Ovation guitars are the brainchild of U.S. aeronautical engineer and guitarist Charlie Kaman, who, in the 1960s, decided to turn the blueprint of the everyday acoustic guitar upside down. The result was the round-back guitar with its innovative parabolic design. Its entire rear and sides are uniformly made from “Lyrachord,” a polymer that Ovation used its aerospace expertise to develop. Round-back guitars are renowned for their unique aesthetic and high-quality amplified sound and appeal to performers seeking a modern, stage-ready, lightweight acoustic.
Ovation acoustics are recognizable for their intricate inlays, multiple or oddly shaped soundholes, and carved headstocks. The catalog is divided into three subcategories, namely “Adamas,” “Ovation,” and “Applause,” representing the high-end, mid-range, and affordable price ranges, respectively. Most Ovation models come equipped with integrated electronics for sound shaping and amplification, making them ideal for live performance.
Their unique design makes Ovation stand out among a sea of traditionally styled options, and it deserves high praise for innovation alone. However, the somewhat slippery nature of the artificial backing and the curvature takes some getting used to, as does the balance of the neck compared to the lightweight body. While Ovation makes an excellent product, it is a little too niche to feature higher up this ranking.