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Fender to Cease U.S. Production of Ovation Guitars

The Hartford Courant reports that Fender Musical Instruments Corp. will be closing its Ovation plant in New Hartford, Connecticut.

The company, which is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is ceasing U.S. production of Ovation as part of its consolidation of U.S. musical instrument manufacturing. Work at the New Hartford plant will end by June. Fender will now make Ovation guitars in China, South Korea and Indonesia.

According to the Courant, the decision ends half a century of guitar-making in Connecticut that began with spare wood initially bought to make helicopter rotors by Charles Kaman, the founder of Kaman Corp., which sold the guitar business to Fender in 2007.

Fender moved production of its Guild and Hamer guitars to New Hartford in 2008. The company stopped production of the Hamer line in New Hartford last year.

"We are committed to providing the same high quality musical instruments our artists, consumers and customers expect and demand, and will continue to support the brands that are currently being produced in New Hartford," Richard McDonald, senior vice president of Fender, said in a statement.

"It's the end of an iconic American brand," Richard Hall, who works at the plant, told The Republican American. "In the 1970s and Eighties, just about every big touring band was playing Ovation."