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1969 Ovation Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer 1127/1627

A look at the history behind many of the guitars Glen has used throughout his career.
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Glen Campbell's Artist Balladeer Given to Carl Jackson

Post by jay » Wed May 23, 2018 4:01 pm

Carl Jackson, is a professional country and bluegrass musician, as well as a Grammy-winning studio producer. He served as Glen's bandleader and sideman for 12 years, from 1972 to 1984. He tells his story of how he came to own his GC Artist Balladeer, which he has mistaken for an earlier Deluxe Balladeer.

Carl plays "In the Garden" on Glen's Ovation.

Carl has a picture of Glen's guitar on the cover of "Grace Notes"

Grace Notes CD cover by Carl Jackson
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A little closer inspection:

Carl Jacksons GC DB.jpg
Mislabeled Ovation Glen Campbell Artist
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It appears that Carl has mistaken the model of this guitar, when you consider:
The oval Ovation label. These were not the lables used on the GC Deluxe Balladeers. They were used in the early 70's on all Ovations. '68 models had small rectangular paper tags.

There are an Ovation piezo pickup and early volume knob. These weren't in production for the Glen Campbell Deluxe Balladeer. The 5 point bridge was only used on the Deluxe Balladeer. The bridge and pickup on Carl's guitar were never used on a GC Deluxe Balladeer.
Bridge Comparison.jpg
Glen Campbell Deluxe Balladeer and Artist Bridges
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You can visually see the cosmetic differences between the GC Deluxe Balladeer and the GC Artist guitar heads:
head comparison.jpg
GC Deluxe Balladeer and GC Artist Head Comparison
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Many thanks to Dee and Dave Witco and his Ovation Gallery for providing me with pictures!

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Glen Campbell with a 2013 1627 LTD-4

Post by jay » Wed May 23, 2018 8:58 am

The 45th CMA celebrated Glen and Jimmy Webb shared in an interview:
“It was the 50th Anniversary of Ovation Guitars. So they were giving away Ovation guitars. There were Ovation guitars backstage. Vince, very innocently, handed Glen the Ovation guitar he was holding in his hand, and Glen took it...and all Glen knows is; you hand him a guitar and he starts singing and playing.”
You can watch this moment right HERE

Ovation came out with this limited edition 1627 to celebrate Glen releasing “Ghost on the Canvas”. It appeared to be very similar to the 40th Anniversary Edition recently released several years earlier, except Glen’s signature was at the bottom of the neck, right above the sound hole. Ovation claimed to have built 50. Each guitar came with a signed copy of Ghost on the Canvas.
Ovation 1627 LTD-4
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Glen Playing 1627LTD.jpg
Glen Playing His Glen Campbell Artist 1627LTD
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1969 Ovation Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer 1127/1627

Post by jay » Tue May 22, 2018 6:29 pm

Glen’s second signature guitar was the 1127 (later, the 1627 w/pickup) Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer. Glen is seen here with one of the first ones Ovation produced, probably around 1969/70. Very few, would have had the 5-point bridge found on the first generation shiny bowls.

The first generation Ovations had a large deep bowl, which provided an extremely resonate sound across all the strings. Since Ovation had yet to develop their electric acoustic, Glen had to play in front of a mic and he wanted less bass resonance in the acoustic response. Bill Kaman shared, in 2003, that “He (Glen) also wanted more cut in the sound, so the mid-depth bowl was introduced." Here is a 1627 Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer:

It is pretty clear that Glen had quite a bit of influence over Ovations R&D department, in the early 70’s, by his playing preferences. Ovation will ultimately modify their bowl and develop a game-changing piezo pickup, between their first and second generation Ovations, due to Glen’s influence.

Walter Carter states in the History of the Ovation Guitar that “Glen Campbell did more than just play Ovations. He made several suggestions that led to his own signature models and to improvements across the line. “Everything I liked or wanted done, I let Charlie know”, Campbell said.”

When Glen suggested a shallower bowl, Ovation developed the “artist bowl” and the Glen Campbell 1127 was introduced as the Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer. The base guitar was an Artist Balladeer (model 1121). Glen’s signature guitar came with a better AAA soundboard, fancier mother of pearl, diamond-shaped fret inlays, Glen Campbell truss rod cover, Gold Grover tuners, and fretboard binding.

Ovation 1627 Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer
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Ovation 1627 Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer
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Ovation 1627 Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer
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Paul Moody shared with me:
In documents I saw about 8 years ago, notes from the factory, Glen's desire for less bass was considered an "anomaly". Most people want more bass out of their Ovations. But Glen was the consummate flat picker. He was looking for projection, clarity, punch. The GC Artists tend to make me think that he wasn't that concerned with tone.

Glen played his Artist Balladeer from about 1969 to around 1972, when he began playing his Ovation Legend and Custom Legend.

The irony of it is, Glen only played the artist bowl he asked for a short period of time, before returning to the deep bowl Ovations, while Ovation continued to find success in reducing the bowl size on their acoustic electrics.

Ovation has continued to honor Glen throughout the years and has produced limited edition 1627’s about 4 different times. As they have produced these limited editions of the 1627, they continue to make it a little different each time, leaning to more ornate.
This year, they used torrified wood for the soundboard. It is purported as being the best sounding 1627.

Many thanks to Paul Moody in helping with this topic and to Damon Thomas of Red Blanket Guitars for these pictures of Ovations last version of Glen’s 1627, the Ovation 1627GC-4x. Grab one now. I doubt there will ever be another produced in America. RIP Ovation.

Ovation 1627GC-4x
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Ovation 1627GC-4x
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Ovation 1627GC-4x
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