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Thread: Ovation MM68AX

  1. #26
    Celtic Bard michaelpthompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    I've played my MCS148 in sessions and it holds its own pretty well. Certainly not as loud as my A-style but it can do some decent background accompaniment, which is what I do anyway.

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  3. #27
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    "Visions of a 10" radius and large frets danced in my head"

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    I just spent a couple hours playing the Ovation (mostly acoustically) after getting it back from Guitar Slinger Music in Girard, Ohio. Thanks to Varg & Katie at Guitar Slinger for the great mod done to this instrument! (NFI) This mandolin now has exceptional playability!

    What a difference the new, bone nut; the enhanced radius (10"); the larger frets (80X40); and the great set-up make. Also, the action (1.5 mm at the 12th fret) and the intonation are now excellent, and the mandolin has nice, clean fretting all up and down the neck.

    I am very satisfied.

    Oh, Ovation, if you are lurking...This mandolin should come spec'ed like this!

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    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  4. #28

    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post

    Oh, Ovation, if you are lurking...This mandolin should come spec'ed like this!
    I agree, I picked up a 148 the other day and it looks like QC was checked by a blind 8 year old.

    Yours looks very clean and nice ... only slightly jealous

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  6. #29
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Thanks Keebler.
    It's very unfortunate that new instruments are sold this poorly set-up.
    I feel very fortunate that I was able to find a very good deal on this one and then have it modded/set-up by my local tech.
    Everything turned-out great, but that's a lot of hoops to jump through to get an instrument.
    All that said, I am thrilled to have an a/e mandolin with the Ovation look and electronics and the great playability.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  7. #30
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Played the modded Ovation on several songs during my band's rehearsal last night.
    I was cutting through the mix much more than I ever had before when playing mandolin.
    I'll need to continue to tweak the settings on the EQ to get the sound I want (maybe even from song to song), but this instrument makes a world of difference compared to trying to mic my acoustics when playing in a band setting.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  8. #31

    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    this instrument makes a world of difference compared to trying to mic my acoustics when playing in a band setting.
    I wholeheartedly agree! That is specifically why I got mine.. to plug in easily without a remote EQ and a whole ton of electronics going everywhere on my acoustics. If I want to mic the acoustics, so be it, but this mandolin is a great DI alternative. I had been looking for pickups and tried many other 'electric' mandolins that I never seemed to like till I found this.

    I'm also thinking that the EQ will need to be continually tweaked to suit each situation(to amp or DI to PA). Unless of course you are running direct to your own amp and then just play from that or mic it to a PA. I will def be tweaking it for songs that I'm playing less lead and more rhythm on.

  9. #32
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    I considered an ovation like yours ed but played a local guys and intonation was terrible on his and it scared me away... I had to send off the mandobird for warranty work and it got damaged in transit (they are replacing it with a new one)... so I ordered up a godin A8.

    the larger frets and such fixed your issues? that said it sure adds to the cost of the unit doesn't it?

  10. #33
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Hi Pipeous;
    The intonation on mine was not great from the factory, but after Varg's set-up it is spot on.
    The playability on my Ovation now is exceptional. The work done made a world of difference.
    I got a great price on mine (floor model), so my purchase price + the mod still puts me under my budget for this mando. Quite happy.
    That's awful about your Mandobird! Glad they are doing right by you. I hope you love the Godin!
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  11. #34
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    it does look sweet. acoustically pretty good? amped ?

  12. #35
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    It sounds great amped, but I expected that. The internal pick-up is active, and the pre-amp is quite strong, so I have to watch my volume, and the on-board EQ has so many settings that changing things on the fly can be challenging. However, this is frankly a nice problem to have, as I can now actually hear my mandolin in the mix (and I actually find my self worrying about being too loud!).

    The surprise for me is how good it sounds acoustically. It has a sweet, balanced tone with average volume.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  13. #36
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    I'm taking the Ovation to the Northern Ohio Mandolin Gathering tomorrow. Anyone in attendance will be welcome to play her.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  14. #37
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    my purchase price + the mod still puts me under my budget for this mando.
    Well, that's impressive. Did they replace the fingerboard entirely or do all the work to the exitsing? What was the final bill?

  15. #38
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Quote Originally Posted by delsbrother View Post
    Well, that's impressive. Did they replace the fingerboard entirely or do all the work to the exitsing? What was the final bill?
    The original fingerboard was a fairly high quality, thick Ebony board, so it did not need to be replaced. Varg pulled the old frets, enhanced the board radius, installed a new, bone nut, and installed and dressed larger frets.

    Mandolin purchase price: $500
    Mod & set-up: $200
    Total cost: $700

    Like I said, I'm quite happy. I don't think I could get a new a/e mando of this quality (and with these specs) for $700.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  16. #39
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Ed,

    Thanks for posting this review...very nicely done, man! And congrats on your new ax...I've always been an Ovation fan, though I'll admit their recent move saddened me a bit.

    Btw, I've been playing a lot of bass lately in an effort to fill out a youth band at church...pulled out the "pre-Bedell" Weber OM today for the first time in a while, and was shocked at how my perspective of it has changed...used to seem like a beast to play, but after bass, I had no issues with the stretch and cleanly fretting it...think I'll actually be raising the action a tad tomorrow (I lowered it when I first got it) and getting it back into my regular rotation...

    Enjoy your AX!
    Chuck

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  18. #40
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Enjoy your AX!
    +1

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  20. #41
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Great job and congratulations. Ed! Sorry to be late to the party, but life has been tough in NJ for a couple of weeks.

    The mandolin looks fantastic and they did a beautiful job on the re-work. I know the frets and radius are personal choices, but I'm still surprised that you were so unhappy with the set up out of the box. I've come to expect much more from Ovation. If it were some newbie complaining it wouldn't mean much, but you know your way around a mandolin with the best of us, so there must be some real corners being cut to get to the new price point. Still, for $700 I think you did brilliantly!

    How about another video comparing the before and after?
    Dedicated Ovation player
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  21. #42
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Thanks much Tim.

    I hope that you and yours were not too badly affected by Sandy.

    The bad nut and nut-action on my Ovation might have just been a fluke and not characteristic of the new AX model in general. Who knows? Ironically, the bad playability is probably the reason it sat on the showroom floor for as long as it did.

    I can't say enough good things about Varg's re-work and set-up. This thing plays like butter now, and it sounds MUCH better and louder acoustically than it did before (?!). Could this be because of the new, bone nut?

    I'll work on a new video and post it here soon.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  22. #43
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim2723 View Post
    ...snip...
    How about another video comparing the before and after?
    Just recorded these with the webcam on my laptop. Straight acoustic.



    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  23. #44
    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Excellent! Whatever you had done has resulted in the classic Ovation sound. It's just as it should be. Whatever was wrong before was certainly affecting things for the worse. Indeed, the majority of those who write in to say they're disappointed with the Ovation end up with everything put to rights with a proper set up. Great job.
    Dedicated Ovation player
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  24. #45
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    I had to revive this thread in that I just got an older US made Ovation from Ebay. It's a real red beauty, but I can't figure out where the battery is, or how to replace it. The owner's manual that came with it seems to be for guitar. It says "to push the exterior access door open and the battery will pop up". Well, there is no exterior access door. Just the round door. I had that off and couldn't see a battery, or a place that looked like it would hold a battery. Help!
    Chief. Way up North. Gibson 1917 A model with pickup. JL Smith 5 string electric. 1929 National Triolian resonator mandolin with pickup. National RM 1 with pickup. Ovation Applause. Fender FM- 60 E 5 string electric (with juiced pickups). 1950's Gibson EM-200 electric mandolin. 1954 Gibson EM-150 electric mandolin. Custom made "Jett Pink" 5 string electric- Bo Diddley slab style.

  25. #46
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Take off the back panel. Shine a flashlight in. You will either see a 9V battery or the connections for one towards your upper right as you look in....

  26. #47
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Thanks for you reply Eddie. I took off the round door, and looked very carefully with a flashlight. I still couldn't see a battery, or anything that looked like a plug in place.There's the inside part of the preamp, but that seems very firmly in place.
    Chief. Way up North. Gibson 1917 A model with pickup. JL Smith 5 string electric. 1929 National Triolian resonator mandolin with pickup. National RM 1 with pickup. Ovation Applause. Fender FM- 60 E 5 string electric (with juiced pickups). 1950's Gibson EM-200 electric mandolin. 1954 Gibson EM-150 electric mandolin. Custom made "Jett Pink" 5 string electric- Bo Diddley slab style.

  27. #48
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    The pre-amp is on the top-side. The battery is more towards the inside of the bridge... I'll try to take a pic...

  28. #49
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    There is an extra plastic screwhead on the back - that holds on the battery-holder - if you don't see anything inside the back where that screw is or you don't see a bunch of wires then I'd say the pickup has been removed.

  29. #50
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    Default Re: Ovation MM68AX

    Found it after much hooha. Possibly the worst designed instrument I've ever seen. My rather large hands don't fit inside this rather small opening. After reading this thread, I assumed it was the newer foreign made ones that had this problem, not the older US made ones. Wrong. It took me about 45 minutes to change the battery. Can't imagine doing it in a dark bar. This puppy is going back tomorrow. Luckily I had a tryout period. Buyer beware! No wonder they don't make these anymore.
    Chief. Way up North. Gibson 1917 A model with pickup. JL Smith 5 string electric. 1929 National Triolian resonator mandolin with pickup. National RM 1 with pickup. Ovation Applause. Fender FM- 60 E 5 string electric (with juiced pickups). 1950's Gibson EM-200 electric mandolin. 1954 Gibson EM-150 electric mandolin. Custom made "Jett Pink" 5 string electric- Bo Diddley slab style.

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