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  #1  
Old 11-10-2012, 08:11 PM
showngo2000 showngo2000 is offline
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Default Eko guitars...ever heard of them?

Just saw a video with a nice sounding guitar called a "MIA 018" made by Eko guitars. Anyone know anything about the brand? I googled and found that they're made in Italy and are a somewhat lower end guitar. Anybody have one?
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:19 PM
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Had 3 back in the late 60s and early 70s. Very well thought of at the time over here. Lots of them still around.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:34 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Chris is from the UK, where Eko guitars were always far more available than they were here in North America. So far as I'm aware, there was never any commercial distribution for Eko instruments in the United States and Canada - if there was, it was very short-lived.

From what I've been able to piece together, Eko was essentially the Italian equivalent of Framus in West Germany, in that both firms made a wide array of instruments at a number of different price points. The vast majority of Eko guitars that I've encountered must have been entry level instruments, because they were pretty close to being junk.

My friend Karl who plays bass with me was a Navy brat and spent part of his high school years in Naples, Italy, where he joined his first rock band playing an Eko bass guitar that he nicknamed "the Thud bass." It had no discernible tone, and just went "thud, thud, thud."

So Karl does not wax nostalgic about Eko guitars. But he was a teenager at the time, and I'm sure he got the cheapest bass guitar he could find. There are probably better Eko basses out there.

Still, all of the Eko guitars I've encountered have been instruments I wouldn't want to own. It may be that none of the best quality Ekos ever made it over here to North America, but none that I have seen and played have made my heart race faster or filled me with longing.

Naturally, your mileage may vary.

Hope this helps.


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Old 11-10-2012, 11:07 PM
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EKO guitars were very popular in the UK in the 70s. There were lots of "floor singers" at folk clubs using the EKO 12 string as a 6 string. The guitars sounded fine, though were hardly high end.

Eko Guitars
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:38 PM
Rod Neep Rod Neep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Still, all of the Eko guitars I've encountered have been instruments I wouldn't want to own. It may be that none of the best quality Ekos ever made it over here to North America, but none that I have seen and played have made my heart race faster or filled me with longing.

Naturally, your mileage may vary.
My mileage doesn't vary an inch from that.

Rod
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:16 AM
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My younger brother owned an Eko while he was a student at Aberdeen University, and one evening Billy Connolly was the guest performer at the University Folk Club (this was long before he became a superstar). My brother handed him his Eko and said innocently "Nice guitar, isn't it, Billy ?" to which Connolly replied, "Aye, for breaking pavements with ..."

There is actually quite a lively market demand for old Eko's on Ebay UK, presumably from old geezers seeking to recapture their lost youth.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:26 AM
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I had an EKO Ranger in the early 70's that as a po' boy was thrilled to have. It had a great feeling, yet bolt on slim neck, nice looking wood, but was a heavy guitar and not very lively sounding. I did not know the difference between solid and laminate back then and don't know which is was. I seem to recall mahogany and spruce. My older brother still has it.

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Old 11-11-2012, 03:55 AM
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I dunno. I feel compelled to speak up for those old Ekos. Ok, they were heavily built, but at a reasonable price they fulfilled the needs of many guitarists and they had a lot of plus points. Apart from the heavy build, they were generally very well built QC wise, they were stable, had low (adjustable!) actions, had slim necks, were well finished and looked really nice. They were also priced within the range of most people. People in those days weren't exposed to chat forums, and one person's idea of a nice tone was not generally up for debate. People who could afford Martins and Gibsons did so, the rest - most! - of us bought Ekos and we were quite happy with them, and they were very handsome guitars.

Forum threads often have a bandwagon effect whereby someone will make a statement or judgement about a guitar - and everyone else piles in. The fact is, many, many people have very fond memories of owning very nice Eko guitars. They were nice instruments in so many ways, and provided a great opportunity for people to buy a decent, well made acoustic guitar that the neck didn't warp on etc etc. If Ekos were not widely available in the US (not officially imported?), then frankly people in other areas are better equipped to pass judgement on the many Ekos that most of us have handled. And indeed, 'vintage' Ekos - Rangers and Rio Bravos - are sought after by people trying to retrace/re-find their 60s and 70 experiences.

So yes, I know they were heavily built - but don't dismiss them on that basis, or compare them with a same era Martin or Gibson (that is ridiculous), they were a fraction of the price - but they whupped just about everything else on the market. They were nice, honest to goodness, reliable, very playable guitars.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2012, 06:27 AM
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Default Eko Guitar

I just sold my Eko Ranger 12 a couple of weeks ago. Plenty of gits around my house, and so it went to make room for something else.

As others have mentioned, heavily built. This is the weapon you want in a guitar fight.

The finish looks like a candy apple, deep as heck. Beautiful wood, and pretty good detail. Mine had a bolt-on neck, and an adjustable bridge, so the action was truly awesome.

Sound projection, not so big, but nice enough in small spaces.

A number of the acoustic 12 string licks on the Led Zeppelin tours were done on Jimmy Page's Eko Ranger 12. I have a photo of him playing it onstage.

They can be bought for a reasonable price.
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2012, 06:33 AM
Re-Tunes Re-Tunes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Chris is from the UK, where Eko guitars were always far more available than they were here in North America. So far as I'm aware, there was never any commercial distribution for Eko instruments in the United States and Canada - if there was, it was very short-lived.

From what I've been able to piece together, Eko was essentially the Italian equivalent of Framus in West Germany, in that both firms made a wide array of instruments at a number of different price points. The vast majority of Eko guitars that I've encountered must have been entry level instruments, because they were pretty close to being junk.

My friend Karl who plays bass with me was a Navy brat and spent part of his high school years in Naples, Italy, where he joined his first rock band playing an Eko bass guitar that he nicknamed "the Thud bass." It had no discernible tone, and just went "thud, thud, thud."

So Karl does not wax nostalgic about Eko guitars. But he was a teenager at the time, and I'm sure he got the cheapest bass guitar he could find. There are probably better Eko basses out there.

Still, all of the Eko guitars I've encountered have been instruments I wouldn't want to own. It may be that none of the best quality Ekos ever made it over here to North America, but none that I have seen and played have made my heart race faster or filled me with longing.

Naturally, your mileage may vary.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
While stationed in Naples, Italy during my Navy years, my wife (who comes from a very Italian family) purchased a new, 1969 Eko 12 string "Ranger" and gave it to me as a Christmas gift.

When we returned to the States in 1972, her Italian father fell in love with it. I ended up giving it to him.

Years later, his house was struck by lightening and pretty much burned to the the ground. He rebuilt, but most of their furniture and household effects were destroyed. I assumed the EKO guitar was long gone.

Fast forward to 2009 when I decided to open the guitar shop. I was slowly acquiring inventory and one day my wife stopped by with a beat up but familiar case. Opened it up and there was the EKO Ranger VII. The pickguard was detached and the finish on the top was full of crazing and cracks from the heat of the fire, but structurally the guitar was fine. No cracks in the wood and the neck was straight with a perfect profile. It was still very close to being in tune after going through the fire and then sitting it it's case, unopened for over 30 years.

Cleaned it all up, re-glued the pickguard and put a fresh set of strings on it. It played fine and I had it on display in the shop for quite a while with a write-up beside it describing it's unfortunate history. It turns out that the Ranger VII has become somewhat of a collectable guitar and one day an EKO enthusiast stopped in, read the story, played it, and made me an offer, much to my surprise. He still plays it today.

The EKO acoustics are very heavily built ... reminds me a bit of older Guild acoustics.

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Old 11-11-2012, 06:05 PM
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My first Eko wasn't a ranger it was a little arch top guitar that cost me the princely sum of £7. I was 15 and that was my 3rd guitar. It was good enough to be the guitar that I actually learned to play and sing with. The other crucial elements being the (UK only) Paul Simon Songbook LP and little songbook that had all the words and music of nearly all the songs on one page. April Come She Will, Kathy's Song etc etc.

I traded that guitar in when I got a Ranger VI after I to my first job. It was used and it cost me £28 and 10 shillings. I got a Ranger 12 the following year at the then staggering price of 36 guineas. I was earning about £7 a week which puts things into perspective a little,

Built in Italy I was very proud of them at the time and did my first paid gigs and a radio broadcast with those guitars. They were maybe not great guitars but at the time they were much better quality and much more playable than similarly priced competition. When I eventually got my first "quality' guitar, a Gibson J50 in 1971, it cost me half a year's pay!
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Last edited by Yrksman; 11-11-2012 at 06:06 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:12 PM
rbbambino rbbambino is offline
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There seemed to lots of them in Ontario Canada when I was a kind. I had a friend with a 6 string and my dad had a 12 string. They were generally at the low end of the price spectrum... My dad's folded up.. i.e. neck pulled away from the body like "bang" in the middle f the night!!
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:20 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbbambino View Post
There seemed to lots of them in Ontario Canada when I was a kind.
That's interesting. Maybe they got exported to Canada but not the US.

This morning I spoke with my friend Karl about his Eko "Thud" bass, which he says was a truly awful instrument. But he also had an Eko acoustic guitar around the same time which wasn't half bad, he told me. He'd never mentioned that one to me before, but when I told him about this thread he thought I should mention the acoustic he had, just out of fairness.

So his recollection of that second Eko guitar he owned is more along the lines of your fond (or semi-fond) memories, Steve and Chris. "Not great but not bad," is the way Karl put it.

Since I have no childhood memories of Eko guitars at all, I must defer to the rest of you on this.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:36 PM
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There seemed to be plenty of Eko guitars in the Midwest. They were imported by the LoDuca Brothers in Milwaukee. They originally imported Italian accordions. In 1961, the LoDucas teamed up with Italy-based Oliviero Pigini & Company (an accordion company) to import guitars. A friend told me that he had a tour of the old LoDuca building a back in the '90's and saw a bunch of vintage Eko instruments still around. The LoDuca Brothers are still in business. They now import Italian wine.

Another guy I knew played an Eko in our church choir a few years back. He said his wife had given it to him as a wedding present back in the '70s. It had been stored on their fireplace mantle for years. It fell off once, causing multiple fractures to the body. He had it glued back together (sort-of) with gaps around the top binding and missing chunks of wood. It had a strange red sunburst that looked like spray paint. The Hummingbird-like pick guard was held on with screws. It was warped with some of the pointy parts broken off. It was not even playable. The neck was so out of shape that some fingerings didn't even produce notes. The guitar sounded even worse than it looked. He just couldn't part with it though and played it every week for years, until the enough of the top peeled loose again that he had to give up on it.

A guy in my current church choir has an Eko electric guitar that looks like this one, except in red:


I'm not sure if the row of buttons selects the pickups or allows the guitar to be played like an accordion.

Here's a bit of Eko history:
http://www.fetishguitars.com/html/eko/varie/loduca.html

Last edited by Big.Al; 11-11-2012 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:08 AM
brad4d8 brad4d8 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
That's interesting. Maybe they got exported to Canada but not the US.
Wade Hampton Miller
I played with a singer/songwriter in the late 60s. He had an Eko guitar he bought in Boston, probably '65 or '66, so somebody was importing them into the east coast. I think he got it at E U Wurlitzer, and it wouldn't surprise me if they imported them directly. Not a bad guitar, a bit heavy, but very playable.
Brad
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