Saturday, June 28, 2008

1984 Ovation Collector's Series Guitar


Everyone has an opinion about Ovation guitars. Mine has certainly changed over the years. Yes, I've become a guitar snob. However, back in 1985 I fell in love with this guitar and it became the very first "guitar obsession" I ever had. At the time, I lived in the...let's see, how do I say this..."not-my-idea-of-where-to-spend-forver" town of Enid, Oklahoma. I had gone to college there at Phillips University (which has since closed it's hallowed doors) and was spending a year or so finding myself (at the bar, that's where I was). There were a couple of small music stores in Enid and I walked into one of them one day for the first time and up above everything else was a collection of every Ovation Collector's Series guitar up to that point. Ovation began the Collector's Series in 1982 and continues it to this day. However, being 1985, there were only 4 guitars in the series.

I fell in love with the 1984 model, which looked different than any other guitar I had ever seen at that point. I inquired as to how much it was and the owner of the store told me that it wasn't for sale. His intention was to collect 'em all! I just mentioned that if he ever decided to break up the set to let me know and I left my number. I'm not sure why because I had no extra money at the time and couldn't really afford the guitar. I think it was around $1200 but I can't remember for sure. Way out of my league at the time.

I went about my business for a time, my business being bartending, drinking beer, and bartending while drinking beer. One day I got home and there was a message. "This message is for Jaimie Muehlhausen. This is Bob at the guitar store and, if you want that Ovation, it's yours." Evidently the store was not doing well and he needed to sell what he knew he could sell. I couldn't figure out how the hell I was going to pull this off, but I knew I would have to try. At the time I had a Gibson acoustic that was some weird model they only made for a couple of years. It had a plastic, yes plastic, ring around the soundhole and a very aerodynamic looking bridge. It sounded like crap and played poorly (hence the short model life I assume) and I really didn't want to keep it. Problem was, it had been given to me by a former coworker. And, to top it off, I wasn't sure if it was actually mine or if I was supposed to give it back at some point.

On that day, I made the decision that I wasn't supposed to give it back.

I took it in and asked the guy at the shop if he would at all be interested in taking the Gibson in as a trade. I mean, it was a Gibson after all. Had to be worth something. I don't recall how much he gave me for it, but it was a decent price. Somehow, some way, I talked the guy into letting me make payments on the balance. He even let me take it home with me. You can bet I made the payments on time.

I loved this guitar. Round plastic back and all (okay, my new bias just slipped out). It had a pickup in it, and that was first and foremost. I was starting to play some open mic nights and wanted to be able to just plug in. In retrospect, it was very quacky sounding...one of the very first of the piezos that came out. The guitar was really nice looking with a really dark walnut stain and those little leafy looking things around the cluster of soundholes that Glen Campbell made famous singing the Wichita Lineman. It was the super shallow bowl model and was actually pretty comfortable to play. Plastic bowl back and all...oops, I did it again.

I had this guitar for a few years and really did like it at the time. If you happened to read my story about the '74 Telecaster recently you know how this one ends. I'll keep it brief. I moved to California in '87 and a year or so later walked into my first Guitar Center. Up on the wall was an amazing looking Martin D-41 with extra fancy neck inlay. It was the second guitar I became obsessed with and I had to sacrifice my very first obsession to get it. I traded the Ovation, the Telecaster and some cash money to get the Martin. I'm glad I did, but I have to be honest in admitting that every now and then, just out of curiosity, I search eBay for a 1984 Ovation Collector's Series, just to see what they go for and to remind myself of what they look like. I don't really want one, but I guess it's like looking at a photo of yourself from high school...the haircut seemed cool at the time, but you don't really want to go that direction again.

9 comments:

Thiago Korsakoff said...

Good Post!
I like the Ovation guitars. In addition to its many models available, the quality is very good compared with other brands of guitars. I have an Ovation Elite a few years ago, and never disappointed me. Recently bought one for my son, an Ovation Classic for my son on the internet, and got the best price on this page: http://bit.ly/ADNq7
Well, there is a hint for you!

Anonymous said...

If you ever want another one.. I have one that I would like to find a new home for. It needs some work on the electronics (Mainly the battery holder came loose)., but the neck is straight and the frets level. Drop me a line if interested. wallerman@erfwireless.net

Anonymous said...

I have a 1982 Collectors series Ovation that is in very good condition and needs a good home since I have not played it in 15 years. sayheyray22@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I completely understand. I happen to own a 1984 Anniversary Edition, serial #2471, that looks exactly like the one in your post. I got it new in '84 when I traded in a pre-CBS Fender Jaguar, sunburst finish that needed a fret job. (Yes, I know that today that Jag would go for way more than the Ovation, but I can't change the past). I may sell the Ovation some day... she's in perfect condition, not a scratch, electronics work fine, safe in her deluxe molded Ovation case, but I'm not ready to let her go just yet. ronip@aol.com

scudoosh said...

I actually have the 1884 collectors elite, and it too was my first guitar obsession. I can't bring myself to get rid of it and tell myself almost every day that I need to play it more. I actually love the sound as it is very crisp, even with old strings. I swore when I finally saved up for it, that I would someday play it as good as it sounds. Fail!!! However, I still love it.

db said...

Yep! Great guitar. like a first love not only did I never forget her...I still have her. I paid $700
brand new for her, She listed for $1500. #1119 just had her frets replacement reciently.

D. Boocks
Franklin PA

db said...

Yep! Great guitar and like a 1st. love, you never forget, I still have her. She reciently had seven of her frets replaced. I paid $700 for her new, she listed $1400 at the time.

Dave B.
Pennsylvania

Paul said...

I have that 1984 model, and it has been my main guitar every day since I bought it brand new.
Oddly enough, I've never really cared for other Ovations that I've picked up in stores, at friends houses, etc. but the feel and sound on this model, plus the 24 frets, has made it my musical life partner.

Terah Cox said...

I've got the 1984 Ovation, mint condition, owned and played by "George" (Leslie Fradkin) in Beatlemania on Broadway. I'm curious what it would be worth today?