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Imports - Celebrity, Applause and more

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Mr. Ovation
Posted 2012-02-08 4:04 PM (#449465)
Subject: Imports - Celebrity, Applause and more

December 2001
Posts: 7209

Location: The Great Pacific Northwest
Here at the Ovation FanClubtm we see a lot of questions about the import model guitars. Unfortunately the nature of the import line does not lend itself to having information such as model, serial number and year correlations available. We provide this story based on information gleaned from the threads here in the Ovation FanClubtm Forums and from other sources as well.

In the beginning Ovation guitars were exclusively made In the USA, but over time the need for an entry level guitar at an entry level price became apparent, hence the Applause and Celebrity lines, and later the Tangent. Initially the Celebrity and Applause lines existed as basically the same guitar sold by two different sales forces to two different dealer networks. According to Bill Kaman, there was a driving force "to make a copy of ourselves before someone else did,". In 1985 all the Kaman music companies were rolled into one and were no longer companies but became divisions, and the sales teams combined to one force.

The Applause is the "entry level" line, and is often the model that is moved to different factories to try them out and also to try out model ideas such as different sized guitars (1/2 or 3/4), Ukulele and Trekker. The Celebrity is the mid range product line. The Celebrity models share the same Made In USA bowls as the USA made Ovation line and some of the Acoustic/Electric models share the same pre-amp.

In the mid-seventies the Applause was just to be the copy of Ovation and sold through C. Bruno and Coast Wholesale, the distribution companies Kaman owned. The guitars were using the same bowls as the higher-end Ovation models with an aluminum neck. Ovation was given the chance to develop the Applause but according to Bill Kaman, "times were good then and the factory didn't give it enough priority and the project dragged." Corporate (Kaman) gave the Applause project to its aerospace division to take over and it was ready to launch in June of 75, but the executives of the Ovation company saw the guitar and told Kaman corporate that they couldn't give "that" (the Applause guitar) to the distributors fearing the competition it would create with Ovation. Kaman Aerospace gave the Applause back to Ovation and it became the Medallion. Aerospace went back to work and developed a second guitar and it came out a year later and that was the Applause and was sold by the Coast and Bruno companies.

This went on through the very early 80's when it was decided to move the Applause and Celebrity operations to Korea to get the costs even lower (and the retail price too, always trying to get back to the original $150 list) The Saehan factory was picked and they started the Applause there. That went on for maybe a year. It was decided not to move the Medallion, so the Applause got a dressing up and became the Celebrity. At this time the name "Medallion" was changed to "Matrix" due to a legal conflict with Gibson.
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