8/22/2014

c.1979 Ovation 1615 Pacemaker 12 String Guitar




Update Oct 2014: this guitar has been stable since I first strung it up and also since then I've added an extra spacer to the truss rod nut area to give more adjustability and the neck holds nice and straight. I wouldn't tune it up to pitch but tuning down a step (DGCFAD) seems fine as well as open D (DADF#AD) and a step below that (CGCEGC), too, though detuned to that variant of C you'll get a little fret slapping from the wobbly strings if you bang it hard. If it absolutely needs to be tuned up to standard pitch perhaps a set of electric 12-string strings would be appropriate with an 8 or 9 on the high E.

This guitar was given to me a while back and I just got around to giving it a proper fret level/dress and setup today which was all it really needed to get playing again. It has some age-related issues and a bad old headstock repair which is holding fine. I've always had a soft spot for Ovation 12s because the jangle is so focused and clean. This 12-fret model can be tuned down a step below open D (as in open C in CGCEGC format) with 12-string "10s" and still sound barn-burningly full and boomy. Most Martin 12-fret D-style 12-strings can't claim that!


Solid spruce top with fan bracing... which is typical of this time-period Ovations. It's like bulked-up classical fan bracing and to my ears sounds great. Update: a small lift on the treble side wing has been reglued and the bridge is good to go.


12 individual Schaller tuners keep this thing tuned very smoothly.


This has a 1 7/8" nut but the back profile is quick and lightly C-shaped which means that for an open-tuned hound like myself the capo works easily.



The rosewood bridge with "rear loading" isn't my first choice on acoustics because it makes it a pain to temporarily remove the strings for setup or spot fret work... but it is very easy to load.


By the time this was made the Ovation "bowl" back was modified to a flatter profile vs. its older relatives. This hugs the body a lot better than the early ones.





The 5-piece neck adds strength.


...but here's that old epoxy neck repair. Update October: this had been holding fine but I can't guarantee it'll last forever.



That original formed case is still in good shape and doing its job.

2 comments:

Tiffany Cheatwood said...

I have one too... I love the sound of it, but it has meat grinder action.... what the hell do I do about that?

Jake Wildwood said...

Get it setup correctly: adjust the truss back, shave your bridge and saddle if necessary, and make sure the not slots are cut to the proper depth. Also intonate the saddle for the octave strings... helps, too.