L.P. Fans attention!! - Ovation Ultra GP Clone Project

SirPsycho

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Hi Volks!

Oh yeahh this is my first built thread here in this Forum (IMO the greatest Luthier-Forum on the web) - and it only belongs to me ;). I'm a longtime lurker and have learned so much from here...and this is my first built thread….. So may I introduce myself: my name is Marco and I'm the guitar-player of an Austrian Rockband called Solrize.

My project is a Clone of one of the rarest guitars on earth: An Ovation Ultra GP - I know this is a Les Paul Forum – but there are some similarities – and as it came up in the early 80ies it should have been the Les Pauls worst nightmare - but Ovation’s plan failed…….

For those who don’t know it – here’s the story:

This guitar was introduced in 1983 and was Ovation's answer to the Gibson Les Paul but the Ultra GP had no Chance on the market because back then everyone wanted an orig. Gibson. So Ovation discontinued the Ultra GP 1984 and estimated only 400-500 Models were built.

So time went by and in 1989 a guy named Josh Homme came up who had bought a used black GP for using it as his main guitar in Kyuss. A big Reason for choosing this axe was - nobody had known it or had it. Later in 1995 when Kyuss broke up he started a Project named Queens of the Stone Age again with this guitar and later also a Red, and Sunburst Versions. He used the Ovation til before he recorded the Album Lullabies to Paralyze on which he changed his almost completely Stuff.

jhoandredgp7cg.png
Josh-Homme-Vocal-Guitars1.jpg


The guitarsound in Kyuss and (the early) Queens of the Stone Age sounded like nothing else before. 2002 QOTSA had huge Success for their Album “Songs for the Deaf” and lately at this point everyone wanted a GP and a guitar what had costed 400 Bucks back in 1984 - was now asked for about 3 - 4 K.... it was reported that one guy asked 10.000 $ - but I don't know if he got that money ;) The reason of the prices now is - the are really rare! Expected only 400 Models were made (source vary).

I believe that many less exist today because of the very rare offers - and I'm sure that some had been destroyed or were damaged and hadn't been repaired......

OK - to keep the story short:

I just fall in love as I saw the guitar the first time because of its unique Body Form and the way it sounded - so I must have one! My first one was a red one and 2 years later a sunburst one……

Last year I built myself a Proto GP as Backup for the Band.... so.... it wasn't really a Clone - the body was a bit smaller than the orig. and it was finished with Black nitro. That guitar turned out very well and is now my main axe.

Now I want to built a GP totally (or as good as I can) to specs for a friend. But be aware I'm just a hobby Luthier and do the best I can (with my small repertoire of tools in my tiny work shop) - I'm no Gil Yaron, BCR Greg, Mr. Rist, Alk-3, Ex-Nihilo etc. ;) – So have mercy with me ;)

more soon.....

bye
 

mrrazorblade227

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I personally cannot wait to see this, Josh Homme is insane and a creative guitarist, always throwing down against convention.
 

H.E.L.Shane

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funny... the switches appear to be in slighty differnt locations from the red to the black guitars......


I like the location on the black better..

PS.. there is an Eastwood replica fo a GP on ebay now for $499..... Looks pretty snazzy..

I guess Eastwood is about the same quality as a Schecter from what i gather though..
 

Barnaby

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Now I want to built a GP totally (or as good as I can) to specs for a friend. But be aware I'm just a hobby Luthier and do the best I can (with my small repertoire of tools in my tiny work shop) - I'm no Gil Yaron, BCR Greg, Mr. Rist, Alk-3, Ex-Nihilo etc. ;) – So have mercy with me ;)

more soon.....

Grüß Gott!

Man, I miss living in Austria. Vienna is an awesome city. :thumb:

Anyway, I wanted to say good luck and also that you don't need a lot of tools or a huge workspace to build a halfway decent guitar. I suspect you can get very close indeed to the original specs. It all depends on how much time and patience you have.

I agree, by the way, that this is the best forum for luthiers on teh Interwebs. You've got builders at all imaginable levels all sharing experiences and information. It's awesome.

Really looking forward to your build, man!

Tschüß :D
 

SirPsycho

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funny... the switches appear to be in slighty differnt locations from the red to the black guitars......


I like the location on the black better..

PS.. there is an Eastwood replica fo a GP on ebay now for $499..... Looks pretty snazzy..

I guess Eastwood is about the same quality as a Schecter from what i gather though..

You are right! Every GP is a bit different. My 2 GPs also vary a little - the necks are completely different for example. For the pics obove - the location of the switch of the black one is correct - seems his red one was a mondays guitar ;)

Josh Homme modded his GPs - as you can see on the pics obove: Originally the GP have a Schaller Bridge/Tailpiece. Josh's Black one have a ABR or Nashville bridge and a Stop Tailpiece and the from Red (and also his Sunburst one) he made a String Thru Guitar out of it......

About the Eastwood GP:

Once I played one. Don't get me wrong: It's a very nice guitar and it sounds really good for the money!!! but I have no clue why the called it a GP Tribute because it has nothing to do with a GP! It looks completely different: The cutaways are different, not the same Inlays, Headstock,neck, neck heel, knobs andandand...... for sure because of lawsuit. But for sure if you can't grab a real Ultra GP - today the closest guitar to a GP - and worth the money all the time!!!!

You can see it here - left an Eastwood GP Tribute - right my Red one (which I sold in the meanwhile - I tell you why later ;):

GP-Eastwood1.jpg

GP-Eastwood2.jpg

GP-Eastwood3.jpg



bye
 

SirPsycho

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Grüß Gott!

Man, I miss living in Austria. Vienna is an awesome city. :thumb:

Anyway, I wanted to say good luck and also that you don't need a lot of tools or a huge workspace to build a halfway decent guitar. I suspect you can get very close indeed to the original specs. It all depends on how much time and patience you have.

I agree, by the way, that this is the best forum for luthiers on teh Interwebs. You've got builders at all imaginable levels all sharing experiences and information. It's awesome.

Really looking forward to your build, man!

Tschüß :D

Serwas!!!! ;)

Really?? Very cool. Man... you are a globetrotter! If i remember right your are living in Japan now right!?

Yes I love Vienna - its often called the City of the grumpy people (probably because of me ;) but a really great beautiful City where much things happen.

Yes you are right - you don't need much tools but it makes the things much easier and faster. I really enjoyed your handbuilt Lester and Tele thread! Hands down!!!!!! Really superb craftmanship - I couldn't do this because of my lazy-, unpatience- and my frouzyness ;)

I get/got all the Specs from my orig. GPs - I'll show you later more!

Thanks a lot! I really looking exited to this Project - hope everything will work well.... oh and I'm sorry - my english isn't the best..... ;)

bye Marco
 

SirPsycho

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Good Evening!

There were 3 main Versions of the GP (in point of construction):

- A Red one with an Ash Body and a flamed maple Top
- A Sunburst and Honeyburst one with a Mahogany body and a flamed maple Top
- A solid Black One with a Mahogany Body

Feature-serial-gp.jpg

(pic from Ovationgallery)

Now some Specs:

All Models have a Mahogany Neck, which is glued in with a rounded Heel, which makes it very comfortable to play in the higher frets. So the guitar feels like it’s made from one piece.

Many People think that the GP have a solid maple Top like a Les Paul – but that’s not true. All GP Models have a thin Veneer Maple top – the rest of the body is solid Mahogany. Also the Black Model has a veneer.

The GPs are no featherweights! The Red GP with the Ash Body is a bit lighter (4kg) than the Mahogany Version (4,7kg). That’s what my kitchen scale told me.

Ovation used a dense Mahogany for the Body – with no chambers or “soundholes” in the body. I’m very sure that Bodywood is Sipo Mahogany.
The GP also have a long neck tennon which goes to back to neck pickup.

Here some pics:
Red-sunburstGP.jpg


This are / were my 2 GPs….. from better days….

Because the Sunburst one looks like this today :( ….. nevermind – so I could inspect the GP from the inside….

DSC_0131.jpg


DSC_0129.jpg

Long neck tennon

DSC_0128-2.jpg

no solid maple top - just a (very awesome figured) Maple Veneer

As i wrote I sold the Red GP short time ago - the reason was my selfbuilt GP Proto. Its made fully of Mahogany - no maple veneer, because I don't have the tools for making this and the thin veneer wont have any (or hearable) influence tonewise and I finished it in black..... This guitar turned out so good that it's now main axe and since I finished it - in fact - she ate the the red GP for breakfast so it stayed in his case since then..... so I sold it......

Here my early Blacky without a Finish near its Mama:

Blackywithoutfinish.jpg


and finished:

Blacky.jpg
DSC_1901.jpg


so thats enough about the old GPs...... the Clone Project just started......

bye SirPsycho
 

SirPsycho

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Enough Talk - Now it’s time to breath some wood ;)

What I should mention is that this is (from what I know) the first ever GP built with original dimensions from an orig. GP. So I'm trying to be as orig. as (for me) possible - in point of dimensions, construction and used parts (trussrods etc.)

In the last years I've seen some very awesome GP builts here on the internet but the builders took the dimensions and the body from pictures (just because the GPs are so rare) or what GP owner them told.... also construction details.

While I ordered the wood (Sipo Mahogany f. the Body and Neck) – I had time to make the templates. I took all dimensions directly from the guitar.

DSC_0118-1.jpg


I draw the body-form with a selfmade copy-drawer ( or how you name it) on a piece of Paper and made directly from this sheet a template of a 5mm thick plywood. This is my Mastertemplate. This one wont be touched from any tool.

DSC_0116.jpg



From the Mastertemplate I made a 2 routing-templates: one for the Body-form and one for the neck-tennon and the electronic-cavity.

DSC_0128.jpg


on the right one I routed a bit too much for the Neckpocket - no problem will be repaired......

To get the position of the Pots - my drillpress helped me out.....

DSC_0125.jpg
 

SirPsycho

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Hi!

Meanwhile the wood arrived and it is in awesome quality! the guitar will be made fully out of Sipo Mahogany. The neck will be shafted and the body will be made only out of 2 pieces - I go a little of of-specs here... nevermind....

The neck should be to specs - the blank is 25mm thick - just like on the original.....

The Mahogany-lumber for the body is 1m long, 130mm wide and 70mm thick!! so no extra wood for the carved top will be needed ;)

DSC_0119.jpg


the other wood is Khaya - it will be used for another project....

DSC_0120.jpg

here you see the thickness of that lumber...

DSC_0123.jpg


here I'm cutting the lumber in the half - its to thick for my Jigsaw - I cut the rest with my japanese saw....

DSC_0131-1.jpg


Here joining the 2 pieces - I have only 2 clamps but also the lashing belts do the job - this worked great!!!!
 

ievans

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Nice work so far. That's a pretty sweet stack of sipo and khaya you got there.
 

SirPsycho

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Nice work so far. That's a pretty sweet stack of sipo and khaya you got there.

Thanks! - Yes it is! Very happy about it.

Now its time for the neck!

The orig. Neck of a GP is not made from one piece, like a Les Paul neck - it is shafted. I will also do this and save some wood.....

DSC_0137.jpg


I draw the future angle on the wood - clamp 2 pieces of wood on the neck blank for helping to cut a straight line which I do with my japanese saw....

DSC_0138.jpg


Then put the sawed of piece with double side tape on the blank and planned both parts..... I looooove to use my planer! ;)

DSC_1427-1.jpg


neckshaft1.jpg


looks good so far.....
 

Barnaby

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Nice work - a hand tool scarf joint with a Japanese saw and a plane.

Feels like home to me. :thumb:
 

o0mobius0o

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Hmm. It's been a while. Any updates?

I am quite interested in this thread as my Ultra GP was stolen 2 years ago. I played it for 20 years and I have been trying to come up with something that has a similar sound, but to no avail. That guitar sounded so mean!
 

gobig2000

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I am loving this build. I'm a big fan of Josh and QOTSA and have always wanted an ovation. Do you have any plans on making the template dimensions public knowlege? I would be interested in trying my hand at one of these!
 

Reverend D

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Thats a good idea with the blocks of wood, clamps and the Japan saw. I was trying to think how I'd pull that off when the time comes, even thought about possible jigs to make the cut, mitre saws won't work I don't think cause its to steep of a cut. Good job!

Regards,

Don
 

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