Sound — 9
A descibed my musical style in my review of the Epiphone Alleykat, which I will summarize here as "retro-rock." A Vintage, double-humbucker, single cut guitar does this very well, obviously. It produce plenty of bass and midrange, with the treble is generally taking a backseat. Using it's split-coil positions, you can change this, but don't expect to get that Fender twang, this is closer to Gibson or maybe PRS, which is perfect for me. I'm playing this through a Vox Tonelab into a Fender Deluxe 90. I'm not really a big effects guy; aside from distortion and reverb, the only thing I regularly use is the wah-wah function. It handles the Strokes, Heart, Skid Row, all the way up to Alice in Chains without faltering. It gets all the good noise, with none of the bad.
Overall Impression — 8
If it were stolen or something, I wouldn't replace it, I'd probably go find a different Ovation soldibody (the Deacon absolutely destroys it's siblings). None of my guitars are truly bad, but this doesn; t typically feel quite up to the PRS's Standard. But measuring up to that is a tall order for anything, and I think most people would find this more than satisfactory, so I give it an eight overall.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Durable, certainly, but it won't take any of that Angus Young crap. Don't smash it against your knee or anything. No hardcore dancing, metalheads. Straps don't fall off (unlike my PRS), buttons don't fall OUT, nor does the neck. I wouldn't play it Live unless I had to (I'd sooner go to my PRS Singlecut, Gibson SG Special, or Epiphone Alleykat) not for some failure on the U.K. II's part, but I can't risk breaking it. It's a collector's guitar, that just happens to be an absolute beast.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This is Vintage axe, so Ovation's factory standards are immaterial here. As it is, however: oh God. The neck is faster than a Lear jet. Play this for a while, and a Carvin V220 will feel as fat as a B.C. Rich Mockingbird. The action is low, and the frets are practically nonexistant. It allows for a huge, exaggerated vibrato, smooth slides, and enormous bends. At an estimated 20-25 years of age, the hardware is obviously a lttle rusted. Given the odd construction materials, I'm asssuming that the wood grains visible in the tobacco-burst finish, while fetching, are fake. I'm pretty sure aluminum isn't grainy. Tacky, but not truly detracting. These materials also give it strange weight: about the size of an SG, but it feels much too heavy for it's size. Again, not a bad thing, per se: my main guitar is a PRS Singlecut, so I'm used to a little weight. The only thing robbing it of a 10 here is a slight imbalance; it feels constanly neck-heavy.
Features — 9
This is a Vintage, out-of-production solidbody guitar. It was made by Ovation during the 1970s and 1980s; it ceased production during the latter. There were other guitars that, unfortunately, vanished with it: the ergonomically shaped Deacon/Breadwinner, the first guitar with active electronics; the Singlecut, single-coiled Viper II and Viper III, with numbers indicating the number of pickups; the double-cut, dual mini-humbucker Preacher; the wondrous double-cut Les Paul wannabe, the GP; the Thunderhead/Tornado/Hurricane series of holllow/semi-hollows; and the Magnum bass series. All of these guitars featured bolt-on, 24-fret necks (save the Magnum). This one in particular has a 24 3/4" scale length, 1 11/16" nut width, ebony fretboard, gold hardware, and Ovation's curious bridge design. Even more curious than this, however is it's urelite-on-aluminum body. I know: wtf, right? I'll elaborate later. This being an original Ovation design, it might feel unfamiliar to some; think Telecaster meets Les Paul. It has 2 split-coil humbuckers, Gibson-esque controls, and 3-to-a-side non-locking tuners, like a Paul, but it's shape and size are more like a Tele, producing something like a bizarre, single cut SG.