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They call me Lazy, God knows I'm only tired - Lazy Lester

Author Topic: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?  (Read 2010 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Slack

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 02:43:59 PM »
As in Why did they last so long?  >:D

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 02:45:54 PM »
Switching to the kayak business?

Offline dj

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 04:09:13 PM »
I actually owned one for a few months back when they were first made.  They looked cool.  That's when I realized that you could make a guitar back out of carbon fiber or even papier mache, but wood sounds by far the best.

By the way, New Hartford is a really pretty little town, if you ever get a chance to drive through it.

Offline Pan

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 06:03:16 PM »
 >:D



Cheers

Pan

Edited to add: I'm sorry to read, that 46 workers will be losing their jobs!  :(
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 06:12:30 PM by Pan »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 11:14:55 PM »
I actually found one in the trash once. Why DID they last so long? They sounded like shit. The new carbon fibre guitars sound much better, and you can also paddle a canoe with them.

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline blueshome

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 08:44:15 AM »
They were also responsible for the dreaded under-saddle pickup that every "acoustic" player seems to use nowadays because they haven't learn to either project in a small room or use a mic successfully in a larger one.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2014, 08:53:40 AM »
That's right! It was them. having a guitar that sounded like a pan of Lasagna with strings, they had to have a plan B.
Having said all this though my deepest regrets to the people who are losing their jobs over this closing. That's definitely NOT funny!
Since the issue of onboard electronics has been raised though, any progress? ANYTHING sound decent? They all seem to make otherwise fine guitars sound like they're strung with rubber bands.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 08:55:59 AM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 09:06:56 AM »
I agree about the undersaddle twang.  Lots of people these days seem to think that is normal and fine- and actually rather like it.  Takamine have a deal to answer for on that count too...

I've been pretty pleased with my K&K mini western pickup so far.  Sounds a lot cleaner and more natural than the undersaddle ones I have had.

Offline nobocaster

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2014, 09:24:27 AM »
Ahh, Ovation guitars.  My first "real" guitar was an Ovation.  My dad bought it for me used when I was 12, and at the time I thought it was the coolest thing in the world (even if it always did slide down my lap while playing it).  I played it for about 6 years before trading it in and learned my earliest chops trying to imitate Doc Watson and John Hurt on it.  So I have a real soft spot for these guitars.  As a repairman though, I've seen a bunch of these with nasty cracks on the top as the wood is trying to move and the plastic won't budge.  Sorry to hear about the lay off.

 
!
Since the issue of onboard electronics has been raised though, any progress? ANYTHING sound decent?

  I don't personally use anything other than a mic, but I have installed a couple of the K&K Trinity systems for clients with acceptable results.  My main complaint is the microphone gooseneck is not as stable as I'd like.. it has a bit of spring-back so is difficult to set it in the ideal spot.  Sound-wise it is definitely an improvement from the under-saddle slappy plastic sound.
http://www.kksound.com/products/trinity.php

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 02:32:40 PM »
Had to look up the Trinity system.  I see its essentially the same 3 piezo disc thing that I have (the Mini Western), but with the added mic and pre amp attached.

So far Ive found that the mini western is fine without a pre-amp: plenty of signal for a passive system and sounds pretty good, though I'm obviously not playing stadiums with it!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 02:56:32 PM »
Hi all,
I remember when Ovations first came out that people used to say that they really liked the necks on them.  As it happens, it's a neck contour that sure doesn't work for me, narrow, low-profile and thin from the fingerboard straight through to the middle of the back of the neck--what folks used to call a "fast" neck.  I need a lot more mass in a neck, but I do remember seeing Glen Campbell play some pretty amazing stuff on an Ovation on his TV show.  I don't recall anybody bragging on their tone very much, but I suppose some sound people liked them because they had such a flat, even response with no peaks.  Sort of like an acoustic guitar for people who dislike and fear the unpredictability of the sound of acoustic guitars.
All best,
Johnm 

Offline Slack

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 04:16:20 PM »
I've got an older k&k pickup that looks like the pre cursor to the western mini.. On an archtop - and agree they sound pretty good.

Besides sound the other thing I disliked about ovations, sitting down, you couldn't keep  them on your lap!

Hopefully fender can find a spot for most of these employees!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 04:21:07 PM by Slack »

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 11:31:01 PM »
Interesting John, about the necks. Are they also partly to blame for the ongoing trend for skinny low profile necks which make acoustics feel like electrics?  Most acoustics now feel like they were made as accessories for electric players...  Very hard to find a neck with a bit of substance.




Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2014, 02:01:55 AM »
I too despise piezo-electric pick-ups with their harsh, abrasive sound that is nothing like an acoustic guitar and pretty poor at sounding like a normal electric guitar as well.

The only two players I encountered who seemed to make some sense of the Ovation are Joan Armatrading and British slide player, Kevin Brown. Kevin found the Ovation a good workhorse for constant touring that would take some punishment and he somehow got a decent slide sound out of them. He's seen the light now and mostly plays a Gibson AJ.
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So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
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Offline frailer24

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2014, 03:20:49 AM »
I have played 2 that weren't too awful. One a mid-90's deep bowl Custom Balladeer, the other, a 1981 limited edition 12 string. Admittedly, they did sound sorta wimpy unplugged, but a good amplifier can reduce the quack of a piezo. For the record, I use a K&K Pure Western Mini.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline Big River

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2014, 09:40:49 AM »
I never got what the appeal was with Ovation guitars. Goofy looks, bad tone, etc. The fact that rock stars could bring an acoustic on stage in a big arena with built in electronics had a lot to do with their popularity in the seventies and early eighties.
As far as pickups go for acoustics I think the K & K pickups that mount under the bridge plate sound really good. I use their Pure Western pickups and like them a lot. They have a warm, woody tone and when used with a good DI box it gives you a pretty authentic acoustic sound (unlike those quacky under the saddle pickups that so many players use). Microphones can be a real pain at times in a live environment but with a great sound system and a good sound man they are ideal.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2014, 11:19:27 AM »
I didn't ever get an Ovation in my hands, but I was impressed by the fact that Mahavishnu John McLaughlin played one on his acoustic album, My Goal's Beyond, around 1970, including his memorable performance of Mingus' Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, which is still a fav. I think he may have convinced a lot of people of their viability with that album.

As for amplification, I have discovered a small company, Miniflex http://www.miniflexmic.com, that makes a product called the 2 Mic. This is actually not a pick-up but two internal mics. Because the two mics, on small goosenecks, are positioned in different places inside the guitar they are mechanically out of phase and this overcomes the usual problem with internal mics and gives quite ample gain before feedback. So, with a wee bit of EQ here or there, my little Stella sounds just like my little Stella, not like a generic "acoustic guitar"

I first started with the model 2, which is mounted externally with the gooseneck entering through the sound hole. This model can be swapped from one guitar to another relatively quickly. I also have a model 10 that I attach to the neck stick in my guitjo and, again, that natural goatskin head tone comes through.

I have since installed a model 5, which is phantom powered, in my Stella and use the model 2 for other guitars. I use phantom power for my head mic so I always have it for the 2 mic as well. I really think being entirely free of mic stands, yet still having a fully mic-ed sound is really a plus, and replicates the visual ambience of pre amplified performances for the audience. It certainly is freeing from the performer's point of view.

When using the battery powered models it is necessary to go through a simple passive DI box to isolate from phantom power that may be running in the PA system. It's a good idea anyway.

I don't really play arenas (and they make a product that combines the 2 mic with a p-up for that), but I sometimes front a song or two for a 7 member jug band in outdoor settings to crowds up to about 1000, and in crowded clubs that would certainly be challenging for a mic, internal or otherwise, and have no problem being heard. And pro sound guys love them, usually after an initial raised eyebrow over an internal mic, as they also do the DPA head mic I use.

Sorry for the plug, but I think these really are the answer if you have a guitar with a very particular sound that you think should be part of the audience's experience. I have also had several helpful emails from the inventor, Ken Donnell, who is a luthier in northern California who was dissatisfied with the sound of the pick-ups people were asking him to put in their guitars, so he spent over a decade developing this product. I've noticed recently that the concept is being copied by the larger pick-up manufacturers.

Wax
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Offline frailer24

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2014, 05:07:06 PM »
Wax, I have used the system you describe. Excellent system, just out of my budget.
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2014, 03:33:18 PM »

As for amplification, I have discovered a small company, Miniflex http://www.miniflexmic.com, that makes a product called the 2 Mic.

I first started with the model 2, which is mounted externally with the gooseneck entering through the sound hole. This model can be swapped from one guitar to another relatively quickly. I also have a model 10 that I attach to the neck stick in my guitjo and, again, that natural goatskin head tone comes through.

 I use phantom power for my head mic so I always have it for the 2 mic as well. I really think being entirely free of mic stands, yet still having a fully mic-ed sound is really a plus, and replicates the visual ambience of pre amplified performances for the audience. It certainly is freeing from the performer's point of view.

Sorry for the plug

Thanks for the plug :) This is nice - i just got a model 2 delivered ( the offer is still on btw) What kind of headset do you use?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 03:36:04 PM by Gumbo »

Offline waxwing

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2014, 10:22:14 PM »
Hey Gumbo, sure.

This one: DPA 4066

Since I play jug I wanted something with pretty good dynamic range and my friend, Tim, who is a sound engineer (did my CD) pointed me to this. On Tim's recommendation I watched ebay for about a year and eventually one came up new for about $300 (which was less then half price then, but I see prices have dropped a bit). The seller even had DPA USA put a new microdot connector on it because he had listed it wrong. I run it through a cable 'cause I really can't afford to go wireless, but that works fine (the microdot to XLR adapter was pretty pricey, tho').

The mic is on a wire and the earpiece is separate so you can run it left or right. I did get an omni pattern as the jug moves around a bit, but it came with a swappable high collar screen which makes it more like cardioid and gets rid of the ambience. Sound guys love it once they dial it in. A touch of compression, when available, and maybe roll off the highs a bit when I'm just playing jug and it sounds great. Really helpful in the rather large jug band I'm in now.

I perform standing up, whether on jug or vocals with guitar, and I have to say, even tho' I'm on a tether, I really, really enjoy not being stuck to a couple mics on sticks. And I think it's a more dynamic experience for the audience as well.

Wax
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Offline RobBob

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2014, 05:02:26 AM »
If you look at the sign by the door in the article referenced at the beginning of the thread you see three names.  Fender has sold Guild and production is moving to California.  Hamer may stay around, who knows?  Ovation's time has come and gone.  I flipped one in the early 70's but they never were my thing.  I like Guilds though and have owned a bunch over the past 50 years.  We'll have to see how that works out.

Offline pete1951

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Re: Ovation Guitars...so many whys?
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2014, 09:51:17 AM »
There are things you can do to get a good sound...........I call this my Resovation

PT

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