|The Kaman Factory|
The story goes that Charles Kaman had attempted to purchase Martin. When Fred Martin refused, Kaman started his own guitar to manufacture his own guitars.
At the time the companies main product was and still is helicopter parts and equipment that needed precise engineering.
Kaman’s goal was to create a guitar with the Martin’s tonal qualities that was durable.
The concept he came up with was the Breadwinner/Deacon body design.
He states his concept for the guitar was a medieval battle axe, based on the fact most guitar players refer to their instrument as “their axe.”
In 1975 this was modified to include 12 pole double coil pickups that resembled mini-humbuckers were introduced. These were advertised to be 20db quieter than humbuckers.
The instruments pickguards came in black, white, tortoise shell and paint swirl.
The guitars electronics featured a the usual volume and tone controls, a 3-way selector throw switch and a band elimination switch that cut the midrange.
The preamp was powered by two 9 volt batteries. Behind the batteries on the preamp were 2 trim pots that adjusted the level of the preamp and phase switch.
The pickup switching was very unusual. The first position, toward the neck, turned on the neck pickup. The second position turned on the bridge pickup. The third position, toward the bridge engaged the preamp.
Possibly due to the odd body shape, Ovation had little success with electric guitars.
The 1972 price guide for a Breadwinner listed it as $349 with hardshell case.
The upscale Deacon was $449. These days they are selling for between $1500 and $2500.
The guitars bridge is not enclosed by the Ovation covering and the saddles are not nylon.
Instead of a FET preamp and phaser, this model comes with active pickups wired to a much simpler preamp circuit.