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Thread: A 12 string project guitar

  1. #1
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    A 12 string project guitar

    I picked up an Ovation 1615 12 string, with case, for $60. Someone stepped on the top and busted it. I know I can send it in to the guys at New Hartford for a new top and rebuild for..well, more than it's worth, but, I got kinda' jazzed about the prospect of a "new" old 12 string AND being able to select my own top wood. Yeah, the guys at Ovation will install that for you.

    Here is what the guitar should look like, without the busted top:

    http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/26U-1788.htm

    Now, here is the question, if you had the chance to select the top for a 12 string, what WOULD you pick ? I'm looking at stuff that has some figuring on it, like bear claw or silking. my inspiration is a guy at AGF that had one rebuild by Ovation and had a walnut top put on. He's into fancy stuff.

    Here is his.




    I was considering a fancy mahogany he got from a supply place, that looks like THIS.



    But I am not sure how a mahogany 12 would sound. I have seen a few Guild D212 videos, but they were not the best players, so I wasn't sure if I liked hog over a spruce top. What are your ideas on this idea ?

  2. #2
    It sounds like a great idea to me, John. Both of those photos represent lovely guitars. I have zero experience repairing, let alone re-topping, Ovation acoustics. For me, they are a different breed of instrument. I have never played one that was incredibly pleasing to my ears, acoustically. However, when amplified, I enjoyed the experience, more than a few times (I owned a Custom Elite that I traveled with for a year, and played it through a Fishman Aura with a Guild F-50R image. LOL. It sounded great!). That said, I do not know what effect the choice of wood will have on the overall sound, as Ovations simply do not sound like all wooden acoustic guitars. All things being equal, I would only assume that the same principles would be in effect; cedar would be super responsive (for quiet finger style) but easily over-driven (for strumming), mahogany would be loud and bright, spruce would provide the greatest balance between warmth and brightness, etc. If the electronics are in good shape, I would be inclined to go for "visually stunning", like that walnut top in the photo, or perhaps Hawaiian koa.
    - Christopher

    1975 F-212 NT (overhaul started in 2016)
    1975 F-212 NT
    1976 F-50R NT
    1976 F-512 NT (Overhauled in 2010)
    1980 F-412 NT (Overhauled in 2014)
    1988 (G)F-60R NT

    Diagnosed in childhood with a CLWEA genetic predisposition
    CLWEA is an acronym for Can't Leave Well Enough Alone

  3. #3
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    ... or perhaps Hawaiian koa.
    Yeah. Patch, over at AGF has a nice Koa Ovation in his collection too. More serious eye candy.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator chazmo's Avatar
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    John, you might want to get some direct feedback on this project from the OFC, guys: http://www.ovationfanclub.com/ There might be some tricks in doing an Ovation top that might make it difficult. I recall seeing an Adamas being assembled, and tackling that job might be rather unusual.

    In any case, retopping any guitar is a pretty big job, especially if you're going to build and brace the soundboard yourself. Good luck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Neal
    I am going to hang onto this little F-20 and play it as a reminder that life is sometimes rough, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the damage you accrue along the way defines who you are.
    Quote Originally Posted by marcellis
    Growing old is a bitch.
    Guild 12-strings:
    1978 G-312NT (Westerly) - "Franzz",
    1994 JF-30-12Bld (Westerly),
    2006 F-512 (Tacoma),
    2010 F-212XL STD (New Hartford) - "Connie"
    2014 Orpheum 12 OOO SHRW (New Hartford)

    Non-Guild 12s:
    1970 Martin D-12-20
    1980 Ibanez AW-75 (Series I)
    1984 Taylor 655

  5. #5
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    I know it's a matter of taste, but that walnut top looks like a bowling alley. Way, way too shiny and poly. A more subdued lacquer finish would be worlds better.
    ---------------
    From Hoboken-
    F312
    From New Hartford-
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    G312
    From Boston-
    a Vega long neck banjo

  6. #6
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    Kim Keller is THE man you should be talking to. He has a great depth of experience in Ovations.
    Collings D2H (Austin)
    Guild D-55 (New Hartford)
    Guild Starfire-4 (Westerly)
    Huss & Dalton DS Custom (Staunton)
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  7. #7
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    I've been e-mailing John Budny at Ovation. I don't plan on doing ANY of the work, beyond finding a nice top and shipping it all to the guys at New Hartford.

    As to the Ovation club.... let's just say I fell out of favor with the commandant over there too quickly. I ask all my questions of Patch, who still hangs out there and at AGF. Good guy. He helped me find my Ovation 12 string Elite which I like. He's had a few guitars rebuilt by them, so he knows the process.

  8. #8
    Did you ever have the top replaced? I just picked up a '67 shiny bowl with half a neck. Just curious.

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