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Mandolins previously built in Italy between the early 1960s and 1987. Distributed in the U.S. market by the LoDuca Bros. of Milwaukee, WI. EKO currently builds instruments in the Czech Republic, Asia, Spain (classical), and Italy. Distributed in the U.S. by FG Guitars in Goshen, NY. EKO is now part of the EKO Music Group in Recanati, Italy.
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 to 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. Once such company was DĀ“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 entry level solid body guitars built in various countries. The revived company is offering a wide range of acoustic, classical, and solid body electric guitars and amplifiers - all with contemporary market designs. EKO history source: Michael Wright, Guitar Stories, Volume One.

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