The Ovation Breadwinner

A source of inspiration for both the Klein Electric Guitar and the Forshage Headless Electric Guitar, seen and heard in this demo by Roger Placer, the Ovation Breadwinner’s stylings were inspired by the shape of a battle axe! Fortunately, style wasn’t all the guitar designer had in mind. As he states in this interview from The Ovation Breadwinner Page, he sought balance, “a deep cutaway below the strings to reach the high notes” and he “wanted it to rest comfortably on the knee when playing while seated. Hence the cutaway at the bottom.”

Ovation Breadwinner Black

It so happens that there is quite a following for them and several sites exist to provide plenty of information on these interesting guitars:

1. The Ovation Breadwinner – Noted above, this site is dedicated to these early seventies guitars and includes an interview with the guitar’s designer.

2. Ovation Fan Club This site’s purpose is to “inform, educate, communicate and share knowledge of Ovation guitars” which it does quite well.

3. Ovation Tribute Page – This is quite an extensive site that includes information about the Breadwinner and Deacon guitar alongside the rest of the Ovation line.

For more on the Ovation Breadwinner, see The Ovation Breadwinner Electric Guitar – An Unsung Ergonomic Design.

12 Responses to “The Ovation Breadwinner”

  1. I love my Breadwinner. It’s the most comfortable guitar I’ve ever played – when both sitting and when on a strap. It sounds pretty cool too. I picked mine up for a very nice price considering what some of these sell for. No case though, unfortunately.

    I was gutted a few weeks ago when I was outbid on a lovely Ovation Deacon 12-string by just a couple of quid in the last four seconds of an eBay auction. I hate those snipers! I ended up buying a Stratocaster XII instead, which is a fine guitar but doesn’t have the exclusivity factor of the Ovation Deacon.

    1. Thanks for the note on your Breadwinner! Too bad about the Deacon though! That would have made a very nice addition.

    2. What is the 12 string “Breadwinner” going for these days? I have a beautiful sunburst breadwinner with the ovation hardshell case. Interested? Located in US. Jim

  2. Minor nit-pick. On one of the fan sites, there is an interview with the designer. Ergonomics was not on his mind at all — He was thinking Battle Axe. Also interesting, he designed the guitar when players first started referring to their guitars as axes, but the guitar wasn’t actually build until years after the designer left Ovation.


    1. Ray, you may want to revisit that interview. If it’s the one I mention above from the Ovation Breadwinner Page, the guitar designer actually notes several ergonomic considerations besides the fact that the design was inspired by a battle axe. I’ve updated the article to both clarify this and quote some of the relevant text. Thanks for stopping in!

  3. What is a 1979 ovation breadwinner going for these days. I have one and want to sell it. I was wondering what it was worth these days.

  4. I have a black Ovation Breadwinner that I purchased new in 1979, molded case included. I just finished practicing on my Breadwinner. This guitar sounds so good and it is very comfortable. I played it through my Crate GT212 amp. I will probably never sell it. Since I am the original owner, I still have the lifetime warranty. The warranty came in handy a couple of times in the last 9 years. I bought this guitar when I was 19 years old and now I am 48. Wow! What a guitar!

    1. Very cool! But I wonder how Ovation would honor a lifetime warranty on a Breadwinner. It’s not like they have anything in their line like it. 🙂

      1. The biggest issue I’ve had with warranty support is the differences between the early models (two FET board designs, toroidal pickups) and the later models (a third board design with different pots and the humbuckers).

        Ovation’s records of these models don’t appear to be very extensive. It took three deliveries to get the proper replacement Volume pot for my early model Deacon with the first series FET board.

  5. I just got a Deacon on ebay about a month ago and really love it. In a big stroke of luck for me, it ended up on the cover of the Austin Chronicle last week:
    I think it is a very comfortable guitar to play and balances perfectly. As others have mentioned, it works well when playing seated. I play fingerstyle, so the wide spacing of the strings is very good for me too. The electronics are interesting; Pretty low output pickups, extremely bright.

  6. A defunct thread perhaps, but get my $0.2 in anyway. For those who might like to try one (like me!) Breadwinners are back – Eastwood, the company known for reissuing oddball electric designs, have revived the model:

  7. Hi, I’ve recently bought a Deacon – a great guitar.

    Anybody got the original instruction book or more info on the rather strange brass bridge?