Fender Ends Ovation USA Production
Fender is set to end the production of US-made Ovation guitars in their New Hartford Connecticut facility.
Ovation USA Melissa Etheridge
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According to Fender officials, the decision is based on current market conditions and insufficient market demand. The closure is expected to take effect in June.
This business move is expected to affect 46 employees, all of which were already notified by their parent company. Fender says that they will be providing job assistance to the said workers.
Ovation guitar's innovative synthetic guitar body design had an undeniably huge impact on the acoustic guitar market. First introduced in the mid-60's, the comfortable rounded back shape and feedback resistant design appealed to many, and soon found its way into the hands of big name acoustic guitar players world over.
Aerospace engineer and guitar player Charles Kaman is the man behind the successful design. His guitar company continued to grow and became world renowned, thanks to artists like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen, Richie Sambora, Robert Fripp, Bob Marley, Melissa Etheridge and many more. An employee even noted that in the 70's and 80's, "just about every big touring band was playing Ovation". Although I'm not much of a fan, I have to admit that Ovation did dominate in the '80s and even in the '90s, with a barrage of artists imprinting the Ovation brand into my memory.
Fender soon took notice of the brand's success and acquired Kaman Music Corp In 2008. Ovation's New Hartford facility then functioned under Fender and also began building Guild and Hamer branded guitars. Moving forward to the present a Spokesman from Fender confirmed that the Ovation model now makes up an "extremely small percentage" of the company's overall production - a far cry from its former prestigious appeal.
After the closure, Ovation guitars will continue to be manufactured overseas at Fender's guitar factories in China, Indonesia and South Korea. Fender and Guild branded acoustic guitars that are currently being made in the New Hartford facility, will also be transitioning to other facilities at a later date.
This news comes after the closure of Hamer, another Fender acquired guitar brand that was build in the New Hartford facility. Senior VP Richard MacDonald assures, "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."
A former factory worker concludes the closure as "the end of an iconic American brand."
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