The world of yowhatsshakin


Where nowadays the shallow and mid-depth models are more popular due to their increased resistance against feedback in live situations, this guitar has the deep bowl as originally envisioned by Charlie Kaman when he founded Ovation. It is well known that he used aeronautical technology to come up with this design. The Elite series has a Sitka spruce AA top with Quintad bracing and inlaid epaulets made of different exotic woods. The Lyrachord carbon composite bowl has a cutaway for easy access to the higher registers. It has a 5-piece mahogany/maple neck with rosewood fingerboard with 9 maple inlays as position markers and gold closed Schaller machines. The walnut bridge has slots which capture the string ball-ends instead of pins. The electronics consists of a piezo under-saddle pickup with OP-X preamp in the upper bout. In their continued search for improvements, the specs on the Elite have changed quite a bit, but information on this model can still be found through a snapshot in the site (note incorrect picture!):


Ovation Elite 1768-4

The story behind this guitar

Year:                  1996

Serial number:    513529

Strings:               D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Light (12-53)

When my wife and I left the Netherlands, the only guitar I brought along was the Ibanez AW-25 12-string. That situation could not stay that way. Not knowing whether we would stay in the US or not, I thought it wise to get a guitar of a reasonable quality, that would be sturdy and could handle some beating. One afternoon, while visiting American Music in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, I bumped into this guitar which was on sale at a price that I could afford, even as a post-doc. The guitar has been my main acoustic axe until the Collings guitars came along. But it still does duty as the go-to instrument when friends ask me to bring a guitar along to liven up the party. The matte finish on the neck has a pretty shine to it now due to the constant buffing. As far as sound is concerned, I always have played this guitar acoustically, and with the deep-bowl, it produces plenty of volume and, at least to my ears, sounds a bit like an archtop. But with such a bowl, the guitar has a slight tendency to ‘roll’ over. Hence, playing the guitar while sitting takes some getting used to. Usually the strings are pointing more upwards than with more traditional dreadnoughts.