Ovation Model 1618 Glen Campbell Signature Reviews 5

I played this guitar, a used copy from 1979, at Guitar Center in Hollywood. It was selling for $1700.

This is the most inviting 12-string acoustic I've played, in terms of feel. Even the Taylor 12-strings I've played, which are exceedingly well crafted, don't feel quite as good to my fret hand as this one. I was up and running on this guitar the minute I took it in hand. The sound is sweet and organic, with much less of the usual 'synthetic' Ovation top end; string spacing is comfortable, not so narrow (eg. Rickenbackers) to seem cramped but not so wide as to make bar chords painful, as with most Ovation 12-strings. This guitar just had a magical appeal, the kind that makes you lose yourself.

The electronics are definitely outmoded -- this guitar has a strange "two-tier" knob on the shoulder, with the upper tier a tone knob and the lower tier a volume knob. No tuner, no mid-scoop, and no multi-band EQ sound shaping. No cutaway, either, which means the uppermost frets are all but useless. The neck is flat and thin, which may be an acquired taste, and the classical slotted headstock would probably make string-changing more difficult.

The look of this guitar is almost too ornate for me aesthetically -- gold hardware, elaborate rosette. It looks like something a classical musician would play, dressed in a full suit and tie. But for the sound and feel I get, this is hardly a problem.

If this guitar didn't cost so much, I would have picked it up in a second and sold off my current Balladeer 12-string -- which is a great guitar, mind you, but this Glen Campbell almost made me forget I'm playing a 12-string. Considering I've been playing mostly electric guitar for the last while, that's one hell of a coup.

Derek Mok rated this unit 5 on 2004-06-06.

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