The Ovation Breadwinner is a distinctive and innovative electric guitar that first made its appearance in the early 1970s. Conceived by Ovation's founder Charles Kaman, the Breadwinner featured a unique and striking design that set it apart from traditional guitar shapes of the time. Its futuristic, asymmetrical body shape, reminiscent of a battle axe made the Breadwinner an instant classic among musicians. One of the most striking features of the early Ovation Breadwinner was its ergonomic design. The body shape was specifically crafted to accommodate players in both seated and standing positions, ensuring comfort and balance during extended playing sessions. The Breadwinner was also a ground breaker with regards to offering active electronics. Today the Ovation Breadwinner remains a sought-after instrument for collectors and musicians who appreciate its unique design, playability, and tonal characteristics.
The neck plate serial number on this is 691, which is unusual in that it doesn't seem to match up with any of the serial number info we find on the web for that time period.
The body is mahogany, which is coated in Kaman Industries' "LyraChord" material. The white finish has a nice aged ivory tint to it, with various wear including scratches, small dings, and some discoloration in areas. Structurally speaking, the instrument is built solidly with all hardware attached securely.
The 24-fret, 24.75-inch scale length contributes to the instrument's comfortable playability. The medium frets show play-wear, with at least 50% of their life left. The unbound ebony finger-board is in great condition, with no channels or dents. The old spec sheets say it's a 2-piece Honduras mahogany neck, which looks right when you take a look in under the truss rod cover. There is a center seam and mahogany grain showing. This is a compound radius fingerboard, which goes from 9.5' at the nut to 12" at the 24th fret and offers a very comfortable playing surface all the way up. The original 12:1 ovation branded sealed tuners are in place and function well. We have installed a new luthier made bone nut.
The 2 existing humbuckers are replacements we think, but (luckily) the 'ahead of its time' active electronics circuitry is all intact and working like it should. For the uninitiated, the Breadwinner control layout is unique but actually quite brilliant. The volume knob works as you would expect. The three way toggle switch is froward = neck, middle = bridge, and back = both pickups out of phase. There is a two-way toggle for notch filter on/off. The tone control functions as a notch filter when the switch is engaged. Because of the high impedance of the active circuit, with the tone control at 5 the guitar sounds as if the pickups are connected directly to the amplifier. Also, when the pickups are out of phase with each other in the back position, there is an 8dB increase in level with equals the mids and treble out with the rest of the signal. There is 5 page doc by Ovation on the web from back in the day that is quite in depth regarding the operation and wide range of tonal variations possible with this circuit, complete with response curves. A copy of that will be in the case.
The original bridge is solid, in place, and adjusts properly.
The OHSC looks its age and like a lot of the thermoplastic cases from the '70s has gone a bit warped/misshapen. It still closes, with the aluminum edge channels gapped in some areas. The latches and hinges are intact and work properly. The plush interior is in great shape, but missing the accessory cavity cover. There is a non-original leather handle in place that's beat, but doing it's job.