BACK in the days when money couldn't buy love and dedicated followers of fashion were even more dedicated than they are today, two men, thousands of miles apart had the same idea.
To build the best acoustic and electric acoustic guitars the world had ever seen. They both succeeded.
However, Mass Hirade and Charlie Kaman, founders of Takamine and Ovation respectively, set about achieving their aims in different ways.
Hirade, way up in the Takamine mountains in Japan used traditional woods and woodworking skills to build his guitars. Each is individually hand-built by craftsmen using woods that have to be left to condition over some eight years. The revolutionary palathetic pick-ups found on Takamine instruments complete the picture on these the fastest growing range of guitars available today.
Kaman on the other hand, set about revolutionising the shape of guitars by applying science: he used theories of vibration and acoustics developed in the helicopter industry to design the now familiar roundback Ovation guitar — the first being the Balladeer 6 and 12 string models.
Nowadays, Ovation guitars are the most widely used guitars in studios, both recording and TV, all over the world. Their true, clean sound can easily be reproduced on stage too, which makes them ideal for any guitarist anywhere. Few would challenge the success of both Takamine and Ovation since their conception. In fact, literally every musician of any note plays either one or the other. Joan Armatrading, Al Di Meola, Johnny Marr, Jimmy Page, Ry Cooder, Kevin Peek — the list goes on and on and on.
If you'd like to join them, now's your chance. Simply nip down to your local music store where you'll find entry forms for the great Ovation competition. Simply buy a set of Adamas, Ovation, Kaman or Omega strings and you could be on your way to owning one of the world's greatest guitars.
Playback - Autumn 85
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