Unsung Hero

It’s always a pleasant surprise when you come across a sometimes-forgotten guitar in your collection.

This I learned to my contentment when fishing through the built-in closet that I have designated for the lesser-played instruments in my possession.

Last month, while shifting guitar cases around in an attempt to create some semblance of order, I came across a hardshell Ovation case that seemed to stick out like a sore thumb from among the Gibson Les Paul cases that flanked either side of it. Upon cracking open the hard case, which was intended to house a much larger guitar than it currently contained, I was struck with the instant realization that the guitar I was looking at was more than deserving of a resurgence from the recesses of my closet.

As I picked up the vintage solid-body, electric Ovation Viper, all the memories of my experiences with the guitar came flooding back. I purchased it in 2009 from Crino’s Music Shop in Dunkirk, while I was a student at SUNY Fredonia. It was on consignment from a collector in town, and I instantly fell in love when I discovered it sitting propped conspicuously among the surrounding brand-new, pristine instruments for sale. Needless to say, I walked out of the shop with a purchase that I had not anticipated when I first walked in.

The first thing that struck me was the fact that I had never come across an electric guitar manufactured by Ovation, which had made a name for itself as a prominent luthier of acoustic guitars in the ’60s and ’70s. Secondly, it was much lighter than the Les Paul Custom I had been accustomed to playing for several years. Finally, the action was perfect.

It played so smoothly; and I still marvel out how comfortable it is to play, and the ease with which my fingers navigate the glossed maple fretboard.

And that was before I even plugged it in.

Ovation Vipers, manufactured between the late ’70s and early ’80s, are perhaps most remembered for their crisp and bright tonality that it accomplished through then innovative modifications to single-coil guitar pickups.

The Vipers have two single-coil pickups, which have been modified to balance the low and high tones into a clear and vibrant response that is six decibels higher than what the other single-coil pickups of the time could achieve.

After getting the guitar restrung a few weeks ago, I knew it was time for the Viper to make its first public appearance in nearly four years. I brought it to the Busti Fire Department gazebo last Saturday, where my band, Joint Effort, played to kick off Busti’s 2014 summer concert series.

6+The response I got from my guitar was everything I could have hoped for, while I also received some compliments from members of the audience – who had also become accustomed to seeing the Les Paul in action – on the clear and warm tonality of the instrument.

After such an experience, I’m truly grateful that I haven’t sold it due to lack of usage up to this point – a decision I had casually toyed with on a few occasions after selling my Rickenbacker 620 for the same reason. After giving my Ovation Viper some time in the sun again, I now have no qualms about giving the Les Paul a temporary break for the sake of giving my other cherished guitar its just desserts.

And now, here’s what you can expect to find in the area this week.


Scandinavian Folk Festival To Kick Off Friday: The 13th annual Scandinavian Folk Festival, sponsored by the American Scandinavian Heritage Foundation, will be held at the Gerry Rodeo Grounds this weekend, beginning Friday at 1 p.m. Numerous vendors, activities and entertainers will provide entertainment. The highlight of this year’s music entertainment is New York City-based tribute band, ABBA Girlz, which will be performing at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The festival will run from 1-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The cost to attend will vary from day to day.

For more information on the Scandinavian Folk Festival, call 665-0883, or visit

“Big City Free Concert Series” To Feature Smackdab Friday: The 2014 “Big City Free Concert Series” at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena will continue with its fourth concert of the year Friday. This week’s concert will feature local funk and soul favorites, Smackdab, with a performance beginning at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend.

The series will continue next week with a performance by No Limit.

The performance will take place outside the arena on Lafayette Street, between Second and Third streets. For more information, call 484-2624, or visit

Summerfest At Southern Tier Is Saturday: Southern Tier Brewing Company will celebrate the fourth annual Summerfest, a beer and music festival, on Saturday at the brewery’s picturesque Lakewood property. The event will run from noon-4 p.m., and will feature live music from Rochester-based reggae band Mosaic Foundation, joining the stage at Southern Tier Brewing Company for the fourth time. Activities will include a keg-bowling tournament, frisbee KanJam and stones throwing on the brewery’s hill course. Food will be provided by Wegmans to benefit the United Way. The event is free, with beer, food and brewery tours sold separately.

The Southern Tier Brewing Company is located at 2072 Stoneman Circle in Lakewood. For more information on the Summerfest event, call 763-5479, ext. 204.

Artist Reception Held At Dykeman-Young Gallery Sunday: A reception will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday for artists featured in the latest exhibit at the Dykeman-Young Gallery, entitled, “Woven, Sewn and Pressed.” The exhibit focuses on the use of traditional craft media in contemporary art works. As the exhibit’s name suggests, these include weaving, sewing in many forms, and the use of traditional printing techniques such as letterpress, etching, and woodblock. Many of the artists behind the pieces will be on-hand to discuss their works at the reception, which begins at 3 p.m.

The Dykeman-Young Gallery is located at 100 E. Third St. For more information, visit “Dykeman Young, Inc. Gallery and Vintage Emporium” on Facebook.

Book Signing At Lakewood Memorial Library Set For Tuesday: The Lakewood Memorial Library will be hosting a book signing in its Heritage Room from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday. Kristin Chambers, author and former Lakewood resident, will be available to discuss and sign copies of her novel, “In Accord.” The novel takes place in Buffalo, where four longtime friends and members of the In Accord book club express dissatisfaction with the resolution of the novel they’ve met to discuss. Thus, they agree to write a richer, more satisfying conclusion in lieu of their next month’s selection.

The Lakewood Memorial Library is located at 12 W. Summit St. in Lakewood. For more information, call 763-6234, or visit


To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email or call 487-1111, ext. 243 by Monday.


Uncle Claude’s Band (Grateful Dead tribute band): 6 p.m., Long Point State Park in Bemus Point

Mizzbehavin’ (KISS tribute band): 6:30 p.m., Lakeside Park gazebo in Mayville

Barbara Jean: 6:30 p.m., Ellery Town Park in Ellery

Mark Mincarelli: 7 p.m., Richard O. Hartley Park in Lakewood

Mysterious Moonshow with Pine Fever: 7 p.m., Winter Garden Plaza, North Main Street in Jamestown

Junior Guilders: 7 p.m., Davis Park in Falconer


Ryan Melquist: 6 p.m., Hometown Grill, 718 W. Third St. in Jamestown

Yes: 7 p.m., Seneca Allegany Events Center, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd.

in Salamanca

Happy Days: 7:30 p.m., Vikings Lodge Lake Park, 4923 Route 430 in Maple Springs


Jamestown Thunder Community Drum Circle: 3 p.m., Ellery Town Park pavilion in Greenhurst

Sunny Side Up: 6:30 p.m., Ellington Town Park in Ellington

Davis and Eng: 7 p.m., Busti Fire Department gazebo, 886 Mill Road in Busti

“We Are The Best!” Screening: 8 p.m., Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown

Day Old Soup: 8 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Jamestown

The Elektra Kings: 9 p.m., Murdock’s, 104 E. Main St. in Sherman

Alex Kates and John Shaner: 9 p.m., Yesterdays, 103 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood

Ryan Melquist Duo with Justin March: 9:30 p.m., Shaggy’s, 14 Main St. in Bemus Point


“We Are The Best!” Screening: 2 p.m., Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown

Fireworks with special guests: 6 p.m., Renaissance Center, 119 W. Third St. in Jamestown