Found on Reverb: '60s Eko 400 Ekomasters

Italian manufacturer Eko gained so much popularity in the 1960s that it became Europe’s largest exporter of guitars. The company released eight original models during the decade and even produced three guitars for American distribution under the Vox brand.

The first electric guitar Eko made was the Eko 400. Often called the “Ekomaster,” a few model variations exist between its debut in late 1960 and its discontinuation in 1962.

There are currently two different Ekomasters listed for sale on Reverb. One from Hank’s Guitar Shop of Denmark Street London was built sometime around 1961 and represents the earlier make. The second, from Galaxy Music, appears to be a slightly later model.

c. 1961 Eko 400

c. 1962 Eko 400

The Eko 400 features four bright and expressive pickups controlled by the tone-changing push buttons along the top of the guitar. Below the buttons are two palm rollers — one for volume and one for tone.

The Eko 400 took obvious inspiration from its established contemporaries. Even the "Ekomaster" nickname is, of course, an allusion by its physical resemblance to the Fender Jazzmaster. Early in the wave of funky offsets built in the 1960s, this was one of the first Jazzmaster copycats.

Similarly, the Eko 400’s electronic configuration bears a lot of resemblance to those found on the Swedish Hagström company’s Deluxe series of guitars.

The Eko 400's electronics panel

The lack of information floating around about these oddities make them relatively difficult to date. For many, though, that's what makes these vintage Euro models so endearing in the first place.

By early 1961, for example, the Ekomaster ditched the 3+3 headstock configuration in favor of a straight line version and changed the inlays from the thicker block style to the propeller. That said, the listing from Galaxy Music features a vibrato bar that the earliest Eko 400 models did not have.

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