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 Post subject: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 8:42 am 
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Found this discussion accidentally on Talk Bass. Not for sale, but an interesting discussion I thought I'd share just for the curiosity of it. This was probably the only one ever made or some sort of a prototype:

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/ovatio ... d.1358139/

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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 9:34 am 
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For the amount of stuff going on on that bass, it's remarkably not ugly :)


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 10:03 am 
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Wow that is very cool!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 11:25 am 
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tim wrote:
For the amount of stuff going on on that bass, it's remarkably not ugly :)


Those basses could get even more complex than that too. How about the Magnum II, with the built in graphic EQ:

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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 11:38 am 
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It's like a prop weapon from an old sci-fi film!


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 5:30 pm 
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Set phasers to stun


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 5:32 pm 
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Oooooh :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 11:11 pm 
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A few things I noticed upon further investigation.

- The neck is a righty.

- The neck pickup is backwards/upside down. The pickup consists of 4 "zig zag" arranged pole pieces (what's up with that?) and 4 holes that are actually trim pots for each pole. The pickup was probably installed to keep it consistent with the "proper" pole piece arrangement on a righty, thus the pole under E string is closer to neck, pole under G string is further from neck, etc. but WHY??? E and D are closer to neck and A and G are further away. Makes no sense. On a reverse P pickup bass, for example, it makes sense to me, as the pickup offers better overall tonal balance to a standard P PUP arrangment by beefing up the thinnest D and G strings (since they're now closer to the neck) and tightening the E and A strings, but here I just don't get the logic having the poles arranged up-down-up-down. The pickup is also further away from the neck heel than any other bass Ovation offered except the very rare Magnum IV single pickup model, which had the pickup in the sweet spot/P Bass position.

-The bridge and mute are also righty. Mute should operate above E string.

Not sure if this is a parts bass that someone assembled using righty parts and had an aftermarket body built or if it came out of the factory this way, but the body is pretty unique and I doubt someone trying to build a lefty Magnum with parts wouldn't want to get a body built that isn't accurate to the real thing. Even the pickup position isn't consistent with anything they manufactured. I think this is one off or prototype.


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 20th, 2020, 1:07 pm 
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I beg to differ, there is another one somewhere. I played it when it was for sale at Guitar Showcase San Jose. It was part of the huge sale of gear sold on behalf of Steve Miller. The one I tried was signed on the headstock by Steve Miller and strung right handed. It sounded incredible too strung with flatwounds.
The stupid reason why I did not shell out the $750 they were asking for this bass is that it was an authentic boat anchor. Certainly the heaviest bass I had ever tried. I thought, there is no way I could play this thing live for more than one tune.
It was a stupid move on my part. It was natural wood color if I recall.


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 20th, 2020, 2:22 pm 
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Frenchy-Lefty wrote:
I beg to differ, there is another one somewhere. I played it when it was for sale at Guitar Showcase San Jose. It was part of the huge sale of gear sold on behalf of Steve Miller. The one I tried was signed on the headstock by Steve Miller and strung right handed. It sounded incredible too strung with flatwounds.
The stupid reason why I did not shell out the $750 they were asking for this bass is that it was an authentic boat anchor. Certainly the heaviest bass I had ever tried. I thought, there is no way I could play this thing live for more than one tune.
It was a stupid move on my part. It was natural wood color if I recall.


Cool story and good to know. Did it look like one of the standard Magnums (I, II, II, or IV) or more like this one? Regardless, these were never offered in left handed, so if there are any out there they had to be custom orders of some sort.


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 20th, 2020, 4:17 pm 
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It was exactly the same as this one besides the color. Most likely it had initially belonged to Gerald Johnson who was Steve Miller's left handed bassist.. There was another lefty for sale as part of this collection, a five string Modulus. Gravesbass must remember the Modulus I think he tried it. Not my cup of tea.


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 22nd, 2020, 2:21 pm 
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Back around 1980 when Neal Schon and Ross Valory were endorsing Ovation guitars, a right handed buddy of mine got an Ovation Magnum II bass with the built in graphic EQ. I always thought from a design /features/ tech angle it was very cool in its own unique way- and it sounded pretty good too, but as Frenchy said, it wasn't the kind of thing you could just fling around... Anyway, some of you may find this entertaining....

Remember Eastwood's attempt to create a Magnum "tribute version" back in 2011? The production run was brief- and according to the old page on the Eastwood site, they only made 24 Lefties- so when an old B stocker popped up a couple years ago, I had to go for it...

I was pleasantly surprised that the build quality and neck were actually quite decent- but it looked like a collection of parts bin pieces, and of course the mudbucker pickup and electronics sounded nothing like an actual Magnum (one of these days it might be fun to stumble across a beat Magnum on the cheap and transplant electronics and hardware). In the interim I wanted it to look and sound better so I made a few mods- including replacing the mudbucker with a Guild BS-1 Bi-Sonic Single Coil pickup (which btw is also what Serek Basses here in Chicago is using- https://youtu.be/GuDtKF8qyNY) for much warmer and cleaner low mids ; an SBK 3 band active preamp w/ vol/blend (to emulate the 3 band active sliders in the Magnum II) replacing the standard 2 vol/2 tone/ 3 way switch; a Hipshot Brass A-Style Bridge, and a brass nut (also replaced the knobs and all those fugly silver screws w/ black ones).

It's now fun to play, sounds great, and can come reasonably close to capturing the tones of a original Magnum, as well as do its own thing. And it weighs a lot less.


Image


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Last edited by Carmine on February 23rd, 2020, 12:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 22nd, 2020, 6:06 pm 
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Very cool.
I remember these back when they came out and played several of them, all were right handed of course.
Every one of them were heavy as hell.

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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2020, 11:33 am 
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Speaking of lefty Unicorns... did anybody ever see a lefty Peavey T-40? Another bass from that era I lusted after back at the time, because 1) they weren't Fenders 2) they both sounded great, and 3) neither one was available as a lefty. I've always thought of the Magnum and the T-40 as "blood brothers" in a sense... both were from American companies trying to break into the bass market in the late 70s- early 80s with "back-to-the-drawing-board" transitional design concepts that were in some ways ahead of their time. They obviously utilized the Fender 34" scale, but rethought electronics, bridges, body and neck construction (CNC production, carbon fiber reinforcement/halved opposites). I still have a complete set of T40 pickups and electronics that I’m going to insert into a lefty bass someday if I ever get around to it.

My right handed buddy was from California, and owned both a T40 and a Magnum- in part because Ross Valory played them both in Journey. Valory used an Ovation Magnum for the entire Escape album, including one of the most famous bass lines in history: https://youtu.be/VcjzHMhBtf0

ImageImage


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2020, 1:44 pm 
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As far as I know Peavey never made the T-40 (or any of the T series ) lefthanded.

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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 24th, 2020, 4:42 am 
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That's funny because I only equate Ross Valory with Steinbergers...

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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 24th, 2020, 8:58 am 
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Ross has been a man of many basses over the years- a quick history of his evolution goes thru Fender Jazz, Precision, Peavey T-40, Ovation Magnum, Steinberger XL, Charvel Jackson, Curbow, and EBMM Stingray HH basses. Most recently he's gone back to the Charvel Jackson.

There was also this bass in the mid 1990's- which I've never been able to identify...I'm guessing some custom luthier- anyone know what or who it is?
Image

Image


The design reminds me a bit of those 80's Japanese Alembics- but I don't think that's what is is:
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 24th, 2020, 10:50 am 
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I dig these Ovation basses because Jah Wobble uses one.


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 24th, 2020, 3:58 pm 
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andrew wrote:
I dig these Ovation basses because Jah Wobble uses one.


+1 to Jah Wobble! PIL.

Kelly Groucutt of ELO played one for a bit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9nkzaOPP6g

And if you're a fan of early 80's New Wave, check out the compilation concert footage for "Urgh! A Music War". I think there are two or three bands using the Ovation. The bands may have even shared the same bass, as I know that several of these bands were recorded the same night(s) at the same venue(s):

Magazine:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYCpqffkmqY


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 Post subject: Re: Unicorn Sighting - Ovation Magnum Bass
PostPosted: February 24th, 2020, 3:59 pm 
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Carmine wrote:
Speaking of lefty Unicorns... did anybody ever see a lefty Peavey T-40? Another bass from that era I lusted after back at the time, because 1) they weren't Fenders 2) they both sounded great, and 3) neither one was available as a lefty. I've always thought of the Magnum and the T-40 as "blood brothers" in a sense... both were from American companies trying to break into the bass market in the late 70s- early 80s with "back-to-the-drawing-board" transitional design concepts that were in some ways ahead of their time. They obviously utilized the Fender 34" scale, but rethought electronics, bridges, body and neck construction (CNC production, carbon fiber reinforcement/halved opposites). I still have a complete set of T40 pickups and electronics that I’m going to insert into a lefty bass someday if I ever get around to it.

My right handed buddy was from California, and owned both a T40 and a Magnum- in part because Ross Valory played them both in Journey. Valory used an Ovation Magnum for the entire Escape album, including one of the most famous bass lines in history: https://youtu.be/VcjzHMhBtf0

ImageImage



Yep, a T-40 has been on my bucket wish list for years as well. You know that the minute we declare it non-existent one is gonna show up somewhere. ;)


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