Ovation guitars have been a staple of the music industry since their inception in the 1960s. The unique design and exceptional sound quality have made them a favorite among musicians for over half a century. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the history of Ovation guitars and the innovative techniques that have made them so popular.

The early years

Ovation was founded in 1966 by Charles Kaman, an aeronautical engineer who had previously worked on the development of the first helicopter with an enclosed rotor system. Kaman's expertise in aircraft design would prove invaluable in the development of Ovation guitars. He believed that the acoustic guitar, with its traditional design, could be improved upon by incorporating elements of aircraft technology.

Kaman's first innovation was the use of a synthetic material, known as Lyrachord, for the guitar's back and sides. This material was designed to mimic the tonal qualities of traditional wood, while also providing greater stability and resistance to changes in temperature and humidity. The first Ovation guitar, the Balladeer, was released in 1966 and quickly gained popularity among musicians.



Further innovation

Over the years, Ovation continued to push the boundaries of guitar design. In 1971, they introduced the Ovation Breadwinner, a solid-body electric guitar that featured a distinctive, asymmetrical design. The Breadwinner was popular among rock musicians of the era, including John Lennon and Keith Richards.

In 1977, Ovation released the first guitar with an onboard preamp and equalizer, the Ovation Preacher. This innovation allowed musicians to adjust the tone and volume of their guitar without the need for external equipment. The Preacher was followed by the Ovation Viper, a guitar with a built-in synthesizer, in 1979.

Ovation also continued to refine their acoustic guitar designs. In 1978, they introduced the Ovation Elite, which featured a thinner body and a cutaway design that allowed for easier access to the higher frets. In 1982, they released the Ovation Adamas, which featured a unique, bowl-shaped soundhole that allowed for greater sound projection and clarity.



Ovation guitars have been used by many famous musicians over the years, including Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen, Melissa Etheridge, and John McLaughlin. The innovative design and exceptional sound quality have made Ovation guitars a favorite among professionals and amateurs alike.

In 2014, Ovation was acquired by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, which continues to produce guitars under the Ovation name. While the company has continued to innovate and refine their designs, they have also remained true to the original vision of Charles Kaman, creating guitars that are both beautiful and functional.


The history of Ovation guitars is a story of innovation and creativity. From their early days, the company has pushed the boundaries of guitar design, incorporating elements of aircraft technology and synthetic materials to create instruments that are both beautiful and functional. Today, Ovation guitars continue to be a favorite among musicians, and their legacy as one of the most innovative guitar companies of all time is secure.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Acoustic Centre Guides

In Depth: David Worthy's Brazilian Series
In Depth: David Worthy's Brazilian Series

As part of our 30th Anniversary celebrations, one of our favourite Australian luthiers David Worthy has crafted something truly exceptional - the 'Acoustic Centre 30th Anniversary' Brazilian Rosewood Series.
A Short(ish) History Of Brazilian Rosewood
A Short(ish) History Of Brazilian Rosewood

The history of Brazilian rosewood is steeped in legend and lore within the world of guitar making. This magnificent timber has a storied past intertwined with the legacy of iconic guitar builders like C.F. Martin and legendary early luthiers, but to truly understand the significance of Brazilian rosewood, one must delve into the annals of colonial expansion, the rise of Martin Guitars, and its enduring impact on the world of music.
Which Next Generation Amp Is Right For You?
Which Next Generation Amp Is Right For You?

Whether you're a seasoned professional or an aspiring artist, the search for that elusive sonic nirvana is a journey that never truly ends. Enter the Fender Tone Master Pro, Kemper Profiling Amp, and Neural DSP—a trio of revolutionary solutions that have sent shockwaves through the world of guitar tone.