Monday 20 May 2013

1970s Kaman Music Corporation metal-necked Applause acoustic guitar
Applause guitars were first introduced by Kaman Music circa 1976/77 as a budget brand version of Ovation's roundback guitars. The guitars featured the same moulded round backs as Ovation guitars, although whether this was made from the same "LyraChord" material I could not tell you. More idiosyncratically, these guitars featured one-piece aluminium necks with integral fingerboard and frets! The back of the neck was made of moulded plastic, supposedly designed to feel like mahogany. These metal-neck Applause guitars were built alongside Ovation guitars in Connecticut. Production of the Applause brand moved to Korea in the early 1980s with future necks being made from the more traditional timber choices.

This particular metal-necked Applause is currently listed on eBay UK and has a very reasonable sounding Buy It Now price of £160.

One other thing I have noticed about this guitar in where it differs from its Ovation cousins, is that where Ovations were designed from the ground up to be electro-acoustic guitars, this Applause appears to be wholly acoustic and features no pickups and no electronics of any kind.

G L Wilson

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  1. I played one of these back when they were new. The top was attached like a Tupperware lid. The back of the neck felt like plastic, and the aluminum fingerboard was distinctly sharp-edged. You could never service a worn fret.

  2. Anonymous10:23 pm

    I have a red one of these! Nice low action, a joy to play and sounds ridiculously good.

    1. Does the metal neck flavour the tone in any way?

    2. Anonymous4:30 pm

      To my ears, yes. It sounds very bassy but also very crisp and clear, even when you're just strumming chords you can distinctly hear every note. It's also unbelievably loud!

  3. There was one of these for a while probably 10 years ago in the acoustic room of the now defunct HEL Music here in Saskatoon. Interesting piece, but no doubt way too weird for the average acoustic guitar buyer in the '70s.

  4. Speaking of those Korean-made Applauses, I recently bought one (AE-38). Can find nothing about it on the net. Not even a decent picture. Great sound, though (although I have yet to actually plug it in). Enlighten me, somebody! :)

  5. Aluminum necks. Sigh... Charlie Kaman, WHAT the hell were you thinking?? :/

  6. I still have one of these in the loft somewhere. It was my first acoustic guitar; I got it when I was a kid bedazzled by the "technology", lol. Busked with it for years. On the plus side, tuning stability was amazing. On the downside, your fingers would freeze even more than usual on the metal fingerboard. Sounded surprisingly not bad, but questionable build quality and a disposable neck (no chance of a re-fret) qualifies it as a "WTF were they thinking" guitar for sure.

  7. Wow, my latest acquire is a six string, six digit serial applause by kaman, according to a chart I found late 70s b4 leaving usa. The aluminum neck reminds me of that other famous invented inspiration, the good old delorean. Keep those metal ideas coming people. :-)

  8. I just acquired for 30 bucks an old Applause from the early 70s with the idea that I would use it as a "beach guitar. Model number is AA24-A and its built in Moosup, CT, USA. Does anyone know of a way to adjust the neck on these? There is no visible truss rod. One visible bolt inside the body looks like it used to connect the neck to the body. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  9. The purpose of building the guitar the way they did, with a composite neck and an aluminum fretboard, was so they wouldn't require adjustment. - mine is 41 years old and the neck is still a straight as an arrow.



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