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Author Topic: ...heard an Ovation 12-string this past week, and I think...  (Read 4271 times)
soonersteamroll
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« on: June 16, 2008, 01:51:38 PM »

it sounded like absolute crap.

Why do people spend money on Ovations? I have yet to hear one that's actually decent-sounding. The guy who played this 12-string said it cost him $1,800..... BWAHHAHAHAHA!! Why would you spend that much money on it? He uses it mostly for praise and worship music too, and uses a capo on almost every song (up to the 4th fret!!!).... therefore, the thing NEVER stays in tune; when you capo a 12-string, it's near impossible to keep all the strings in perfect tune with each other -- I thought every 12-string player knew this.... but even when he wasn't capo-ing it, it still sounded tinny and annoying. I believe it was the discontinued Ovation 1858 model.

I realize I'm an all-wood guitar guy, but I've always done pretty good about listening with a non-biased ear, and have yet to hear ANY Ovation I actually thought sounded good.... they all sound tinny, with little to no bass....

I'm sorry if I've offended any of you Ovation owners, but I just felt like venting and finding out why people buy them when you could spend just a few more bucks and get a nice, solid-wood guitar.

anyone else out there feel this way?
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2008, 01:57:18 PM »

Can't say I've been impressed with any ovation I've ever heard. That said, I've heard good things about CA (Composite Acoustics) guitars. I'm intriuged (not sold on the looks but) to see whether they live up to the hype, but I've not played one of these entirely carbon fibre beasts myself.
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 02:29:43 PM »

I owned an Ovation 6 string deep bowl model back in 73 or 74 that actually sounded pretty good. Might have been the exception but I had people telling me how good it sounded. Anyway, it was strictly acoustic and for the 200 bucks it costs back then (used) it was well worth it to me. I've heard a few since then that I wouldn't have,but I also played a used Custom Legend at Elderly's that I should have bought instead of the Taylor I purchased a few years ago. I'd still have the Ovation because the Taylor went by-by asap.Go figure.

Ron
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 05:56:14 PM »

If you can get hold of an old "Glen Cambell and His Astounding 12 String Guitar" album where he plays (and played exclusively) an Ovation, you wouldn't make such a subjective statement.
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soonersteamroll
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 07:09:31 PM »

If you can get hold of an old "Glen Cambell and His Astounding 12 String Guitar" album where he plays (and played exclusively) an Ovation, you wouldn't make such a subjective statement.
Thank you so much for your subjective response... touché my friend, touché.

I agree that I am being somewhat subjective, but I definitely know more people that loathe Ovations than people who actually like them.

But yes, I do agree that tone is subjective (with few exceptions). But I also think you'll find a LOT more people who don't like Ovations on the whole than you will find people who actually like them.
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2008, 07:26:19 PM »

Wasn't it the Manzanita album that Tony Rice is pictured on the cover with an Ovation?  Its been a while, so I could have the album wrong, but there is one of his earlier albums out there with said ovation.

Personally, the ovation sound has never done anything for me either.  I did however, have a chance to play one of the Composite Acoustics and was amazed at how well it sounded for a graphite travel guitar.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2008, 10:45:04 PM »

Ovations made out of plastic sound like they're made out of plastic, what's to discuss   
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2008, 10:52:37 PM »

Ovations made out of plastic sound like they're made out of plastic, what's to discuss   

Sad.
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teh
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2008, 11:19:44 PM »

I bought a new Ovation 12 String Pacemaker with a deep bowl back in 1977 for $200 plus $50 for a hardshell case. It was a labeled as a factory second because the top had been unevenly sanded and it had a slotted headstock which meant it was a real "treat" to restring. It actually sounded pretty good but I would have ended up with an extreme case of carpal tunnel syndrome if I had kept it. I sold it 12 years later for $300 and used the money to buy snow tires for my car. It's the only guitar I ever sold and I never had a moment of regret. It's also unlikely that I would buy another one because I love wood guitars but I have seen Leo Kottke play a Rainsong when the weather is giving his guitars fits so I wouldn't rule out a guitar made of composite materials. This afternoon I just shipped anew Little Martin made of high pressure laminate to my son serving in Iraq.

After I sold my Ovation, 15 years later I bought my first Larrivee (a Parlour), 17 years later I bought my second Larrivee (a 12 string LV-03MT) and last November, I bought a Martin OM-35. Now that Penn State is done taking my money for college tuition, it's a little easier to buy a guitar now and then.

In defense of Ovation, I think they had a great marketing strategy in the 70's and lots of people played and endorsed Ovation including: Glen Campbell, Bobby Goldsboro, Mac Davis, America, Jim Croce and others to name but a few. I think that the sound of an Ovation when you bought it was the same sound it had forever and they did a good job on amplification given the technology at the time. They used to make a deep bowl and a shallow bowl and they really targeted the working musician and these guitars would stand up to a lot of abuse and play pretty consistently regardless of weather conditions or temperature/humidity extremes. In a way, they were ahead of their time and created a niche.
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2008, 02:08:56 PM »

I had an Ovation several years back. As I remember I paid about $225 for it. It was a fancy one with a tinted top, herringbone binding and red white and blue "purfling" on the soundhole. Ended up trading it and less than $150 for my Mossman 12 that I sold and was able to buy my Larrivee 12 (with change left over!). So my Ovation was a VERY positive experience.

Its one of the few guitars I have had that I do not miss in the least. The unamplified sound was, to say the least, uninspiring.

But that brings us to the biggest contribution of Ovation guitars: Amplification. Between Mr. Kaman came along, improving on the work of Jim Burns, amplification of acoustic instruments was very substandard. Also, for the traveling pro, it gave him a guitar that he could consign to the bowels of an airplane and reasonably count on getting back in one piece. If not, it was an easily replaceable Ovation, not a vintage Martin or Gibson.

So they have definitely had their place. But I don't want one!
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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2008, 03:43:27 PM »

Hey, soonersteamroll, here is my 15 year old Ovation Elite. AKA "Old Reliable."  This was recorded live at a farmer's market last summer.  Sound like crap to you?

http://davidberchtold.com/db3/00256/davidberchtold.com/_download/ThingsIveSeen128bit.mp3

Please don't judge an entire class of guitar by one bad experience. 

David
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2008, 04:03:16 PM »

Hey, soonersteamroll, here is my 15 year old Ovation Elite. AKA "Old Reliable."  This was recorded live at a farmer's market last summer.  Sound like crap to you?

http://davidberchtold.com/db3/00256/davidberchtold.com/_download/ThingsIveSeen128bit.mp3

Please don't judge an entire class of guitar by one bad experience. 

David

Very nice!
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flatlander
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2008, 05:28:31 PM »


But that brings us to the biggest contribution of Ovation guitars: Amplification. Between Mr. Kaman came along, improving on the work of Jim Burns, amplification of acoustic instruments was very substandard. So they have definitely had their place. But I don't want one!
Yea, I think that's something people who aren't old enough to remember may not realize. A big part of thier
popularity when they came out was that you could plug them in with acceptable tone for the time.
 That being said, the plastic guitar is about the only thing I can think of, that I'm just plain prejudiced against. Totally,
unobjectively and with no shame. I just don't like the idea of a plastic guitar. I don't care if it plays itself and rubs your feet while you play. If I could make a buck on one sure. My spirit just could never penitrate the plastic and become soulmates with it.
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soonersteamroll
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2008, 06:29:04 PM »

Hey, soonersteamroll, here is my 15 year old Ovation Elite. AKA "Old Reliable."  This was recorded live at a farmer's market last summer.  Sound like crap to you?

http://davidberchtold.com/db3/00256/davidberchtold.com/_download/ThingsIveSeen128bit.mp3

Please don't judge an entire class of guitar by one bad experience. 

David
David, maybe if you would open your eyes a little bit more and read past the first line you would realize I'm not just referring to ONE bad experience... but MANY. I have a lot of friends who own Ovations, and yes, they ALL sound like crap. But just so there's no reason to think this is some sort of flame, let me defined this version of "crap"..... Crap, in this sense, is referring to the undeniable lack of bass response and the often piercing highs and 'tinniness' I hear regularly out of all the Ovations I've ever listened to. They also lack clarity and sustain. One more thing, I hear VERY little resonance out of Ovations and unplugged, the volume level is abysmal at best; terrible for jamming with other players with solid-wood guitars... Sorry if that offends you, but it's my honest opinion.

And to be even more honest, your playing and technique is nice on your song, but I don't care for the overall tone of the guitar you're playing; still sounds too tinny for my taste. I wouldn't say "crap", but I would say it still doesn't sound that good. I've heard much better. However, I do like the song as written and the bluesy style of your voice (reminds me a bit of Pat Green).... but no, to stay on topic, I don't care for the sound of your guitar.... sorry, but you asked.
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2008, 07:36:17 PM »

David, maybe if you would open your eyes a little bit more and read past the first line you would realize I'm not just referring to ONE bad experience... but MANY. I have a lot of friends who own Ovations, and yes, they ALL sound like crap. But just so there's no reason to think this is some sort of flame, let me defined this version of "crap"..... Crap, in this sense, is referring to the undeniable lack of bass response and the often piercing highs and 'tinniness' I hear regularly out of all the Ovations I've ever listened to. They also lack clarity and sustain. One more thing, I hear VERY little resonance out of Ovations and unplugged, the volume level is abysmal at best; terrible for jamming with other players with solid-wood guitars... Sorry if that offends you, but it's my honest opinion.

And to be even more honest, your playing and technique is nice on your song, but I don't care for the overall tone of the guitar you're playing; still sounds too tinny for my taste. I wouldn't say "crap", but I would say it still doesn't sound that good. I've heard much better. However, I do like the song as written and the bluesy style of your voice (reminds me a bit of Pat Green).... but no, to stay on topic, I don't care for the sound of your guitar.... sorry, but you asked.
Fair enough.  And to be honest, that is the least favorite guitar I own, tonewise.  I'd be interested to hear a clip of a live recording where you DO like the sound. Do you have any?

David
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« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2008, 10:56:27 PM »

Guitars shouldn't have fiberglass back & sides.  I agree with the original poster...  Every Ovation I've ever heard was awful, even if the player was brilliant.  Listening to an Ovation sounds to me like you're standing at the opening of a large metal tunnel and somewhere at the other end, someone is playing guitar.  And I've enough Ovations to generalize the "ovation sound."  I went to a conservative Christian College for 2 years where convocation service was mandatory three times each week, and I usually only ever saw two makes of guitars on stage:  Ovation & Taylor.  There might have been the odd epiphone/gibson or Martin in there, and oddly a few electrics which seemed to belong as much as soy sauce belongs with ice cream (seriously, lead guitar for praise and worship?)...  The thing that I hated almost more than the ovation sound was the rounded back... those things were just hard to hold onto.

Ovations sound slightly better plugged in, but not enough to really make it worthwhile, IMHO.  They might make great camping instruments if they weren't so overpriced (I'm speaking of material costs here, not craftsmanship, so don't get your panties in a wad).  But for some reason, Ovation owners are wildly defensive/fanatical about their instruments.  But they're entitled their opinions just as much as I am.  Just like my dad says, free advice is always worth it's price.

sidenote, lots of hostility in this topic...  Should we just call it a day and move on?
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« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2008, 11:44:14 PM »

Quote
[But they're entitled their opinions just as much as I am.  Just like my dad says, free advice is always worth it's price.

Very true statement!
Hostility doesn't help anyone.
I've been playing guitar for over 45 years and have had the pleasure of playing some sweet sounding guitars and a bunch of dogs!
I've owned 4 Ovations over the years and at present own a 1771LX Balladeer which I absolutely love!
I think that all guitars bring a unique sound to the table.
I also own
3 Larrivees  (2 with electronics)
2 Taylors (1 with electronics)
1 Seagull with Fishman Matrix 1
 Carvin 750TS with the Fishman pre amp
Plus a few other guitars that do not have any electronics.
I mention these guitars only to say that the OP-PRO system that came with the Ovation 1771LX sound way better than any other system in the guitars mentioned above. That having been said, acoustically the Ovation does not sound like my Larrivees or any other guitar I own but, it is not a bad sound at all...TO MY EARS.
And when it is all said and done, we all buy what we like and opinions are like ...well, I will not go there.
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2008, 12:32:06 AM »

Guitars shouldn't have fiberglass back & sides. 

Ovations aren't made out of fiberglass or I'm pretty sure they aren't. Big difference in fiberglass and whatever kind of plastic ovation uses... Not that I've heard a fiberglass guitar I liked.
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« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2008, 12:59:10 AM »

Fiberglass, plastic, whatever...  "Lyrachord Composite" is what the website says...  My point was that for good tone, guitars should be made of wood.  But I understand Ovations were originally designed to be plugged in, not put on a mic.
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« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2008, 09:32:14 AM »

Personally I love wood guitars, but I wouldn't rule out anything categorically, whether it be because of brand, country of manufacture, construction material or whatever.

Apparrently CA guitars (composite acoustics) are making some great guitars. I've not played any of them, but they're carbon fibre... And have been getting rave reviews. http://www.compositeacoustics.com/reviews.aspx Soundclips on the website too.

I suspect we'll see more and more of this in the future given the way wood resources and prices are going. Not to mention the other advantages: immunity to humidity and temperature shifts, greater consistency, etc, etc.
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