Other Guitars

is anyone eaten up w/ Ovation?

1

I thought they came along in early 70s but they had been around a few years. Maybe early 70s was when Glen Campbell started his endorsement.

So they were The Future, etc w/ plastic bowl back, onboard pickup... was it their own design or a Barcus Berry or some other earlier name on the acoustic pickup scene? Haven't heard that name -- Barcus Berry-- for a long time also. So many other players got in the game

So they were there on the country scene, (the Campbell influence) and the rock world.... Dave Mason left his old Martins @ home and used Ovations on tour.... plenty of others as well... and Ovation must have been happy to see them on the McCartney/Wings 1976 tour.

Of course there were the goofy electrics, etc. but I am interested to know if the stuff that was so modern and cool on the acoustics then still has an appeal over 40 years later.

2

2080-NWT

Bought around 2007...

Great sounding through an amp, 5 Mic Modeling switch, 3-Band EQ, Tuner, Gain, and a Deep Contour back so it won't slip off your knee.

Made in USA

3

I used to sell Ovations. In fact, I lived four or five miles from the original Connecticut factory back then. Ovation guitars were first offered in 1966. I first saw them in '68 when Glen Campbell started his endorsement. Glen played the fiberglass "Lyracord" roundback as well as the hollowbody 335-style Thunderhead. As to their pickup, Kaman (pronounced kuh-MAN) freaked out when they saw Glen on a tv show with Jerry Reed playing Jerry's Prismatone pickup-equipped Baldwin guitar, so they developed their own bridge saddle pickup. I always thought it was funny that a lot of folks don't like the roundback design, but go ape over the latest modern, whacked-out electrics. Personally, I always thought the Gibson Flying V was harder to hold than the Roundback.

4

Deep Contour back so it won't slip off your knee. Twangmeisternyc

I always liked how Ovation guitars sounded unplugged (I didn't like it plugged in), but I really dislike playing them sitting down. I never tried one with a deep contoured back, now my spider senses are tingling!

5

Here are my Electric Storms (minus the '72 Eclipse I later acquired). Left to right, '68 Thunderhead, '68 Hurricane 12 string, '72 Typhoon bass and '69 Tornado.

6

'72 Eclipse. These were really a great value...either a Thunderhead or Tornado whose grain pattern or finish wasn't up to Ovation's standards. They were refinished over all with the Roundback's black textured bowl paint. The Eclipse is a cool match for my Typhoon bass which sports the same paint job.

7

My Ovation 1768 Elite deep bowl.

8

First time we got to see Jorma Kaukonen was in the late '70s at the Keystone Palo Alto and he had about 10 Ovation acoustics spread around him. They sounded great and he was clearly having fun. A friend had an Applause (the budget brand) with the aluminum fretboard with integrated frets and it was a freakishly great playing and sounding guitar.

9

I have the second generation Folklore and Country Artist - mid 90's. They were made for fingerstyle players with a cutaway, wider neck, flatter fingerboard, standard round sound hole and onboard electrics. There was a similar 3rd gen a bit later but I don't like them as much - not as pretty to me. Second gen are great sounding guitars and aesthetically pleasing. 3 different types of wood make up the rosette and the finish is a warm honey amber. The 3rd gen is a bit more washed out looking.

10

My first guitar teacher in elementary school was the 3rd grade teacher Mr. James James. He lived across the backlane from the far corner of the schoolyard at the corner house, in the window was a grand piano which took up the whole of his living room.

He had an Ovation, this was in about 1981, the guitar was probably much older, deep bowl, round hole, I don’t think it had electronics, with the brown case. It always sounded fantastic, loud enough for a small class of hyper kids on a very large stage partitioned off from the gym.

I’ve been fond of them ever since but I’ve never owned one.

11

All interesting comments. I never had seen those 335 lookin' ones before.

12

In the mid 80s I worked for a music store that was an Ovation dealer. We got a batch of their guitars in the summer . In the warmth of or showroom the bridges randomly popped off under string tension . I don’t know if anyone has ever heard this sound but in a reasonably quiet room it sounds like cannon fire. Scared the bejeebuz out of us. You never knew when it was going to happen so we were on high alert til the batch with the crappy glue joints was sorted out. Never wanted one after that. It seems funny know but man was it a shocking sound!

13

Eaten up with Ovation? Not. In. The. Least.

They solved one problem - amplification of an acoustic without feedback - until others' pickup tech caught on and did it better. At first it was superficially cool to be without the feedback, boom and squall, and inconsistent response of a mic'd acoustic...until you noticed the result sounded not so much like an acoustic guitar. Or, rather, it sounded like the high end of an acoustic guitar very artificially eq'd.

I didn't like holding them, I didn't like the tone, I didn't like the feel (every one I played was stiff as a board). Buddy had a limited edition Adamus Legend (or some such term), thinline, shallow bowl, special deal. It sounded like something, and apparently an awful lot of the world now accepts that piezo honk and scratch as "acoustic guitar," but to me it's still fingernail-on-chalkboard.

Maybe the electronics were improved later, and they sounded more like guitars...but I had no interest.

We got a batch of their guitars in the summer . In the warmth of or showroom the bridges randomly popped off under string tension . I don’t know if anyone has ever heard this sound but in a reasonably quiet room it sounds like cannon fire. Scared the bejeebuz out of us. You never knew when it was going to happen so we were on high alert til the batch with the crappy glue joints was sorted out.

And, yes, exactly. I had the same experience while working in a music store in the 80s. And if the Ovations themselves were a stench in the nostrils of the gods of the forest, the cheapline Applause series was even worse, with frets cast as part of the aluminum neck. The fret ends (and tops) felt like a finely sharpened cheese grater, the guitars had action only a slide could love, and they managed to make space-age materials look cheap. And that was before they self-destructed under string tension. I can't believe the model name survives; I would've thought that between the explosive bridges and danger-zone necks, the guitars would have buried Kaman in class action suits.

(And it's not that I have anything against space-age materials or aluminum guitar construction. Au contrarious, I usually like those things.)

I did like the electrics, though! Especially the Breadwinner and the Deacon. From my experience, they all played and sounded fine...kinda similar to Peavey in the same era: tough, workmanlike, competent. I never wanted one, though.

14

Anything that legitimises the sound of an electro-acoustic is bad news in my book.

They sound like a dog sprinkling a plastic bag.

They definitely made some very cool electrics that appealed to a broad range of people, from Queens Of The Stone Age to the king of the sound stage, Glen Campbell.

15

Ah, the title of this thread takes me back to army basic training. The drill sergeants would sometimes mention that someone was "ate up".

It was not a compliment.

Kinda like Ovation. Not a fan.

16

First time we got to see Jorma Kaukonen was in the late '70s at the Keystone Palo Alto and he had about 10 Ovation acoustics spread around him. They sounded great and he was clearly having fun. A friend had an Applause (the budget brand) with the aluminum fretboard with integrated frets and it was a freakishly great playing and sounding guitar.

– lx

My brother, Ray, gifted me an Applause when I went into the Army in the 70’s. It had the aluminum neck and survived a lot of abuse. Fell off a 6ft locker and snapped above the nut. I glued it back on and it was good for another 10 years. But, it was a slippery bastard when sitting.

17

Tough Crowd!

I first came close to Ovation A/E in 1975, didn't buy, but loved it. Nothing sounded so cool and so good...thru an amp, add some reverb, a little trem.

Since this thread started I restrung mine above, and played an hour through my Acoustic rig.

It makes more than suitable tones, as stable as can be intonation-wise, fun to play. I wouldn't say indestructible carbon fiber high-tech, it's still delicate.

I bought it because it was the other end of science versus "pure" wood-only craftsmanship and experience. I have that, too.

18

Anything that legitimises the sound of an electro-acoustic is bad news in my book.

They sound like a dog sprinkling a plastic bag.

I could not improve on your comparison. Spot on!

The piezo pickup is the worst thing to happen to acoustic guitars since, well, the plastic back.

19

I just brought this up because I just remember them as being hyped as 'the future of guitars'... but also in the 70s quadraphonic was 'the future of stereo..." if that means anything. Quad burned out in about 2 years

But lots of people used Ovation.... I never had one tho

20

I am fairly short (5'8") and for many years was also somewhat rotund of belly. The bowl-back Ovation went from desirable to reject in about a minute once I actually had my hands on one. The was something about that back against my stomach that simply kept the rest of the guitar too far away from me to be useful. The overall effect turned out to be more comic than musical, and I wound up disappointed. Thus ended my affair with Ovations a la Campbell.

I do lust for one of the very rare (8) Bluebirds of the 12 string variety, but that lust is likely to remain unrequited. And in the long run, it's probably better that way.

21

The bulkiest part of the Ovation's back is actually past my stomach. The flat portions of the waist of the guitar are pretty close to the same size as a conventional flattop, so it rests comfortably in my lap while sitting. I don't hold my guitar in the classical style or angled in my lap like a jazz guitarist, so the round bowl has never really been an issue for me. Glen did ask Ovation to create a mid-depth bowl and they also offer the super-shallow bowl. I guess it just depends on your tastes. Personally, I love the Ovation.

22

I’ve had two. I sold them both. I always liked the nylon-string ones in the ‘70s, but couldn’t afford them then. On one of my 12-string quests, I concluded a Balladeer 12-string was the pinnacle of 12-stringery. So I bought it with my Nestle corporate credit card, and somehow didn’t get fired over it. It was a good-sounding guitar, the gut-vs-roundback dilemma helped me decide to part ways with it. Haven’t felt tempted to try it again, and the company has been sold, or distributorship has changed hands so many times, I don’t even know if they’re even still being made.

The second one was a lucky find. I used to go over to the Pasadena GC at lunchtime when I had nothing better to do. I walked into their acoustic room, and there, practically NOS, was a US-made Country Artist nylon-string, for $600 and change. I took it home. It was great while it lasted, but the Honeymoon was soon over, and I sold it on reverb to a guy in Greece who was ecstatic to get it. I hope he’s happy. My nylon-string affections have transferred to my Godin Mutiac SA Nylon, which has become a “cold, dead hands” guitar. It’s the only guitar I’ve ever bought where I became Facebook friends with the seller, and we still follow each other’s musical activities, though we’re on opposite sides of the country, and we’ve never met. So Ovations are like Eastwoods, I’ve tried ‘em, don’t need to do it again.

The electrics, I liked, too. Mainly the Breadwinner. I spent way too much time in a West Sacramento music store one day, about 1974, playing the hell out of a white Breadwinner. This was at a time when my one electric guitar was a brown single-pickup Silvertone and my amp was a solid-state Heathkit amp. Either the salesman somehow mistakenly thought I could lay hands on the money required to purchase this, or it was just a slow day and he felt kind, but I was sold. Never could buy one, though, and I haven’t ruled it out, but not expecting to own one at this point.

23

My nylon-string affections have transferred to my Godin Mutiac SA Nylon, which has become a “cold, dead hands” guitar.

What's the nut width on yours? I had one for awhile in gorgeous ocean blueburst (before that was a thing), a nice partner to my LGX-SA (which is still a favert). But the nut on mine, if anything, narrower than on the steel-string electric, and despite having mini-digits, I could not play it cleanly...especially in the first position where lots of things tend to happen on a nylon-string. I finally gave up and sent it away.

It didn't take me nearly as long to give up on the fretless Godin 11-string nylon. What was I thinking.

24

Bought mine in 1991, on a payment plan because I was young and broke LOL, and to this day it's still one of the greatest acoustics I've ever played. I don't play it enough, because it's "home" is in my wife's office upstairs, and she works from home so I'm not in there often throughout the day.

Ovation 1769 Custom Legend deep bowl cutaway.

25

What's the nut width on yours? — Proteus

Mine is 1-7/8”, a comfortable “crossover” size that’s a joy to play. They make a version called the “Slim,” which has a nut width of something nylonically absurd like 1-5/8”, maybe that’s what you had and nobody told you (they haven’t always used that name, and sellers, especially on the used market, often don’t know) and I steered clear of it whilst shopping for mine. Mine’s a natural finish spruce top, because I wanted a more flamenckish than classical tone I hear in the cedar tops. The difference is subtle, but it’s there.

I used to want the now-discontinued Multiac Jazz, but I wanted a bridge pickup, and I don’t enjoy changing steel strings on slotted headstocks.

@ruger9: the deep-bowl Custom Legend was the pinnacle of the Ovation line, and they sound great, well worth making payments on. As long as the top stays glued to the bowl, and obviously yours has, it’s a keeper.


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