Ovation Elite 12-string Acoustic Guitar

How can you go to Maui and not shop?  And if you are a bass-aholic how can you not shop for basses and guitars???

On my first trip to Lahaina Music I came across this Ovation 12-string.  I have an old Yamaha 12-string, but have wanted one with a pickup.  I’ve also been admiring the Ovation Celebrities for some time.  I had almost bought a 6-string Ovation a while back but ended up buying my Simon and Patrick instead.

One big thing about 12-strings, for me, is there playability.  Because of the number of strings, the string spacing and action are critical to being able to play it comfortably.  I don’t often find a 12-string that feels good.  The one feels great!

The headstock on this guitar is the standard distinctive Ovation design.  To accommodate the extra tuners the headstock is extended, but it seems that Ovation wanted to stick with aesthetics an keep the tuners quite close together.  This makes tuning a big tight, but it still works well.  It helps that this guitar is equipped with Schaller machine heads.

One of the many features that make this model recognizable is the Adamas multiple sound hole system.  Instead of one large sound hole.  This guitar has multiple holes of various sizes.  Presumably this is allows designers to tune the acoustics of the instrument to give it a desired voicing.  I guess whatever they’ve done works, because I really like the sound of this guitar.  Some of the other Ovations I’ve played have an overly bright sound.  This one doesn’t.  Maybe the wood has just aged well?

While I was traveling home from Maui it occurred to me I never tested the electronics.  This guitar model appears to be from the early 90’s and shows signs of corrosion on some of the preamp screws.  Also, the hardshell case hardware was covered in oxidation and is pretty beat up.  So I was pleasantly surprised that the pickup/preamp worked and all of the controls functioned and had no scritchyness.  (That means adjusting them produced no audible noise.)

One of the other things I like about this guitar is the bridge.  Most acoustic guitars have a bridge where the string ball ends are held in place with pins.  The one is a bit more like an electric where the strings are fed through a hole in the back of the bridge.  This should make for easier string changes.

As far as negatives go, there isn’t really much to say.  I do find the bowl back a bit uncomfortable.  Ovation will tell you its more comfortable, but I find that the guitar tends to want to slip out of your lap.  And I’ve even heard stories that players with big bellies find that the instrument will tell to sit almost horizontally because of the back.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that there seems to be a slight arch on the top between the bridge and the tail of the instrument.  I would guess that this is from years of string tension on the top.  Over the first few days of having the instrument here in Vancouver I had to re-tune it for each play.  I can only assume that the wood is adjusting to the cooler climate here.

One other thing I have say is that if it wasn’t for Kerry at Lahaina Music I wouldn’t have made this purchase.  Kerry worked out a fantastic price for me and I’d like to say a huge thank you to him for that!

Thanks Kerry!!!  Hope to see you again real soon!

Watch for this guitar in upcoming Lotus performances!

Terri

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