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*** WITHDRAWN FOR REFIN *** Ovation Magnum III (1980)
£1000
LONDON


Happy Jack

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We've all seen photos of the outrageous Magnum I & II basses with the bizarre body shape and the Jah Wobble connections. Well I have one of those too so I'm finding it hard to justify hanging on to this lesser-known Magnum III.

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To explain why they reverted to a more 'vanilla' body shape you really need to persuade @FlatEric to put in an appearance, but the two designs share more-or-less exactly the same electrics & sound, not to mention the very significant weight.

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That bridge gives new meaning to the concept of 'high mass' and was a one-off design by renowned engineer & inventor Charles Kaman ( https://www.kaman.com/our-company/our-founder-charles-kaman ), a man who is well worth reading up on. Not many people design & build helicopters for the U.S. Army and start up a top-notch musical instrument company in their spare time.

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That black strip up the back of the neck isn't a skunk stripe, it's carbon fibre. Less obvious is that there are another two such strips under the fingerboard. This isn't a neck that needs much truss-rod tweaking.

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The bass will be 40 years old this year, but is in remarkably fine condition. Very little by way of buckle-rash or random scratching. The hex socket is part of the bridge adjustment.

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Even the neckplate looks like it was designed to withstand combat in an armoured division.

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The neck is decidedly more Jazz than Precision, and it's 41mm at the nut. The immaculate decal hints at how well looked-after this bass has been.

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Shamelessly pinching the specs from another website:

- Mahogany body and neck (but reinforced with carbon).
- Ebony fretboard.
- 34" scale.
- Neck pickup: individually output-adjustable coils for each string!
- Rubber damper
- bridge vol + tone, neck vol + tone
- Pickup selector switch

Like all my sales here on Basschat this instrument is priced to sell, but the very low asking price also reflects the bass's one flaw - which is very hard to photograph.

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That very-slightly lilac hue that you think you can see is actually there, and it's more visible than these photos show. In the flesh, it's quite obvious that the finish (on the top only) has suffered some sort of 'bloom' which has stained the lacquer. It's not offensive, it's not in-yer-face, it is quite invisible from a distance or under stage lights ... but it's definitely there. 

That was factored into the price when I bought the bass, so I'm factoring it into the price now. 

:hi:

Quite apart from all the on-going quirkiness, though, what makes these Ovation basses special is their truly astonishing bottom end. That enormous mudbucker at the neck does NOT sound like an uber-muddy Gibson EB0, it sounds like The Humbucker Of Doom and yes, you really can see individual volume adjustments for each string.

With the neck p/u only selected and the tone rolled off, even strung with rounds (as it is now - my Magnum II has the flats) you get a magnificent dub tone. Re-string with flats and the dub becomes truly righteous.

The long rail across the top of the pickups is an original fitment (even though it looks like an afterthought) and obviously provides a perfect thumbrest in every position.

The bass is in Harrow (NW London) and I am perfectly happy to drive or tube a reasonable distance to meet in person. I am always reluctant to entrust high-end basses to a courier, any courier, but I will if I have to. My experience is that you should allow at least £20 for that.

In storage I have the original hardcase for at least one of my two Ovations ... but I can't remember which! Hopefully it's for this one but, if not, I'll provide a good-quality semi-rigid gig-bag instead.

 

Ovation_body (4).jpg

Edited by Happy Jack
Replacing disappeared photos!
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Have you tried putting  the magnum III in there you might be surprised how well it fits ......  😉 Mine is in a Mag 2 case

I'm  actually the current custodian of Flat Eric's Grey-burst  Magnum III ... Magnum+III.jpg
for anyone who has never played one of these they don't sound anything like you think you might think there all mud ... but they really growl and bark when you need them too , interesting ... did you add the thumb rest along the top to mimic  a magnum II's  mine doesnt have one and it would definatly improve playability.

Synth / lyle 

Edited by synthaside
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On 05/02/2020 at 15:52, synthaside said:

Have you tried putting  the magnum III in there you might be surprised how well it fits ......  😉 Mine is in a Mag 2 case

I'm  actually the current custodian of Flat Eric's Grey-burst  Magnum III ... Magnum+III.jpg
for anyone who has never played one of these they don't sound anything like you think you might think there all mud ... but they really growl and bark when you need them too , interesting ... did you add the thumb rest along the top to mimic  a magnum II's  mine doesnt have one and it would definatly improve playability.

Synth / lyle 

Lovely bass that - glad you are still lovin' it! I would like to back you up on the sound - it is surprising the range of tones that you can squeeze out of it.

The thumb rest is not original but I too, like the feature on the Mag II, which means you can easily place your thumb where you want. I was going to do that but make it so it sat on top of the pick-up rings, that way you could remove it an leave no evidence.

Happy Jack, Hi.

The way I understand it, the Mag II was a bit of a Marmite bass, as you can see in the link below, an unusual but comfortable shape, so Ovation went more conventional with the III, to attract more buyers. Ditched the stereo, the script on the scratchplate and the sliding damper.

In terms of sounds, they are pretty much identical, I couldn't tell the difference. A really great Bass.

Good luck with the sale. : )

Cheers. : )

For Reference go here: Mag II  Mag III

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, that looks "different" Happy Jack. And I bet that humbucker sounds thunderous!
I shouldn't be looking at more basses, and wondering what they would sound and play like.... but sadly, my addiction refuses to abate ;)

By way of interest - what is the "considerable weight" you talk of?

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It's about 10lbs ... way less than some basses I've owned, but also way more than the Mike Lulls I've been playing this last five years.

That said, I've now bought a Rickenbacker 4003s5 which weighs just over 9lbs, so my back is clearly in better shape than it was a while back. B|

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  • 3 months later...

I took it down to Bow Finishing (Godstone) to have it stripped and varnished to match my Ovation Magnum II. That was on 18th March, and the place went into Lockdown two days later.

Chris Bowling sanded / buffed one patch of the body to see if that 'bloom' would rub out - it didn't. It hasn't been touched since, and is still in Chris's workshop.

So the bass could still be for sale if you want it, but it now has definite 'damage' to the finish in one place, so you'd either need to tart that up again or carry on with my intended refin.

 

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That's a damned fine question. The photos appear to have disappeared from my Basschat upload (no idea why) but the photos of two other basses that I uploaded at the same time are still there.

Silvie & I are investigating.

 

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