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From left: Kaman’s Robert Lee, Rick Hall and Paul Damiano

Ovation Unveils iDEA

New ideas wait for no one, and Kaman Music could not wait until the winter NAMM show to unveil its latest idea: the marriage of an acoustic/electric guitar and digital recording technology.

The Ovation iDea guitar will be launched on Nov. 1. It features on-board recordability with a built-in MP3 recorder and player. The digital recorder is part of a pre-amp that comes with the guitar or can be sold separately to upgrade other Ovation models.

The Muse Tool
The iDea guitar has taken technology that comes standard in most keyboards and brought it to guitars. Song ideas, licks, rhythms and lyrics can be recorded from the guitar alone, simultaneously from the guitar and built-in microphone, and from an auxiliary input. Any audio signal fed into the auxiliary input is converted to MP3 format and can be stored in the iDea’s memory or downloaded onto a computer for further mixing and modification.

“Ovation, throughout its history, has been known for innovation,” said Kaman President Ed Miller.

“It’s technology that supports creativity,” said Rick Hall, Ovation’s product manager. “We can capture musical inspiration the exact moment it strikes. That’s the key, to have the guitar ready to go when it suddenly strikes you, press a button, and you catch it.”

The Solo Guitar Show
The iDea has the ability to playback tracks via headphones or an amp. During the guitar’s official launch on Sept. 16 at Kaman’s Bloomfield, Conn., headquarters, Hall and the Kaman “iDea Band” demonstrated how an entire live performance can be prerecorded on the iDea guitar pre-amp and then played back to support a solo guitar performance.

According to Hall, a guitarist can record a set and then “fire the band,” so to speak, making the iDea a bandmate to hobbyists or gigging solo musicians. Preloaded tracks are also available in the iDea pre-amp and downloadable from, a Web site that launched in September to support iDea guitar users.

The Learning Partner
iDea comes with preinstalled audio lessons, and more are available at its Web site. The lessons are supported by, the online sister company of the National Guitar Workshop. The site will also feature resources, including a quick-start guide, video instruction, print accessible charts and forums.

“Workshoplive. com has amassed an online catalog of 2,500 music lessons and 15,000 videos, and it was our pleasure to help iDea customers get started,” said Bob Land, chief marketing officer for

The guitar itself can record solos from any audio sourceand play them back at a slower tempo without changing pitch, making it easier to learn licks and riffs note-for-note. Professional guitarists and instructors Matt Smith and Ian Campbell were on hand at the product launch to demonstrate ways the iDea could function as a teaching tool.

“I had a student and recorded a lesson with him right onto this thing, shot it into my Mac,” Campbell said. “He put it in his iPod and could take the lesson to go.”
Smith prerecorded his voice through the iDea pre-amp with basic instructions for a chord progression prior to the event, and used the iDea guitar to give himself the lesson.

“The education of guitarists and other musicians is the most important thing to grow all our industries,” Smith said. “Plus, this guitar is a whole lot of fun.”

A New Category
The new guitar technology is patented and offered exclusively through Ovation, making it the first and only guitar available with this recording technology.

“The iDea is more than a new guitar — it’s actually an entirely new category,” said Jeff Hasselberger, owner of Hasselberger Associates and director of marketing for the iDea. “The inspiration came from the world of electronic gadgets we all live with. It’s a new way for people to relate to the guitar.”

According to Hall, the iDea guitar will fall into a price range between $600–$700. It will be available to Kaman dealers with a marketing package that includes an easy-demo display and self-starter instructions that let customers explore the guitar with little assistance. Every guitar purchase comes with a free, seven-day trial of lessons at

“Its unique design will stand out among other guitars in a store,” Hall said. “This is the one you get everything with.” MI