Are Ovation Guitars Good?

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Ovation guitars are considered a mix or a hybrid of an acoustic and an electric guitar, and because of this, they are very special in their design and function. The first prototypes were designed in 1965-1966 by the engineer Charles Kaman who is a founder of the brand, and then continued to develop over the years.

No matter if you have heard about ovation guitars or not, you might be wondering if they are any good. Are ovation guitars good and worth the money? In this article, we go over the build and the pros and cons of ovation guitars to provide an answer to this question, so continue reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Ovation guitars are a mix of acoustic and electric guitars so they are able to provide versatile sounds.
  • Ovation guitars can provide clearer sounds as some feedback is reduced.
  • There is a preamp provided so you will be able to plug them in.
  • Ovation guitars have an electric feel but are able to produce acoustic sounds as well.
  • The tones might lack resonance and warmth.
  • There is a lack of sustain when you play an ovation guitar.

How are ovation guitars made?

As we mentioned, ovation guitars are a hybrid of electric and acoustic guitars so naturally, they offer features of both guitars.

The neck of the guitar is thin so it is similar to an electric guitar and makes playing rather easy. But something unique in the build of ovation guitars is the round back body which helps with tone consistency, but might make playing seated a bit uncomfortable.

An electric feature included is the built-in preamps which are helpful for easier plugging. These were unique to ovation guitars before other brands started to include them in the 90s.

An acoustics-like feature is a soundhole. But what is unique in ovation guitars is that they offer more soundholes placed on the body of the guitar. Because of them, there is more balance and clarity in the produced sounds.

Also Read: Can You Use Acoustic Strings On An Electric Guitar?

Advantages of ovation guitars


One of the main advantages when it comes to having an ovation guitar is its versatility.

For example, if you are a guitar player who does both acoustic and electric music, you need different types of guitars. But if you get an ovation guitar you can do all sounds you need with it, so there will be no need to carry 2 guitars for a gig, nor spend a lot of time setting your guitars on the stage when switching between songs.

Basically, ovation guitars offer versatile sounds and do a decent job with both acoustic and electric tones which is the reason these guitars are very practical.

Less-Negative Feedback & Cleaner Sound

Secondly, as ovation guitars are created with a shallow and round back, they are able to reduce the negative feedback and give you a cleaner sound.

With standard acoustic guitars, many guitar players have a problem with the feedback that usually forms because of the resonance, and can make the produced tones sound cloudy or lack clarity. But with ovation guitars, you won’t have such problems.

Some models of the ovation guitars, for example, the Adams, are even more updated and have a few smaller soundholes, instead of only one as it is with standard acoustic guitars. This is also very innovative and can cause improvement in the sounds.

Built-in With Pre-Amp

Something else that is interesting about ovation guitars is that they are designed to be plugged in, unlike a lot of other acoustic-electric guitars.

The pre-amp which is built into the ovation guitars will give you high-quality electric sounds and also tone control for different modifications in the sound. You will also be able to be plugged easily into the PA system when you are playing live without a need for a separate amp.

Create Both Electric & Acoustic Sounds

Ovation guitars are great because you feel as if you are playing an electric guitar, but the difference is that with these guitars you can also create acoustic sounds. So if you love playing electric guitars, but also want to play acoustic songs from time to time, then an ovation guitar might be a good choice.

Because of their narrow neck and light gauge strings, the ovation guitars seem like electric guitars, but they also have elements of acoustic guitars such as hollow parts and soundholes. Due to this build and design, they make the perfect mix.


You can find some inexpensive models of the ovation guitars that are also high-quality. Another benefit is that getting one ovation guitar will be much cheaper than getting two guitars, one acoustic and the other one electric.

Disadvantages of ovation guitars

Lack Of Warmth & Resonance

Even though it is great that ovation guitars offer versatility, this comes at an expense of the tones and their resonance. Because ovation guitars are a hybrid, you cannot expect fully acoustic or fully electric tones from them.

If you play unplugged it will be more noticeable than the acoustic tones, for example, might lack warmth and resonance.

Fewer Options & Less Tone Control

As we mentioned, the built-in preamp will give you some tone control, but it cannot be the same as when you are using magnetic pickups and tone knobs on a standard electric guitar.

You might be able to adjust the tones and such on an ovation guitar, but if you want to have more options and more control, a fully electric guitar would be a better choice for you.

Other General Downsides

Something else that might come as a concern is the sustain or lack of it. In a lot of songs, you might want to practice, you need more sustain of the tones. Well, with an ovation guitar, this is hardly achievable.

Some guitar players who have used the ovation guitars complain about their durability. The guitar is made of different materials including both wood and plastic, so it might be prone to damage and you might need to do repairs from time to time.

But this is not a huge concern because an ovation guitar can still last as much as other standard guitars. And of course, if you take good care of it, you can extend its lifespan.

Another thing you might want to think about is the looks of the ovation guitar. Maybe this shouldn’t be considered a disadvantage because it depends on your preferences. But you should keep in mind that these guitars have a unique and interesting look because of their hybrid shape, and not everyone might like it.

Final thoughts

Ovation guitars are able to offer uniqueness in both their design and the sounds produced. However, you shouldn’t expect them to provide you with the same tones as fully acoustic and fully electric guitars.

So they are a good choice if you want to add something new to your guitar collection or if you want to explore different sounds. Ovation guitars are also especially useful for guitar players who like to do both acoustic and electric music.

Based on the advantages and disadvantages we explained in this article, we can conclude that ovation guitars are pretty decent and worth considering.

Whether you want to learn about guitars, guitar equipment or other instruments, Guitarsquid has all the answers.