making his own guitars under the Elger brandname. It was a combination of his children’s names; Ellen and Gerson.
This did not sit well with U.S. Manufacturers, especially Gibson/Norlin. This is a story unto itself and I present it only for background.
Epiphone brand name Asian imports of Gibson guitars outsell their own Gibson brand. Fender had acquired a guitar string company called Squier. At first Fender attempted to produce some student grade budget models, but due to the cost of labor moved production to various Asian countries.
Shenandoah Martin brand that had parts built offshore, but were assembled in the United States.
The necks consisted of an aluminum frame covered with a polyurethane foam material. Initially they looked like more expensive Ovations, though in 1976 the design was changed to make them look different. The Matrix was constructed in the proven bowl back styling of the other Ovation acoustics with a new compression molded lyramold body, married to the same Sitka spruce top. As I have said, the neck was constructed from cast aluminum. The truss rod, peg head, fretboard and frets were die cast in a single unit, producing a neck immune to warpage by the effects of string tension or climatic change.
This was a true budget instrument. It was built with the same lyramold bowl, the Applause was also fitted with an aluminum neck and a laminated spruce top. The price at less than $150 was a remarkable break-through in the proof that modern materials could offer a good sounding instrument at an affordable price.
UK II, which was introduced in 1979. The UK II featured an aluminum frame with urethane foam (Urelite) body, featuring the usual Ovation shape but with a little Tele-style curve on the upper shoulder and a sharp single cutaway.