I still don`t know if it is an
Breadwinner or a Deacon model.
It is very well built and kind of cool
playing it is very easy and feels good.
It sounds very loud, alive and beautiful without amp.
Typical for an all-mahogany guitar but with a lot of snap and clearness, too, thanks to the ebony fretboard snd the brass saddles.
Skinny bolt-on 2-piece mahogany neck,
24 fret ebony fretboard,
A massive brass bridge.
big, one piece (!) mahogany body
considerably chambered for the electronics.
With a different body shape and different electronics this would be an amazin guitar.
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
volume, tone, 3-way pickup toggle, 2-way "notch" switch.
There is an active fet preamp
inside the body
that runs with two 9-Volt block batteries
when the batteries are empty the guitar is mute
(BIG MISTAKE #1)
The master VOLUME pot is the only part of these electronics that is not weird, odd, strange, confusing, impractical and unusable. It does what you`d expect.
Then there is this unusual TONE pot:
Turned all the way clockwise the guitar sounds full.
Turned down the the high frequencies remain but the middle and bass are cut. So turned down it `ll always sound thin. But this damned tone knob does NOT cut out the high frequencies at all like you would expect!
What were they thinking?
(BIG MISTAKE #2)
Since this guitar sounds very bright in all positions it should have a normal treble cut pot in additon or instead of this wacky tone pot.
So consequently ...
Forget about your normal Amp settings!
You HAVE to turn down the highs for this guitar...
But this means: You can never gig the Ovation together with an "normal"
guitar through the same amp without an extra EQ
(BIG MISTAKE #3)
Unless you touch the "notch switch" or the tone pot the neck pickup sounds AMAZING (but pretty bright, too)
The pickup alone is really divine, no matter if clean, crunch or with distortion: There is warmth, fullness, breath, liveliness AND plenty of sparkle. WOW, I was overwhelmed!
Then the bridge pickup: It sounds "smaller", poorer, thinner.
It can be too brittle and harsh, almost like an acoustic and piezo equipped guitar when you engage this terrible "tone pot" or the terrible "notch switch". You can however tweak your amp and then have a lot of fun with that bridge pickup as well with really great rock and blues sounds, clean, crunchy and distorted ...
... but not with the same amp EQ as for the neck pickup...
(BIG MISTAKE #4)
The third position on this wacky 3-way pickup selctor is for both pickups parallel but out of phase.
(Yes, the THIRD position!)
In order to make this very clear:
It is NOT the middle position, but the rear position that combines the 2 pickups...
What were they thinking?
(BIG MISTAKE #5)
...and to make this even worse:
Only out-of-phase sounds are available when you combine the pickups in parallel!
NO NORMAL PICKUP COMBINATION AT HAND!
(BIG MISTAKE #6)
A little trim pot inside the guitar determines how much out-of-phase the two pickups are. I feel it sounds crappy whatever position you chose ...
It just sounds ... well, ..."out -of-phase" ... thin, quacky, silly, like singing or farting through a tube, like making fun of funk guitars
(BIG MISTAKE #7)
What were they thinking?
Why is there no IN PHASE pickup option?
The other trim pot inside the electronic cavity
turns down the neck pickup volume only. This is useful because the neck pickup seems to be a lot louder than the one on the bridge ... due to its position below the strings only...
Why didn`t Ovation put this trim pot on top of the guitar instead... or replace it by a proper balance pot (no problem if you have a preamp in the guitar!)
(BIG MISTAKE #8)
And then to make things worse:
there is this terribel 2-way "notch" switch for mid frequency reduction that will affect every position on the 3-way which is another mistake: You should be able to choose what pickup you want to treat with the notch switch.
Since the neck pickup sounds so full it could be a good idea to bring the switch in once in a while...
But "notching out" the thin bridge pickup or the even thinner out-of-phase pickup combination is simply bollocks!
(BIG MISTAKE #9)
As "useful" as this notch switch can be (on some rare occasions) it is simply another way to thin out and ruin the sound and go in that "out of phase" direction again that the wacky tone switch does already ...
... as well as the unusabel pickup combination ...
What the heck were they thinking?
So instead of a normal treble cut pot and a balance pot
we are offerd three ways to suck out the mids and bass frequencies from the pickup sounds.
Combine two of them: It`s hell.
Combine all three: It`s even worse...
What the fuck
were they thinking?
This is something you will never get used to!
You can`t use these pots and the two switches
the way you are used to from other guitars. And exactly that is the big problem with this instrument! Unless you play only this guitar you will never get used to these sophisticated electronics.
It is so confusing,
It is so humiliating:
make you feel like a total idiot.
You never know what you have selected...
You never know what you have to do next and what to expect when you flip a switch or turn a pot.
In most cases it wil spoil the sound.
There must have been a real "out-of-phase"-obsession in the electronice R & D department of the Ovation Company at that time...
So much innovation for so many unusabel sounds!
So far off everything that we are used to, that we expect and want and need...
So terribly impractical to handle...
reminds me of my Aria Pro II guitar:
that are so sophisticated
The guitar`s look is another problem.
It is different, it`s cool, it is interesting,
it is a brave attempt to find a new look.
But do you really like it?
Why would you prefer to go on stage with this thing instead of using a Strat, a Les Paul or an SG?
The only reason to use this thing is that you may want to prove to everone that you are different.