Except for using Carter’s book to confirm some dates and a few details, most of the information presented here was gathered independently prior to publication of that book.
And Fender has never been able, on its own, to really succeed in marketing acoustic guitars. Another example is Ovation, the company that almost single-handedly created the acoustic/electric category and radically altered views about how acoustic guitars should be constructed.
No matter how hard they tried, Ovation’s repeated attempts to enter the solidbody electric area have failed. However, Ovation’s marketing failures do not mean it hasn’t made some pretty interesting – even innovative – electric guitars over the years, and these represent one of few areas in guitar collecting where you can find excellent, historically significant instruments, often at remarkably reasonable prices.
His first stop was a visit to his old stomping grounds, Washington, D.
C., where he showed his guitar to jazz guitar great Charlie Byrd.
Kaman and his technicians began by building traditional square-backed guitars, but by the sixth prototype were using oscilloscopes to develop the now familiar bowl-backed shape, its spherical shape being self-reinforcing, thus eliminating the need for bracing.
After some experimentation, the carved, round-crowned Ovation three-and-three headstock was developed.
In one of those rare coincidences, Dorsey’s guitar player had just quit, and the next day Kaman was offered the job.
Which path does the son of a construction foreman pursue?
Ideas in hand, in 1945 Kaman launched out on his own and started the Kaman Corporation.
For two decades he built a successful business in military helicopters. Diversification Kaman was experienced in making items of wood, metal, and high-tech material requiring high tolerances.
He realized he could use a composite fiberglass to “improve” two aspects of guitar construction.