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-28 (or Celebrity Center) TBBY has a cutaway top composed of what Ovation has deemed "œflamed maple" which is ornately decorated with an in-laid abalone rosette. The fingerboard is made of Rosewood and the bridge consists of Walnut with a striking black stain. The rounded back is composed of special type of composite plastic (lyrachord) which is treated in a special manner to avoid an inordinate amount of sliding when the guitar is being played. This special treatment has a slightly sticky feel to it and does indeed reduce the amount of slippage that Ovations are sometimes known for.
The Ovation CC-28 TBBY measures 25 and 1/4" in length and falls under the classification of the "œsuper shallow" body. The fingerboard measures 1 and 11/16 "œ at the nut and all 20 frets are accessible. Of mention here as well is the Ovation slimline pickup, as well as the OP 4 BT preamp with treble, bass and mid range controls which can help to mitigate and adjust the overall sound of the guitar. Included in this package is an on-board tuner as well, located conveniently at the fingertips of the player.
This guitar is currently available for around $400 and can be acquired either on-line directly through Ovation, or via your local music store. Ovation has created an unusually generous package with the CC-28 and seems to have made a tangible effort at offering a great cutaway guitar that has all of the bells and whistles necessary to step up onto the stage and begin performing.
I was pleasantly surprised by the CC-28 and found it to have unusually full sound, particularly when compared to other cut-away models in this same price range. The guitar had full bass and treble representation as well as excellent resonation and had a crisp-sharp response when played. On the down side is the slickness of the rounded back but as stated previously, the special anti-slip treatment that Ovation applies to the plastic does help to a certain extent and if you play the guitar with a strap on then this isn't an issue anyway. But between the on-board electronics, the great playability and the physical beauty of the guitar, the Ovation CE-28 is without a doubt a great buy.