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#2268498 - 01/30/11 03:18 PM The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do?
bradh716 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 25
I have a mid-90's Ovation. The strings are too high. The neck is not bowed at all. As a matter of fact it appears to have a slight back-bow. My guess is that humidity has caused the top to bow up a little. I don't want to consider a neck reset. Is there anything I can do with the bridge to correct this problem?

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#2268508 - 01/30/11 03:37 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: bradh716]
Larryz Online   content
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5777
Loc: Hwy 49, California
Take it to a tech at your guitar store...they will eyeball it for free and tell you whether or not they can lower the strings for you...probably cost about $20-$30 for an adjustment if there is nothing really wrong with the guitar...if there is something wrong, they will point it out and estimate the cost for you...

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#2268583 - 01/30/11 06:59 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: Larryz]
Terrell Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 1722
Loc: Austin, TX
Tell your strings to "just say no"! Sorry - couldn't stop myself...

You'd have to take a lot of pictures and answer a lot of questions for us to tell you. Like Larryz says, someone needs to look at it.

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#2268611 - 01/30/11 07:52 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: bradh716]
Fumblyfingers Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 4732
If you are talking about the raised section of the fretboard in the area of where it contacts to top face of the body...... I raised this question in a handwritten letter to Ovation in the mid 80's. I got a letter back from William Kaman himself, saying that it was normal.

I had lent my guitar to a friend and she ended up sending the guitar to an older guy who was supposedly EVH's luthier. He planed the neck and did a fret job with bigger than stock frets, put a brass nut in it and dialed the action in just super. My friend is a superb guitar player, singer/songwriter along the lines of Joni Mitchell although she plays in standard tuning. So she plays these huge voicings and lots of odd time signatures etc etc and at her level she needed a fine playing guitar. That is why I let her do what she wanted to it until she got the guitar she really wanted that took around a year from when she ordered it to her specs....a Goodall Grand Concert.

Well I got my Ovation back and I swear it plays as nice as my 64 Strat.

Plays.........if only it had a good sound. I have used that guitar in some of the hippest studio's in LA and have never been able to get a good sound out of it. It's a Balladeer...shallow-ish bowl.

There is a lot of info on setting action. Does it need the truss rod adjusted? Also, there are shims underneath the piezo housing in the bridge.

Take off the strings and carefully lift out the bridge saddle. Sometimes they are quite tight in the slot. You might need to put your hand into the sound hole and push up the wire for the piezo but be bloody careful you do not break it off. Maybe try carefully prying the saddle out from the top......anyway, once out there will be brown almost carbon fiber looking shims under the saddle. Try removing one or more and see how that works.

Perhaps after dropping the action at the bridge, you might need some relief in the neck...so maybe then is a good time to look at doing a truss rod adjustment. Do it in small increments and let it settle a while before rushing to adjust it again. Do a 1/4 to 1/2 turn maybe and then play it for a couple days.

If you cannot get it right like that then send to to a pro to do it.

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#2268807 - 01/31/11 08:34 AM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: Fumblyfingers]
Scott Fraser Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 3956
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Fumblyfingers
Well I got my Ovation back and I swear it plays as nice as my 64 Strat.
Plays.........if only it had a good sound. I have used that guitar in some of the hippest studio's in LA and have never been able to get a good sound out of it. It's a Balladeer...shallow-ish bowl.


And that's the thing with Ovations. Acoustically they sound somewhat like a piezo pickup; not a woody complex tone, rather thin, bright & lacking warmth & depth. People used to bring them into the studio a lot in the 80s, & we had to work the EQ very hard to get them sounding acceptable, but they never sounded in the same class as a Guild, Santa Cruz or Martin. I haven't seen an Ovation in the studio for maybe 20 years now & I rather assumed that everyone playing professionally had pretty much gotten over that sound.
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Scott Fraser

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#2268978 - 01/31/11 01:42 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: Scott Fraser]
Fumblyfingers Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 4732
Hi Scott.

Yeah, lousy acoustic sound....lousy direct sound. For my ear anyway. Playing live with it, the best results I ever got was putting the Ovation through an LR Baggs preamp but even though it helps the sound etc you are now so far away from an acoustic sound....you might even get better results from some bargain priced knock off dreadnought type guitar and an SM58.

I bought mine primarily because the neck/feel was so close to my electrics.....and maybe a touch of the fact that Al Di Meola and Larry Coryell played Ovations... blush

It does play nicely though, the neck is really sweet. I am thinking......loosely.....about getting a Mama Bear D-Tar to play around with, putting the Ovation through it. I'd have to find a used one though because it's be a sort of toy so I don't want to spend a lot.

Still, some people love them.... so no disrespect intended towards Ovations.

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#2269003 - 01/31/11 02:16 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: Fumblyfingers]
thebird55 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/10
Posts: 17
Have you checked for 'belly-roll'?

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#2269034 - 01/31/11 04:06 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: thebird55]
Fumblyfingers Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 4732
Originally Posted By: thebird55
Have you checked for 'belly-roll'?


Huh? confused

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#2269097 - 01/31/11 06:53 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: Fumblyfingers]
Scott Fraser Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 3956
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Fumblyfingers
Originally Posted By: thebird55
Have you checked for 'belly-roll'?


Huh? confused


Belly Roll Morton, the pianist?
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Scott Fraser

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#2269124 - 01/31/11 10:22 PM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: Scott Fraser]
Fumblyfingers Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 4732
Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
Originally Posted By: Fumblyfingers
Originally Posted By: thebird55
Have you checked for 'belly-roll'?


Huh? confused


Belly Roll Morton, the pianist?


LOL!!!!!

Jelly Belly Roll Dinah, the 350lb belly dancer?

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#2269622 - 02/02/11 09:10 AM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: Fumblyfingers]
alfonso Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/06/00
Posts: 1166
Loc: Fregene, Italy.
I have an Elite, from the 90's, got it used. It had the action a bit high....i tried to remove the bridge to have a look and it had a thin "thing" under it put there to raise the action. I just removed it and restrung, it became perfect. I have no idea about yours though, nor I am an expert in Ovations, but this is what I did.
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Guess the Amp
.... now it's finished...
Here it is!


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#2275327 - 02/19/11 10:14 AM Re: The strings on my Ovation are too high. What can I do? [Re: alfonso]
pinkjimiphoton Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/28/10
Posts: 2421
Loc: new england, usa
a friend gave me a shallow body celebrity...and the action, and intonation sucked. totally. so i emailed tech support at ovation..
they asked what kind of strings i used...i told them an extra lite set...they said to try a medium set with an .012 for the skinny e.
that DID help....a little bit..but not enough. so i went guh-googling, and discovered the thing about the shims, and decided to have a look. so i did...and there WERE no shims. the action plainly was too high, so i said screw it...in for a dollar, in for a dime.
i pulled the bridge saddle out, and loaded up a sanding block with some medium grit sandpaper, and rubbed that puppy back and forth until i took off about 3/32nds of an inch off the bottom, where it makes contact with the transducer..
(i don't reccomend this to anyone, but i personally have little ethical problem with guerilla guitar tech, lol)
worked out perfectly, the thing has a playable action now, and the tone has improved even...and the intonation is definitely close enough for rock n roll.
took a poor guitar and made it quite nice.
if you're crazy enough to try my madness, remember to go slow, and keep checking it as ya go...make sure the bottom is flat!!!!!
and remember, it's wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy easier to take off too much than too little.
back to your regularly scheduled programming...
wink

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