Ovation Viper - The Hotter The Better

Ovation Viper - The Hotter The Better

Introducing the “Lick of the Week”

This is a new feature hosted on the Guitar Gavel YouTube channel and to kick it off is none other than Will Ray, a founding member of The Hellecasters. Not only that, the “Lick of the Week” is Will’s brainchild so he gets all the credit for getting this series cranked up. THANK YOU Will!! The first lick is what Will calls “Shorts and Longs”. What is that? Check out the lick below. I’ve also called in a few friends to help out and make this a regular Friday feature so stay tuned… we’re just getting started!

Sometimes it’s best to stick to what you know.  If that was unequivocally true the Kaman Corporation would have stayed in the aerospace industry.  

However, Charles Kaman was a serious guitar player and even turned down an offer to play professionally for Tommy Dorsey (as a younger man). 

Making his fortunes in the helicopter business and other defense related industries Charles Kaman just couldn’t shake his guitar ambitions.  Having a little spending money led to an unsuccessful attempt to buy C.F. Martin. 

Followed by an unsuccessful attempt to buy Harmony. 

If you can’t buy them, join them. So Charles started Kaman Music Corporation in 1965 introducing the Ovation line of acoustics in 1966.  Using his knowledge and a team of engineers they designed the first fiberglass (Lyrachord) guitar.      

From helicopters to guitars the first Ovation acoustic hit the market in 1966 created by a team of aerospace engineers and designers from the Kaman Corporation.

Ovation acoustics were met with great success thanks to Glen Campbell rocking one on his hit CBS TV show.  Glen went on to help the company develop their acoustic piezo pickup.

Why he wasn’t forced to play a Fender I’ll never know :-)??

Ovation quickly entered the electric guitar market with their Storm series in 1968, hollow bodied guitars with the body’s sourced from Hofner. 

In 1972 Ovation introduced their first solid body electrics, the Deacon and budget friendly Breadwinner of the same body style. Beyond their unusual, yet ergonomic shape, the guitars also sported an active electronic system, Ovation’s field-effect transistor preamp. 

A few years later here comes the Viper. An egghead single cutaway body offered with either two or three Ovation high output single coils. 

Advertised as being 6db hotter than any other single coil on the market the pickups had “30% more windings for a stronger signal” (10,000 winds). They are known for being exceptionally bright.  

A couple of features leading to the crisp tone are a silicone rubber housing surrounding each pickup and an extra capacitor between the volume control and output jack. 

Back to the “stick to what you know part”, no matter how hard Ovation tried their electric guitars never took-off, but the Viper managed to hang around until 1982. Given their lack of popularity, not lack of quality, they can still be found for a decent price. 

Ovation Viper specs: Maple body and neck, Maple or ebony fretboard, Ovation single coils, One volume and tone control, 3-way switch

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