This old Ovation Tornado came into the shop and it has seen some action over the years. The tail piece that retains the botany style teen decided to break at some point in its life so the customer asked us to fabricate a reproduction of the original. I took a trip to the hardware store to see if by chance I could find the right sheet of brass for the job. After looking for a while I finally found a suitable sheet of brass in a hardware store in my home town of fallbrook. I quickly took the sheet to a local fabricator which shall remain nameless. After weeks of waiting for the tail piece to come back from fabrication, I finally picked it up. The fabricator said he had not counter sunk the mounting holes or bent the piece so I decided to take this on my self. Now keep in mind, a 0.60 thick piece of brass is not as easy to bend as you might think, especially if you don’t have a hydrolic bending press. You better believe that I made good use of my Stewart MacDonald nut vice for this job as well has having to build some jiggs durring the process. Finally after a day of figuring out how to bend the brass at the right angles and then around the top of the tremelo and then tucked under it, I proceeded to install the entire system back on to this sweet 1968 Ovation Tornado. Bam! It fit just like not a dream ;-( totally sucked! I couldn’t believe it, why weren’t my mounting holes lining up? Dang it! I didn’t take into account the last bend that tucked in underneath the tail of the ovation tremelo. I had to ditch the entire thing and make one myself from scratch. I was bummed about this extra work I was going to be doing on this job that we just lost money on but when things like this happen you just have to eat it, learn from it and move on to the next job. I was successful in making a new tail piece on my own. It took another day but hey what do you do? Its not like me to give up, I must, must, must find a solution and that solution better kick ass or I’m not going to do it. After much Vanessa, files, sand paper, polishing and bending I nailed it and it looks good and functions as it should. After getting the tail piece fabrication done for the old ovation tornado, I found some major electronic issues, but that’s a blog for another day.
What the customer said:
“At what point does a repair become a restoration? This Ovation Electric purchased in 1967 has followed me throughout life. It has seen it all! Some 50 years later, much like me it has cracks and dents, damage and blemish. Most recently the tail piece completely snapped off the guitar and I was certain that it was the end of the road for this old friend. I brought it to James and he took it on as a “repair”. You can find a part of an old 67 Volkswagen, but try to find a part for a 67 Ovation. James ended up having to fabricate the part out of bronze. Originally he sent it to an outside fabricator, but unhappy with the result, he ended up fabricating the part himself. The result was astonishing and only a really trained observer would know it was not original. In the process the pots had to be changed out, the neck and bridge reset. At the end of the process the guitar was restored not just repaired. It is a beautiful instrument in appearance and in sound quality! James did an outstanding job and his commitment to excellence is rare in the world today. He is a craftsman with heart and truly cares about his work. Thank you James!”
Peter Buswell, Carlsbad CA.