new to me 1618 and a question or two
bowlcut
Posted 2021-09-09 7:31 PM (#556083)
Subject: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
September 2021
Posts: 11

Location: Portland, Oregon
Hi there,

Thanks for the forum. Just picked up a 1618 and I like it a lot. I like old guitars, fancy decorations, 12 fret necks, and guitars that are smaller but loud. This ticked all those boxes.

Most 12 strings I looked at had huge bellies, lifting bridges and cheese cutter action. This one has nice low action, seems to have held up pretty good over the years.

I got it home and being the tinkerer I am, I had to look inside and see what it was like. I can see the bridge is bolted on with 3 bolts and no backing plate. Also it appears as the top was drilled for perhaps a 14 fret first, then they changed their mind and made it a 12 fret. You can see the 3 filled holes closer to the sound hole.

The sound board is a bit wavy behind the bridge, so I am afraid that there is some cracking starting to happen, I wonder if I should make some hardwood patches aka "cleats" and clamp/glue between the soundboard and washers/nuts to try and reinforce this area before bad things happen?

If I look really close at the inside pics, I can convince myself that there is already a crack on the underside. Its in between the middle bolt and the brace that's closer to the wire. I would probably try and get some CA in there as well.

https://imgur.com/gallery/EEmKZcc






Attachments
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Attachments 1618inside.jpeg (853KB - 2 downloads)
Attachments 1618.jpeg (927KB - 2 downloads)
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arumako
Posted 2021-09-09 8:52 PM (#556084 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 983

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Hi bowlcut! Welcome to the OFC. You'll be hearing from the heavy hitters at this site soon, but wanted to congrtulate you on your beautiful 1618. Hope you don't mind my making your photos visible in this thread. I wasn't able to access them on Imgur.

1618

This 1618 has seen some serious TLC!

1618 inside

It'll be easier for the knowledgable folks to comment with the photos readily visible! Good luck!

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2wheeldrummer
Posted 2021-09-09 9:56 PM (#556085 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
February 2014
Posts: 636

Location: moline,illinois
Welcome aboard,first thing I noticed is that should be a 1658 Custom Legend the giveaway is the carved bridge and abalone everywhere an excellent and harder to find guitar anymore.As to the waviness start by humidifying the guitar that will help close up any cracks and stabilize the top.

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Love O Fair
Posted 2021-09-10 12:38 AM (#556086 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1488

Location: When??
>>>Also it appears as the top was drilled for perhaps a 14 fret first, then they changed their mind and made it a 12 fret.<<<

Sure looks like it. With holes neatly hidden from exterior view under the very edge of the bridge.
(and now everyone with a 12-fret are getting out their mirrors.. lol)
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Love O Fair
Posted 2021-09-10 1:39 AM (#556088 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1488

Location: When??
PS-- I fully agree with 2WD on the model number. The 1618 was a Glen Campbell model that would likely have diamond inlays and a TRC with Campbell's signature.. with yours being a 1658 Custom Legend with snowflake inlays, wood-carved bridge/TRC and white mustache on the neck bottom. Could also be a 1659, but that is unlikely since yours does, in fact, have a TRC and to the best of my knowledge the 1659 would not since it was post-1981. Then again.. I have to ask anyone who may know for sure-- did they install the Kaman Bar (no TRC) on 12-fret 12-strings??

Edited by Love O Fair 2021-09-10 1:46 AM
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2021-09-10 4:57 AM (#556089 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 685

Location: Muenster/Germany
This guitar has definitive a custom legend neck, custom legend bridge and a custom loegend trussrod cover. But on the body you have no abalone rims, thus I think this is a mix of both 1618 and 1658. The basic construction of both guitars was the same, both 12fretters. But your guitar has a different bracing than the older models, this is normally to be found on the later guitars with 14frets. I´m quite sure that this guitar might have been an employee-made guitar form old stock parts (neck,bridge) and newer parts (body).
Very interesting! A top made for a 14-fret guitar with a 12fret positioned bridge MUST have a different sound to ALL other wood-topped Ovations.I bet more sustain than the originals which tend to sound more like a gigantic mandolin.
Maybe this is the one guitar Ovation never made but should have? Who knows, anyway IMHO a very rare bird.
The only disadvantage to a real custom legend is that Ovation choose a higher quality spruce fot these guitars only, the original custom legend 12strings do sound way better than their lesser cousins, the Glen Campbell 1618. Your guitar most probably has an AA grade top.

If you may see a wood crack try to repair it with glue and maybe some small cleets of wood but do not add any more greater braces or similar, this will not improve the sound. Ovation tops are very stable.
I would really love to check that out.
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bowlcut
Posted 2021-09-10 3:24 PM (#556092 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
September 2021
Posts: 11

Location: Portland, Oregon
Hi everyone!
Thanks for the replies. Very interesting that it seems to be a hybrid of parts. I am calling it a 1618 just because that what I am reading off the label inside the body. Curiously, I cannot find a serial number anywhere on or inside the guitar.

label
Hey this is fun, using HTML code to insert pictures is that really what we do here?

One more image, this one showing the wave behind the bridge. I reflected my front door in the image so it would be more obvious. You can see the top is is being pulled up in the 3 areas where the bolts go through.

wavy

I cant help but imagine if Ovation just used a bridge plate, and glued down the bridge like other guitars, that wave would not be there. Perhaps the bridge glue would have failed after all this time, but I would assume that the soundboard would be spared, and the repair would just be a bridge re-glue.

I really like the guitar and the action is phenomenal, if it stays like this for any length of time I will be more than pleased. I will get a humidifier and keep it in the case with the guitar. In your opinions, is that enough, or should I resort to more drastic measures to get some moisture back into the top?

One more question, I have heard about the bridges splitting, I notice this one has a black area where the string balls rest, is this a hardened area to try and stop the splitting from happening? Do they all have that?

Two more random photos
top

head
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2021-09-10 4:15 PM (#556093 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15531

Location: SoCal
What preamp is in the guitar? It looks like (I think) A bracing, which was used after this model was changed to a 14 fretter. We can only speculate, but somebody may have sent their custom legend 12 in to be retopped and specified A bracing and no abalone around the body. I don't know. Unless the person who did the work or the owner at that time steps up, we're only guessing. One last thought, somebody mention the K Bar. Those came in as the 12 fret 12 strings were going out. A 12 fret 12 wouldn't have a K Bar.
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bowlcut
Posted 2021-09-10 6:14 PM (#556094 - in reply to #556093)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
September 2021
Posts: 11

Location: Portland, Oregon
Preamp is the OP 24+.

As far as the bracing goes, this is the closest thing I have found in the pictures of bracing patterns online. This is labeled as a 12 string 14 fret. Mine has the 3 cross braces for sure.

12-14 <br/>

One thing I am not sure of is the amount of "fan". To me the braces in the guitar look really straight, parallel with the grain of the wood.

insides





Again, thanks for all the help and information. This site now has me drooling over Adamas 12 strings.

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moody, p.i.
Posted 2021-09-10 7:15 PM (#556095 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15531

Location: SoCal
Take a look at this catalog from 1980. It shows the bracing used at that time http://ovationtribute.com/Catalogues/1980_Ovation_Award_12S_US_Cata...
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2021-09-10 7:16 PM (#556096 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15531

Location: SoCal
Pretty certain your guitar is braced at the 14 fret CL's were braced. Kinda cool. Also, the OP24+ didn't come out until the late 80's early 90's........

Edited by moody, p.i. 2021-09-10 7:20 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2021-09-11 12:20 AM (#556098 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1488

Location: When??
No serial number 'eh?? The more I read opinions and view the pics, the more this guitar reminds me of the Johnny Cash song (the title escapes me) were the guy lunch-boxes car parts out of the factory over time and builds his own car at home into a mix-match of year, model and insignia. So heck, whatever the means, if it plays good.. it's good.



Edited by Love O Fair 2021-09-11 12:33 AM
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2021-09-11 7:16 AM (#556099 - in reply to #556092)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 685

Location: Muenster/Germany
bowlcut - 2021-09-10 10:24 PM

I cant help but imagine if Ovation just used a bridge plate, and glued down the bridge like other guitars, that wave would not be there. Perhaps the bridge glue would have failed after all this time, but I would assume that the soundboard would be spared, and the repair would just be a bridge re-glue.

One more question, I have heard about the bridges splitting, I notice this one has a black area where the string balls rest, is this a hardened area to try and stop the splitting from happening? Do they all have that?



A bridge plate would counteract the idea of a guitar with a fan bracing. The ovation 12strings are stable, and some small waves are no problem, my custom legend looks like a sand dune.
You only need a bridge plate 1. with an X-bracing and 2. with a pin bridge.
No need to re-glue the bridge as afar as I can see from the pics.
The black area in the bridge is normal, reinforces the wood, I wonder why only Ovation uses that.

I saw that you use a D´Addario 12string set. You should tune the guitar one halfstep down like all other 12strings and you will have less if not no problems. No 12 string guitar top in the world will stand concert pitch with no issues for ever, no matter what the manufactureres say. Except for some tank-like guitars that do not sound at all, or carefully hand-made luthier guitars.
I use Thomastik strings with extremely low tension AND tune down a halfstep (or even more) on all of my 12strings and they all sound and play well. Another possibilty are silk and steel strings. But Thomastiks have more sustain and the best intonation of all strings I know.

It is possible that the guitar may heve beeb re-topped because I don´t think that Ovation had some of the old 12string tops in stock, thus they may have used the newer one. But that does not explain the 1618 label and the missing serial number, I´m still convinced that this was an employee guitar made from stock parts. Ahm, sorry, WELL made from stock parts.

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moody, p.i.
Posted 2021-09-11 10:13 AM (#556100 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15531

Location: SoCal
An employee guitar is just as good a theory as any other here. Two comments. First, my Adamas I 12 string has light gauge strings on it tuned to concert pitch, for 25 years. Never a sign of stress on it. Second,I've seen Ovations that have had their bridges bolted (I'm fairly certain they were glued as well), and I've never understood why. If memory serves (and there are days when it doesn't), that was something that came and went in the late 80's-90's........
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Standingovation
Posted 2021-09-12 1:38 PM (#556101 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
June 2002
Posts: 6135

Location: Phoenix AZ
NO WAY those "extra holes" are for a 14 fret bridge placement, they are far too close to the real ones. Different between 12 and 14 bridge placement is more like 1.5 inches. I don't know if Ovation bridges of the day used locating pins, but those might be holes for the pins. Or it could just be an error in the hole placement that was "oh well, nobody will see it under the bridge ..."
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Love O Fair
Posted 2021-09-12 4:36 PM (#556102 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1488

Location: When??
@Standingovation - >>>NO WAY those "extra holes" are for a 14 fret bridge placement, they are far too close to the real ones.<<<

I thought that same thing too. Unless.. and here's another point to ponder.. suppose the top was originally built and slated for a classical guitar that uses a whole other type/size of bridge with different orientation of screw holes and/or locator pins that could range somewhere within a fairly wide variance of that 1.5 inches relative to its given steel string bridge, then applied to placement on the top to maintain proper scale length. The classical guitar scenario may also explain the bracing type. (Or not.)
I am also curious as to what the light colored material that is sandwiched between the wood and the nuts is made of. The edges appear to have been ripped or torn, and it is difficult to tell from photos how soft or rigid the material may be.. or what its purpose was. Maybe a measuring template? Whatever the case, the builder of the guitar would no doubt get a big kick out of reading this thread. And just for fun, think how amusing this would all be if it had an Applause decal on the headstock. Anyway.. on we go.

Edited by Love O Fair 2021-09-12 4:49 PM
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2021-09-13 10:12 AM (#556103 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 685

Location: Muenster/Germany
aaah it seems like one of those Adamas guitars with the strange signed labels, obvoiusly worth nothing. I would gladly take it for decoration.

To be honest...have you noticed the wonderful spruce top? That must be a killer guitar. Video??
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bowlcut
Posted 2021-09-13 10:39 AM (#556104 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
September 2021
Posts: 11

Location: Portland, Oregon
Thanks for all the input and ponderings on this seemingly unique guitar. This stuff is quite interesting to me. I would love it if someone remembered putting this one together, first day on the job perhaps?

I feel better about the waves in the top after posting here. I already keep it tuned down half a step and I'll try those other strings next time as well. For now I'll just play it , and keep it in the case with a humidifier. I really love the action on this thing, its actually easier to play than many 6 strings I have had.

Thanks again for the replies!
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Tom The Piddler
Posted 2021-09-27 10:20 AM (#556162 - in reply to #556092)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
March 2019
Posts: 24

Location: Cass County, Texas

 

bowlcut,

Any updates?

And what is hidding underneath that carved TRC (truss rod cover) on the head stock?

head

https://i.imgur.com/gAMDTFg.jpeg

 

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Old Man Arthur
Posted 2021-09-27 4:12 PM (#556166 - in reply to #556162)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
September 2006
Posts: 10688

Location: Keepin' It Weird in Portland, OR
Tom The Piddler - 2021-09-27 8:20 AM

 

bowlcut,

Any updates?

And what is hidding underneath that carved TRC (truss rod cover) on the head stock?

head

https://i.imgur.com/gAMDTFg.jpeg

 


My guess would be the Truss Rod Adjusting nut.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2021-09-27 6:37 PM (#556168 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
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Posts: 15531

Location: SoCal
That would be the logical thought......

Edited by moody, p.i. 2021-09-27 6:38 PM
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Tom The Piddler
Posted 2021-09-27 6:52 PM (#556169 - in reply to #556168)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
March 2019
Posts: 24

Location: Cass County, Texas

 

moody, p.i. - 2021-09-27 6:37 PM That would be the logical thought......

Agree with you and OMA, except it appears the truss rod adjustment is inside the bowl.

Or it could me seeing things?. Again?

 

bowlcut's pic from above.

 



Edited by Tom The Piddler 2021-09-27 6:54 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2021-09-27 7:40 PM (#556171 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
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Location: When??
Yep, me too. That nut and pilot hole was one of the reasons I thought that the body and neck were not the original pairing. Still do.
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bowlcut
Posted 2021-10-04 10:56 AM (#556198 - in reply to #556171)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
September 2021
Posts: 11

Location: Portland, Oregon
I'll take a look tonight and see if the adjustment is in fact inside the bowl.

As of now it's a nice guitar and I am enjoying it, however it and you all here, have led me down the road to something I like even more
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bowlcut
Posted 2021-10-11 11:04 AM (#556232 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
September 2021
Posts: 11

Location: Portland, Oregon
Hey guys, I am back,
Sorry I took so long, I slid back the ornate cover and found the adjustment at the top of the neck.



Then curious about the hole in the bracing that would make it appear to have an adjustment behind that as well, I started to try and get a idea for what was there. I tried a long allen key and it never felt like it ever hit any metal, so then I took some photos down inside.



First thing I noticed was an extra hole towards the bottom of the bowl, that I hadn't noticed before.



Next thing was a similar hole that lined up with the hole in the bracing that I initially thought would be a truss rod access.

I still don't see any screw heads or anything like that, but I suppose they could be sunk pretty deep into the bowl. I haven't had any need to try and adjust the neck, the relief is great, and this is still the easiest playing 12 string with the best action I have ever encountered.

Even a bit easier to play than this one.....



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moody, p.i.
Posted 2021-10-11 12:18 PM (#556233 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
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Posts: 15531

Location: SoCal
Be willing to bet you've got a 1980's body on a 1970's neck. Interesting combination and if it works, don't fight it.......
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Tom The Piddler
Posted 2021-10-12 4:52 AM (#556237 - in reply to #556232)
Subject: RE: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
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Posts: 24

Location: Cass County, Texas

bowlcut, thanks for checking this out.  Was thinking it might say "surprise" under the TRC.

Seems like a glued on neck to a bolt on bowl?  But I am not savvy enough to make that statment.  But you defintely have one of a kind O.  Glad it it ticks all the boxes for you.  Keep on plucking.

 

bowlcut -2021-10-11 11:04 AM Hey guys, I am back, Sorry I took so long, I slid back the ornate cover and found the adjustment at the top of the neck. Then curious about the hole in the bracing that would make it appear to have an adjustment behind that as well, I started to try and get a idea for what was there. I tried a long allen key and it never felt like it ever hit any metal, so then I took some photos down inside. First thing I noticed was an extra hole towards the bottom of the bowl, that I hadn't noticed before. Next thing was a similar hole that lined up with the hole in the bracing that I initially thought would be a truss rod access. I still don't see any screw heads or anything like that, but I suppose they could be sunk pretty deep into the bowl. I haven't had any need to try and adjust the neck, the relief is great, and this is still the easiest playing 12 string with the best action I have ever encountered. 

 

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bowlcut
Posted 2021-10-12 12:41 PM (#556238 - in reply to #556083)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two


Joined:
September 2021
Posts: 11

Location: Portland, Oregon
That makes sense Tom, so those two holes would have been for bolting a neck in place. This one must be glued in, so the holes are left unused.

I looked all around the neck to body joints, trying to find some sort of tell tale signs of obvious work done. But it all looks really clean or I just don't know what I am looking for. At the least, I would say that at some time this bowl and neck were not meant for each other! Anyway, I am really glad they found each other now.

I planned on keeping one 12 string out of this and the Adamas, and it's going to be a tough choice. I like the sound, look, and concept of the Adamas, but this guitar wins out in all other departments for me.
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DanSavage
Posted 2021-10-17 11:47 AM (#556305 - in reply to #556238)
Subject: Re: new to me 1618 and a question or two



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 2227

Location: Lake Forest, CA
It wasn't unheard of for Ovation to glue the neck to an SMC bowl.

1624s were done this way, as were the parlor bowl guitars.
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