The Ultra GP is a solidbody electric guitar made by Ovation – an American manufacturer far more famous for their innovative acoustic guitars, despite having built such electric models as the Preacher and the Viper since the early 1970s. Around 1983, Ovation began producing a line of inexpensive electric guitars and basses called the Hardbody Series, which included the Ultra UB bass, a Stratocaster lookalike called the Ultra GS, and the Gibson-esque Ultra GP. All of the guitars were built from parts made by Samick in Korea, and assembled in Ovation's plants in North Carolina and Connecticut.
By all accounts the bass and the GS were decent enough intruments, but seemed to suffer from inconsistent quality control. Perhaps for this very reason, the Hardbodies never really caught on in the already saturated electric guitar market, and production was halted in 1987. But the GP, ironically the rarest of the series, has since gained a reputation as the very best of the Ovation solidbody electrics, with a uniquely beautiful design and a rich, heavy tone rivalling any Gibson. Due to the guitar's rarity, the only "famous" Ultra GP player is Josh Homme, of Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age, who has used them almost exclusively throughout his career.
The Ultra GP is a set-neck archtop design similar to a double-cutaway Les Paul, but with a narrower waist and a slightly longer upper horn for better balance. The body is mahogany, with a carved flame maple top. The neck is also maple with a rosewood fingerboard, block inlays, and the same distinctive headstock as other Ovations. As befits a Gibson-style guitar, it has two humbucking pickups, a Tune-A-Matic style bridge and a stop tailpiece. Available finishes included wine red, cherry burst, honey burst, and black.
Model Number: 1431
Scale: 24.75", 22 frets, 1.69" nut width
Pickups:2 Dimarzio DP104/Super2 humbuckers
Tuners: Schaller sealed units with Ovation logo
Controls: 2 volume knobs, 1 tone knob, 3-position pickup selector
Production: Unknown, probably 250-500 made from 1983 to 1987
Sources: www.ovationfanclub.com, and Miles Baron's Ovation page at www.baronaudio.com/collection/ .