Thursday, June 23, 2011

My new Ovation Elite TX

Ovation Elite TX 1778 in Black against a white backgroundFor my birthday, I received a Ovation Elite TX 1788 as a gift.   It looks amazing, it is easy to play (with my stubby fingers), and, most importantly, it sounds freaking incredible!  I can't stop playing it.

For a while I have been looking to move up from my starter acoustic Fender guitar to an acoustic with a cutaway that I could plug into an amp.  I had heard dubious things about Ovations in the past.  I started getting interested in them when Charlie Pace found his guitar on LOSTCharlie Pace from LOST, tuning his red Ovation Balladeer(?) on the Beach (You all Everybody!).  A month or so ago I was lucky enough to see REO Speedwagon live and Kevin Cronin's masterful showmanship on his Ovation made me reconsider the ovations.  A few months ago my son and I were goofing off at the local guitar chain store and I tried out the Ovation TX Elite because it just looked so different.  I was overwhelmed by how full and rich it sounded.  When I found out Ovation Guitars were created and designed by a noted Helicopter Designer, Charlie Kaman, it was pretty much a slam dunk to be a strong candidate for becoming my new acoustic.

Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QIT Acoustic-Electric Guitar RusticI checked with one of my guitar friends, whose brother is in a awesome  band (28 North). They had nothing good to say about Ovations.  This gave me pause and made me reconsider.  They recommended that I check out a Seagull acoustic guitar.  I wanted to get more opinions, so I crowd-sourced the question to the Guitar section of  A few of the responses were neutral or fairly positive towards the Ovations, but the comments were pretty overwhelmingly in favor of the Seagull. The most up-voted comment basically told me check them both out to go with the one I liked better. (Thanks again, Reddit!)

After checking to see if any of the local guitar stores carried Ovations and Seagulls, my son and I went back to the guitar mega store and spent about 2 hours playing the Ovation TX Elite 1778 (mid-depth bowl) and several Seagull Entourages (black and rustic browns).  Plugged and unplugged.  There was no disputing the Ovation sounded better, richer, and fuller.  I tried other Ovations, better Fenders, Takamines, Yamahas, and different models of the Seagulls.  I double checked to make sure the offset rosette-style sound hole was not giving it an advantage over the other guitars, since it was closer to my ears; but my son played it from across the room and it still sounded better than the others.  The Ovation was hands-down the best sounding guitar in the room.

I usually like to mess around with cheap guitars (except for my Gibson LP Studio), but this guitar at  $599 ( less a 10% coupon for father's day at the guitar superstore) is not cheap in my book.  I am glad I
took my wifeís usual advice and did not go cheap on this.

Although the top of the guitar looks like the typical Lyrachord (or rhino-liner) back surface that the

One of the things I really like about it is that it does not require pegs when changing the string – they feed right through the bridge like on my electric guitars!  Although it was pretty well set up, I can adjust the action by removing a few shims.

I am a mediocre guitar player at best.  With this Ovation, songs that I usually fumble around a bit on, like Dear Prudence or the intro to Long Ago and Far Away come out clear and rich.  The maple neck just fits really well in my hobbit-hands and allows me to reach frets I can usually not hit consistently.

So although, it may look weird or you may have not have heard great things about Ovation guitars, it is definitely worthwhile to check out an Ovation TX Elite 1778.   It is an amazing guitar!  Charley Likey!