Not signed in (Sign In)

Vanilla 1.1.4 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome Guest!
Want to take part in these discussions? If you have an account, sign in now.
If you don't have an account, apply for one now.
    Various topics come into Wire HQ on feedback forms and besides the many "you guys are really [insert favoured compliment or insult here], when are you going to play/ I hope you never play [insert name of home town here]" :) type comments there are the odd ones that probably a wider audience would be interested in. So I decided I might start posting answers here rather than replying so anyone else who's curious could find out. Today's topic is the [in]famous white ovation.

    The guitar itself is an OVATION BREADWINNER. It was made in various colours and finishes but the most obviously cool shade for me was white. I got mine in Aug/Sept 1977. I later discovered one of the Abba guys had one (also in white). Later on Robert Smith got himself a black one. Ovation were actually respected acoustic guitar makers, their electric guitars were not so successful and it actually sounded pretty rubbish. i think the only classic Wire recording I actually used it on was "I Am The Fly" where it's dull tonality was a big advantage in the metallic effect I got for the rhythm part. Nonetheless the guitar is iconic in Wire terms as I played it live all through the 70's & 80's.

    Recently the people at Eastwood Guitars have suggested it might be interesting to do a "Newman signature reissue" (no laughing at the back please:) but it may have been scuppered by Fender acquiring Ovation's patents (or something like that)
    If not, it's definitely now been scuppered by the box quote:

    "It actually sounded pretty rubbish" — Colin Newman.
    So what do you play on Chairs Missing, 154 etc? The only other, ahem, Axe I saw you use in the last century was a black '70s Strat.

    Where's the Breadwinner today? It was last spotted at the RFH...

    For what it's worth I think the guitar sounds fantastic on the Rockapalast DVD!!
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeJul 9th 2008)
    thanks, Colin! I put up a separate thread about Wire's gear a couple of weeks ago, after the South Street Seaport show, if you wanted to add any notes there. I'm really intrigued by all the different tones of distortion you get. Unlike some of the new album's reviewers, I don't think the Send-era stuff sounds monotonous at all, as there are different textures on every song, especially listening through headphones.

    as for the Ovation--I don't even like their acoustics! But if the Breadwinner had a bad sound... why was it your main live axe for so long?

    and presumably Colin could suggest changes to the original electronics if this guitar were to be reissued.
    The Eastwood Guitars website looks real interesting & they've signed up a few guitarists for sig models. There's a Bill Nelson on there & also a Pete Shelley signature guitar, the one with the sawn off top horn & that is priced around $1400.
    The Pete Shelley one is particularly interesting as i thought the intention originally of the sawn off- this is going way back to december 1976 when Buzzcocks did Spiral Scratch- was some kind of anti-guitar statement, a finger to the those long winded guitar solos of the time.
    I've seen Colin using the LINE6 Variax stuff & if your happy with those to play, the addition of the L6 workbench software that allows deep editing really negates the need for any kind of signature model. Of course a particular shape of guitar or colour can imply a certain vibe if a vibe is what your after.
    As for my guitar, by the way, i play a signature Ibanez Joe Pass.
    Just to clarify. the idea of the re-release would be that it would be about the shape NOT the sound! I would expect it to sound great! I got the original, entirely because it looked cool! My current 2nd guitar (and actually the guitar I used most on "Object 47" is the Eastwod manufactured Airline. The original to this was actually made from bakelite and by all re[ports also sounded less than genius but this one both looks good & sounds great. The only reason I don't use it as my 1st guitar on stage with Wire is that the system that holds the strings makes fast changing of strings problematic. BTW there is a pic of Malka & myself posing with our matching Airline guitar & bass here.
    Amended box quote:

    "The original version actually sounded pretty rubbish, but this new one RAWKS!" — Colin Newman.
    I thought the Ovation's sound was perfectly suited to 'Once Is Enough' from the Rockpalast show, but that's really the only time it jumped out at me. It looked cool, though, no question about it :)