Ovation launches revived Ultra range, featuring thermal-treated spruce tops and new pickups

Ovation Ultra series 2023
(Image credit: Ovation)

Electro-acoustic pioneer Ovation has announced it’s reviving its Ultra series, equipping the overhauled acoustic-electric guitar design with a German spruce top and new electronics in the process.

The original Ultras were produced across a nine-year period in the late-’80s (’83-’94, to be specific) and included the firm’s famous composite bowl back and sides, in various depths and shapes. 

In reviving the Ultras, Ovation has decided to focus on a single build with a standardised mid-depth, non-cutaway construction. Given Ovation’s reputation as a progressive force in the electro-acoustic world, it’s no surprise that the new electronics are probably the headline feature here. 

As such, the Ultra comes equipped with a brand new pairing of a K-21CT preamp, which offers a simple two-band tone control and a built-in chromatic tuner, and OCP-2000 piezo pickup.

The latter, says Ovations, offers an “improved mix of materials for the piezo, a more precise placement of the piezo elements, as well as a new material mixture with increased glass content for the string saddles”.

Essentially, this all means it’s capable of generating a much larger output volume, meaning the preamp does not have to work so hard and the overall noise level is reduced, with Ovation promising a “crystal-clear sound image”.

Ovation has also long experimented with tone woods and materials and the new Ultra is no exception, featuring a two-piece Kahya neck (with Indian laurel fretboard), alongside a thermo-treated spruce top. 

The A-grade spruce is sourced in Germany and, much like similar procedures from Martin and Taylor, is essentially artificially aged by a heating and cooling process that the brand says simulates 15 years of seasonal change, creating a more stable and mature-sounding tonewood.

It’s all finished off with a lacquer paint job that’s applied to a level of 6-7 microns, which is reportedly the optimal thickness, but we’ll let you off the hook if that was news to you…

There’s a range of finishes available, including Yukon Spray, Vampira Red, Silver Shadow, Dusk Til Dawn and Pitch Black – alongside the obligatory 2023 pastel paint job. Though it’s all a little less in-your-face than the new Applause by Ovation Jump range.

There's no word on US prices yet, but UK distributors are listing prices in the region of £723 (approx. $872).

For more information, head to Ovation Guitars.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.