Founder Charles Kaman (1919–2011) developed the first Ovation guitar in 1965–1966. Kaman, an amateur guitarist from an early age, worked on helicopter design as an aerodynamic engineer at United. Eventually, he founded a helicopter design company, Kaman Aircraft, in 1945.
In the 1960s the Kaman Corporation diversified into new markets such as entertainment and leisure. From 1966 to 2007 Ovation guitars, and later on Adamas guitars, were a brand of KMCMusicorp, which itself was a subsidiary of Kaman Aircraft.
Ovation guitar design reflects its founder’s engineering training and development work with helicopters. Ovation guitars replaced the instrument’s conventional back and sides with composite synthetic bowls. Kaman felt there were structural weaknesses in the orthogonal joining of the sides, and that a composite material could provide a smooth body. Ovation claimed the parabolic bowls dramatically reduced feedback, allowing greater amplification. Improved synthetics techniques from helicopter engineering control vibrations in the bowl.
Ovation developed a thin neck, striving for the feel of an electric guitar’s neck, but with additional strength from layers of mahogany and maple reinforced by a steel rod in an aluminum channel. The composite materials and thin necks reduced weight.
Ovation guitars’ synthetic bowl-shaped back and early use (1971) of pre-amplifiers, onboard equalization and piezo pickups were particularly attractive to live acoustic musicians who constantly battled feedback problems from the high volumes needed in live venues.
Applause is Ovation’s entry level line, first introduced in 1976. Structurally similar to the more expensive Ovation & Adamis instruments, the main difference with the Applause is that it had a laminated top, and was made overseas.
This particular one is from the 1980s and was manufactured in Korea. It has certainly stood the test of time, and is in fine condition. There is hardly a mark visible anywhere, and it remains in totally original condition. The tuners are solid, the neck is straight with a working truss rod. Plenty of life in the frets, the electrics are fine and plays easily in all positions.
There’s plenty of spanky volume in these round back things – bright and articulate. It’s light and comfortable to play, sitting or standing.
Yes, you can find a new one of these for rather more $$$ & made in Indonesia. Or you could check out this one with over 30 years of history, plenty of good vibes, a sweet sound, and in excellent structural and cosmetic condition.
Comes in good quality gig bag.