Eko Acoustic Bass Guitar Some history...

As an importer of Eko instruments, the head office of Rose Morris of London would be sent guitars for evaluation, before deciding whether to stock them. These sample instruments would then be sent to their shop in Shaftesbury Avenue for sale at a reduced price. The Eko acoustic bass was one of these, and as soon as I saw it, I just had to have it!
BA-4NPE
Bass: label
The oval label matches the unusual
shape of the sound hole, said to have been
inspired by the Maccaferri of the 1930s
Bass: label detail
Close up of the information
on the label. SERIAL 9
MODEL BASSO ACUSTICO
Signature The maker's signature
The luthier was Alfredo Bugari, shown with the surname first on the label, who worked for Eko at the time. After the factory closed in 1987 he started his own business - Marco Vienna emailed me remembering a Bugari guitar that was built in 1980 but nothing has been heard of Alfredo since then.
Click on the image
(left) to enlarge.
Here's the information I have so far...

The serial number of this bass is 9, which indicates that it is a pre-production instrument. Another fact to back up this theory, apart from the fact that is was an evaluation model, is that the machine heads do not match. The heads for the E and A strings have a rounded post top, whereas the D and G heads have flat post tops. This suggests that they had not decided which type to use at that stage, and were perhaps open to suggestion from the importers around the world.
The Eko badge is a stick-on metal label from a Ranger 12 which was changed to a gold transfer when the basses went into production.
Click on the image
(left) to enlarge.
Fingerboard Fretless or fretted?
The basses were offered fretted or fretless.
My bass is fretless, but has inlaid fret markers.

Click on the image
(left) to enlarge.
Eko 6-string bass 4 or 6 strings?
I was sent a photograph, shown here, of a 6-string Eko bass. No information was available - does anyone else have one of these monsters?
Click on the image
(left) to enlarge.
Bass cover
Pictured left, The only cover I could find... a cello bag!
However, John Rowlands tells me that he managed, after much searching, to find a Warwick gig bag which fits perfectly. You can find details about the covers on Warwick's website at http://www.warwickbass.com/
- John paid £40 for his cover from Back Alley Music, 5 Chester Street, Mold, Flintshire, North Wales, tel: 01352 758619, but try your local dealer, you might get lucky!.
FAQs:
I bought the bass in the mid-1970s, but for how long were they made?
I know that the Eko company ceased all production in 1987, and I know of serial numbers between May 1979 and June 1984.

The only Eko acoustic basses I have seen in use are:
1. The bass player in Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain uses one most of the time and the bass can be seen in action in the Film Clips section of their website - Clip 2 is the best one for the bass, especially in the brilliant on-stage version of 'Dam Busters March'.
2. An Eko acoustic bass appears in a couple of The Cure's promotional videos which can be watched on YouTube, "The Caterpillar" and, fleetingly, on "Inbetween Days".

There's also a demo video with Michael Baumgarten playing an Eko BA4 acoustic bass guitar on YouTube - click here.
What do the serial numbers mean?
The only bass I have seen in a music shop had a serial number in 6 figures and I assumed that this could have been volume-related, starting at a high number for the first bass, although I didn't know their numbering system at that time. I got a clue when Timon van Heerdt in the Netherlands, who also owns a fretless BA-4, told me that his has the serial number 161079 which seemed to indicate a date of 16th October 1979. Other serial numbers I have been sent confirm this theory: 150481 (15th April 1981), 270280 (27th February 1980) and 091080 (9th October 1980), etc.

This means, of course, that basses produced on the same day will have the same serial number. I heard of an instance of this after an owner emailed me, having seen her bass's serial number on this website, and concerned that her bass had been stolen while she was away - this turned out not to be the case, the bass was still in her home when she returned, much to her relief!

I have yet to hear of a serial number with the first pair of digits higher than 31 and the second pair higher than 12. Another fact that backs up the serial/date theory is that, out of the 12 serial numbers that I know of, all of the dates were weekdays!
 
Where can I buy an Eko acoustic bass?
You can occasionally find one on eBay using the search term "Eko bass", although they are often mis-described, with some confusion of the the date of manufacture.

A Dutch luthier, Bruno B.M. Merks of Artistic Lutheri Bruunari, often has Eko acoustic basses for sale.
Click here for dimensions
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One of the neatest gadgets ever made...
Pub Prop