How to Date an Ovation Guitar

How to Date an Ovation Guitar

Ovation guitars are renowned for their unique design and exceptional sound quality. If you are a guitar enthusiast or looking to add an Ovation to your collection, it is essential to know how to date the instrument accurately. Dating an Ovation guitar involves a few key steps to identify its manufacturing date, providing valuable insight into its history and potential value. Here is a step--step guide on how to date an Ovation guitar.

1. Identify the model: Start determining the model of your Ovation guitar. This information can usually be found on the headstock or inside the soundhole. Ovation guitars have distinctive model numbers that can help in dating the instrument.

2. Check the serial number: The serial number is the most crucial element in dating an Ovation guitar. It provides information about the year and month of production. Ovation guitars manufactured before 1993 have a simple serial number system, consisting of 6 or 7 digits. The first two digits represent the year of production, and the following digits indicate the month.

3. Decode the serial number: Once you have the serial number, you can decode it using online resources or Ovation’s official website. There are numerous websites that provide comprehensive databases to determine the exact manufacturing date of your Ovation guitar.

4. Analyze the label: Ovation guitars produced after 1993 have a different serial number system. Instead of a simple numeric code, they use a combination of letters and numbers. To date these guitars, you need to analyze the label inside the soundhole, which includes a date stamp. The date stamp consists of a letter and a number, representing the year and month of production.

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5. Consult Ovation’s customer service: If you are unable to decode the serial number or need further assistance, you can reach out to Ovation’s customer service. They have a team of experts who can help you identify the manufacturing date of your Ovation guitar based on its serial number and other characteristics.

Common Questions about Dating Ovation Guitars:

1. What if my Ovation guitar doesn’t have a serial number?
Some early Ovation guitars, particularly those made in the late 1960s, may not have a serial number. In such cases, it can be challenging to determine the exact manufacturing date. However, certain features and characteristics can provide clues about the guitar’s age.

2. Can I determine the value of my Ovation guitar based on its manufacturing date?
While the manufacturing date is an essential factor in determining the value of an Ovation guitar, it is not the only consideration. Other factors such as the model, condition, rarity, and market demand also influence the value.

3. Are all Ovation guitars worth a lot of money?
The value of an Ovation guitar varies depending on several factors. While some vintage or rare models can fetch high prices, others may have more modest value. It is essential to research the specific model and its market demand to get an accurate idea of its potential worth.

4. Can I trust online databases to date my Ovation guitar?
Online databases can be a useful tool in dating your Ovation guitar, but it is crucial to cross-check the information with other sources. Some websites may have incomplete or inaccurate data, so it is advisable to consult multiple sources and reach out to Ovation customer service for confirmation.

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5. What other factors should I consider when dating an Ovation guitar?
Apart from the serial number and manufacturing date, you should also examine other features like the label, hardware, and design details. These elements can provide additional information about the guitar’s age and authenticity.

6. Are there any books or resources available on dating Ovation guitars?
Yes, several books and resources are dedicated to Ovation guitars and their history. Some notable books include “Ovation Guitar Identification” Roy C. Noble and “The History of Ovation Guitars” Bob Banerjee. These resources can provide in-depth information about dating and identifying Ovation guitars.

7. Can I date my Ovation guitar using the serial number of its case?
The serial number on the case usually does not provide information about the guitar’s manufacturing date. It is best to focus on the guitar’s serial number and other physical characteristics to determine its age.

8. What if the serial number on my Ovation guitar is unclear or partially worn off?
If the serial number is unclear or partially worn off, it can make dating the Ovation guitar more challenging. In such cases, you can consult a professional guitar appraiser or reach out to Ovation customer service for assistance.

9. Are there any specific Ovation guitar models that are more valuable or collectible?
Certain Ovation guitar models, such as the Adamas series or limited editions, are often more valuable and sought after collectors. These models may have unique features, materials, or limited production runs, making them highly desirable.

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10. Can I date my Ovation guitar based on its features or design changes?
While certain design changes and features can provide a general idea of a guitar’s age, it is always best to rely on the serial number for accurate dating. Design changes can sometimes overlap between different years, leading to inaccuracies.

11. Can I get a certificate of authenticity for my Ovation guitar?
Ovation does not provide certificates of authenticity for their guitars. However, a professional appraisal or authentication service can provide documentation to verify the authenticity and age of your Ovation guitar.

12. How can I preserve the value of my vintage Ovation guitar?
To preserve the value of your vintage Ovation guitar, it is essential to store it in a controlled environment, away from extreme temperatures and humidity. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and proper string tension, is also crucial. Avoid any modifications or repairs that may detract from its originality.

13. Is it possible to date an Ovation guitar using its original case?
While the original case can provide some clues about the guitar’s age, it is not the most reliable method. Ovation guitars and cases were often sold separately, and a mismatch between the guitar and case can occur. It is best to rely on the guitar’s serial number and other identifying characteristics for accurate dating.

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