7/15/2016

1960s EKO-made Hohner HG OI Flattop Guitar





The Italian company EKO built for a number of different brands -- among them Vox, RuDelle, their own label, and apparently Hohner, too. I fondly remember a jumbo-dread-sized 12-string EKO-made Vox I had years ago and for good reason -- it was rugged and had its own, oddball 60s vibe.

This 00-size 12-fret guitar is, just like other products of theirs, curious. It's got a ladder-braced, all-laminate body (question-mark? top and mahogany back/sides) that's roughly classical-sized at 14 5/8" on the lower bout with a bolted-on (inside at the neck block) and fast, Gibson-scale (24 3/4") and profile neck. It's an interesting build and has a pretty loud, warm tone that's a lot like a Gibson LG-1 with the addition of a sort of rounder, fuller 30s 12-fret vibe due to the bridge location.

What I'm trying to say, is -- this is a pretty good, practical guitar for something so offbeat. I especially like the early 60s Gibson-y neck profile which makes it a great "player's" guitar. It's easy on the left hand and a shallow neck heel gives easyf access despite the 12th-fret joint.


Like all EKO products, the finish shows tons of long weather-related finish cracks. It's something about their glossy, thick finish. Later-production Levin/Goya guitars do the same.

My work on this instrument included replacing the bridge, saddle, and pins and giving it a good cleaning and setup. The frets were basically untouched -- so I didn't need to do a level/dress. I have it strung-up with a straight set of 54w-12 strings and the truss rod isn't even engaged, so neck stability appears to be grand.


This has a 3-piece mahogany/mahogany/mahogany neck. The truss cover is metal and I recut the slot for the rod access a bit to allow modern truss-turning tools to do the job.

Contessa is a brand seen employed on Framus-made instruments, too. 


The fretboard is rosewood and has a 12" radius (or thereabouts).


The tortoise pickguard and white/black/white binding at the soundhole and top edge look 60s-cool.


The bridge is a replacement rosewood "pyramid" one that's a hair oversized vs. the missing original. I made a new bone nut for it and scrounged for vintage plastic pins that sort-of matched the trim.

Action is right-on at 1/16" DGBE and 3/32" EA at the 12th fret.


The saddle is a drop-in and action can be adjusted easily.




The sealed (Kluson-ish) tuners are interesting and work well.



The back isn't spared from the usual EKO-style finish weather-cracks.





No comments: