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'77 Custom Balladeer 1612-1 (101xxx)

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Special Monkey
Posted 2021-05-04 1:56 PM (#555512)
Subject: '77 Custom Balladeer 1612-1 (101xxx)

April 2021
Posts: 3

Hello Ovation Fan Club,

I just purchased a '77 Custom Balladeer and have quite a few questions.

It has the foil sticker inside, when did Ovation start/stop using?

It has a few finish cracks, a crack below the bridge, which looks to have had a repair done - see glue residue and slightly dulled finish - not visible in pix but is milky (in the right light) around the crack.

I'm not sure if this repair (maybe made with crazy glue) will prevent humidity from improving the crack?

I believe the guitar was stored in its case under close to concert pitch string tension for possibly many years with no playing.

There are some apparent finish cracks above the bridge, and on the bass string side of the body near the fret board, from near the rosette to near where neck meets the top of the guitar body (hard to see).

There's also a crack on the corner of the bowl, but I can't tell for sure if it's superficial, or if any repairs were done. Electrical tape was placed over these. I only see white fibers in the crack.

There are some other spots almost like windows where I can see fibers (paint worn off).

The battery needed changing, it was difficult to get the pack free from the body, the screw didn't seem to release it. Turning the screw also turned the recessed enclosure for the screw, which I think should be attached / fixed to the bowl?

I was able to finally pop the battery pack off. I think the rubber gasket that receives the screw, on the pack was a bit stuck on to the inside of the bowl.

I replaced the battery, and put the battery pack back in place, by turning the screw 1/4 turn. The battery was previously secured in its metal pack with electrical tape.

I noticed the battery doesn't fit below the metal arms on the enclosure. It's as if it's too tall. But the arms do hold the battery in the enclosure (though not so tight as to give confidence). Maybe 9V batteries were shorter in the late 70s?

I think the battery pack may be resonating on some frequencies. Something is, and it seems to be coming from inside the bowl around the battery.

I plan to wrap a Velcro band around the battery and pack, to hopefully address the resonance, and provide more security to keep the battery from popping out of its enclosure if the guitar is jarred in its case, etc.

The guitar sounds nice plugged into an amp, if a little treble-y (and not bad w/o amplification). For practicing I don't raise the guitar volume dial much above 1.5 - my little Roland Blues Cube Hot amp volume and master dials are both between 3 & 4.

I had to clean the guitar and put new strings on after buying, the strings on it felt like they must have been at least 10 years old. While changing strings, I noticed there were at least 6 shims under the bridge and pickup. The action is a quite high on higher frets. At the 12th is .080 - .090 inches which seems OK, on the 20th / last fret it's higher than .140" - which seems not good.

I'm planning to remove 1 or 2 shims, but am a little worried about figuring out their orientation - I've read the shims are radiused to adjust bass / treble string height? I'm worried the shim radius might be out of whack as the playability isn't as smooth across the frets as on a different guitar I have.

No buzzing, but it seems like uniform pressure on the strings doesn't yield nicely ringing chords as on my other guitar. Maybe it's related to the action. I'm planning to remove 1 or 2 shims and maybe put some relief in the neck if required (it looks quite flat now).

I'll study the shims carefully when I change strings again. I'm planning to buff the frets soon, so will do it then. I am liking D'Addario EJ11-3D light 80/20s on my other acoustic, an inexpensive Fender GC-23S, and am going to try them on the Balladeer.

My guitar has a truss rod cover on the headstock - I haven't opened it yet - but am curious what tool I'll need - (hex wrench or nut driver) - is there a 3/16" nut in there, or is it a 3/16 hex wrench type thing? Or something else?

One thing I just noticed was an almost hairline crack right below the headstock on the back, it really looks like a finish crack, but I can't be sure (can see it better in flickr link). I'm hoping to see what others think, if this is a common occurrence, etc.

I can't feel anything running my fingers across it. Maybe it's a result of (too much) truss rod adjustment/tightening? I don't think there's much relief in the neck.

Also, I'm not sure what a fair price for the guitar is. I paid what I was willing to (around $300). I'm curious to know what you think it's worth, given its condition?

Edited by Special Monkey 2021-05-04 2:11 PM





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