This is going to be quite detailed, for two reasons - the first is
several people have said that some of my posts lack detailed
descriptions - Sorry!
The second is, you just don't see that many of these around.
I have seen a lot of live music, over the years - big venues, pubs
and clubs and I don't recall seeing one being played live. . . ever!!
I can't recall the first time I ever saw one of these but I think it
may have been the one the Kelly Groucutt had in ELO.
Anyway, that was a very long time ago but what I do remember
thinking was how unusual it was.
I was also a very long time before I got to own one and after looking
at quite a few of them, I ended up being drawn to this one and as
the saying goes, paid top $$$ for the privilege of owning it!
It was the best I could find!
The controls are simple and straightforward, with the added
bonus of stereo.
When blending the pick-ups on this, there is an audible difference
down to about 7 on the dial - a lot of two pick-up set ups, like a
Jazz, are very sensitive - fraction of a turn and you have lost
the tone of the lower volume pick-up. Not with this!
The other thing is, when you get a sound you like from the bridge
and the sound you like from the neck pick-up and then centre the
selector switch - the combined sounds don't mix and you loose what
you have and end up with something else!
Not with the Stereo!
The first time I played around with it, I used an Ashdown Combo and
an Ashdown head into a 2 x 10 - two rigs.
I put the Neck PU into the 4 x 10 and the bridge into the 2 x 10.
Select the sound you want from the Neck, with the switch on Neck,
select the sound from the Bridge PU, with the switch on Bridge and
then. . . . . . push the switch to the centre! Taddah!! Cracked it!
Without changing the setting on the amps, I then swapped them over
and got a different sound and then went Mono into the Combo and
that was very different!
The Neck Pick-up looks Big & Beefy and you would think it
would deliver a Gibson EB type thud!
Far from it!
It looks big but under that cover are four individual coils,
that are independently adjustable for volume.
The Eagle Eyed amongst you will see that the adjusters on mine
are all set the same. This is because I have just changed the strings
and at the time I took the shots, I had not set them up.
If you click on this link, you will see more details on the Pick-ups
and other Ovation features.
Ovation Magnum Manual
Well, what can you say??
Nothing like this on any other bass that I know of.
Slightly quirky, takes a while to grasp how to set it up the way you
want it, in order to set the action.
Adjustment on the top and at the rear for height and it is a bit of a
fiddle to set the intonation up as it should be.
Once set up and left alone, it's fine - so best left alone!
The neck is very comfortable and has a familiar feel to it - Not
Jazz, closer to a Precision but not the same - if I had to pin it
down, it is sort of Gibson ish but a better description would
by "an Ovation profile"
The fingerboard is a good looker and the fret work is A1.
Good quality tuners, marked as Ovation but I suspect they come
from a well known maker!!!
Same type as on the Peavey T-40 - just great.
The head is the Signature shape for Ovation and follows that same
shape as the acoustics and the electrics, Viper and Breadwinner etc.
If you are thinking of buying a Magnum, I'm sure you would enjoy
it, as it is something a bit different.
Comfortable to play, balances nicely, not heavy - a nice weight,
some different and very usable tones, NOT deep and thuddy
but can be if you want it to be, the large pick-up surround is
really great - brighter, rest your thumb further back - more mellow,
move it towards the neck - in fact move it to any position you find
comfortable, there's a lot of scope.
So, you've made you mind up that you want one.
Famous players such as Jah Wobble and Kim Gordon have been
keen fans as well as many other artists over the years but there
is one thing that you must be made aware of. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
WARNING!! This Bass may not accept your favourite strings!!!
Because of the design of the bridge, it is one hell of a stretch up
to the nut and with a lot of strings, the windings start to reduce,
particularly on the "E" before the thicker part of the string reaches
the nut and on Silk end strings, it is the silk bit that sits in the nut!
This is the case on my Magnum III, which has Rotosound on.
See Magnum III below.
I can't say that in the case of the III it deadens the sound, as it
still sounds bright enough but I have never have any other
strings on it!
So, there you go - a fairly detailed description of a a slightly
different Bass from the norm!
The Ovation Magnum Bass.
Any questions, happy to answer - just drop me a line.
UPDATE August 22nd 2012
I have been asked several times, what lengths of strings are
required for the Magnum.
Here is the answer.
I have measured from the anchored side of the ball end to the nut and to the
centre of the tuner post.
This is taken from my Magnum III but will still relate to a Magnum I
Hope this helps.