ones.

All that said, this thing is way cool. I knew it would be, as it's a funky old Valco/National instrument and even has a nice, offset, bizarro-world Jazzmaster-ish body shape and a ginormous headstock. It came with plenty of expected faults, however: the neck was warped (catalog descriptions say these necks are warp-proof) and has no truss rod, the wiring harness was completely shot, it needed a different bridge (these used straight-saddle, Japanese-looking import bridges), and it wasn't shielded at all in the control cavity.

My work thus included leveling/planing, refretting (with medium-height, jumbo-width stock), and re-nutting the neck, a new wiring harness with 500k pots and the original tone cap as well as a Switchcraft jack, full shielding of the control cavity, a new Gotoh "relic" ABR-style bridge which I hard-mounted into the top (the old bridge slid around like an archtop-style bridge), a ton of cleaning, and a good setup with 46w-10 strings. I'm pretty smitten with the tone -- it's somewhere between a P90 and a relaxed "gold foil" sound and that suits me just fine.

It has a 1 3/4" nut width and medium C-shaped neck profile that feels a lot like an early '50s Gibson acoustic. The radius on the board is 7 1/4" vintage Fendery, however, which gives this a really cool feel. There's enough space for easy chording and fingerpicking but it still feels just fast enough to dig into lead work.

I forgot about the string trees! All three of those are my own additions. This had one original plastic tree but it was really funky and, besides, all the strings needed some extra down-pressure. The headstock has a couple of tiny filled holes at the top, too, from where some junk jewelry was added for "effect." 

Note my new bone nut and a properly-installed, fresh zero fret. This had a zero fret to begin with and I was happy to manage to get one back on it without the end of the board splitting right off (as is usually the case).

My board plane and refret removed the warp to the neck and, under tension, this has only 1/64" relief on the treble side and is perfectly straight on the bass. It's a maple neck with a rosewood board.

I'm in debt to Gotoh for making these nice relic-style bridges with modern improvements. They look great and they work perfectly.

The original knobs are translucent yellow-ish with a metallic paint (was it silver or gold to begin-with?) in the top concave bit.

The actual tailpiece (which is just a little bit of metal with slots in it) is under this wrist-rest/bridge cover that was obviously repurposed from Valco/National resonator coverplates.

Original Kluson strip tuners! Cool! They're lubed and work well.

In the side photo above, you can see how the lower break-angle on the bridge and the relative height of the neck over the body. This gives the guitar a very "archtop" handling factor -- the string tension feels very relaxed and quick and the player has a bit more height over the body before the flatpick bumps into the pickguard. I like it a lot. It's like playing a Jazzmaster body with an ES-125T's string feel and response.

The original chip case came with it.