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Ovation Guitars

Justa Picker 10 Feb 01 - 01:53 PM
catspaw49 10 Feb 01 - 02:00 PM
Gary T 10 Feb 01 - 06:02 PM
catspaw49 10 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM
Sorcha 10 Feb 01 - 06:12 PM
catspaw49 10 Feb 01 - 06:14 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Feb 01 - 06:34 PM
Rick Fielding 10 Feb 01 - 10:34 PM
Dita 10 Feb 01 - 10:38 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Feb 01 - 12:47 AM
Sorcha 11 Feb 01 - 12:59 AM
jofield 11 Feb 01 - 01:56 AM
Owlkat 11 Feb 01 - 02:01 AM
Inukshuk 11 Feb 01 - 06:54 AM
Dita 11 Feb 01 - 07:22 AM
Mooh 11 Feb 01 - 09:00 AM
Guy Wolff 11 Feb 01 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,CraigS 11 Feb 01 - 08:47 PM
GUEST 11 Feb 01 - 09:04 PM
Les from Hull 12 Feb 01 - 07:01 AM
Lady McMoo 12 Feb 01 - 07:17 AM
Bartholomew 14 Feb 01 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Willa 25 Oct 09 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Dave 01 Jul 10 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,MC Fat (at work) 01 Jul 10 - 07:52 AM
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Subject: Ovation Guitars
From: Justa Picker
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 01:53 PM

Since there's been some talk of Ovations (pros and cons) in other threads a suggestion was made to start a thread specifically about them, so here it is.

Very early on when I first started playing guitar, my second guitar was an early 70s Ovation Balladeer sunburst which I bought new. I found the playability just great and loved the neck. I used silk and steel strings on it back then. The main problem I had with it was the back's curvature sliding off of my body (as I never used straps)...but as an economical and affordable instrument I think they're just fine, if you don't mind the backs or play with a strap. (I eventually sold it to get my first Martin.)


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 02:00 PM

Hey JP.......Here's a previous thread also CLICK HERE.

Thanks for your thoughts which I respect..........but now the flames can begin..............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Gary T
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 06:02 PM

My first real guitar was an early 80's Ovation. I liked the sound, and it really seemed to project. I often felt like I was drowning out others in the circle. Not so bad when you're putting out good sounds, but those sour notes sure stood out!

The two drawbacks I noticed were a somewhat narrow neck and the awkwardness of the bowl on my belly. It tended to roll over to an undesirable angle.

In the thread linked to above, Spaw mentioned noticing that later (post mid-80's) Ovations didn't seem to have the sound that the earlier ones had. I suspect that may be why one hears so many negative comments about them. I lost mine to theft years ago, and never had a chance for a side-by-side comparison to other guitars.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM

Thanks Gary....really. There is something to what I said on that thread. Something changed drastically over a few years in the mid eighties and they are a different guitar now.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 06:12 PM

The biggest thing everybody seems to fuss about is the bowl back. Does anybody know WHY Ovation makes them that way? Even mandos are a little hard to hold onto with a bowl back, full size guitars are a beast! What is the reasoning behind it?


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 06:14 PM

The original idea was for better sound reflection and projection. The round shape is better acoustically.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 06:34 PM

Perhaps they ought to make a folksingerspecial, with the bowl the other way round, to fit the front of folksingers?

And if a round back is so great, why do most folkies prefer flatback mandolins?


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 10:34 PM

As I mentioned in the thread that Catspaw referred to, Ovations are pretty well made guitars (if plastic doesn't turn you off) but convex guitars just don't fit with convex bodies!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Dita
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 10:38 PM

I have had three Ovations. Bought my first Ballader in '73. Went in to buy a Gibson Hummingbird, saw this funny guitar that I had seen Trevor Lucas (Fairport) play, and was smitten. Lost it to theft in '84 and spent a year looking for a replacement. Found another Ballader in a little shop on Exeter (I lived in Glasgow), and soon after found a secondhand Legend. It had had some hard times but had the best tone of the three. I agree that any later Ovations I tried were not as good as these. (The one I got in Exeter had ben on the wall for a few years, which was why it took me so long to find it). I have played these two guitars right up to 2000, when I bought a Tacoma Chief, (love that guitar), still use the Ballader as second, the Legend is out on semi-permanent loan to another performer. One problem I had to get delt with last year on the Legend, (although the Ballader is showing the same tendency), was the appearance of cracks on the wooden face. This I was informed was due to the fact that there was less "give" with the Ovation bowl than there would be in a conventional guitar, hence the wooden front split.
I still live those guys, and alway will.
love, john.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 12:47 AM

There are only three artistes whom I respect who use Ovation Guitars. One is Iain McCalman, of the eponymously named band, second is Adrian Legg, guitar virtuoso, and third is Amy Carol Webb, who in my book is just about the best singer-songwriter whom I have ever listened to.

However, if they all swapped their Ovations for Martins, they would all sound a damned sight better, IMHO

Murray


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 12:59 AM

I was about to say, if the bowl back is supposed to sound so much better, why doesn't Martin, et. al. use it? I can't imagine a better sound than a Martin, old Gibson, etc. and none of them have round backs. Hell, Rick, concave backs don't even work well with flat tummies (I used to have one of those........lol)


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: jofield
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 01:56 AM

I bought a little 3/4-size Ovation, figuring it would be fine for rehearsing, and much easier to lug around than my Martin. The Ovation is awful -- absolutely no tone and poor intonation. I never take it out to rehearse with other players. Fortunately, I did find a use for it: when I'm staying in our city apartment, I often go to a studio to rehearse singing, and for that, all by myself, the Ovation is good enough, and it IS much easier to tote through the métro.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Owlkat
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 02:01 AM

Hi, Some things to be said for Ovations are that they are the next loudest things to Nationals. Very big lively sound. Thin necks, fast action,and fairly decent electronics for wired playing. Cons are that they are harder to play sitting down, and the bracing pattern under the top doesn't stabilise the top enough to prevent warping and cracking. Truss rods can be a pain to adjust though. My two cents. Cheers, Owl.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Inukshuk
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 06:54 AM

My son has always wanted to by an Ovation so we went looking. We played about twenty of them unplugged and plugged. There is a HUGE difference between the American made Ovations and those made in Korea. The Korean jobs were poorly set up, hard to play, had laminated tops, and didn't ring equally across the strings.The American models sounded great and played smoothly. They cost about a grand more (Canadian.)I have an Ovation (Korean) mandolin. I bought it for stage work because of the built in electrics. It's OK, but it dousn't have much sound acoustically. Also the original set up left a lot to be desired.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Dita
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 07:22 AM

With the round back all the sound goes out front. There is very little vibration coming back towards you, therefore you don't "feel" the sound coming into your body as you do with wooden backed guitars. As for why do Gibson and Martin not use round backs - origionaly the round back was under copywrite, so even if they'd wanted to they couldn't have. Anyway when you've spent so long establishing your own style your not going to change just 'cause a newcommer comes along with something new.
It really is hourses for courses. The Ovations are great stage guitars especially when playing in a band, but you need good moniters to hear yourself. As I said before I've loved them for years, but my current favourite is a Tacoma with a traditional back. Still got my Ovies though.
One last thought on shape, both Danny Kyle and Hamish Imlach borrowed mine, and although there was only a single point of contact between them and the guitar, they got on all right.
love, john.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Mooh
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 09:00 AM

It is true that I've played some Ovations which were complete pieces of crap, from finish to set-up, but I've also played some which were actually very good guitars though they never sound woody to me, and there's something weird about their overtones. I expect that the more expensive ones can be made to play very well and sound okay, but it's a mistake to expect them to sound like a traditional acoustic guitar.

My feeling about them lately has been that they'd make a decent travel or experimental electric ax, if one didn't mind paying for a better one.

My whole reason for owning several guitars is so that I can get a wide variety of sounds, and I don't see any reason why the Ovation sound should be any less usable than the electric sounds available today. I've often thought that a high end Ovation with a round hole equiped with a soundhole pickup, internal mic, soundboard transducer, and outboard effects would make for a fun experimental electric guitar. Then again so would many other unplastic guitars.

I have played a very fine example of the Ovation mandolin but the owner said that it took major set-up tweaking to get it that way. Nevertheless it did not sound like a solid wood mandolin, though it was much better than any plywood one I've played.

When it comes down to it though, it's the plasticness of the sound that I don't prefer, and the fact that the back profile is about the same as my front profile. It's a wonder they haven't marketed a flat back instrument.

My two cents. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 06:49 PM

Warning, Just dont play them to near an open bond fire. Heat is great for those fast neck ajustments though..All the best Guy


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 08:47 PM

I haven't played one for years - I know there's one in the house somewhere, but I don't like it in comparison to a good wooden instrument. The main point is that they were very good for amplified stage work, they don't feed back and the internal electronics are good. There's more competition in this market these days, but in the seventies there was nothing as good "off the peg" - you had to "Hot-Dot" a Martin to get close. I don't play mine because I've not done that sort of gigging for twenty years. I think the difficulty is that because that round back projects so well, the player does not know how good the guitar sounds without foldback.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Feb 01 - 09:04 PM

"With the round back all the sound goes out front."

...uh...no.

With the round back all the sound goes up to the ceiling.

OVATION--the guitar that DEMANDS to be played lap-style.

Geometry question.
...What is the intersection of two archs?

...Hey Joe. I gotta shitload o' ugly here. Where do you want me to put it down?

...Get inta plastics kid...it's da future.

...always figgered rosewood and mahogany were over-rated as tone-plastics.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Les from Hull
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 07:01 AM

I'm very pleased with my Ovation Bass. It's the most playable of acoustic bass guitars that I've ever had my hands on. I like the sound, played fully acoustically in sessions most of the time. Quite affordable too.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 12 Feb 01 - 07:17 AM

Does anyone have experience with Hiscox (of Hiscox cases renown)guitars? These had an attractive striped (rosewood and maple?)wooden shallow bowl back rather than the plastic of an Ovation. I remember playing one at a musical instrument fair in Birmingham back in about 1981/2 and being quite impressed by the sound (although I bought a Manson in preference at the same fair). I always wondered why, apart from the obvious extra time in manufacturing, this shallow wooden bowl back design didn't take of in a bigger way for guitars.

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: Bartholomew
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 10:21 AM

I got an Ovation back when I was playing in a country/country rock band in the early 70's. I had tried every type of amplification available at that time and hated them all; no brilliance without feedback, in most cases. The Ovation was great for implying an acoustic sound with a band. It was also very good for playing flatpicked leads; it really cuts through the sound of a bunch of acoustic guitars playing together.

Eventually, I sold it to buy an old Telecaster. In the end, the Ovation wasn't acoustic enough or electric enough to suit either need.

I now have a Takamine and really like it for any situation where amplification is required. Like the Ovations, it is distributed by Kamen, and I have to commend them on the no-muss/no-fuss electronics on their guitars. The Takamine isn't a great guitar for sitting around and picking in your living room (it's a bit dead sounding, which is probably why it takes a lot to get it to feedback amplified). When I play places that get a good sound mic'ed, or when I record, I use my Guild.

With the world's store of hard woods disappearing, I think you'll see more and more attempts to find an alternative material for building instruments. The Raintree guitars, which are made out of graphite, are an interesting approach to the problem. I have a friend who has one that I have played and it sounds pretty sweet.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: GUEST,Willa
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 12:02 PM

I collect Ovation guitars, and I'm going to have to play the Devil's Advocate here. I LOVE my (American Made) Ovations. I own about twenty of them and about a dozen Adamas guitars. They are not plastic, but rather fiberglas on the backs. Yes, the do roll off your lap, but that's just a matter of adaptation, IMHO. The ones I own, except for two, are acoustic electrics. Plug them in and you might change your mind about how good they sound. Do the pre-1980's sound better? Maybe. Also, as someone else wrote, because of the fiberglas backs, the sound might not be as evident to the player, as the sound is projecting better through the front. I LOVE my Ovation guitars. I think they are iconic, and for the most part, and everyone I have sounds beautiful. I also own Fenders, Martins, Les Pauls and several other brands of guitars.


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 07:35 AM

what i would like to know is which ovation guitars are made in the USA , is the bandeleer and the elites all made in the states


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Subject: RE: Ovation Guitars
From: GUEST,MC Fat (at work)
Date: 01 Jul 10 - 07:52 AM

My brother in Edinburgh has one he bought from new in the 70's. I think he was thinking of selling.


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