Ovation Collectors (1986)

This Ovation Collectors edition 1986 has seen better days before I acquired it from a gentleman who managed to get twice for it than what it was really worth. After a lot of work and painfully delicate procedures, it’s now in a good shape for such a vintage icon instrument. It’s a live top guitar, with a polyresin neck and a synthetic shallow bowl. The problems with it when I blindly jumped into the deal were:

  • Action was an inch high, literally. There was a set of 6 shims under the saddle, you could basically only play it as a slide guitar.
  • Lacquer was cracked along one of the braces under the top.
  • Frets were coming out at the edges.
  • Neck was slightly angled causing the high E to roll off the fretboard and under the frets around 7th position
  • Headstock was chipped badly on both sides and the resin neck was chipped near the nut.
  • All sorts of spurious vibrations in the neck and body.

I had to do at least 2-3 maintenance rounds on it before bringing it to standard functionality:

  • Replaced the nut with a new graphite one, slotted it properly, glued it after a slight shift to compensate for the minute neck angle shift.
  • Tapped the frets back in, pressed the edges in and super glued the frets to the fretboard.  Cleaned and oiled the fingerboard.
  • Filed down the uneven fret edges and re-crowned them as some lower frets were more worn out.
  • Taped down the cables inside the bowl.
  • Removed the extra shims under the saddle.
  • Adjusted neck tension and put lighter strings (11’s instead of the godawful 12’s threatening to rip the top apart, sigh)
  • Super-glued the lacquer crack after verifying that the wooden top was still integral.

The guitar is now sane and playable, the electric pickup also sounds very round and bright. This is the guitar I use for practicing and for learning songs, the slightly higher action than on electric helps to build up chops and resilience, and the shallow bowl is comfortably pleasant to hold. A fine vintage instrument that has been reborn after years of abuse and improper treatment.