Hey Guys Brian from World Music Supply here again, bringing you your usual dose of gear and guitar reviews, and today I got the chance to review some awesome gear from our friends over at Ovation. Ovation Guitars has continuously delivered sonically, and technologically powerful instruments, many at prices far below anything else on the market. In today’s blog I got the chance to take a look at some of the models in their elite series, starting with the 1778TX-5GSM Elite T, which from here on out will be referred to as “the 1778”.
The 1778 was designed in conjunction with jazz guitarist Al Di Meola and acoustic rocker Melissa Etheridge, this guitar was built from the ground up to be a guitarist’s guitar, with everything you could want both in the studio, and especially on stage. The 1778 features a AA solid spruce top, scalloped bracings a mid depth cutaway bowl, and oddly enough, a hard-rock maple neck which contributes increased high end zing, and sustain.
Its rather uncommon for an acoustic guitar to have a maple neck, and a slim feeling maple neck like this one is very atypical, but that isn’t to say that its incorrect in some way, in fact this guitar sounds great. The added clarity that the maple neck imparts adds a different, bolder character to this guitar, granted this guitar doesn’t have a ton of bass unplugged thanks to the mid depth bowl, but I have no doubt that you could record your fair share of rhythm tracks with a guitar as snappy as this, even unplugged.
Plugged in however, and this guitars design begins to make a whole lot of sense, as the slick, slim nature of the neck lends itself to fast playing better than any acoustic I have ever played, primarily because it now felt more like an electric guitar as opposed to an acoustic. The tone of the solid spruce top, translates fantastically through the OP-Pro preamp and OCP-1K pickup, with plently of warm low end, singing mids, and zinging high end response. Lets not forget that this guitar also looks amazing, with its single, spalted ash Epaulet, which contrasts so beautifully against the solid black body. All of these things contribute to the 1778 being one amazing guitar, which more then deserves a 10 out of 10.
Next up is the DS778TX-5 which is similar in many ways to the 1778, but is very, very different. It still features a great sounding A rated solid spruce top, the same OP-Pro preamp and OCP-1K pickup, and that same great feeling maple neck. The difference is that this guitar is what Ovation calls a D-scale guitar, which means that this guitars over all scale length is 28 and a third inches as opposed to the more traditional 24-25 inch range. This means that this guitar can be tuned down much further without the strings feeling like rubber bands, or having intonation issues.
I know that Ovation intended this guitar to be taken up, and carried into battle along side the ever growing horde of metal bands that are flooding the market place right now, what with its thin fast playing maple neck, blacker than black paint job, and extended low end response. I however found this guitar great for everything from low tuned finger picking tunes, cool Kaki King style experimentation and fun baritone country riffs. I’m sure that this guitar does have its place in the metal world, and playing power chords on it did sound beefy, but not using the extended sonic range of an acoustic guitar always just seemed…wasteful to me.
Unplugged this guitar has a very sprightly sound, with an odd tone, thanks to the lower notes, but higher end zing of the mid depth bowl/ maple neck combo. This means that all of the slick low end riffs, sing out with high end snap, which was surprisingly great at getting this guitar heard over the clamor of a second acoustic guitar, and an acoustic bass. Plugged in however, this guitar suddenly made a lot more sense as a metal guitarists acoustic guitar, as that low end suddenly sung out with deep, booming response. Sure I was still able to pull off my best Don Ross impression, and play weird Kaki King style lines, but the ability of this guitar to lay down quasi-bass riffs with all the punch and authority of any other baritone guitar I have ever played.
This guitar might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does cross an interesting line musically, half way between a metal guitarists acoustic guitar, and an acoustic guitarists baritone guitar, I personally loved it and will probably end up owning one eventually. This is why, despite its plain Jane image, and blacker than black paint job, this guitar gets itself a 10 out of 10.
Last up on today’s rundown is the 2058TX-5, which for all intents and purposes is a 12 string version of the 1778, but with a deep contour bowl as opposed to the mid depth version. Typically I try to shy away from acoustic 12 strings, even though I feel like every guitarist should own atleast one 12 string, simply because I know that if I were ever to invest in one, typically after a few years, the top will have ballooned out thanks to the pull of all of those extra strings, but with this ovation I honestly would feel safe owning it. Ovation has made a habit of always creating the perfect guitar top for the job at hand, and this top seems structurally sound enough to stand up to years, and years of abuse.
Acoustically, this guitar has a very modern 12 string sound, with plenty of low end added to those jangling upper octave tones. The sound is full, with lots to offer at every range, tons of low end, tons of mid range, and lots of high end to offer. This is great from everything from strumming some Beatles tunes, to quick experimental octave runs. This guitar has a similar neck profile to the other two in todays review, with that same lighting fast response, making actually playing lines on it a possibility, where as with most 12 strings relegate you to playing open position chords, thanks to generally poor neck construction, high action, and thick necks to help combat both of these problems. Ovation however, has constructed a neck that is flat, with low action, and is more than comfortable all along its length.
Plugged in this guitar has a larger than life sound, with a gigantic sound, easily able to hold its own in almost any situation, and with a band, is more than able to fill out more than enough of the sonic spectrum. I am always skittish about playing, let alone reviewing 12 strings, as my experiences up to this point haven’t been all that fantastic, as building a proper 12 string is an art unto itself, but the 2058TX is a fantastic guitar, and on top of that is a down right flawless 12 string, which is why this guitar earned itself an easy 10 out of 10.