One For The Space Age - Eko Rokes Guitar

One For The Space Age - Eko Rokes Guitar

Your Friday “Lick of the Week” by Will Ray

Will Ray, founding member of The Hellecasters shows you how to spell out the 2nd position for Em by using pairs of strings.

Check out Will's website,, for instructional videos, merchandise, or to contact will about private guitar lessons.

The founder of Eko Guitars, Oliviero Pigini of Italy, has roots in the accordion business as a decorative craftsman.  

Fascinatingly, after WWII there was a great boom in the accordion industry due to returning American troops longing for the sounds they heard in Europe (and ancestral heritage). 

Once the economy started roaring in the late 40s and accordion production ramped up in response to demand, prices came down. Accordions were popular enough that door-to-door salesmen peddled them across suburbia and they found their way prominently into every genre of American music.   

For Pigini that meant a good export business. However, rock n’ roll was about to take over the world and Pigini took notice -- there was not an electric guitar builder in Italy.   

Therefore in the late 50s he began assembling a dream team of European luthiers, one of which happened to be Wenzel Rossmeisl of Germany.  

Wenzel’s son was ROGER ROSSMEISL. Yes, that guy of Gibson, Rickenbacker and Fender fame (who had already migrated to the U.S. by this time). 

In 1960 Eko was born and the company produces electrics and acoustics, amplifiers, and combo organs. 

Some of the guitars made it to the U.S. by way of the LoDuca Brothers distribution company including the Eko Rokes. 

The Rokes – Che Colpa Abbiamo Noi (1966, Vinyl) - Discogs

The Eko Rokes model came to fruition after the Italian band, The Rokes, were looking for some new guitars in the mid 1960s. 

Those of us stateside may know one of their hits as “Let’s Live for Today” which was recorded by The Grass Roots in 1967.   

Similar to The Ventures teaming up with Mosrite for a signature model, The Rokes joined forces with Eko to produce the Eko Rokes model (1965/66).  A rocket shaped guitar that also included a bass and 12-string version. 

In the U.S. the guitar was originally branded as the Eko Rocket, but ran into some trouble with Gretsch and their Rocket lugs so it was rebranded simply as “Rock”. 

While it appears there were some one-offs that had multiple pickups, the simplest configuration was a single DeArmond. Other features included an Eko vibrato and ebony fretboard.

The Rokes model was only made until 1970 and not met with huge commercial success.  In the early 2000s, Eko reissued the guitar for a handful of years and offered a humbucker in addition to a single.

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