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  • Writer's pictureJohn Barton

1972 Ovation Typhoon V Bass

There is so much misinformation out there about this awesome instrument I felt it was my obligation to do my best to set the record straight.

In the 1966 Charles Kaman jazz guitarist and helicopter manufacturer set out to build the finest guitars possible. After losing a substantial military contract he decided that it was a good time to diversify. Using space age technology and the materials similar to those he used to construct helicopter rotors, which were bonded with some of the finest solid wood tops, he set out to change the world of guitars forever. The revolutionary material he called Lyracord.

His earliest acoustics had parabolic back successfully designed to project sound forward to the audience. Ovation built some of the first and most successful electric acoustics and early on were determined to build some of the finest electric guitars anyone had ever seen.  In my opinion they succeeded on all counts most of the time.

While you don’t see many of today’s performers on stage with Ovation electrics, (actually you rarely ever saw any performers using them), they are without question highly innovative and very well built.

They came out with the “Storm Series” of electrics in 1968. If the idea was to take the world of music by storm, they quickly discovered that to do so wasn’t the breeze as they anticipated. 

The Typhoon V bass was the last ditch effort, of that series, to fill their sails (sales?). This Typhoon V has a spruce and maple, German built body, American neck with American DeArmond pickups. The Ovation folks cleverly painted the body with what seems to be an epoxy based paint to give it the appearance of genuine Lyracord. (That seemed to be as good an idea as any since the wooden Typhoon basses they had been building were simply not selling. The black paint is so hard that many believed it to actually be Lyracord. They resist scratching or checking just as their round back acoustics do. Perhaps they were just doing that Goth thing about 35 years before anybody else.

Like many basses of that era this came equipped with a foam rubber mute that fortunately can easily be removed to give it some sparkle.

The Typhoon sounds pretty good acoustically considering the body is pretty thin like a Gibson EB 2 which is a bass version of their popular ES 335. In any event it plays great and those old DeArmond pickups pack so much punch the Typhoon V may just blow you away.

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