Other Guitars

Such are the dreams…


about fifteen years ago, I came across an appearance by Glen Campbell on TV and noticed the guitar he was slinging- a blue burst 12 string with a smaller body that looked to be solid. The well-known Ovation headstock and logo told me who made it.

I was intrigued by the sound he was getting from it- I've had several electric and electro-acoustic 12's in my life over the years, and nothing in my experience could produce quite the same sound that blue Ovation could. So I looked into it.

It wasn't in the catalogue, and my Ovation dealer (Ward in those days) professed to not have heard of it, so the idea of getting one went on the back burner for the next several years.

Then I saw another video of Campbell playing the William Tell Overture on one and the GAS returned. By now, the internet was about, so I was able to do some online looking, which gave me a name- "Bluebird". Now I knew what I wanted. It was a step.

Glen's use of the 12-string was really the sole impetus for me to get my first one lo those many years ago, and I managed to get reasonably proficient at flat-picking it (while everyone else told me to play one like McGuinn), and my life-long affinity for all things 12-string can be directly traced back to Campbell's "The Astounding 12-string Guitar of..." album, whichsame I wore out twice.

Years - a lot of 'em- went by and I'd almost forgotten about the Bluebird, until a couple of days ago when I saw another Youtube vid. There it was, and suddenly I wanted one all over again.

The rub is that there are only six (or maybe five) in the entire universe!!! All were made in one swell foop for Glen between 1978 and 1982. There were also some 6-strings made, but they seem to have vanished. Besides, it is the 12 I am GASsing over...

But with a George Harrison played Rickenbacker selling for over a half million recently, what chance have I - a poor, semi-retired Canuck- of scoring one of the two or three Bluebirds still around?

If you happen to be at the Country Music HOF you might get a look at one, the family loaned one for a display there, and I know there was one on tour with Glen last year. A third one suffered a broken neck in an airlines incident several years ago and it's fate is unknown, so there are precious few around as a result.

This dream may have to wait.


Alpep, a GDP member, also happened to be one of the biggest Ovation dealers in the country.

Talk to him, he might have a bit more info for you.


Kevin, I'm a HUGE Glen Campbell and Ovation fan... I do remember that beautiful axe. Once upon a time, an Ovation dealer could have custom-ordered a similar guitar, but since Fender bought Kaman and parted it out, I don't know if Ovations are being made currently. I used to live about 28 miles from Ovation, but I was only a dumb kid back then. If I could go back in time to the late '60s, I'd ask our principal to organize a school trip to the Ovation factory.


...of the everyday guitarist, you see anywhere anytime of the day.

Always wanted the Ovation Glen Campbell model when I was a kid. I remember requesting a catalog and receiving one in the mail. It featured the Glen Campbell model along with several other acoustics (Legend and Balladeer) and a beautiful 335 type electric whose name I can't recall. I pored over that catalog until I wore it out. In later years I did manage to score a truly beautiful deep bowl Legend and played it for a year or so. Still, by then the dream had kind of worn off and I was getting more into electric guitars. Eventually traded the Legend in on a Tele or something (can't quite remember). Never did get a Glen Campbell model.

Great story Kevin. I hope you find your dream some day. Perhaps, you might inquire into whether or not Ovation could build you a custom order of that 12 string. Those things really do ring like a bell...


I love Ovation solid body guitars, especially the Deacon. I have a few, and for me, even though the Rickenbacker 12 is considered the king of the hill, I'll opt for the 12-string Deacon. Even though the Viper is cool, the Deacon is king!

I'm selling the black one...just a side note



Great story!

It appears Ovations guitars are still being made: http://www.ovationguitars.com/

There is contact information on the site -- that would be a starting point if you have not already done so.

Also -- I agree with crowbone's suggestion to contact Alpep.


Hmmmmm, it looks like a 12 string Ovation Viper. It was probably a custom guitar for Glenn. I can't find any info that the Viper was ever offered on the open market, as anything other than a 6-string.


It looks like it has an extra wide neck. Interestingly, the 12 string that Gretsch made for George Harrison also had an extra wide neck which George disliked (must have gotten used to those narrow Rick necks) and eventually gave it away.


General_Lee, are you meaning THIS 335-style guitar? Its a Storm Series Ovation Thunderhead.


Hmmmmm, it looks like a 12 string Ovation Viper. It was probably a custom guitar for Glenn. I can't find any info that the Viper was ever offered on the open market, as anything other than a 6-string.

– EllenGtrGrl

Yep, they were custom made.. There some info on them here:


I worked it out that there may be three of the six left, or perhaps only two, if there were only five. Makes them virtually unique in the universe of guitars, but a guy can dream.

It's nice to have a dream...


There are scads of very talented independent guitar makers out there. If all of the hardware and everything else about it is standard issue Ovation, get your hands on a 12 string neck that suits you, and have it built from there.


I never heard of these guitars until now, but a quick read through Kevin's link reveals that nothing about them except for the pickups and electronics is anything like a regular Ovation.

The neck is incredibly wide, the bridge would appear to need an entire R&D team to reverse-engineer, and "(t)he body was constructed of polyurethane over an aluminum frame". You'd probably need to X-ray it just to know what's under there, and that's only the beginning!


Okay, maybe not so simple then.


General_Lee, are you meaning THIS 335-style guitar? Its a Storm Series Ovation Thunderhead.

– duojet55

I'm sure it is. Funny though, I don't remember that name from the catalog...


Beauty shot....

– Kevin Frye


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