#1
Quick backstory: My 14 yo son and I have recently started taking lessons. We are having a blast together. He's playing a new electric and acoustic that I bought for him....I'm playing a new electric that is iconic from the days when I was 14. Add to that two new amps and lesson costs and I've strained my fun money for a while.


I really wanted a new acoustic and had more difficulty zeroing in on the one I wanted....but finally made the decision. It's going to be a little while before I'm ready to shell out the funds for it, though.

A friend whose played for years texted me yesterday while I was at work. He said he'd been over to a guys house in response to a CL add for some nearly new wireless systems. He said the guy was selling three different acoustics, amps and other gear.

One of the acoustics was an older model Ovation that he was asking very little for. My friend played it and thought it make a good one for me to use in the meantime. It also came with an Ovation fitted hard case.

I picked the guitar up on my way home from work yesterday.

It sounds great when amped and feels really good in my hands. Looks aren't bad either, according to the wife. I also like the cutaway.

Good looks are a plus because she'll not gripe if I leave it on the stand next to my main leisure chair. Sure will be nice to have in arms reach so I can practice the chords and exercises my teacher has me doing. Side note here: I thought I had strong hands until my lessons began. I can't get over how bad my left thumb burns when making chords. It's funny because I'm known for having a crushing handshake and towering over most people. My instructor is a foot and a half shorter than me, yet has me about to cry "Uncle" by the end of the sessions. It's getting much easier, though.











On to my 3 questions.......


1) The string height is significantly higher than my sons new acoustic (I love the feel of his) and I have to address this in order for this guitar to stick around and be of use for me.











It's Sunday and the guitar shops are closed and my buddy will be tied up most of the day. Will some minor tweaks on the truss rod perhaps bring the relief down and close to the realm of where I'm hoping to get it?


2) I also don't care for the strings on it. They feel more like cables than strings. We're running (.009 - .046) on our new electrics and my son's acoustic has (.012-.052) which feel okay. Since I'm going to have to make adjustments to the guitar anyway....can you recommend some good strings that feel good....especially with a beginner in mind? The stings on the Taylor's I've tried feel really, really nice to me.


3) What else can you tell me about the guitar?




Age?


If I'm not mistaken....this thing was made at a time when I was almost my son's age. I had a buddy back then who started playing at that time and his Ovation seemed eerily similar.


Anyway....sorry for the long post. I was very enthused to get a guitar that, if set up properly for me, could meet my immediate needs as one that I can keep at arms reach and grab it when desired to work on my technique and hand conditioning. There are no worries if it gets bumped or nudged by the dogs, vacuum cleaner and etc as I have very little in it and can certainly get my cash out of it when the time comes to upgrade later on down the road.
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2014 Gibson SG Special
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Last edited by DubfromGA at Apr 27, 2014,
#2
You may want to hang on to this, they have just announced that Ovation is ceasing production, at least in the US.
Ovations are well known as "bulletproof" guitars that sound pretty damn good plugged in, and...Adequate when played acoustically.
Let's talk about the problems. Do not go fiddling with the truss rod just yet. if you need an action adjustment, there are several things to worry about in addition to the truss rod. Best to have a tech look at it.
It's quite normal for the action on an acoustic to be higher than that of an electric, but at the same time Ovations are normally set up for a nice, slick action so your's may need a bit of tweaking.

Likewise, acoustic strings are normally considerably heavier than are electric strings. You need mechanical energy to drive the top. But....If you play plugged in a lot... This is not as important.
When you take the guitar in, specify a set of "acoustic lights" to try out.

My son has one of the cheap (Applause) Ovations, and he had it set up... It's very slick to play now.
#3
Quote by Bikewer
You may want to hang on to this, they have just announced that Ovation is ceasing production, at least in the US.
Ovations are well known as "bulletproof" guitars that sound pretty damn good plugged in, and...Adequate when played acoustically.
Let's talk about the problems. Do not go fiddling with the truss rod just yet. if you need an action adjustment, there are several things to worry about in addition to the truss rod. Best to have a tech look at it.
It's quite normal for the action on an acoustic to be higher than that of an electric, but at the same time Ovations are normally set up for a nice, slick action so your's may need a bit of tweaking.

Likewise, acoustic strings are normally considerably heavier than are electric strings. You need mechanical energy to drive the top. But....If you play plugged in a lot... This is not as important.
When you take the guitar in, specify a set of "acoustic lights" to try out.

My son has one of the cheap (Applause) Ovations, and he had it set up... It's very slick to play now.



Cool, thanks.


Hopefully the setup will cure it's ills. It sure will be handy being able to leave this one out within arms reach to practice with in between doing other things.
2014 Gibson SG Special
Peavey Classic 30
Squier Standard Stratocaster HSS
Fender CD60CE
Fender v2 Mustang III
Roland Micro Cube
MXR M75
#4
Quote by DubfromGA
....[ ]....Good looks are a plus because she'll not gripe if I leave it on the stand next to my main leisure chair. Sure will be nice to have in arms reach so I can practice the chords and exercises my teacher has me doing. Side note here: I thought I had strong hands until my lessons began. I can't get over how bad my left thumb burns when making chords. It's funny because I'm known for having a crushing handshake and towering over most people. My instructor is a foot and a half shorter than me, yet has me about to cry "Uncle" by the end of the sessions. It's getting much easier, though.
As a big strong guy, you should know that exercise only helps build strength, in the plane of motion the exercise is engineered to effect. So, no big surprise here in that your guitar instructor is stronger than you in a well practiced, specific, activity.

My second point is, if the Ovation came with a case, you should put the guitar in it, when it's not being played.

IMHO, there really isn't a suitable acoustic guitar to leave out on a stand. The caprices of temperature are more destructive on the relatively frail acoustic. The case mitigates sudden changes, and allows for an extended acclamation period.

You can leave the solid body electric in an open stand, they give a lot less trouble with respect to consistency of adjustment.

In any event, (again IMHO), you should learn how to do a setup on your acoustic, whether or not you intend to do it yourself.

There is a very strict sequence of operations that must be followed, in order to to optimize the overall playability.

Read this:

http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html

Quote by DubfromGA
It's Sunday and the guitar shops are closed and my buddy will be tied up most of the day. Will some minor tweaks on the truss rod perhaps bring the relief down and close to the realm of where I'm hoping to get it?
If you've taken the time to read Mr. Becker's tutorial, you should be able to answer this question yourself by now....

There are a couple of things in the setup process that you don't go a "do over" with, and can also damage the guitar. If your mechanical skills are not what they should be, taking the guitar to a qualified tech, is the best course of action.

"Discretion is the better part of valor", in all endeavors.
Quote by DubfromGA
2) I also don't care for the strings on it. They feel more like cables than strings. We're running (.009 - .046) on our new electrics and my son's acoustic has (.012-.052) which feel okay. Since I'm going to have to make adjustments to the guitar anyway....can you recommend some good strings that feel good....especially with a beginner in mind? The stings on the Taylor's I've tried feel really, really nice to me.
Taylor ships with "Elixir" brand string, which are coated. Some people think they're "too slippery", and others think they're the best money can buy.

In any event, it's possible your Ovation is strung with "acoustic medium", (.013 to .056), or even heavy.

With the correct action height, acoustic light should be the ticket. But you can cheat a bit with "acoustic custom light", (.011 to .052), without sacrificing too much bottom end. One of my acoustics is a little "bendy", in the soundboard, but a set of custom lights, allowed it to return to close to ideal, and it plays pretty damned quick to boot.

Custom light strings will kill a bit of volume though, and I suppose whether that's good or bad, would depend on your personal taste or situation.
#5
The high action might turn out to be a deal breaker, because, as far as I can tell, you haven't got much saddle left, and a neck reset would be very expensive even if you can find someone to do it. Have a tech look at it. IMO, being handicapped by a badly set up guitar is absolutely the worst thing you can do if you are a beginner. Just about any guitar will do to learn on, as long as it is well set up and plays smoothly.
#6
i would venture to guess that it's a string gauge issue more than anything else. my Ovations like lights and extra lights. i usually use D'addario EXP16's for most. no need to worry about thinner strings cancelling out any volume or bass - that shallow bowl will never produce much of either.
simple check to see if string height is an issue is to stick a quarter under the strings at the 12th fret. the strings should be just barely over the coin without touching.
that's a nice lookin' Celebrity you have there. the thin body doesn't sound the greatest unplugged but makes up for it when amped up. you'll love it for sitting around practicing. i grab mine more often than my taylors and martins. Ovations are just fun to play.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#7
Quote by Tony Done
The high action might turn out to be a deal breaker, because, as far as I can tell, you haven't got much saddle left, and a neck reset would be very expensive even if you can find someone to do it. Have a tech look at it. IMO, being handicapped by a badly set up guitar is absolutely the worst thing you can do if you are a beginner. Just about any guitar will do to learn on, as long as it is well set up and plays smoothly.
Lousy photography notwithstanding, I see about an 1/8" of white showing above the bridge.

As stepchild points out, and I second, a lighter set of strings will allow the neck / soundboard to relax, but it may take a few months.

At least as long as he doesn't let the damned thing sit exposed on a stand all year long.
#8
'ol Steppy lets his guitars sit out most of the time. i do put them away when i go to work but when i'm home.... they can stay out for weeks/months.
that Celebrity is a laminate top and fiberglass back and sides... pretty bulletproof.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#9
Quote by stepchildusmc
'ol Steppy lets his guitars sit out most of the time. i do put them away when i go to work but when i'm home.... they can stay out for weeks/months.
that Celebrity is a laminate top and fiberglass back and sides... pretty bulletproof.
OTOH, you summarily give them away and buy new ones.

Oh wait, it's coming back to me. You have full humidity control in your music rooms. I'd say that makes quite a big difference. Wouldn't you?

Besides, laminate tops can settle in, just not as rapidly as solid tops. Both of my plywood Crap-inez-es are gonna get the action lowered, (yet again), whenever I feel so moved as to restring them.... (Ambition for such ventures is hard to come by when you're as old and lazy as me). And then too, have you priced DA sticky back sanding discs recently"? I tell you, I'll have to save up for 6 months before I can buy a roll of 80 grit.
\
EDIT: Then too, one must consider the fact that I might be slightly superstitious. Hey, don't knock it. Look how organized religion has expanded without proof of much of anything.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 27, 2014,
#10
As I recall the Ovation Celebrity series were built to good quality standards in Korea from the late 80s and sold for $300-700. Ovation USA were best known for Adamas and Baladeer and sold for $1000 or more. You can go to the Ovation website for more specific info. Nice player guitars while maybe not a highly sought-after collectible.
http://www.ovationguitars.com/series/celebrity/celebrity-standard-mid-depth-cutaway-sunburst/

String it with 10s and see if the action improves to your liking.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 27, 2014,
#11
Thanks, everyone.

You guys are awesome. Experienced and helpful.

I'd have been waiting a decade for a response from the Ovation Fan Club.


Captain Cranky....that is a really informative link you posted, thank you.


Steppy & Cajundaddy....I'm restringing ASAP with 10s and I'll see where that goes.
2014 Gibson SG Special
Peavey Classic 30
Squier Standard Stratocaster HSS
Fender CD60CE
Fender v2 Mustang III
Roland Micro Cube
MXR M75
#12
Quote by Captaincranky
Lousy photography notwithstanding, I see about an 1/8" of white showing above the bridge.

As stepchild points out, and I second, a lighter set of strings will allow the neck / soundboard to relax, but it may take a few months.

At least as long as he doesn't let the damned thing sit exposed on a stand all year long.


You're right, I misread the second pic of the bridge. There could well be enough to get the action down, one way or another, that doesn't involve a neck reset.
#13
I had a lesson on Thursday and afterwards I left the Ovation with the guys at the shop.


They each looked down the neck....and whistled. "Crap....that can't be good ! ", I said.


They shook their heads and and in a low volume said something to the effect of "It's not quite a goner....but close" as if they were taking the vitals of a dying patient.

I told them to do what they could without getting crazy expensive and had them put on some Elixir lights.


I picked the old gal this afternoon.


The playability is improved by a small amount....mostly due to the new strings which feel like sex, I might add. These strings are sweet. If nothing else....I found what we need to restring my son's acoustic with.

This guitar, while not great, was obtained at a very low cost and will see me through until I can afford to upgrade to the one that I keep coming back to. It's going to require me to shave some funds from other hobbies and such, but I'll most likely get it early this Summer.


Did I mention that these strings feel sublime.........
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2014 Gibson SG Special
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Fender CD60CE
Fender v2 Mustang III
Roland Micro Cube
MXR M75
#14
so...these sexy, sublime strings are...... ???
there are lots of Ovation fans here(and a lot of haters... very polarizing brand Ovation is). I've had a few dozen. only keep my Adamas 2080sr( you wanna talk about sex with strings attached....), a 1778-RFT(had all 3 of the series plus an extra RFT, sold the matching set and kept the double) and a 2079.... oh, and a shallow bowl GC057. you can say that i like my Ovations. Fender just announced last week that production of US Ovations is ceasing, sad times.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#15
Quote by DubfromGA
I had a lesson on Thursday and afterwards I left the Ovation with the guys at the shop.

They each looked down the neck....and whistled. "Crap....that can't be good ! ", I said.

They shook their heads and and in a low volume said something to the effect of "It's not quite a goner....but close" as if they were taking the vitals of a dying patient.
Could you see it in your way to post a side view picture of the saddle and bridge?

I hate to be a pain, but every pic you've posted so far, almost goes out of its way to deny us the information we need to evaluate the guitar's condition.

When you say, "light" strings, could you also be more specific and supply the gauge numbers?

"The guys at the shop", by any chance do they also sell guitars?
#16
Quote by Captaincranky
Could you see it in your way to post a side view picture of the saddle and bridge?

I hate to be a pain, but every pic you've posted so far, almost goes out of its way to deny us the information we need to evaluate the guitar's condition.

When you say, "light" strings, could you also be more specific and supply the gauge numbers?

"The guys at the shop", by any chance do they also sell guitars?



Lol on the pics. I'll try to get some taken at better angles.


The strings: Light .012 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053
2014 Gibson SG Special
Peavey Classic 30
Squier Standard Stratocaster HSS
Fender CD60CE
Fender v2 Mustang III
Roland Micro Cube
MXR M75