Ovation Guitars

The Ovation guitar company began in 1966 – and focus on producing quality acoustic instruments. Founded by Charles Kaman an aeronautical Engineer – he used his aerospace experience to good effect within the production environment by modifying the traditional guitar shape to maximize the vibration and sonic tone of an acoustic instrument.

Ovation revolutionized the acoustic guitar when they modified the traditional flat back design by introducing a round “bowl” shaped back to improve sound quality and projection. This first guitar took several years to design and proto-type and eventually became the Balladeer

When the Balladeer was introduced it caused much discussion in the music world. Throughout the 60’s and 70’s Ovation continued to improve on the design with subsequent models seeing the addition of binding, flatter fingerboards and moer variation (a 12 string was added to the series in 1968).

Ovation, over the years, have produced an extensive list of models. Many feature onboard electronics to enable better amplification of the instrument in live situations – other innovations include the addition of onboard EQ (eqalisation and Piezo pickups.

Ovation have long since had an established connection with many of the worlds top artists including – Glen Cambell – Yngwie Malmsteen, Cyndi Lauper.

To this day Ovation guitars are seen as a premier acoustic instrument (Ovation have also made bounds into the solid body electric guitar market – but remain best known for their acoustics). Due to the extensive list of models – many are collectors items and you can find these instruments fetching high prices on the usual auction sites and vintage guitar shops

Ovation Balladeer

balladeerThe Ovation guitar company released the first Balladeer in 1966. It featured a radical departure from traditional acoustic guitars as it featured the composite bowl. The first Balladeers featured a natural top, Grover tuners, dot fret markers, white-black-white binding. Needless to say the guitar became an instant classic and those early versions are today’s collectors items.

In the last thirty years Ovation have continued to refine and develop the Baladeer with the result that the modern version is one of the most sought after acoustic guitars.

Today’s Ovation Balladeer features a solid spruce top, mahogany neck and one of the best pre-amps around. There are no bridge pins on the Balladeer; the strings thread through the back of the bridge. It has a non cutaway design and piezo pickup under the bridge saddle with onboard EQ.

The pre-amp, a OP 30 lies at the heart of the Baladeer’s amplified tone and appeal, it has three bands of EQ plus the ability to alter the mid band which provides a wide range of options over your tone. The pre-Shape circuit extends both bass and treble, and reduces “rumble” from low frequencies (below 40Hz).

Whilst the bowl shaped back may take some getting used to for those players who are used to a traditional acoustic – it feels light and comfortable to play – the neck is fast and light with good response.

The resultant sound is bright with fantastic projection. Ovation guitars tend to have their own unique sound and excel when amplified. If your playing live – amplifying an acoustic whilst still getting a good tone can be really troublesome – the balladeer takes the pain out of this sounding great right out of the box. If your not plugging it in then there are other guitars out there that may have a tone that more appeals, electro acoustics can sound a little thin and soft – however this is a minor point – chances are if your buying an Ovation your going to want to amplify it.

As with any instrument – choose your amp carefully – Ovations were not designed to sound great plugged into a Marshall stack – go for a dedicated acoustic amp or solid state speaker.

Whilst there are cheaper electro-acoustics in the market – Ovation have a wonderful heritage and an unsurpassable build quality. The Balladeer is the biggest selling Ovation in the US and it’s not hard to see why as it has a great range of sound and does it with minimal fuss.

For more information check out Ovation Guitars