Other Guitars

Only person I ever saw using an Ovation Breadwinner

1

Well Ovation was huge in the 70s as was this group.. actually what I like in this vid is all the young folks totally into it... all the little Dancing Queen girls are 'having the time of their lives.":

4

He wasn’t so much using it than he was wearing it, but then I was only able to make it through the first minute.

5

Somehow ABBA, using an Ovation Breadwinner....is just perfect. At least to me. Oh, and BTW, can't stand ABBA, so, there ya go.

6

I know, I know, "if you can't say something nice...."

8

Well...having lived through a summer of tri-generational female family obsession with Mama Mia, I'll say that the Abbans wrote more interesting music than I thought at the time. Do I like them? Do I like Paul McCartney with Wings?

It’s exceedingly well done, and you can't deny the tenacity of the melodies, anyway. At the very least, I respect it.

And somehow, given their vast success at the time, everything about the name of the guitar is appropriate. Ovations, and bread-winning, was what they were all about.


But isn't it what most bands are all about? In order to sell out, you first have to have something the world wants to buy. All bands who've "tried to make it" would love to find that something. While at the time, from my jaundiced prog/hardrock/Steely Dan perspective, it seemed Abba was the epitome of middle-of-the-road whitebread pop sellout, such a judgment implies they weren't sincere or something. As in, who was I to judge?

I mean, they sounded like a live-action Archies, just too cheerful for words, but it's possible that's who they really were. Abba apparently "sold out" by writing the songs they felt like writing, about the things that were happening in their lives, then arranging and recording and performing them to perfection. Gee. How calculating and cynical of them.

At the same time, though, Fleetwood Mac was doing exactly the same thing on this side of the Atlantic, also mining their intra-band relationship drama for insidiously innocuous ditties - and, from my perspective, they were selling out their previous identities for fame and fortune. But again...there was no roadmap to sell(ing)out (stadiums) success, and no guarantee either bands’s evolving configuration would "make it." Both happened to hit on a formula that worked for awhile, probably to no one's greater surprise than their own.

Good on 'em, I guess. 40 years later, I think I'd rather listen to Abba than Bucknix Mac. The songs are more inventive, and from an objective standpoint, the voices are better.

9

I am an unabashed ABBA admirer. They were a pop band, not a rock band. So, they should not be judged in the same manner as all of the other bands from the Seventies that we were listening to, including the later iteration of Fleetwood Mac.

What was not to like about them? They wrote tremendous pop songs. Highly melodic, and somewhat clever chord changes. The words to the songs were written in a foreign language for them. Imagine how hard that would be! Sure, Swedes grow up studying English from a young age, and most of them are able to speak our language quite well. But, to rhyme and to write verse in a foreign language is not easy. And their songs invariably had either a huge melodic or a verbal hook to them.

They all had great voices. Frida's and Agnetha's voices blended beautifully.

And they played the role of the disco/pop performers perfectly in their on stage routines. Björn was willing to strap on some odd looking guitars every now and then. And, then there was the infamous part of Agnetha's presentation that had most young guys watching carefully.

Aside from not being a rock band, what is there to complain about? I lived in Europe while ABBA was at the height of their popularity and I will tell you that they absolutely owned that continent. They were good for what they were doing, and at the time when they were doing it.

10

One of the people for whom I occasionally do guitar work has a version of the Breadwinner called "The Deacon", which is convenient because that's also his last name. It has upgraded features over the basic Breadwinner, like a bound fretboard and diamond-shaped fretboard inlays. Under all the clear poly, it's a nice looking piece of mahogany.

I call it "The Cutting Board" and find it heavy to play when standing and ungainly when sitting. If you've ever had the need to cut up a baguette on stage, this is the guitar for you.

It is, however, one seriously well-built guitar. I haven't had to adjust the truss rod in almost 20 years, and a recent complete fret replacement went quite well. The active electronics still work, but the pickups are getting a little weak.

11

DCBirdman, thanks for bring this up in this thread. I always wondered what guitar is he is playing. I love ABBA. Big fan. To me they were kind of The Beach Boys of Europe or Sweden. Hit after hit and very consistent and fairly long lived but not as long as The Beach Boys. Really good pop songs like The Beach Boys. They have a lot of upbeat songs like The Beach Boys too. Some sad sounding songs like The Beach Boys. The Beach Boys and ABBA are bands that just make you (except for Rhythmisking, LOL!) wanna smile when listening to them.

12

I know, I know, "if you can't say something nice...."

– Rhythmisking

I'm a big ABBA fan but I don't mind if you bash them, just your opinion. I think you should say how you feel.

Also Ric12 said it totally spot on, they were not a rock band but a pop band. That's 100% correct.

13

David Cassidy used to tote a Breadwinner from time to time.

15

Ah....ABBA.

They were peaking when I was about 13, as was disco. Like most kids my age, top-40 radio was almost literally never turned off. If I was home, awake, and not playing along with records, my radio was on.

Compared to all the hihats being opened and closed on the off-beat 8th notes and Barry White (the walrus of love) booming about how “we made love, we ate love, we crapped love”, “Waterloo” was rock ‘n roll. Then to top it all off, what with being of the age when your glands have you like a sealed can of Pepsi in a paint mixer, there was......Agnetha, the quintessential Swedish goddess. That face (and padonk) moved millions of units (pun intended) worldwide.

Sell-outs? How many scoffers would sit and bitch about writing songs that caused you to be your home country’s biggest export? C’mon. And regarding, “Dancing Queen”, specifically: if you can cut that bass track better than the guy on that cut, then you’re a world-class badass.

Did I mention [deep breath] Agnetha? One of the saddest tragedies of the ‘70’s was how desperately Agnetha wanted me and she never even knew it.

Also, let’s face it: for that time, especially out of Scandinavia, the production of their stuff was just ridiculously well-done. No mean feat, all things considered.

Did I mention Agnetha?

Oh, and on topic, Roy Clark played a Breadwinner on Hee-Haw sometimes.

16

At a gig my band played a few years ago I had a strange encounter with ABBA. We consisted of 3 guys playing 80’s alternative rock covers.
A drunk Swedish gal came up to the stage and shouted, while I was singing, “ when are you going to play something good like ABBA?”

I’ll never forget that..... and I still wonder what 3 guys would have sounded like singing Dancing Queen?

17

All very interesting reactions. I saw Roy Clark a bunch in the 90s and he used a Breadwinner12 on a few songs.

19

I've seen photos with Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley borrowing Ace's Breadwinner, Pete Townshend, David Cassidy and I think Glen Campbell, who also used the Viper.

I've had 4 Ovation Deacons, and still have two. They are awesome, and I'd say the Deacon 12-string is better than the Rickenbacker 12.

Yep, I said it!

...------

20

I am an unabashed ABBA admirer. They were a pop band, not a rock band. So, they should not be judged in the same manner as all of the other bands from the Seventies that we were listening to, including the later iteration of Fleetwood Mac.

What was not to like about them? They wrote tremendous pop songs. Highly melodic, and somewhat clever chord changes. The words to the songs were written in a foreign language for them. Imagine how hard that would be! Sure, Swedes grow up studying English from a young age, and most of them are able to speak our language quite well. But, to rhyme and to write verse in a foreign language is not easy. And their songs invariably had either a huge melodic or a verbal hook to them.

They all had great voices. Frida's and Agnetha's voices blended beautifully.

And they played the role of the disco/pop performers perfectly in their on stage routines. Björn was willing to strap on some odd looking guitars every now and then. And, then there was the infamous part of Agnetha's presentation that had most young guys watching carefully.

Aside from not being a rock band, what is there to complain about? I lived in Europe while ABBA was at the height of their popularity and I will tell you that they absolutely owned that continent. They were good for what they were doing, and at the time when they were doing it.

– Ric12string

Me too -- I've always admired Abba. They were (are) talented musicians and excellent writers. They also had a real talent for marketing themselves and who can begrudge them for that?

21

I always thought it was funny how the Breadwinner body shape got its revenge twenty (thirty?) years later when all of a sudden people like Bill Frisell were seen with Klein guitars.

They had the same basic shape and explanation of ergonomics, and for a short while were hip with players that wouldn't have wanted to be seen dead with an Ovation breadwinner.

22

Former Ovation CEO Bill Kaman once discussed why their electric guitars never were as successful as other brands. They were ahead of their time and packed with tremendous features, but they just lacked sex appeal.

23

Ovation, as a brand, got off to a bad start, in my mind at least, for two reasons:

  1. The guitars would slip off your lap if you tried to play one while seated. They may have addressed that at some point, but it was a problem for years.

  2. The guitars did not have a natural acoustic tone. It isn't that they sounded bad; just that they did not sound natural. Plugged in, however, they sounded pretty good.

I've never played one of their electrics.

24

ABBA recorded in 85 different languages all told, albeit phonetically. At their height, they were bringing more money into Sweden than Saab and Volvo combined.

Still, I'm not too much of a fan, but, I'll give credit where it's due. My wife and daughter love Mamma Mia! (Story of a loose woman who doesn't know which of three guys fathered her daughter. Classy.) Sold a lot of records and spawned a stage musical and a money making movie out of it.

I never could stand the glitzy clothes tho.

25

Benny Andersson an always great and inventive synthesist, keyboard player and producer, and the other members were all equally gifted and worked together perfectly.. Their fame will certainly outlast that of many other bands. Few could write something as well-written and thematic as 'The Winner Takes it All.' (as just one example) Blessed with amazing female vocals which were a producers dream. Good on them ... Sadly, they were tarred with the same 'sellout' brush as Toto.. Both clever and inventive, and immensely creative bands.

Breadwinner? I had a black one once but never liked it.. The pickups sounded thin and weedy and not in any territory that I liked or could ever really use. The speckled paint finish looked like it was done with a roller.. Not at all versatile guitars IMO and horrible to hold.. A Strat feels as if it's part of me.. A Breadwinner, as if it's a part of someone else. I had thought of getting an Ovation UK2.. (foam over an aluminium skeleton) That might be an improvement. But how many geetars does one really need? (as opposed to ' want ' .)


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