12-String Bling!

Ovation 2058Even before my new Ovation 2058TX 12-String guitar arrived, I was making plans for dressing it up a little bit. I love the design of the guitar, but I also like a little subtle “flash”, especially when it’s custom, one-off work unique to my instrument.

The guitar has an awesome textured-black finish.  Imagine bed liner in a pickup truck, only not as rough.  It’s a fantastic monochromatic color scheme that seamlessly blends the composite back with the Spruce top.  I get asked all the time if it’s all-composite or a real wood top.  I really dig it.

I also dig those small offset sound holes – an Ovation signature design used for decades in many of their instruments.  But I believe this is the first one that doesn’t have some sort of decoration or inlay to “set them off” visually.   The photo to the right shows what has historically been Ovation’s design for “dressing up” the sound holes.

After Photoshopping a few designs, I finally settled on machining some bronze rings to outline the sound holes and really set them off.  Friend, artist, and fellow tinkerer, Matt Weber (owner of Sleepy Dog Brewery) completely understood my vision, and offered his services using his lathe to shape and machine the parts.

I ordered some bronze bushings (or called bearings, depending on who you ask) from McMaster-Carr, being careful to make sure that they could be machined to the proper sizes.  I was careful to order the proper alloy; many bronze bushings are actually oil-impregnated, since they are generally used in hinges and machinery to allow parts to operate and rotate smoothly.  I purchased bushings that were solid bronze, and not oil-impregnated.

It took a bit of finesse on Matt’s part to machine the parts, but the results were worth the five-or-so hours of creating metal shavings, because look at it!

It’s truly a stunning look, and Matt did a great job.  They are epoxied in place now.  No noticeable effect on the sound (of course, I play the guitar plugged-in most times, so the effect is even more negligible), and completely unique.  A patron at a recent Open Mic said it has a “steampunk” vibe to it.  I agree.

I have left the bronze buffed, but unfinished.  So over time, the metal will age and patina and look rustic and even more beautiful.

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