EKO
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EKO
Instruments currently built in the Czech Republic, Asia, Spain (classical), and Italy. EKO is now part of the EKO Music Group in Recanati, Italy. Previously produced in Italy between 1959 and 1987, and distributed in the U.S. market by the LoDuca Bros. of Milwaukee, WI.
The LoDuca Bros. musical distribution company was formed in 1941 by brothers Tom and Guy LoDuca. Capitalizing on money made through their accordion-based vaudevillian act, lessons, and accordion repair, the LoDucas began importing and selling Italian accordions. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the LoDucas built up a musical distributorship with accordions and sheet music. By the late 1950s, they were handling Magnatone amplifiers and guitars.
In 1961, the LoDucas teamed up with Italy-based Oliviero Pigini & Company to import guitars. Pigini, one of the LoDuca´s accordion manufacturers, had formed the EKO company in anticipation of the boom in the guitar market. The LoDucas acted as technical designers and gave input on EKO designs (as well as being the exclusive U.S. dealers), and EKO built guitars for their dealers. Some of the sparkle finishes were no doubt inspired by the accordions produced in the past. In fact, the various on/off switches and tone settings are down right reminiscent of accordion voice settings! The plastic-covered guitars lasted through the mid-1960s, when more conventional finishes were offered. EKO also built a number of guitars for Vox, Goya, and Thomas companies.
By 1967, EKO had established dealers in fifty-seven countries around the world. During the late 1960s and early 1970s the guitar market began to get soft, and many guitar builders began to go out of business. EKO continued on, but cut back the number of models offered. In the late 1970s, EKO introduced a custom shop branch that built neck-through designed guitars for other trademarks. One such company was D´Agostino, and EKO produced the Bench Mark models from 1978 to 1982.
The EKO company kept producing models until 1985. By the mid-1980s, the LoDuca Bros. company had begun concentrating on guitar case production, and stopped importing the final Alembic-styled set-neck guitars that were being produced. The original EKO company's holdings were liquidated in 1987.
Currently, the EKO trademark has again been revived in Italy, and appears on a variety of acoustic guitars, electric guitars, basses, and amplifiers that are built in various countries – all with contemporary market designs. In 2009, EKO celebrated their 50th Anniversary. For more information, visit EKO's website or contact them directly. EKO history source: Michael Wright, Guitar Stories, Volume One.

From Blue Book Publications:


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