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Guitar Musician   e-zine     06/01/05

In This Issue:

  "... when I heard Apache by the Shadows, that was it ! ...then there was a guitar player named Steve Gordon, he was "the player" in town ... I still remember him saying to me 'Is there any reason you're not using your little finger?'..."

                                                                   - Ray Flacke / Ricky Scaggs Band

Some Humor

Language Problem

  A furniture dealer from Arkansas decided that he
  wanted to expand the line of furniture in his store,
  so he decided to go to Paris, France to see what he
  could find.
  After arriving in Paris (this being his first trip ever to the
  French capital), he met with some manufacturers and
  finally selected a line that he thought would sell well back
  home in Arkansas.
  To celebrate the new acquisition, he decided to visit a
  small bistro and have a glass of wine. As he sat enjoying
  his wine, he noticed that the small place was quite crowded,
  and that the only vacant seat in the house was the other chair
  at his table.
  Before long, a beautiful young Parisian girl came to his table,
  asked him something in French (which he did not understand),
  and motioned toward the chair. He invited her to sit down.
  He tried to speak to her in English, but she did not speak
  his language so, after a couple of minutes of trying to communicate
  with her, he took a napkin and drew a picture of a wine glass and
  showed it her. She nodded, and he ordered a glass of wine for her.
  After sitting together at the table for a while, he took another
  and drew a picture of a plate with food on it, and she nodded. They
  left the bistro and found a quiet cafe that featured a small group
  romantic music They ordered dinner,  after which he took another
  napkin and drew a picture of a couple dancing.  She nodded, and they
  got up to dance. They danced until the cafe closed.
  Back at their table, the young lady took a napkin and drew a picture
  of a four-poster bed.
  To this day, he has no idea how she figured out he was in the
  furniture business.



Click here for all products by Ovation.

Ovation 2005-ESK Collectors'

Big-box punch and volume with shallow-bowl comfort

By Gordon Plath

Ovation's 2005-ESK Collectors' Edition Acoustic-Electric guitar combines the premium features of the LX upgrade package with a revolutionary new bowl design. The result is an instrument that nestles in your lap like a purring kitty while belting out the giant volume, projection, and resonance that only a big-bodied guitar can produce.

Musician's Friend - Ovation 2005 Collectors' Edition Acoustic-Electric Guitar Life of Riley
My career playing studio engineer, live sound man, and coffee house troubadour has not afforded me a Lear Jet, a house in Beverly Hills, or even a decent wardrobe; but every now and then it has its bennies. Take this amazing guitar Musician's Friend sent me for review. I played an Ovation onstage for many years until my old favorite got stolen off a bus in Minneapolis. So I jumped at the chance to write about the 2005 Collectors' Edition. Now I've found my new true love.

This guitar is way nicer than the sweet '76 Balladeer I cut my teeth on. First of all, it looks fabulous. An iridescent abalone inlay graces the soundhole and there's a unique eclipsed-ellipse twelfth-fret abalone inlay on the lustrous bound ebony fingerboard. The black headstock matches the fretboard. Six-ply body binding in grained ivoroid, gold Ovation tuners, and a nice gloss finish on the back of the five-piece mahogany/maple neck add up to an overall visual impression of subdued luxury without gaudy flash. The top wood is a gorgeous piece of fine-grained select Engelmann spruce with a high-gloss natural finish. Even the faceplate of the guitar's electronics sports a cool metal-flake paint job.

Bowl of wonder
The real surprise with this guitar comes when you turn it over. The deep contour Lyrachord back has a shape like no other Ovation you've ever seen. Ovation's engineers have worked for years to come up with a design that offers the full volume, projection, and bass of their deep-bowl guitars while providing the extreme comfort of their super-shallow bowl guitars. I'm here to tell you they've succeeded.

Click to Enlarge The bowl is 5-1/2" deep at its deepest, but the parts that matter are sculpted to fit your body. There's a perfectly angled scoop for your thigh and a broad swath taken out to make room for your ribs, plus a deep cutaway for access to the high frets. The result is a far more comfortable guitar than other Ovation deep-bowls.

Yet that famous Ovation projection is there in spades. I did my old trick to demonstrate the incredible directional projection of Ovations. I stood the guitar on its end peg with my palm on the top of the headstock, hit the strings open, and spun the guitar around. This created an effect just like a Leslie rotating speaker. The bass and midrange frequencies are accentuated by the larger bowl. It rings with a full, balanced tone that's even all across the frequency range from crystalline highs to robust lows.

Click to Enlarge LX enhancements
The 2005 Collectors' Edition features all the cool enhancements that were included in the LX upgrade Ovation that came out last year. The neck is lighter due to a new system that replaces the ultra-reliable but slightly heavier Kaman bar. Bolts that extend through a thick Lyrachord portion of the bowl into an aluminum block integrated into the heel add support to the precision-fitted, glued neck joint. This is further supported by two 3/8"-wide, flat graphite bars set on edge into parallel narrow grooves that extend on either side of the truss rod from beneath the seventh fret into the body of the guitar. A dual-action truss rod lets you set the action precisely where you want it.

The bowl is not only a revolutionary shape, it's made from the new, 33%-lighter Lyrachord with injected microspheres. A new scalloped X bracing pattern provides maximum resonance and volume without sacrificing stability.

I was in for another sonic treat when I plugged this gorgeous instrument into my GenzoBenz UC5 acoustic amp. The 2005 Collectors' is equipped with Ovation's classic Original Patented Pickup, featuring six independent elements that sense both string and top vibration. This OPP provides amazingly well-balanced tone across the whole timbral spectrum.

Click to Enlarge The OPP is paired with a fantastic preamp called the OP-Pro, that has a warm vibe similar to the original OP24 preamp and was designed with Al DiMeola. There's a three-band EQ with bypass switch, gain knob, and a built-in tuner that works really well. Together, these electronics combine with the spruce top to produce a sparkling, full-bodied, and well-grounded tone that sounds great solo and also really cuts through the mix. I used this guitar for a live solo show and also recorded three tunes with bass and vocals in my ProTools studio. In all environments, it sang out with perfect clarity and balance.

This guitar plays like a dream and sounds like an angel. It's obvious we were meant for each other and I plan to do everything in my power to keep it. It may be a hard fight, though, since its serial number is 001. But I won't fret too hard if I can't get it. One of Ovation's greatest strengths is their consistency. I have no doubt that every one of these guitars is going to sound fantastic and play like buttah.

Features & Specs:

  • Solid select Engelmann spruce top
  • Scalloped X bracing pattern
  • Revolutionary deep contour bowl
  • 33% lighter Lyrachord bowl material
  • Bound ebony fingerboard
  • Lightweight 5-piece advanced neck
  • Dual-action truss rod
  • Graphite neck stabilizers over the joint
  • Dual-clamp heel block
  • Original 1968 Ovation pickup
  • OP-Pro preamp
  • Ebony bridge
  • Grained ivoroid binding
  • 6-ply top binding with abalone inlay
  • Collectors' Edition 12th fret abalone inlay
  • Gold tuners
  • Hardshell case included

For more info on ordering this product email us

Guitar Q & A

  Alternate Tuning - Drop "D" Whole Step


Mikkel Stensgaard; Denmark

Q: I have the Bass Tab for the song "Aerials" by System of a Down and it uses a tuning of C-G-C-F, how do I tune my bass to this tuning?

A: This tuning is called Drop "D" whole step. The perspective you should look at this from is the same as Drop "D" but you must tune your guitar down a whole step first. Hhere is how it's done: You must start by tuning all the strings on your bass guitar down one whole step (two frets). This changes the normal tuning of E-A-D-G to D-G-C-F. Then tune the thickest string down another whole step to make it a "C" note. This tuning is very popular with heavy rock bands and has a real low mean sound to it.

Hope this helps!


Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House