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Ovation Composite Bowl Repair

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I am hoping I can get some advice and information on repairing the composite bowl on an Ovation Guitar. Not to insult anyone, but I am not looking for guesses or suggestions, but the actual products and techniques that Ovation Authorized repair centers would use. OK Here is my sad story...one most are familiar with. Yup, eBay. I wanted an inexpensive (all I could afford) acoustic to help me re-learn the guitar after many, many years. Long story short, I purchased an Ovation CC257 that was to have been "gently used" with no damage. Turns out, the output jack must have taken a hit as the composite underneath it is damaged and fraying and the jack is getting near pulling through. It is a relatively small area almost entirely hidden by the washer and nut. I have opened a complaint, and may reverse the transaction, but since I like the guitar and if I get some $ relief from the seller making it a better deal, I might consider keeping it IF I COULD REPAIR IT. I called a local authorized repair center that of course would need to see it, but estimated a "minimum" of $75 which wouldn't be worth it given what I have already paid etc.. So, if anyone out there is familiar with the products and technique to use, please let me know? The "pebble' like finish might be hard to match, but since it should be covered by the output jack washer and nut, it shouldn't be too obvious. The guitar was built in 1992, and for under $300. would be a pretty nice guitar if not for this damage.

If you don't know how to make the repair, but would like to give your advice on whether or not I should bother with it, I am open to hearing opinions.


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If you're looking for a totally invisible repair and are not [very] experienced with FRP's, you shouldn't even consider the job. Also, if you don't have a traditional sound hole and instead have small holes where ever, I'd leave it to a professional, because that will make your task exponentially more difficult.

I can't tell you what ovation would tell you to do. However, my studies have led me pretty deep into the characteristics of composites and the best manners in which to apply them. A repair on a smooth surface is pretty straight forward, especially when you can get to the damaged area easily from both sides, this however is not such a case.

Here's how I would approach something like this.

-Remove any loose, damaged parts.

-Chamfer the damaged area from the inside.

-Locate part of the guitar with the exact same curvature as the damaged area

-make a mold of that part of the guitar(not self explanitory, but some googling will bring some light to propper techniques)

-wax mold

-apply appropriate gel coat to the mold and fasten against damaged area

-apply preimpregnated FRP(and by this I mean wet it out before applying, you don't have to purchase what's known as "prepreg" fabric) to the damaged area from the inside(use the fabric of your choice, you'll probably want about 15-20oz/yd worth of fabric there since it will need the jack attached to it, of course this number varies between different fabrics). And yes, this will be a PITA, but for a clean repair, the fabric needs to be applied on the inside.

-apply pva or similar over interior of repair to make a barrier between the FRP and air, for optimal cure

-let everything cure and remove the mold

Since ovations have a flat, textured finish on their back, the repair could feasibly be invisible. Where it a gloss finish, some careful wet sanding and feathering would be needed to conceal the repair.

If you're sitting there scratching you head, I'd advise you leave this job to a pro so you don't do anything you'll regret.



Edited by thegarehanman
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Oh, and I should add that although that would be the way to get an invisible repair, that's not how I what I would do where it my guitar. I play guitars, I don't stare at them. The only time I want a guitar to look pristine is immediately after I build it. After that, I want it to look weathered and played, albeit gracefully. So I would skip the mold making and gelcoating steps, chamfer the inside, and make the repair with some carbon fiber to get a close color match. If it couldn't be done from the inside, oh well, the repair would go on the outside and be a bit more visible, big woop.



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Thanks for the reply guys. It is the Deluxe model, so not big sound hole. However, the Ovations have a large access port on the back which may give access to the inside of the bottom of the guitar, but since I may retirn it, I have not looked yet. I know you use it to adjust the truss rod from the inside. Anyway, I will try a post on the Ovation fan forum as suggested and see what they think. Thanks

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Well, I got a couple replies from the Ovation forum site, and both thought repairing it was not a big deal, and with a couple dollars back, was too good a deal to pass up. I also contacted another Ovation repair guy who said the same thing. So, I guess I'll see if he wants to give me a few bucks back, maybe $50-$75, and if he does, I'll keep it.

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Well, not counting my chickens yet until the money hits Paypal, but the seller agreed to a partial refund that I will be happy with. My plan to fix the enlarged hole around the output jack is this. First, if your not familiar with the composite back Ovations, there is a large removable panel on the back of my model that gives easy access to the inerds. First I plan to spread a layer of epoxy around the damaged opening on the inside to strengthen the area and hopefully prevent any future cracks from forming. Next I plan to use a roto tool to smooth the opening to a uniform round hole. Unnecessary I know, but I don't want to leave it broken looking. If it appears that doing so will enlarge the hole too much, I may skip this. The last thing I will do is form a small piece of kydex with a hole drilled in the middle for the output jack head to stick through like a washer about a 1/2" larger than the hole in the body. This will go into the guitar with the jack head sticking through and plug the enlarged hole where the jack head protrudes on the body of the guitar, and should distrubute the force when tightening down the outside nut and washer on the output jack to prevent any further damage. Haven't decided if I should epoxy the black kydex piece in place or just let the clamping force from the outside nut and washer hold it. Guess I will see which is needed when I get there. For those not familiar with Kydex, it is a moldable plastic when heated and used to make gun holstrers, knife sheaths and the like. With a little luck the outside washer and nut for the output jack will completely cover the repair.

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OK...scratch my previous post. I tried using the kydex trick, and although it would probably hold, I think the only right way will be to patch it with fiberglass. One of the members in this thread is helping with some advice. I don't know if you can post pictures to this site, but if you can, I may try to document the process....unless it comes out really bad!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to all of you..and especially "thegarehanman", I forged ahead and completed this repair. I am still a neophyte to this forum on how to use it, so I am hoping these links to the pictures of my repair process work! I know this type or repair is not anything most of you will ever need to do, but if nothing else, it may be fun to see what I did.

1) Picture of the damaged and elongated hole for the output jack on this Ovation Acoustic/Electric composite body


2) Two part components you mix together like silly puddy that cure into a rubber mold. I used this to mold against the outside of the guitar body in an undamaged area so when cured, I could tape over the damaged area since the epoxy resin and glass cloth repair would be made from inside the body. Besides providing the proper shape and a seal for the resin over the hole, it also helped pick up the texture of the finish that was then imprinted onto the cured resin.


3) Molding to the guitar body.


4) Epoxy Resin components and black colorant for the resin. With the mold in place, I first brushed some resin into the hole area from the inside of the guitar to make certain the texture of the mold would be picked up, and the repair would be even with the exterior of the guitar. Even though I used a "thicker" resin, if I had this step to do over I would have used a resin thickener to avoid a small run from the resin I got since the guitar needed to be in positions where gravity worked against me when doing the repair. I then used woven glass cloth you can buy at any hardware or homecenter. Cut it into circles that would cover the hole and would extend another 3/4 inch around it. Then used an acid brush to dab the mixed and blackend resin onto the cloth and applied from the inside on the guitar over the hole. Used four layers, dabbing extra resin into the hole area between layers.


5) The repair after curing (48hrs) and the mold removed. Since I didn't use a thickener, a thin layer of resin migrated between the mold and the body around 1/4" in some places. No big deal, but needed to sand it flush with sand paper which sanded away a bit of the texture in the resin by the mold.


6) Experimented with different paints to duplicate the "splatter" finish and color.


7) Paint complete and new hole drilled.


8) Finished repair. Really undetectable from the outside, and very strong.


Thankfully this model Ovation has a large removable port cover on the back that made access to the inside area easy. Thanks again to "thegarehanman". He appears to do composite repairs in his daily life although not on guitars, and gave me some great advice, hints and tips!


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Thanks. Nothing a new coat of paint won't cure! :D Honestly, thanks to the guys here, the repair is indistinguishable. Since the hole was fixed, I adjusted the truss rod, polished the frets, and made a compensated saddle out of bone! It plays awesome and intonantion with my strobe tuner is within 1 cent across the strings. After adjusting the truss rod with the stock saddle in place, intonantion was 6-9 cents off at low E, and off fairly badly on several other strings. I also purchased some bone blanks to replace the nut, but since all is good the way it is, I think I will just enjoy it for a while the way it is.

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Good job Dave.

I am a regular at the OFC and your repair was done straight on! I think the most difficult part is to match the bowl paint texture.

For future reference Ovation/Hamer has an outstanding Customer Service. Here is my POC:

John Budny

Customer Service Manager

Ovation Instruments

37 Greenwoods Rd

New Hartford, CT 06057

860-379-7575 Ext 120


fax 860-738-3495

The Center hole models don't have the access hole in the back that the "Elite" or multihole units do. Access can be an issue but nothing compared to trying to put electronics into a Tacoma Papoose!

Early bowls were fiberglass, then Lyrachord and now the Lyrachord GS. Repairs are similar and incorporate a fibre/binder with an epoxy. I have used the bumper repair/patch kits sold in Auto Parts stores.

I see you had some OFC help here too. People helping each other, love it!

Mike W

aka MWoody on the OFC

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Thanks for the kind words.

Seth asked:Did you just paint with black to get the gloss even over the repaired area, or did you have to do anything to restore the texture, like using a textured paint? A: Tried to determine what was used from Ovation repair center's but got no where. Contacted Ovation and offered to buy, but they said no. Found a product called Zolatone that looked to be the right "splatter" product, but could only buy a quart or larger. Sooo, I just experimented with several Automotive restoration paints I had (mostly epoxy based), used the mold, a small brush and a toothbrush to reproduce the finish splatter as well as holding the aerosol cans a foot or two away from the surface which created splatter, and I just got lucky in the way it came out.

fishgiven posted: For future reference Ovation/Hamer has an outstanding Customer Service. A: I agree, but unfortunately, they wouldn't sell me or tell me the product to use to recreate the finish, which is understandable, but not great service? Automotive companies have no problem selling the paint and parts, but I guess this industry is different. I did contact them to see how much for them to do the repair. Since I only paid $200 for the guitar, I could not see my way to paying the $150 estimate (not including shipping). I think is was a fair estimate, but I always assumed I would be a armchair luthier on this one in order to justify buying it in the first place. (it was fun!)

Great forum..great people. Thx

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