OVATION
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OVATION
Instruments currently produced in China, Korea, and Indonesia. Previously built in New Hartford, CT between 1967 and 2014. Distributed by KMC Music in Bloomfield, CT.
The Ovation guitar company, and the nature of the Ovation guitar´s synthetic back are directly attributed to founder Charles H. Kaman´s experiments in helicopter aviation. Kaman, who began playing guitar back in high school, trained in the field of aeronautics and graduated from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. His first job in 1940 was with a division of United Aircraft, home of aircraft inventor Igor Sikorsky. In 1945, Kaman formed the Kaman Aircraft Corporation to pursue his helicopter-related inventions.
As the company began to grow, the decision was made around 1957 to diversify into manufacturing products in different fields. Kaman initially made overtures to the Martin company, as well as exploring both Harmony and Ludwig drums. Finally, the decision was made to start fresh. Due to research in vibrations and resonances in the materials used to build helicopter blades, guitar development began in 1964 with employees John Ringso and Jim Rickard. In fact, it was Rickard´s pre-war Martin D-45 that was used as the "test standard." In 1967, the Ovation company name was chosen, incorporated, and settled into its "new facilities" in New Hartford, Connecticut. The first model named that year was the Balladeer.
Ovation guitars were debuted at the 1967 NAMM show. Early players and endorsers included Josh White, Charlie Byrd, and Glen Campbell. Piezo pickup equipped models were introduced in 1972, as well as other models. During the early 1970s, Kaman Music (Ovation´s parent company) acquired the well-known music distributors Coast, and also part of the Takamine guitar company. By 1975, Ovation decided to release an entry level instrument, and the original Applause/Medallion/Matrix designs were first built in the U.S. before production moved into Korea.
In 1986, Kaman's oldest son became president of Kaman Music. Charles William Bill Kaman II had begun working in the Ovation factory at age 14. After graduating college in 1974, Bill was made Director of Development at the Moosup, Connecticut plant. A noted Travis Bean guitar collector (see Kaman´s Travis Bean history later in this book), Bill Kaman remained active in the research and development aspect of model design. Kaman helped design the Viper III, and the UK II solid bodies.
Bill Kaman gathered all branches of the company under one roof as the Kaman Music Corporation (KMC) in 1986. As the Ovation branch was now concentrating on acoustic and acoustic/electric models, the corporation bought the independent Hamer company in 1988 as the means to re-enter the solid body guitar market. In 2007, Ovation returned from nearly twenty years in electric hiatus with the VXT Hybrid model. This guitar has both acoustic and electric capabilities with two exposed humbucker pickups and a Fishman bridge pickup. In late 2007, the Fender Musical Instrument Corporation (FMIC) acquired Kaman Music, which included Ovation. In 2008, Kaman Music changed the name of their company to KMC Music. On January 31, 2011 Charles Kaman passed away at the age of 91. In June 2014, Fender closed the Ovation factory in Connecticut leaving only overseas production of Ovation guitars. Source: Walter Carter, The History of the Ovation Guitar.

From Blue Book Publications:


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