I actually got reasonably excited when I saw this photo tucked away at the bottom of a page over at My Rare Guitars. On the left is a prototype Eastwood Breadwinner guitar alongside an Ovation Breadwinner original. It's not an exact copy - you may want to play "Spot The Difference" and see how many variations between the two you can find (the most obvious being the headstock design, of course).
Apparently Eastwood Guitars were going to gauge the public interest in this re-issue with a view to launching them next year. However, according to the good folks over at The Ovation Fan Club forum, Ovation (or possibly Fender who now own Ovation) have put the kaibosh on this re-issue, wanting to retain the option to re-issue this guitar themselves. This would seem to be a very strange reaction for a manufacturer who have in recent years seemed almost embarrassed by their solid bodied electrics such as this model - which, as any guitar enthusiast worth their salt ought to know, was years ahead of its time. However, I suspect it's Fender who are pulling the strings now. Who knows, perhaps we might see a Squier-branded Breadwinner re-issue!
I said that The Breadwinner was years ahead of its time. Well, to qualify that statement let me tell you that for starters it's an ergonomic beauty, and was in turn the inspiration behind that most celebrated of ergonomic guitars, the Klein. Standing or sitting, the guitar balances just right and is an extremely comfortable guitar to play. Manufactured in the early to mid 1970s by Ovation in New Hartford, Connecticut, the Breadwinner and its more upmarket sister, the Deacon, were among the first production guitars to feature active electronics, having an onboard FET preamp, and were also one of the earliest production guitars to have a 24-fret neck.
I had been coveting one of these beasties for quite a few years, when in September 2006 I got really lucky when I found a listing by a German seller on eBay that none of the rabid Ovation collectors seemed to have noticed. (I think they must have been searching eBay listings in the USA only. They're probably wise to this oversight by now.)
I picked up my black Breadwinner (pictured left) for absolute peanuts compared with what these guitars will often fetch. It's one of the models circa 1976 with the smaller-sized pickguard and a smooth finish (many had a bizarre textured finish). Sadly it was lacking a case, but I have found that it fits quite nicely into my Flying V's gigbag.
Having said that, it's swings and roundabouts when it comes to getting lucky on eBay. When bidding on a 12-string Ovation Deacon I lost out to another bidder in the final five seconds of the auction, and for a price just a few quid over what I had bid. As you can imagine, there was much cussing when that happened.
But, yeah, I love these guitars.
Even if they don't sit too nicely on a guitar stand!