Ovation guitars are one of the most innovative, forward-thinking, and original designs in the acoustic guitar market after more than 50 years. Ovation models are actually “electric-acoustic” guitars, unlike other acoustic or acoustic-electric guitars. These guitar players instruments are in which innovative design and integrated electronics aren’t an afterthought, a modification to an instrument designed to be acoustic, or a sacrifice to a completely different purpose for the guitar player.
The well considered electronics are part of the ovation design focus on Ovation guitars from the start. These instruments were built for the stage, thus they have the most up-to-date and purposeful pickups, preamps, and design integration available at that price range. When you combine the smart body design, space-age materials, and superb top construction, you have a genuinely groundbreaking instrument that will command attention on any stage, in any music hall, or performance venue.
An ancient New England brick structure on the banks of the Farmington River in New Hartford, Connecticut, once housed Ovation Instruments and, of course, the original acoustic roundback guitars. Ovation was a subsidiary of the Kaman Corporation, an aerospace firm with over 2,700 workers, including over 25% scientists, engineers, and technicians. The company’s president, Charles Kaman, a guitar fan, believed that his company’s technology could be applied to the age-old art of guitar building.
Some of their most iconic models include:
Balladeer – Affordable 6-string known for bright balanced tone.
Legend – Mid-priced all-solidwood roundback acoustic-electric.
Applause – Entry-level roundback designed for beginners.
Celebrity – Elite-level stage acoustic-electric with deluxe appointments.
Ovation guitars are identified by their round, synthetic bowl-shaped back design available in different depths. This unique shape allows projection without feedback issues on stage. The composite tops also impart clear, balanced acoustic tone and reliable electronics.
While Ovation may not match the legacy of Martin and Taylor, their innovative spirit has earned them a loyal following of artists across many genres.
Table of Contents
Best Ovation Guitars
Ovation Celebrity Standard Exotic Super Shallow Depth
- Layered Koa
- Lyrachord Super Shallow Cutaway
- Center Sound Hole Design
The Ovation Celebrity Standard is available in two models: Standard (CS24) and Standard Exotic (CS24) (CS24P and CS28P). The body type of the Celebrity Standard is classified as “mid-depth,” which refers to the depth of Ovation’s trademark bowl back and ovation slimline pickup. The mid-depth bowl gives complete projection and resonance, as well as a tone that is comparable to a conventional acoustic of similar design.
There are two bowl types to choose from in the Standard Exotic versions. Although the Super Shallow body style loses a little depth and bottom end, it is more comfortable to play, especially when standing. The mid-depth body is the most popular for overall tone, yet shallow body guitars are easier to play.
The tops are solid Sitka Spruce, which is the entry-level norm. With an Ovangkol fingerboard, the Celebrity Standard neck is made of mahogany. These qualities work together to give good note clarity and playability. The tonewood used to build the top of the exotic variant differs slightly from the standard model. Quilted maple, koa, and burled maple provide a more complex tone and rich sound than Sitka spruce, which is more affordable.
Natural, Sunburst, Black, and Ruby Red finishes are available on the Standard guitars pickup system. The rosette and neck inlays aren’t very spectacular, but they help keep the price cheap without affecting the instrument’s tone or tunability. The Exotic features a more flamboyant finish selection. The rosette is more intricate and the inlays are composed of more ornate Abalone. Overall, these minor changes result in a little better-looking guitar and help to raise the price a little.
The OP-4CT preamp contains an integrated tuner, three-band EQ, and volume control in terms of circuitry. Ovation guitars are known for their electrical capabilities. Many other acoustic electrics at similar price tag don’t have preamps or pickups that compare to the quality of the Ovations. This is one of the main reasons why these guitars are so good for live performance. This is the Best Ovation Guitar in 2023.
Ovation Celebrity Collection 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar (CE48P-RG)
- Layered Quilted Maple
- Lyrachord Super Shallow Cutaway
- Elite Multi-Port Sound hole Design
The Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus Super Shallow CE48P-RG acoustic-electric guitar features a gorgeous quilted maple veneer top and delivers the powerful plugged-in performance as the best ovation acoustic guitars. The combination of Ovation’s iconic multi-soundhole design and quartersawn scalloped X-bracing imbues your playing with clear highs, focused lows, and balanced response, as well as remarkable volume and projection. The Slimline pickup and OP-4BT preamp system have a three-band EQ and Volume/Gain control for tone shaping, as well as an inbuilt tuner and a low battery indication. Onstage, the Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus Super Shallow CE48P-RG acoustic-electric guitar is a great choice.
The Super Shallow body design of the Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus CE48P-RG is very comfortable to play, but it delivers a full-bodied tone and powerful projection that belies its thinner profile. The Super Shallow body type was introduced to Ovation by country music great Glen Campbell, and it has since become King Crimson’s Robert Fripp’s favourite body style since it allows him to use his electric guitar plucking position while playing an acoustic instrument.
On live acoustic guitar, Ovation wrote the book. They were the first to add pickups and preamplifiers to acoustic guitars, effectively creating a new instrument. The OP-4BT preamp on the Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus CE48P-RG features +/-12dB control over the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. Furthermore, the inbuilt tuner makes it simple to maintain tuning. Ask any of the guitarists at Sweetwater, and they’ll tell you that the OP-4BT provides you the tonal control you need onstage. This is the Best Ovation Guitars in 2023.
Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus Quilted Maple Top Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Mid Depth Lyrachord Cutaway Body with Lyrachord Mid Depth Bowl
- Quilted Maple Top with Transparent Sunburst Finish, Nate Neck with Satin Finish
- Rosewood Fingerboard, 25.25" Scale Length
The Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus CE44P-FKOA acoustic-electric guitar combines Ovation’s unique Lyrachord body with a magnificent figured koa top for sweet tone and stunning appearance and bass response. The Lyrachord body is a strong, light-weight alternative to wood backs, with a smooth internal surface that enhances reflections inside your instrument. Because it strikes a compromise between Ovation’s thinnest and thickest body forms, the Mid-Depth Cutaway body is a popular Ovation body shape. The Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus CE44P-FKOA is ready to rock with its built-in OP-4BT electronics.
The Celebrity Elite Plus CE44P-FKOA features Ovation’s mid-depth body type, which aids in projection and sonic richness while remaining incredibly comfortable to play, even for tiny players. The distinction between an acoustic and an electric guitar is blurred significantly by Ovation. This is true not only in terms of electronics, but also in terms of gameplay. If you’re searching for an acoustic with the playability of an electric, you won’t find a better option than this one. With a narrow neck profile that feels comfortable even for large hands, the motion is smooth and effortless (like mine).
Ovation Applause Balladeer AB24II-HB Mid-Depth Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- New for 2017
- Ovation Lyrachord Mid-Depth Cutaway, Ovangkol Fingerboard
- Applause by Ovation CE304T with three band EQ and built in tuner, Ovation Under the Saddle Piezo Pickup
The Applause Balladeer AB24II series Acoustic-Electric features all of the fundamentals of the classic Ovation Balladeer sound and style, as well as a powerful and well-defined voice, smooth playability, and outstanding value, making it ideal for starting and intermediate players. The freshly sculpted Applause-style headstock and center soundhole with inlaid Pearloid rosette are also signature Balladeer features.
A laminated spruce top for distinctly articulate tone and a mid-depth Roundback Lyrachord body for increased volume and projection, outstanding balance, and superior longevity are among the premium features. For excellent amplified tone and performance, the instrument also has a fast, comfortable action and an easy-playing neck shape, as well as an Ovation CE304T with three band EQ and built-in tuner. The case is available for purchase separately.
Ovation CS24-4 Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Solid Sitka Spruce
- Lyrachord Mid-Depth Cutaway
- Center Soundhole Design
You’re not only playing a fine guitar when you play an Ovation Celebrity Standard CS24; you’re also playing an instrument that was created with innovation in mind. The Lyrachord body is a strong, light-weight alternative to wood backs, with a smooth internal surface that enhances reflections inside your instrument. The Mid-depth Cutaway bowl on this Celebrity Standard CS24 acoustic-electric guitar produces superb acoustic tone, and it’s fitted with an OP-4BT preamp. Discover why Ovation guitars have been stage winners for decades with the Ovation Celebrity Standard CS24.
Buying Guide for Ovation Guitars
Ovation offers a unique lineup of acoustic-electric guitars. Here are the key factors to consider when choosing an Ovation model:
Roundback models have Ovation’s signature synthetic bowl-shaped back for amplified projection and most are affordable. Adamas models feature a carbon fiber top for enhanced clarity and volume with a roundback for improved response. Elite models use a thinner, deep contour cutaway body for maximum playing comfort.
Shallower 0.75″ mid-depth bowls provide balance of volume and articulation. Deeper 1.25″-1.5″ bowls offer enhanced bass response for rhythm playing but can over-boom. Onstage needs typically favor deeper bowls while mid-depths work better recording.
Models with the OP-Pro preamp offer professional EQ contouring and amplification. You should look for pickup systems that actively cancel feedback when plugged in for performing. Preamps with tuners, mid-scoop switches, and multi-band EQ allow tone personalization.
Ovation’s slim, fast neck carves allow comfortable, unhindered upper fret access. Their necks have thinner nut widths (1 11/16″) preferred by fingerstyle players. Gloss necks provide smooth, fast playability. You can select satin finishes which offer more grip.
Solid tonewood neck construction, nitro finishes, abalone purfling and inlays affect price. Higher-end Celebrity models provide nicer visual aesthetics and refinements.
Are Ovation guitars good for beginners?
Yes, affordable models like the Applause with slim necks provide excellent starter guitars. The durability also makes them ideal for new players.
What music styles are Ovation guitars best for?
Their amplified projection suits stage musicians playing pop, rock, country, folk, and blues. The balanced tone works for both lead and rhythm playing.
Do Ovation guitars sound as good unplugged?
They can sound thinner unplugged than all-wood acoustics but are designed to excel as amplified instruments. Their projection suits stage use.
Can you adjust the action on an Ovation guitar?
Yes, their bolt-on neck design allows adjusting saddle height to modify action and neck relief. Truss rod adjustment is also possible.