April 1st, 2012, 10:57 PM
The lady that owns the shop called a couple of weeks ago and tried to get me interested in an "Applause" guitar she had, but I wasn't. Wouldn't you know it, the wife shows up a week later with it after one of her shopping excursions. "Look what I got for $15!" Uh huh.:neutral: So it's an Ovation knockoff; plastic/fiberglass rounded back, spruce top, covered in a butterscotch-colored plasticene finish, rosewood bridge and an aluminum neck. Strings about 1/2" off the fretboard at the 12th fret.:roll: But the top was flat; not pulled up at the bridge, and the neck has a dovetail joint that locks into the body much like a regular flattop, except that it's not glued, but bolted at the dovetail thru into the body. So I put a shim between the neck and body at the top bolt. Voila! Much better action. I had a P-90 laying around and a couple of pots just dying to be used, soo.... I'm impressed-it's a much better player than my cheap Epi flattop; especially when you consider it's made from all the wrong stuff. The only thing I don't like about it is the rounded back; it's almost impossible to play it sitting down. It keeps sliding off my lap!
April 1st, 2012, 11:01 PM
The Applause isn't an Ovation knockoff, it was Ovation's budget line for awhile. If you made it playable, a great deal at $15!
April 1st, 2012, 11:06 PM
Apply a couple of non-skid bathtub decals to the underside where it rests against your leg. Easy and cheap!
I don't know if it's still the case, but those aluminum necked guitars were somewhat collectable a few years ago. They're great beach or campfire guitars, nearly impervious to water, and don't burn easily.
April 2nd, 2012, 09:23 AM
The Applause isn't an Ovation knockoff, it was Ovation's budget line for awhile. If you made it playable, a great deal at $15!That's good to know. Honestly, the construction is pretty decent. The decal inside says "A Product of The Kaman Musical Instrument Company" followed by the Model and Serial numbers. I found the build date stamped into the top of the guitar underneath the fretboard; Jul 6 1984. The tuners are stable. Other than the poor action, there wasn't much wrong with it. There's a couple of cracks in the top, but nothing to worry about. I'm not much for decals on a guitar, but I may just try the non-skid deals.
April 2nd, 2012, 09:39 AM
I never understood those round backs..... Is that feature for projection?
April 2nd, 2012, 10:29 AM
I never understood those round backs..... Is that feature for projection?
April 2nd, 2012, 11:22 AM
Thanks, I assumed so.
April 4th, 2012, 12:31 AM
There was one of those in the local Goodwill for $150.00--it was beat, with no strings, but I could see it was a basket case, and I have an old Balladeer anyway.
How they think they can get that kind of money I don't know, but somebody bought it.
April 4th, 2012, 12:33 AM
I played one just like it the other day, it had funky sound that I liked. I would have bought it for $15 in a heartbeat. I think they wanted $125 for it.
April 4th, 2012, 12:37 AM
hell for $15 you could always saw off the back ala jj cale's harmony
April 4th, 2012, 02:23 PM
That's a great score for $15, though I've played several over the years and never really like the feel or sound.
April 4th, 2012, 07:35 PM
Yeah, the aluminum neck has a strange feel, but plays nice enough. The guitar has a real boomy sound; the low end is a lot stronger than the highs. The P-90 evens a lot of that out.
April 4th, 2012, 07:43 PM
The Applause that I owned had frets that were part of the molded plastic of the fretboard - I must have had one of the first ones. Once your frets wore out (which didn't take long) you were SOL.
Your applause looks way upscale from mine. The fingerboard was black and started to flake off into a grey powdery chalk. No real wood on the guitar except the top. By real, I only mean not plastic.
April 4th, 2012, 07:49 PM
I once saw a mim tele in a thrift store for 75. Passed because I was 11 and hated teles. I hate myself
April 5th, 2012, 04:15 AM
The neck on this one is solid aluminum with a paint/plastic fretboard and the back of the neck is the same sort of stuff intended to look like wood. So yeah, once the frets are worn out, you're done. Doesn't look like this one ever got played, tho.
April 5th, 2012, 04:32 AM
I had one of those years ago, played in an acoustic duo, and it was my main guitar. I played that thing day and night for quite a few years, never wore the frets down at all.
I actually liked the way it sounded, brighter tone than wood. Since I played a lot of "lead parts" it worked well for me.
Of course I bought mine new, and action on it was very good and stayed that way over the years I owned it.
I'd say good score for $15!
April 5th, 2012, 10:39 PM
Yes, it's an excellent score for $15.
The one I had was a prototype, with Kaman's Matrix logo on the Ovation headstock shape, rather than the distinctive Applause peghead shape yours has. The black paint was scraped off the aluminum fretboard in the cowboy chord positions. Played and sounded great. I gave it to a friend who wanted to learn to play. We've moved to different parts of the country and lost touch, but I've often wondered how he got on with it.
Though most luthiers wouldn't touch them, a few people actually have refretted the aluminum fingerboards. One such person commented in reply to this blog post about the history of Kamen's aluminum necks (http://uniqueguitar.blogspot.com/2009/11/ovation-kaman-corporation-aluminum-neck.html). Here's another version of the history (http://www.ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=32542) from the Ovation Fan Club (http://www.ovationfanclub.com/). The OFC's forums may be of interest to you. Also, the OFC hosts two Applause brochures (Brochure 1 Part 1 (http://www.ovationtribute.com/Catalogues/70_s_Applause_Brochure-1/70_s_Applause_Brochure-1.html), Brochure 1 Part 2 (http://www.ovationtribute.com/Catalogues/70_s_Applause_Brochure-2/70_s_Applause_Brochure-2.html), and Brochure 2 (http://www.ovationtribute.com/Catalogues/70-s_Applause_US_Brochure/70-s_Applause_US_Brochure.html)) which show construction details.
Strat62, I'm really, REALLY interested in how you mounted the P-90 in the sound hole of your Applause. I have three Ovations, and I have magnetic pickups in the sound holes of two of them, but I'm not happy with the way the pickups sit, due to the thickness of the rosettes/pickguards.
April 5th, 2012, 10:53 PM
What no case? You got screwed!!
Good for you. Great beach guitar..
April 5th, 2012, 11:44 PM
I briefly had one of those applause models, inherited from my brother. It was only just barely playable, so I ended up donating it to a music organization that helps kids through music . . . they were gonna fix it up a bit and give it to someone deserving.
Not a bad guitar, but it wasn't for me (though I do like the early US ovation models with the deep bowl).
But for $15, quite a score.
April 6th, 2012, 04:39 AM
Strat62, I'm really, REALLY interested in how you mounted the P-90 in the sound hole of your Applause. I have three Ovations, and I have magnetic pickups in the sound holes of two of them, but I'm not happy with the way the pickups sit, due to the thickness of the rosettes/pickguards. Thanks for the links! When I shimmed the neck to make it playable, it opened up a gap between the fretboard and the top, so I fashioned a bracket out of a 1 1/2" strip of pickguard material. I mounted the P-90 to it, bent a step in the plastic with heat to align the pickup, and slid the rest underneath the fretboard. If you look close you can see the bracket between the pickup and the fretboard.
April 6th, 2012, 10:46 AM
Ingenious! And yes, now that you've shown me what to look for, I can see it.
BTW, I meant to mention that my bowlbacks slide off my lap, too, unless I use a strap. With straps, though, I can control them just fine.
April 18th, 2012, 12:31 PM
My friend owns one of these. Honestly, I though it was an Ovation while I was playing it until I noticed the headstock.
April 19th, 2012, 08:35 AM
Yeah, I'd pay $15 for that.
April 21st, 2012, 04:11 PM
Those things are tough..last fall a friend called and asked for help with reforming the Jazz band where we went to HS. I walked in to the music room and those guitars were hanging on the wall, I helped unpack them when they were new...in 1979.