My Ovation Celebrity Deluxe is my go-to STAGE GUITAR!

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

I’ve never been able to tell if I’m a weird guitarist, or a normal guitarist. I’ve never been one to purchase brand-new guitars, or guitars that everyone else has hanging their wall. Instead, I have always preferred strange guitars that are decades old. These guitars have stories behind them, and are something I’ve always enjoyed playing.

Nothing is more evident of that than my Ovation Celebrity CC257 that I bought nearly a year ago at this point! It hands down is my favorite playing guitar I have ever owned, but… it isn’t perfect.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this guitar, including what I do like, what I don’t like, and where you might be able to get one for yourself.

What is the Ovation Celebrity Deluxe CC257?

  • When plugged in, it sounds way above its price point.
  • Very comfortable to play when standing
  • The neck is easy to play.
  • The off-center holes are amazing.
  • It's a conversation starter.
  • No longer losing picks
  • The rounded back slips when sitting
  • The sound quality is not great when unplugged.
  • Wish it was a different color.
  • Need to be careful of temperature swings.
Quick Note: The guitar I own is from 1993, links you find here are to more modern versions of this guitar.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Mentioning the name Ovation in a crowded room of acoustic guitarists will likely get you a lot of mixed emotions. Either you have the crowd that very much dislikes the guitar because they think it’s uncomfortable, or you have the people who have actually played an Ovation, who tend to very much enjoy it. There really isn’t a middle ground here!

Ovation Celebrity guitars are round-backed guitars, which is a rare form in the guitar world. However, way back in the 60s, Charles Kaman found that the best form factor for sound in a guitar was not the boxy shapes they were used to; rather, it was a rounded-backed guitar. Although, wood does not conform well to a rounded shape, so the composite body that we see today was created.

My CC257 was built way back in 1993, and this specific super-shallow body guitar was made from 1992 until 1996. However, from what I have found, even the most modern Celebrity guitars are quite similar to the one that I have here.

These guitars were created to be, or at least are, stage guitars. While the wide-body guitars do have a fantastic sound unplugged, the super-shallow I have here is mediocre at best. However, once you plug these guitars in, that is where it shines.

So, with all of that said, before I share too much, let’s get into what I do like and what I don’t like about this strange yet awesome guitar.

What do I like about my Ovation?

1. When plugged in, it sounds way above its price point.

I bought this guitar used from GuitarCenter for around $300, which is quite shy of the original price of around $749 way back in 1993. After spending quite a bit of time playing this guitar on stage for worship at my church, it goes head-to-head with many of the much more expensive guitars that it is around.

When this guitar is plugged in, it has an incredibly full sound that fills the room, and has a lot of body that many of the larger guitars don’t. There have been times where other guitarists (who were against Ovation) have approached me to say that they were wrong about my guitar, and it sounds great.

2. Very comfortable to play when standing

Ovations come in multiple different depths, and mine is a super-shallow-style body. This means its rounded body is considerably thinner than most acoustic guitars. These two factors result in an incredibly comfortable guitar when you are standing.

The guitar is close to your body, rather than farther away, like in boxed-style guitars. This makes for a more electric guitar feel in your hands, which I have always found to be more comfortable and easier to play around on the neck of the guitar.

3. The neck is easy to play.

I so very much enjoy playing this guitar because of its easy-to-play neck. It’s a shorter 2-piece mahogany neck, a lower action, and 20 frets, which results in an easy-to-play guitar. I’m not too crazy, as many other guitarists have mentioned that I have been allowed to play this guitar.

I’m definitely one of those lazy guitarists who does his best to find the easiest way to play anything (I’m doing my best to use capos less, people…), and having an easy-to-play neck is mandatory for me.

4. The off-center holes are amazing.

I’ve always been a big fan of Ovation’s Celebrity lineup, as they have the off-center holes. I think it is so incredilby unique in an industry where most guitars all look the same.

These off-center holes are placed inside of a leaf pattern, that wraps around the base of the neck, and points toward the bridge. There isn’t anything else like it out there (unless it is a knockoff), and it definitely is an impressively styled guitar.

5. It’s a conversation starter.

I admit it, I like to show off my gear. I’m someone who goes up to other people and blabbers on about my latest wallet, key organizer, or guitar. This Ovation kinda does that for me!

With its rounded back, off-center holes (with the leaf pattern), and bright red color, it definitely gets attention. I end up in plenty of conversations where someone is interested in what exactly I am playing or with someone who owns (or has owned) Ovation in the past and enjoys it thoroughly (and appreciates someone else who does as well).

6. No longer losing picks

I know that this is a bit of a silly reason for liking this guitar, but it was something I was thinking about the other day. Ever since I switched to my Ovation, I no longer lose my guitar picks in the body of my guitar, which has always resulted in that awkward, upside-down, aggressive shaking of your guitar to get it back out.

With the off-center holes, you no longer have that large hole in the face of the guitarguitar to accidentally drop the picks into. Nice thinking, Ovation!.

What do I NOT like about my Celebrity 2257?

1. The rounded back slips when sitting

The number one thing people complain about with an Ovation is the rounded back. While it has its major benefits, it also causes its biggest drawback as well.

The rounded body causes the guitar to slip down your lap while you are playing in a seated position. This means you have to adjust regularly, and it can be quite annoying, especially when it starts to hurt your wrist playing in an incorrect position after it slips.

Now, I would consider this guitar a stage guitar, rather than a studio guitar, primarily for that reason. It just isn’t great to play sitting down.

2. The sound quality is not great when unplugged.

As I’m sitting here, I have my church’s more standard-shaped Taylor (which I just had some repairs done) and my Ovation. A quick test of both guitars unplugged confirmed yet again that the super-shallow body of this guitar results in less bass and body to the sound that it emits.

Unfortunately, this generally means that I won’t recommend this guitar for someone who never plans on plugging their guitar in. They will likely find a much better experience with a more standard-shaped guitar (of which Ovation just launched a box-shaped guitar).

3. I wish it was a different color.

In my search for the perfect Ovation (within the $300 price range that I had set) I stumbled on plenty of awesome Ovation options. Unfortunately, the best one I could find for the price was the red color that I have here. They have plenty of other colors, including a natural lighter wood finish, which is what I really wanted.

That said, that was my choice completely, so I can’t discount the brand or the guitar much for that.

4. You need to be careful of temperature swings.

I haven’t mentioned this quite yet, but this isn’t my first Ovation guitar. In fact, back when I was a teenager, I owned an Applause by Ovation guitar. This is their lower level version of this guitar (and has a standard center hole). This guitar had a crack that went from the bridge down to the base of the guitar.

After quite a bit of research, I have found that Ovations are quite prone to this exact damage, which is caused by temperature and humidity swings in their environment. Most fully-wood guitars can expand and contract as they need, as everything is wood, and can move and adjust to compensate for that.

Unfortunately, the Ovation’s body is a composite material, while the top is wood. This means that when the wood top contracts and expands, its body can’t account for this, causing cracks in the wood.

So, with that said, get yourself a dehumidifier for your Ovation.

Who is this guitar for?

These Ovation Celebrity guitars are for a very specific type of people. They are for people that are primarily looking for a stage-ready guitar, that is easy to play. However, they also need to be for someone that doesn’t mind a lesser sound when the guitar is unplugged.

Now, you should steer away from these guitars (or at least the shallow body) if you have no intention on ever plugging your guitar in.

Where can you buy yourself one?

If you are hoping to buy one of these guitars for yourself, you can generally find a decent amount of them for sale on Guitar Center! I have that linked right here for you (Paid Link).

I had a fantastic experience with Guitar Center when I purchased this one. I was able to call the store it was located at, and they even played it on the phone for me, so I could hear if there was any buzzing. Good job, Guitar Center!

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
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