The Eko 1100/2 and its mother-of-pearl back. COOL OR GAUDY? Eko's "Celluloid" '60s Basses BY WILLIE G. MOSELEY VINTAGE GUITAR 42 February 2018 Oliviero Pigini founded Eko in 1959 to make accordions before an abrupt decline in interest pushed the company into guitar production; its earliest stringed offerings included acoustic flat-tops and archtops, jazz boxes, solidbody electrics, and a few basses. Early promo referenced their Italian manufacture - a brochure from the England-based distributor Dallas used phrases such as "...styled the Italian way, which has set the post-war fashion from clothes to cars!" and "Consider the buzz-free fingerboard laminated with woods air-dried under the Italian sun." The new solidbodies had "glitter finishes vacuum-bonded on to smooth streamlined bodies." Basically, Pigini was taking leftover sparkle and pearloid accordion material and attaching it to wooden guitar bodies. The earliest incarnations had push-button pickup controls and rollers/thumbwheels for Volume and Tone controls on the upper bass bout. Instrument photos by Willie G. Moseley. Instrument courtesy of Joe Cutthroat and Chris Smart. B y the early 1960s, Europe's industrial bases had mostly recovered from World War II. Many musicalinstrument manufacturers stuck to products popular in their respective countries, but some were innovating, especially those building solidbody electric guitars.