The following is an historical account of a remarkable man by the name of Charles Kaman. Kaman came into this world kicking and screaming in the year 1919 in the District of Columbia, Washington, and 18 years later found his way into the school of Aeronautical Engineering at Catholic University. He earned his bachelors degree and graduated magma cum laude, an honor and truly respectable accomplishment for any man or woman. He was also awarded honorary doctorates from the Universities of Connecticut, Hartford and Colorado respectively.
Kaman took his education, his insight in Aeronautical engineering and with a paltry $2000 and the help of two friends he founded what is now known as the Kaman corporation. Kaman is most renown for his insights concerning the stability and control of helicopters, more specifically his work on the addition of ailerons or flaps that were added to the edges of the rotor blades to improve stability. His brilliant work was well known especially during the Vietnamese and Korean conflicts where Kaman's H-43 Husky flew more rescue missions than all other helicopters combined. But what does all this have to do with guitars you might be asking yourselves?
Well, in addition to Charles Kaman's groundbreaking work in aeronautics as well as his monumental contributions to the advancement of helicopter engineering, he is also the inventor of the Ovation guitar. Kaman's understanding of vibration in helicopters compelled him to apply his wisdom to the construction of guitars, and to create a unique design that no one had seen yet: the rounded-back guitar.
They found that the rounded back increased the guitar's projective capability and also helped to create a better balance between bass and treble. In 1966 Charles Kaman brought the first Ovation production model to life known as the Balladeer.
The Ovation CC-44 SM acoustic electric has a flashy and unique looking facade featuring a laminated Spruce top ornately decorated with exotic hardwoods, a white-bound Rosewood fingerboard with abalone dot inlays and Walnut bridge. The back of the guitar is composed of the composite plastic miracle substance known as lyrachord which is a material coveted for its resonating characteristics, and is treated with a special anti-slip material to keep the rounded back from sliding around excessively.
The scale length of the Ovation CC-44 is 25 and 1/4â€ and the Rosewood fretboard measures 1 and 11/16â€ at the nut. The guitar is classified by Ovation as a Mid-depth cutaway which simply indicates that the body is cut away to the 19th fret and not all the way up to the 23rd (after the 21st the frets are partial anyway). The guitar includes the Ovation slimline pickup and on-board electronics including OP4BT preamp and fingertip equalization controls and tuner.
This guitar lists for anywhere between $499 and $699 depending on where you buy it and is available either through on-line merchants or via your friendly local retail outlet. Sadly, a simple analogy comes to mind when I think about how I might describe this guitar and its value relative to the price: the Ovation CC-44 is like a person that has spent all of their time working on their outward appearance, their outward physical beauty, but has neglected to develop themselves as an individual. Although the guitar looks nice I'm not sure it warrants the expenditure especially at the upper end of the available price range.
My initial impression of the Ovation CC-44 SM is that it lacked resonation, volume, spirit, life...it seemed flat and lacking the ability to produce sound as an acoustic instrument. It had a flimsy feel to it and I wasn't surprised to find that its sound was definitely a reflection of the construction quality. After plugging it in I did find that through some minor adjustments in the amplifier that I was using as well as the on-board equalizer, that the guitar's sound improved markedly. But, an acoustic-electric should sound good with or without electricity, otherwise why not simply buy an electric guitar, right? Despite the fact that its outward presentation is spectacular, compared to guitars in the same price range it was definitely disappointing.