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Showing posts with the label Ovation

Ovation Collectors Edition: 1976 Bicentennial Model

It was dangerous for me in high school. I was a 17 year-old guitarist with established credit at the local music store. Over the years I was in high school, I bought several guitars from a small, family-run music store in Southeast Alaska. A few of them I had bought on time and I faithfully paid them off. This meant that I could pretty much walk into the store, buy any instrument hanging on the wall, and walk out with it after putting down perhaps ten percent on it as a down payment.  One evening during the school year, I had just returned home from a band practice when the family phone rang. Remember, this was 1976, the phone was on the wall in the kitchen with a long cord. My mom handed the phone to me with a quizzical look because she didn't recognize the adult's voice on the other end of the call. It was the manager of the music store. He told me they had just gotten in a brand new guitar and that I had to come see it right then. It was a collectible guitar and they would o

Mid-1970s Ovation 1251 Breadwinner Solidbody Guitar

Ovation made a big splash in the 1970s with their round-back acoustic-electric guitars. They also produced a line of solidbody electric guitars named Deacon and Breadwinner. These guitars were oddballs in almost every way, but they were an extraordinarily high quality instrument, if you could figure out how to use it. Let's start with the body, which the line's most identifiable feature. The asymmetrical design was driven by ergonomics primarily. If you play a Les Paul seated for any length of time, you know how it likes to slide off your lap. The Breadwinner/Deacon body shape allowed you to hold the guitar comfortably in two seated positions. You could play it on your right leg or you could balance it comfortably on your left leg, the way a classical guitarist might hold a guitar. The strap buttons were placed where the guitar balanced nicely for playing while standing. The long "fin" on the upper side of the guitar gave you a comfortable place to rest your picking a

1978 Ovation Glen Campbell Signature 12-String

In the 1970s, when other American guitar manufacturers struggled with poor quality control and hostile buyouts, Connecticut-based Ovation produced innovative guitars that quickly began to dominate the stage. Ovation was a subsidiary of Kaman Corporation, a company that made radomes for helicopters. Charles Kaman, the company's owner got the idea that the synthetic material they used for radomes could be molded into a bowl shape that would replace the back and sides of a guitar. The company called the material "Lyrachord" and began making acoustic guitars with a bowl-shaped back. The guitars had tremendous volume, balance, and projection. Almost everything about the guitars were innovative. The bracing patterns were different. Instead of a pick guard, there was a raised purfling ring around the soundhole. The bridge abandoned the traditional pin bridge and used a straight-through approach. Ovation's biggest selling point was the pickup system. They sold with an intern

Ovation Applause AF-15 12-string guitar

  Every now and then, a famous guitar manufacturer has an idea that is just godawful. Welcome to the 1977 Ovation Applause. One of Ovation's selling points in the 1970s was durability. Artists could take an Ovation on tour and they didn't have to worry about busting up their favorite Martin. The pickup system in them made them easy to amplify without mics and feedback. The Lyrachord back, which was adapted from materials used to make helicopter radomes, could take a big hit and not even scratch, much less crack. So somebody at Ovation got the idea to make a cheap version of their popular round-back instruments and make it even more durable and affordable. The Applause took Ovation's round back, added a laminated top, and an aluminum neck with the headstock, tuners, and frets all integrated into one piece. The result was a nearly indestructible guitar that sounded like crap. It also just looked cheap and silly. The neck on these things felt weird, like a hollow aluminum tube