EKO S.a.s. was founded in 1959 in Castelfidardo by Oliviero Pigini.
EKO began to produce traditional acoustic guitars and small archtop guitars of clear Sicilian origin.
Eko's philosophy was to offer a full range of guitars, produced with standardized industrial processes to ensure consistent quality. The purpose of the company was to conquer the most vibrant segment of affordable instruments market suitable also for semi-professionals, making the guitar economically accessible to everyone.
Here are the main processing steps:
With the birth of bands such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the myth of pop, rock and beat music spread throughout the world and conquered Italy too, making Eko's fortune.
In a few years, Eko made a technological and economic leap forward, through the direct manufacture of electric (guitars) and electronic (organ) instruments. During those years, Pigini travelled to Germany and United States in order to learn the most up-to-date production systems, which allowed the development of the first electric guitars, already down on paper.
Pictured from left: the Rokes, New Dada, i Ribelli, i Kings, i Fuggiaschi, le Snobs in the Eko establishment.
Pictured from center: the window of a shoe store.
Pictured from right: a young Gianni Morandi testing a guitar with Oliviero Pigini.
With Oliviero's death all development projects slowed down, however, the company continued to produce for almost 20 years.
In order to manage the ever-growing Asian competition, EKO released a new line of budget guitars taking inspiration from the most famous shapes by that time very popular in the USA.
Over the years, the company focused mainly on the manufacture of keyboards and organs.
As time goes by, the musical tastes of young people changed, as well as the iconic instruments. Bands such as Pink Floyd and genres such as progressive rock were a singular phenomenon world-wide. Although Eko was recognized as the largest guitar manufacturer in Europe, this was not enough to continue selling. The company acknowledged both the importance of the human factor and the inability to compete with the Asian market in terms of product convenience.
The acoustic guitars Ranger Series became the real center of activity in the 1970s.
Pitcured from left: The singer Gerry Rafferty (Stealers Wheel) in a scene of the music video "Stuck in the middle with you"
Pictured from center: a young Jimmy Page with his band Led Zeppelin during a live session.
Pictured from right: the guitarist Mike Rutherford (Genesis).
EKO ceased the activity.
Eko guitars, however, remained in the annals of the most famous magazines as a trend that marked an era, making the 'made in Italy' its most important feature. Many people affirm that an Eko Ranger compared to other more expensive guitars is the best deal available on the vintage market, as it offers 90% of the sound for less than 20% of the price.
Oliviero's brother, Lamberto, took over the control of the company. Thanks to a commercial consolidation, Lamberto drove the company towards the revival of the EKO brand, resuming the guitars production. With him, three determined men: Stelvio Lorenzetti, current A.D., Giuseppe Casali and Umberto Tonnarelli, current Sales Manager.
Eko launched a line of products called "Eko's Back": the guitars, manufactured in the Czech Republic thanks to contemporary production techniques, were reproductions of the famous Eko vintage models. It was Lamberto Pigini himself who encouraged the management to take on a new and stronger production - promoted by national guitarists - in order to raise the company's fortunes.
Eko officially resume the production and distribution of its acoustic and electric guitars, at industrial and artisan level.
From 2005 to the present day
After developing and standardizing the product, lowering production costs, the management has focused on brand promotion through brand ambassadors and on seeking new international markets. The "project leading" has been entrusted to a renowned international musician and teacher - Massimo Varini - who conceived a new and original range of guitars.
Now Eko is a company that, after years of splendour and subsequent decline, rise like a phoenix from the ashes, to take fligh to become competitive on the market and producing quality instruments.