With the current guitar market bombarded by hundreds of affordable guitars produced and innovated by manufacturers at a rate that seems to be matched only by Stephen King’s book “production” rates, finding an affordable guitar is not a big deal. That being said, most of the affordable guitars are just that – affordable. Their main advantage over other guitars is the price and not the quality which in a way is understandable.
That’s why finding an affordable guitar that does not really market itself as simply affordable but actually good is… well, not as simple. One place (or a brand) that I can always go to for well-priced YET good quality acoustic-electric guitars is Ovation and their AB24-RR stands out to me for the quality and the low price.
Ovation has not found some magical door to the future where they have created the highest quality tonewood that costs less than a cent and now reproduces it in the present. They just know where to economize so that the effect on the sound and playability are not affected. For instance, they chose to use laminated spruce for the top, back, and sides. Although that obviously decreases the price of the guitar it, surprisingly, does not really affect the sound (in a bad way, I mean). The neck is made of Mora with satin finish and is pretty easy to play. That on top of the lyrachord body shape and a mid-depth cutaway makes this guitar extremely comfortable to play and access upper frets.
Let’s talk a bit about the hardware. With the AB24-RR Ovation decided to take a “safe” and more well-tested rouse. They use standard rosewood bridge and die-cast chrome tuning machines which are pretty basic but good quality. The nut and saddle are made of the synthetic material composite which might not be the real bone but it does a good job. Plus, with the real bone, the cost would have gone up but the quality of the sound would not be as affected (especially if you are a beginner). Overall, you get a very standard but good quality hardware that will work pretty well if you treat it right.
Ovation AB24 Sound
Now as to the sound. And that’s where I think the AB24-RR proves it is worth the money (and more). The sound, volume, and intonation on this baby are really good and to be honest I did not expect that given the fact that Ovation had to economize on the hardware and tonewood. The tone is bright which might not be someone’s cup of tea but if you are into that, you are in luck! The sound of this guitar, when I first heard it, really proved to be that if you know which materials to use together you do not need the highest priced tonewood.
The AB24-RR features Ovation OP-4BT lightweight pickup/preamp system with built-in tuner. The system per se is pretty basic but in a good way. As a beginner or even an intermediate player, you do not really need extra features that brands tend to give some of the systems just for the wow effect. What you are getting with this guitars is a standard and easy-to-use system that delivers on the tone and performance.
For a beginner or an intermediate player, I could not recommend this guitar more. The sound and volume are great. The deviation from classical dreadnought body style to lyrachord body shape yield good results not only sound-wise, but also comfort wise. And yes, yes… I have said that “affordability” should not be the number one thing that matter and it is not but the fact that this acoustic-electric baby comes at under $300 definitely does not hurt its case.
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