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A Word With Willie

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Ovation Guitars

Watch Ovation Guitars
World famous Jazz musician Willie Oteri, based in Austin Texas, shares his experience with Ovation Guitars.

We were talking about Ovation Guitars. Ovation acoustic guitars, which are one of the first ones to use composite materials, round backs that are made out of composite plastics. -And how they got started, and why a round back, etcetera.

Personally I really like Ovations. I've heard the story of you either like Ovations or you hate Ovations. I personally really like them. They have a certain sound and they project really well. Bill Kaman, his father used to design helicopters and he started -you can look this up online- Ovation started out, it was his father designed helicopters but his real love was guitars. So he decided to make a guitar, and he decided to make the round back out of some of the materials they used in helicopter blades. And that lead to a really strong guitar that's not as affected by the environment.

And eventually -they all had wood tops to begin with, some of the older ones- now they've advanced to -well now the company is just now coming back from- They collapsed for a while but they're coming back, presently owned by DW Drums. For a while there they were owned by Fender and they went under -but that's a long story- Their top of the line ones are called Adamas Guitars, and that's where they take a piece of beautiful sounding wood, they sandwich it in between the couple pieces of composite material, some with grain in it, some with multi grain going different ways to produce a certain sound, and then they throw that on top of one of their plastic backed bowls and you've got a guitar that's -As far as environmentally, acoustic guitars can really get screwed up if they're caught in the rain or just not -you know they're in too dry of a climate, too wet of a climate etcetera. And these guitars are like built to handle all that so they're perfect for touring musicians.

You hear a lot, you see them a lot in country music especially today, or Americana. But also they're -one of the things Ovations were designed for and work really good for is they cut through a mix on stage. If you're playing with a bunch of other -like you're doing the acoustic guitar part on a piece that's pretty much electric Ovations (snap) their sound cuts through. So you can hear the acoustic parts where a lot of times a regular acoustic guitar just would not cut through that, so that's what made me an Ovation fan.

And the other thing was just how the company works. They used to give lifetime warranties -I think they probably still will when they get back on their feet. And I had bought, I had always wanted an Ovation 1613 which is a nylon classical string guitar. I found one on Ebay, I purchased it, it had a really really dry top, it was really old, had been sitting in the closet for 20 -25 years -and the top cracked, it fell off the wall where I had it hanging, and cracked the top really really bad. So I sent it to the factory to have a new top put on and they gave me a quote which was really reasonable.

Then they asked me if I wanted anything special to it and I thought, "Wow, I'd like to have different bracing-" I wasn't really happy with the bracing underneath the top because bracing effects the sounds a certain way. And I said, "I'd really like…" this type of wood for the top and this kind of bracing and they went, "Sure." So they just- I mean no egos about it, nuthin'! -Beautiful job, really good price, and I've been an Ovation fan since.

And recently the previous CEO of the company, who's now living in Austin, and designed a Thunderbolt Guitar -you can find that easy, just type in Ovation Thunderbolt -and he knew I was looking for a similar guitar with a shallow back on it and he wrote to me one day on Facebook and he said, "Hey I have a guitar for you." And I go, "Well I'm not really doin' that-I'm not real flush with cash at the moment." And he goes, "Ah na na na- If you like it, Merry Christmas." And so that, again speaks for -he's the son of the founder of the company, I mean it speaks for the company, they're just really really genuine people. So when Ovation gets back full operation, you want a good acoustic guitar; go there.

Last modified onFriday, 11 December 2015 04:06
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Thanks to KD Neeley of ZiADiA for putting this series together!

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