THIS HAS TO BE THE MOST UNFINDABLE EKO EVER. HOW MANY HAVE BEEN MADE? THREE OR TWO DOZENS I THINK. OR LESS. THIS 640 SERIES WAS BARELY MORE THAN A BATCH OF PROTOTYPES THAT NEVER MADE IT INTO PRODUCTION.
The model was developed along with the 500 and 700 series (maybe it was meant to be christened 600) and was exhibited in the Eko booth at the Milan Trade Fair of Spring 1962 in an early version still fitted with black plastic Ekomaster pickups. Then it went off the scene for two years, not being mentioned in any catalogue, until it suddenly showed up again on a price list released in Belgium during 1964, under the model name 640.
Why “640″? I suppose, at that moment the name 600 was no longer available as being already assigned to the soon to come 600/Cobra series. “620″ couldn’t be used either since the suffix -20 was reserved to solidbodies made of solid woods.
Our friend Ugo Fisicaro has found this one in Belgium, exactly, in the heart of Wallonia. The neck, with its side fret markers and the small hot stamped “Made in Italy”, is clearly a 1963, but the vibrato is from 1962.
The pictures show that the body consists of two parts bolted together, the top half acting like a Strat pickguard with the electronics attached to it. This design is quite similar to the Hagström Kent (H)1) with its plastic shield covering the whole body, and it is just as much unergonomic: if you need to clean a switch you have to disassemble the whole body.