Ovation guitars? No thank you...
Old 27th February 2012
  #91
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Ward Pike's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knox View Post
I agree. Have hated them since the late 70s. I like an acoustic that sounds like wood. That's why I like Gibsons. Ovations sound plastic.
Quoted For Truth!
Old 27th June 2012
  #92
Gear interested
 

Late Reply

Coming in late on this thread, but what the hell.

Gimmick? Those Ovation people are pretty good gimmick-mongers to fool so many people for almost 50 years.

I bought my first Ovation in 1971 and have owned them on and off ever since, along with many other brands of acoustic. I've formed the opinion that people single them out for slamming because they are so easily recognizable, and because the low-end ones ARE terrible, just like they are with any brand (think Squire Bullet series).

Unfortunately, all you ever see — and therefore all most people ever get to play — at GC and other music stores are Ovation's cheap, foreign-made Celebrity and Applause series. Not much of a yardstick, and it could be easy to form a negative opinion of the whole brand after a session with one of these.

However, if you were a total newbie and you plunked around on a few low-end Epiphones and Sigmas, you could easily form the same opinions about Gibson and Martin guitars.

However, if you play the high-end, USA-made Ovations (Legends, Adamas, etc.), you will really appreciate how good they can sound. I have played a lot of different guitars over the years and always seem to come back to Ovation. For the money, you can't beat them. And I'm talking hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. The 1778T Elite shown earlier in this thread is/was an $800 guitar new. A good example sounds better than a LOT of much more expensive guitars, including Taylors and Martins.

Like any guitar, a room full of Ovations of a specific model will all sound a bit different. There will be one or two that sound dead, and one or two that will sound wonderful. And contrary to popular opinion, they do sound better with age. I still have one I bought new in 1971 and it sounds much better now than it did then.

I do admit that I detest that stupid plastic thing they put around the soundhole on center-hole Ovations. It makes them look like carnival prizes. But the bowl? I have no problems with it "slipping" any worse than any other guitar. Maybe those having this problem have "deep bowls" themselves?

Here's Nancy Wilson, who used to open Crazy On You with this Ovation Legend. (Heart - Crazy On You - Ann & Nancy Wilson Live 1978 - YouTube) Other proponents, as mentioned, have included Melissa Ethridge, Al DiMeola and Glen Campbell. I doubt if any of them feel duped by a gimmick.

Fender bought Ovation a couple or three years ago and now almost the entire line is manufactured overseas. (Adamas are still made in the US). I hear most of the Hartford plant is now given over to building Gretsch guitars, which Fender also owns. Ovation forums have lamented the changes, although some who have tried the newer Legend and Elite models say that while some of the construction processes have been "streamlined", the mid- and high-end guitars still sound good.

So hate 'em if you want. Lots of people do. Or have an open mind and try a bit of everything. Like some people here, you might horrify yourself by one day play an "O" that you actually like.
Old 13th March 2013
  #93
Gear interested
 

Ovation guitars = Overall good

Well, as someone sad, there is a lot of "hate" against the Ovation guitars here, don´t know why. I have no understanding of these expressions. Of course there is a few models with something more to wish in sound and technic. But most of the american handcrafted guitars from Ovation, has a high quality and a very nice tone. And I will say, they are, allmost, outstanding when it goes to live concerts with the Ovations inline in your sound system. You´ll get more guitar for your money if you buy a Ovation than if you buy a Martin or Gibson. I think most of the people, who don´t like Ovation guitars, doesn´t like the "bowl", because of the round shape and have no patience to accustom to this and, maybe they "think" that the guitars have a "plastic" tone .....And don´t forget their solid body guitars and basses from the late 60´s in to the early 80´s, the Magnum I bass is fantastic, still in these days. I have tested most of the models from Ovation and I own a few and I think they are more than good guitars, the Adamas is very good.
Old 13th March 2013
  #94
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Closet View Post
"you can't argue with science".....

The hell you can't.
I don't care if NASA developed the roundback design for an interplanetary instrument, it still moves around when you try to hold it in your lap and it sounds reedy and has little sustain, even as a deep-bowl model (which is what I had.)

So this 'chipmunk' is going to stick to guitars made of wood, built by luthiers, not scientists.


CC.
Reactionary man !
Old 13th March 2013
  #95
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
 

Was playing a 12 string Ovation the other night while sitting, the owner said it was 'Gifted to him' wonder why?...I never liked the body styles of the original, not sure if any other models exist, but that back and sound was horrid....
Old 1st January 2015
  #96
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic Closet View Post
it still moves around when you try to hold it in your lap

CC.
For all the experts around here you'd think some of them might have heard of a guitar strap.
Old 1st January 2015
  #97
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddball View Post
Coming in late on this thread, but what the hell.

Gimmick? Those Ovation people are pretty good gimmick-mongers to fool so many people for almost 50 years.

I bought my first Ovation in 1971 and have owned them on and off ever since, along with many other brands of acoustic. I've formed the opinion that people single them out for slamming because they are so easily recognizable, and because the low-end ones ARE terrible, just like they are with any brand (think Squire Bullet series).

Unfortunately, all you ever see — and therefore all most people ever get to play — at GC and other music stores are Ovation's cheap, foreign-made Celebrity and Applause series. Not much of a yardstick, and it could be easy to form a negative opinion of the whole brand after a session with one of these.

However, if you were a total newbie and you plunked around on a few low-end Epiphones and Sigmas, you could easily form the same opinions about Gibson and Martin guitars.

However, if you play the high-end, USA-made Ovations (Legends, Adamas, etc.), you will really appreciate how good they can sound. I have played a lot of different guitars over the years and always seem to come back to Ovation. For the money, you can't beat them. And I'm talking hundreds, not thousands, of dollars. The 1778T Elite shown earlier in this thread is/was an $800 guitar new. A good example sounds better than a LOT of much more expensive guitars, including Taylors and Martins.

Like any guitar, a room full of Ovations of a specific model will all sound a bit different. There will be one or two that sound dead, and one or two that will sound wonderful. And contrary to popular opinion, they do sound better with age. I still have one I bought new in 1971 and it sounds much better now than it did then.

I do admit that I detest that stupid plastic thing they put around the soundhole on center-hole Ovations. It makes them look like carnival prizes. But the bowl? I have no problems with it "slipping" any worse than any other guitar. Maybe those having this problem have "deep bowls" themselves?

Here's Nancy Wilson, who used to open Crazy On You with this Ovation Legend. (Heart - Crazy On You - Ann & Nancy Wilson Live 1978 - YouTube) Other proponents, as mentioned, have included Melissa Ethridge, Al DiMeola and Glen Campbell. I doubt if any of them feel duped by a gimmick.

Fender bought Ovation a couple or three years ago and now almost the entire line is manufactured overseas. (Adamas are still made in the US). I hear most of the Hartford plant is now given over to building Gretsch guitars, which Fender also owns. Ovation forums have lamented the changes, although some who have tried the newer Legend and Elite models say that while some of the construction processes have been "streamlined", the mid- and high-end guitars still sound good.

So hate 'em if you want. Lots of people do. Or have an open mind and try a bit of everything. Like some people here, you might horrify yourself by one day play an "O" that you actually like.
Cat Stevens sold over 60 Million albums .. playing an Ovation. Not too shabby.
Old 1st January 2015
  #98
Quote:
Originally Posted by RasCricket View Post
Never met a good Ovation in 20 years of playing. I think its time to call a gimmick a gimmick and move on.

Ive played wet shoestrings tied between two boards that have more sustain than any Ovation.

Ive handled stand up basses with easier to move strings than an Ovation.

I've played a log with more playability than an Ovation.

Seriously. If you love em, keep em. In fact, please go buy out any remaining stock from any music stores so their not on the market anymore.

If youre about to defend how great they sound when Electric.....please dont. I'll point out how you can put a piezo under a maple plank and it will make noise electrically. Ovations are a failtastic production guitar and Im stickin to it.

End rant.
Your perception and preference is yours. I prefer conventional acoustics for playing (although both my Ovation Celebrity and my cheapo Applause finger nicely and are well intonated) -- and I was not drawn to Ovations initially, but there were aspects of them I appreciated when I played them -- the evenness of tonal response, for instance. For certain uses, the shallow back Celebrity records (with a mic, mind you, the built-in p/u is as tinky as the built-in p/u in any guitar that was $300 new) very well to my tastes. It, however, is a bitch to keep upright in one's lap without strapping it. And that back wears through levi trouser legs like indestructible sandpaper.
Old 1st January 2015
  #99
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RicTone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Your perception and preference is yours. I prefer conventional acoustics for playing (although both my Ovation Celebrity and my cheapo Applause finger nicely and are well intonated) -- and I was not drawn to Ovations initially, but there were aspects of them I appreciated when I played them -- the evenness of tonal response, for instance. For certain uses, the shallow back Celebrity records (with a mic, mind you, the built-in p/u is as tinky as the built-in p/u in any guitar that was $300 new) very well to my tastes. It, however, is a bitch to keep upright in one's lap without strapping it. And that back wears through levi trouser legs like indestructible sandpaper.
I have an Ovation Celebrity. I don't play it very much but playing cleans it sounds so much like a normal electric guitar (and not an acoustic) I'm tempted to gig it for a couple of sets of clean songs. My Celebrity has much less feedback problems than my BOG (Big Orange Guitar) Gretsch I wrestled with (plugged the F holes with black balloons and foam) and recently sold.

The thing that bugged me the most about the Ovation was the sliding it did when playing sitting down. I solved the issue with a big piece of jar opener rubber. I duct taped the jar opener rubber onto the Ovation and now it doesn't slide on my levis.
Quote
1
Old 3rd January 2015
  #100
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
I have an Ovation Celebrity. I don't play it very much but playing cleans it sounds so much like a normal electric guitar (and not an acoustic) I'm tempted to gig it for a couple of sets of clean songs. My Celebrity has much less feedback problems than my BOG (Big Orange Guitar) Gretsch I wrestled with (plugged the F holes with black balloons and foam) and recently sold.

The thing that bugged me the most about the Ovation was the sliding it did when playing sitting down. I solved the issue with a big piece of jar opener rubber. I duct taped the jar opener rubber onto the Ovation and now it doesn't slide on my levis.
I never use the built in pickup if it can possibly be avoided. (Most small venue sound guys cannot bring themselves to mic a guitar with a signal jack in it, it appears to be hard wired into them. Pun marginally intended. Of course, you can't blame them on some level. They don't care so much what YOU sound like, they just don't want people yelling 'more guitar' or holding their ears against feedback.) When I DID gig with it, I ended up using a little (but not particularly cheap) Passac passive 'preamp' -- really more an active direct box with two marginally useful tone controls [treble/bass and presence] -- but it only did a little to tame the 'plinkiness' of the built-in pickup.

Now, it doesn't sound much like any of MY electrics, thank heaven [from the point of view of my electrics], but it does sound like a lot of plinky acoustic guitars I've heard plugged in -- I estimate that well under 5% of the acoustics I've seen in use wired up on stage or in vids sounded much like acoustic guitars to me. I really hate most acoustic pickups and trannies. I'll take a mic anytime. And I do like the way this thing mics a very nicely balanced tone and resonances. But in free air -- to the bare ear -- it sounds kinda lame, though 'even.' That shallow back really 'warms up' to prox effect from the right mic.


PS... I love your slipping-off-knee solution. A bit drastic, maybe, but nothing as embarrassing as having your guitar slide off your lap while in front of an audience. (Unless your pants somehow fall down, too, I guess. )
Old 3rd January 2015
  #101
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RicTone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I never use the built in pickup if it can possibly be avoided. (Most small venue sound guys cannot bring themselves to mic a guitar with a signal jack in it, it appears to be hard wired into them. Pun marginally intended. Of course, you can't blame them on some level. They don't care so much what YOU sound like, they just don't want people yelling 'more guitar' or holding their ears against feedback.) When I DID gig with it, I ended up using a little (but not particularly cheap) Passac passive 'preamp' -- really more an active direct box with two marginally useful tone controls [treble/bass and presence] -- but it only did a little to tame the 'plinkiness' of the built-in pickup.

Now, it doesn't sound much like any of MY electrics, thank heaven [from the point of view of my electrics], but it does sound like a lot of plinky acoustic guitars I've heard plugged in -- I estimate that well under 5% of the acoustics I've seen in use wired up on stage or in vids sounded much like acoustic guitars to me. I really hate most acoustic pickups and trannies. I'll take a mic anytime. And I do like the way this thing mics a very nicely balanced tone and resonances. But in free air -- to the bare ear -- it sounds kinda lame, though 'even.' That shallow back really 'warms up' to prox effect from the right mic.


PS... I love your slipping-off-knee solution. A bit drastic, maybe, but nothing as embarrassing as having your guitar slide off your lap while in front of an audience. (Unless your pants somehow fall down, too, I guess. )
I've screwed up intros to songs which I think feels a million times worse that my pants falling down! I've only run my Ovation loud through my Kemper with a clean JCM800. Sounds great, (maybe my fancy flame top is making the difference lol) like I said totally good enough to gig clean songs. Maybe one of these days we'll put ten cleans into a set and I'll do it.
Old 3rd January 2015
  #102
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
I've screwed up intros to songs which I think feels a million times worse that my pants falling down! I've only run my Ovation loud through my Kemper with a clean JCM800. Sounds great, (maybe my fancy flame top is making the difference lol) like I said totally good enough to gig clean songs. Maybe one of these days we'll put ten cleans into a set and I'll do it.
I greatly recommend playing in front of audiences. I did it frequently for a decade and a half and it taught me a lot. It also burned me out, but that was largely due to the way I did it [drank back then] and other issues.
Old 3rd January 2015
  #103
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RicTone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I greatly recommend playing in front of audiences. I did it frequently for a decade and a half and it taught me a lot. It also burned me out, but that was largely due to the way I did it [I drank back then] and other issues.
No offense, you misunderstand me. I've been playing in front of audiences for over fifty years lol. Gigging and playing live is my favorite part of life.

I've never gigged the Ovation - that's the risk
Old 3rd January 2015
  #104
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
No offense, you misunderstand me. I've been playing in front of audiences for over fifty years lol. Gigging and playing live is my favorite part of life.

I've never gigged the Ovation - that's the risk
LOL! I guess so!

Old 4th January 2015
  #105
Gear addict
 
scottrod's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mexicola View Post
A guy named Charles Kaman. He was a guitar player and aeronautics engineer in the 60's. The story goes that he broke his Martin, took it to the factory, and saw that guitars were being manufactured with hammers and animal glue so he thought he could do better. He got his aeronautics engineer buddies together to design a roundback guitar because their research told them that a flatback guitar had a negative affect on the sound.

But yeah, I agree with you. Ovations are terrible...they slide off of your leg and they sound like crap. Goes to show what happens when something is overengineered.
Mr. Kaman now has the company Kamatics who make all kinds of specialty aerospace bearings. We use them in some of our products and test equipment where I work. They're also used in Formula One car suspensions, anywhere you need a killer bearing and money is no object.

But yeah, he needs to stick to bearings.
Old 18th March 2015
  #106
Gear interested
 

Ovation CC11 was my first real guitar. It's right here with me. My boyfriend has been playing guitar for most of his life and says that is is the warmest tone he has ever heard, and it has the greatest projection. I hated HATED HATED!!! this guitar when my dad first gave it to me at age 11. I couldn't hold it and it was bulky as hell and actually pissed me off. It was once signed by Robbie Krieger, but with us 4 kids, that changed.

When I hit 13, Queen became my "boy-band" of choice (my sister did nothing but listen to j-biebs for comparison) I kind of got used to the idea that it wasn't THAT bad when I saw Brian May using his 12-stringer. Songs like '39 changed my whole outlook on Ovation. I was ok with the thing... until I was introduced to Heart abnormally late. NANCY WILSON. That is all that needs to be said. Now I doubt I'll ever play anything but Kaman era Ovation (acoustically at least).

I never see it as a gimmick. Like I said, 4 kids, and it's now about 25 years old... it's a damn tank. I have dropped guitars down stairs, thrown 'em down on tables... although this one never experienced that, the most damage it has is a crack in the finish and the saddle is cracked from tension where the e bead sits.

I currently WILL NOT buy a corporate Fender buy-out Ovation. THAT is a dick move and seems more like a gimmick than the bowl. What I always thought was stupid was the grape leaf sound hole design. I'm only just warming up to it now, but that added to my dislike of Ovation as a kid. But then again, I was a kid. I thought that if you didn't have a Strat, you were lame and not a real rockstar... Riiiight... Now I really don't care much for Strats at all. I used to only care about a guitar's esthetics because I didn't know any better and thought they all sounded the same (I was a shut in with no friends).

All Gee-tars are different of course, and maybe one day I'll find a Strat that sounds like god and I'll take it in.
Old 18th March 2015
  #107
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddball View Post
So hate 'em if you want. Lots of people do. Or have an open mind and try a bit of everything. Like some people here, you might horrify yourself by one day play an "O" that you actually like.
I despised my Ovation when I first got it, now I cannot divert my affection any other way
Old 18th March 2015
  #108
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kafka's Avatar
 

I can't believe it's been 5 years since I posted here, and this thread is still going. In the violin world they sell these things called Orange VSO's that they make kids play in elementary school. That stands for Violin Shaped Object. That's what I think an Ovation is, a Guitar Shaped Object. Just no soul, no warmth, no personality. There's nothing about them that reminds me of playing a guitar.

If someone else can relate to them, then more power to you. You have a right to derive whatever enjoyment you can out of them. Any instrument is all about whether you can find the music in it? People play washboards and saws, right?

But to me, an Ovation is the original guitar emulator.

Last edited by kafka; 18th March 2015 at 10:26 PM..
Old 19th March 2015
  #109
Gear addict
Well, its a necrothread that has reanimated, and I'm replying to ancient posts as well as new, but WTH...

Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
I'll have to stick up for my old Ovation Electric Custom Balladeer from the 1970's. ...bracing on the top that practically guaranteed dipping in front of the bridge and bellying behind it. The finish on the top was thicker than it should be.
I have one of these, bought at Veneman, MD way back in 1980. At the time I liked the newness of the idea and the concert vids of the time were chock-full of Ovation sounding guitars (Wings, etc!). I spent a lot of time believing that this was how a pro guitar felt and sounded to play.

The finish didn't do much for the sound, IMO, although I only realised this fully later on when I played other instruments. The top was way too stiff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny G II View Post
If you have just a small understanding of sound, you would appreciate what Charlie Kaman did for the acoustic guitar.
Yes, there was a lot of science, especially when the Adamas stream came along and there were suddenly other options to the good old sound-hole of yesteryear. They got a lot of high-profile endorsement and were definitely a good option at the time.

Yet still these traditional designs persist!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
... an Ovation is, a Guitar Shaped Object. Just no soul, no warmth, no personality. There's nothing about them that reminds me of playing a guitar.
What people don't like about an Ovation is that it does have a personality, quite a strong one that not everybody likes. If it was "meh" then this thread wouldn't even have risen from the primordial soup of, well, just a few short years ago!

I have a few acoustic guitars and freely admit that the Ovation (1979 Electric Custom Balladeer) I have is not my first choice to pick up and noodle around on, it's either the Ortega (2014) classical or the Seagull ('90s sometime) I like most.

I guess if I was going to characterise the Ovation against traditional shapes I'd suggest that it is a specialised guitar. It projects very well, but is quite dead in terms of resonance, and sounds better when you're watching one being played than when you're playing it. On mine, the action is pretty stiff, but I can fix that by restringing and tweaking. From my audience perspective, on stage with an 80s band and a serious amount of noise coming offstage it was great for cutting through enough to be heard, and the lack of resonance actually made it very clear, it's a very direct sound, not cluttered by the resonance of other guitars, but also lacking the richness of those other instruments. It seems to sit better in a "pocket" in the mix, and maybe a sound engineer could weigh in and say whether Ovations were easier to integrate into a stage mix than other instruments at that time. Tech has improved and I'm sure the Ovation has a lot more competition from traditional designs on-stage and, for me, traditional designs are far nicer in a quiet environment where their character can really be appreciated.

I can play a single chord on either the Ortega or Seagull (and other acoustics I have access to) and listen with pleasure as the sound modulates, resonates and just decays so musically - there's a joy in being in the same space as that sound; but I don't get that with the Ovation. If I had to add acoustic textures to a band that is rocking out on stage, that's another matter, it comes more into its own.

It's not necessarily a bad guitar that needs a bit of hate, but it's specialised and not alone on its field as once it was, when it was the only show in town for stage work in a rock setting.

Just my 2c.
Old 2nd April 2015
  #110
Gear addict
 

No midrange boom or "warmth" of wooden guitar which you will end up cutting anyway and the synthetic sound can be exactly the ticket for heavy genres, like electronics or metal. If the song like this needs acoustics, something that resembles them but not exactly is needed. It does not mud up the mix and takes effects extremely well. Heavy compression and distortion brings up the sustain and won't turn it to mush like a real acoustics. Digital reverb goes fine with the dry sound.

It definitely has a personality. It is made of plastic and sounds shamelessly synthetic, in a sci-fi kind of way.

Have no idea how it plays, though.
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