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Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation

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Lefty665
Posted 2024-01-31 4:35 PM (#559031)
Subject: Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation



Joined:
December 2018
Posts: 34

Location: Richmond, VA
Hi all, just got an old guitar that has a funny mix of features. If any of y'all have ideas/insights I'd like to hear them.

The guitar has a textured Artist bowl, 4 digit serial number stamped in the neck block, small white New Hartford label with model number 1621-4 and serial number 46xx. No approved by or anything else below the serial number line. Plugged volume/tone pot hole above the neck heel and raised index dot. Filled jack hole in bowl, no battery attachment hole in treble waist. Oversized slightly asymmetric belly bridge that has had a section replaced and a thin acoustic saddle installed. Several face cracks, nicely cleated. Walnut headstock overlay, very faded gold Ovation stencil, dark stained bridge. VT-8 bracing. All work looks professionally done. Black plastic case w bright Ovation emblem. Very lively sound, and almost unworn frets.

Here's my confusion:

4 digit serial numbers ran from 11/67-7/68 - 5 digit after that until new numbering started in 1972
Model 1121 Artist Balladeer was introduced 11/68
Model 1621 Electric Artist Balladeer was introduced 5/71

It almost seems a very early Artist Balladeer that went back to the factory and was converted to electric acoustic, then subsequently reconverted to acoustic only. That's a lot of work on an Ovation. Perhaps a 1121 Ovation used to prototype the 1621?

The bridge puzzles me. It is a nicely made belly bridge dark stained so I don't know if it is walnut, rosewood or a mix. The asymmetry is that the treble wing is wider than the bass wing, which seems about right. The bridge is deeper than on other Ovations I have, and the cutouts for the strings longer, but still clear of the saddle. A rectangular section extending from the front of the bridge under the saddle was replaced, presumably to remove the wider electric acoustic saddle slot, and cut for a narrow, non Ovation nicely compensated bone acoustic saddle. That too seems odd, why not just fill the wider slot and recut it?

I'll appreciate any ideas or if anyone knows this guitar. It came to me from the NYC area.





Edited by Lefty665 2024-01-31 4:40 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2024-01-31 6:06 PM (#559032 - in reply to #559031)
Subject: Re: Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1769

Location: When??
@Lefty665 - >>>Plugged volume/tone pot hole above the neck heel and raised index dot.<<<

I have a '68 Deluxe Balladeer(shiny) with that same hole plug (on the bass side 5" from the neck heel), and first wondered if it was a factory thing.. but I don't think that model was ever intended to be electric in 1968, so I assumed it was a previous owner retrofit thing, but now after reading your post I am back to wondering if it was factory. Guitar history sleuthing is fun.. but sometimes frustrating.. so I wish you good luck with figuring it all out. It sounds like your new find has seen a lot of varied surgery, but glad to hear that it plays well.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2024-02-01 1:52 PM (#559040 - in reply to #559031)
Subject: Re: Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15651

Location: SoCal
PIctures help.....
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Lefty665
Posted 2024-02-02 12:22 PM (#559044 - in reply to #559031)
Subject: RE: Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation



Joined:
December 2018
Posts: 34

Location: Richmond, VA
Here's some pics


Edited by Lefty665 2024-02-02 12:26 PM




(1621f.jpg)



(1621a.jpg)



(1621c.jpg)



(1621d.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 1621f.jpg (41KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments 1621a.jpg (51KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments 1621c.jpg (57KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments 1621d.jpg (52KB - 0 downloads)
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Lefty665
Posted 2024-02-02 1:54 PM (#559045 - in reply to #559031)
Subject: Re: Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation



Joined:
December 2018
Posts: 34

Location: Richmond, VA
Wood neck block, two bolts, but top bolt missing. Not relevant, but it is a remarkably lively guitar, very resonant, almost sounds like a reverb hidden in the bowl, prolonged sustain, and surprisingly loud. It is considerably louder than my Martins that are older and assertive enough to keep Mastertones in line at jams. That is surprising coming from the shallower Artist bowl. This is my first chance to compare this Artist VT-8 bracing with Legend VT-11 bracing. Although similar, the main braces of the VT-8 are considerably lighter and tapered compared to the larger straight VT-11 bracing. The smaller fan braces of both patterns are similar, shallow and light. The tapered VT-8 main braces somewhat resemble the tapered bracing Martin used for a few years just after WWII when they discontinued scalloped bracing.
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Lefty665
Posted 2024-02-02 6:43 PM (#559046 - in reply to #559031)
Subject: Re: Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation



Joined:
December 2018
Posts: 34

Location: Richmond, VA
Here's a pic of a 1975 1612 currently up on ebay that also has asymmetric bridge wings. Guess it was how they made them on the acoustic electrics back then. Learn something new every day. There's another pic of the bridge that shows the asymmetry better, but it doesn't want to display.


Edited by Lefty665 2024-02-02 6:55 PM




(1612bridge1975a.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 1612bridge1975a.jpg (59KB - 0 downloads)
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Lefty665
Posted 2024-02-03 11:01 AM (#559047 - in reply to #559045)
Subject: Re: Help figuring out an old artist bowl ovation



Joined:
December 2018
Posts: 34

Location: Richmond, VA
Update on bracing. Both VT-8 and VT-11 main braces are tapered, but the VT-8 brace is smaller and has a little more taper. Was Ovation perhaps getting warranty claims averse and building a little heavier like the other mfrs during the folk boom?
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