Ekomaster: Eko’s first solid body electric.

Jack Marchal

This model made history. It triggered Castelfidardo’s accordion district conversion to guitar manufacturing. In terms of cosmetics and finishing techniques it set the Italian standards for the 60′s first half.

With its offset waist design it was also the first guitar that took inspiration from the Fender Jazzmaster, thus starting a trend that went on till the end of the decade, especially in continental Europe but also in Japan and among American minor makers. This Eko is arguably one of the most influential guitar ever.

Despite its historical relevance very little is known about this series. Most reputable guitar scholars simply ignore it. I have never seen it mentioned in any catalog or ad (if you know were to find some let me know ASAP, thanks!). Where and when was it made? No one seems to know. Even the name of the series has long remained a mystery!

Chronology & galleries

Late 1960

Asymmetrical headstock with 3+3 tuners

Floating metal bridge

Pickups are covered with a layer of celluloid matching body top finish

Early 1961

Fender.ish headstock with six-in-line machineheads

Mid 1961

New pickups with black plastic top and visible polepieces

Late 1961

New fixed bridge with individual string intonation adjustment. An Ekomaster vibrato begins to appear

Early 1962

Number of frets (zero-fret not included) is reduced from 22 to 21.
Nearly all of those late 400 guitars are fitted with an Ekomaster

One pick-up version

The Eko 400 was offered with 2 or 2+2 pickups, sometimes with only one, but never with three (just like the Hagström Standard). The economy one-pickup version is pretty rare. Note that the fingerboard is devoid of the classic propeller inlays ; it is merely graced with simple dots instead. The pickup is quite surprising. It is the same model featured on the oldest guitar on this series. Perhaps there was an odd number of those items left after the very first production run…

La Eko 400 era proposta con 2 o 2+2 pickups, saltuariamente con uno solo, ma mai con tre (secondo l’esempio della Hagström Standard).

La versione economica a 1 pickup è veramente rara. Si nota che la tastiera è sprovvista dei classici intarsi a UFO e deve accontentarsi di semplici pallini. Molto sorprendente il pickup. È lo stesso tipo visto sul più antico esempio della serie. Forse rimaneva dopo la primissima tiratura del modello 400 un numero dispari di questi componenti…