Ovation Standard Balladeer 12-String Reviews 4

Bought at Sam Ash in New York City for $899. My Yamaha 12-string's frets wore down after less than two years of play and I need a 12-string for many of my songs.

Built-in tuner -- an absolute must for a 12-string guitar! The new Ovation preamp is terrific, with chromatic tuner, pre-shape (a mid-scoop feature) and 3-band EQ. This Balladeer has a deep body, so acoustic sound is also great and deeper than most Ovations. And a great finish called cherry cherry burst, a lovely soundhole rosette, and smooth neck.

Deep bowlback body means this guitar is very, very awkward to play standing up, despite dual strap buttons. Fibreglass body means there isn't much woody warmth, though bass response is good. But even the unplugged sound has a slight piezo quality to it. And string spacing is really not great; the octave strings on the low E through to the D are all too far from the normal strings, making alternate picking very difficult. Wide neck -- be prepared for extra effort when doing bar chords.

The edge of the soundhole is rough. Otherwise no complaints.

The main weaknesses of this guitar are the bowlback handicap when playing standing up, and the lack of woody warmth in the sound. But as far as Ovation 12-strings go, this was hands-down the best I've ever played in balancing sound, build quality, electronics and looks.

Derek Mok rated this unit 4 on 2003-11-12.

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