It was 1978 when I bought my first guitar and guess what? It was an EKO RIO BRAVO 6. I never rated it because my friends had better guitars. It was only through the years that I discovered that it was a better model than the RANGER with a non-detachable neck. In fact it was hand made in the Research and Development dept in the EKO factory not on the production line. Alot of information can be found at Fetish Guitars dot com website on Mr Pigini, founder of EKO as well as alot of links to collectors and pictures of instruments of the era. As a rule only the guitars made upto 1981 are collectable. Once you become familiarised with the pictures and shapes on that website you can spot straightaway just by the scratchplate which model it is as for the year it was made pre 1966 have a number not a name for the model (ie. J54 became the ranger),in 1967 the doubleT truss rod was patented(you can spot it at the end of the neck through the sound hole), 1970's guitars have a different label and rosette from the 1980's onwards and so on. The best folk models ever made are the Eldorado, followed by the Rio Bravo. Spruce sound board(picea abies(mostly laminated))and respectively Brazilian Rosewood back and side (dalbergia nigra) (laminated) and mahogany back and side (swietenia macrophylla).I have read all their catalogues and in all of them it says that great care has been taken in selecting the best tonal woods but it seems to me that the only great care they took was in matching the inner and outer veneers so to make look like solid wood(never surpassed the better and more expensive brands on that skill though, i've been fooled a few times!!!).The best classical guitars ever made by EKO are the model 9092 and the El gaucho,undoubtely the most original and beautifull, so if you have one of these don't give it away!!. As for most of all the other acoustic models including the Ranger, they are all laminated top, back and side, machine made, mass produced and amazingly outlasting their much more expensive counterparts. There are currently some for sale on ebay which are rarer than the rangers and not even selling for half the price of the latter. Why have a punto when you can have a coupe' for less!! By the way this doesnt just apply to EKO guitars.I have seen a lot of branded guitars of laminate construction(you just paying for the name).
So my friends had better guitars!!!! LOL considering what i paid 4 it, what it's worth now and the fact that it still very playble(except for some models all my friends's have faded away), sounding better than ever........i guess i'm having the last laugh.
U can still buy a brand new EKO for about £40(60 euro) but be carefull of those tear drop scratchplates they come with a microscopic print on the oval label sayng made in china!!!
And if you just thinking of buyng your first guitar or add to your collection why buy a brand new alfa romeo when you can have a second hand maserati at half price???
you won't loose money on that !!!
By the way the pricing are out of date and eko has become an italian brand again!! but dont get your hope too high they're still made in china it just does'nt say so on the label anymore