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1973 Eko Ranger Folk

15 1/4" body flat top acoustic

1973 Eko Ranger Folk - body front

The Eko Ranger was a very well known acoustic guitar, selling in huge numbers under several different brand names from the late 1960s and through the 1970s. There were several variants: six string, and twelve string jumbos, electric-acoustics, and, as seen here, a slightly smaller bodied, all-acoustic, 'folk' model. The body was slightly narrower (15 1/4" vs 16 1/2" for the standard Ranger), but also an inch shallower (3 3/4" vs 4 3/4"). Even without a tape measure, this guitar is easily differentiated from other Ranger variants by it's narrower waist.

Eko guitars were manufactured in Recanati, Italy, but in the United Kingdom, Eko were distributed by Rose Morris, who sold the Ranger Folk as model 1781, with a 1973 price of £29.13. Not an expensive guitar, but neither their cheapest.

This is how the Eko Ranger Folk was described in the 1970 Rose Morris guitar catalog
Spruce faced ply top, mahogany back and sides with black and white bound edges. Polyester finish. Decorative sound hole. Detachable mahogany neck with adjustable double T-bar reinforcing rod. Rosewood fingerboard with bone position dots. Adjustable rosewood bridge. Individual, all-metal machine heads. Simulated tortoiseshell finger plate.
1973 Eko Ranger Folk - body reverse

Whilst the guitar's top is spruce (laminate), the back is mahogany, typically two-piece bookmatched as shown above. As can be seen above, the neck was a bolt-on - perhaps a little unusual for an acoustic, but great for an easy set up and a nice low action. The polyester finish is somewhat prone to cracks (see image below), and the guitar can often look in a worse state than it is. These are pretty durable guitars.

With it's small body size, the Ranger Folk is not a loud guitar, but neither is it unwieldy - in fact it's the perfect guitar for a bit of sofa strumming! These guitars (Eko Ranger series in general) were made in such large numbers that they are readily available on the used market, and can be had for very fair prices. Shop around for an exceptional bargain!

1973 Eko Ranger Folk - the cracks on the front and sides are merely finish deep, and are quite common on these and other vintage Eko guitars

The cracks on the front and sides are merely finish deep, and are quite common on these and other vintage Eko guitars. Note the scratchplate shape - the Ranger Folk has a simpler-shaped scratchplate than the larger Ranger six and twelve strings.

1973 Eko Ranger Folk - rosewood bridge detail
Eko Ranger Folk bridge detail, showing rosewood bridge unit and metal height adjustable saddle.
1973 Eko Ranger Folk - Neck joint detail, showing strap button, neck plate, and three-ply body binding (white / black / white)
Neck joint detail, showing mahogany sides, strap button, neck plate, and three-ply body back binding (white / black / white).
1973 Eko Ranger Folk - headstock detail, showing decal Eko logo, truss rod cover, nut and zero fret
Eko Ranger headstock, showing decal Eko logo, truss rod cover, nut and zero fret.
1973 Eko Ranger Folk - reverse headstock detail
The neck is a five-ply laminate of mahogany and maple. Note the 'made in Italy' decal and uncovered individual Van Ghent tuning keys with metal buttons.
1973 Eko Ranger Folk soundhole label

The soundhole label has a space for model designation, though this is blank in this instance. the text reads (translated from Italian) "Original Eko guitar built in Recanati (Italy) by the best violin makers and with carefully selected tone woods"

1973 Eko Ranger Folk truss rod and nut detail

Eko guitars typically had their truss rod adjustment at the headstock end of the headstock, covered by a bell-shaped cover, held in place with three screws. Note also the nut and zero fret.

1973 Eko Ranger Folk fretboard detail

Rosewood fretboard detail with bone dot inlays.

1973 Eko Ranger Folk neck pocket detail

Laminate maple neck pocket. The neck attaches to the body with four 3 1/4" slot-head bolts, in a trapezoid pattern. Some of the internal bracing can also be seen in this image.

1973 Eko Ranger Folk neck heel detail

The neck has brown finish on much of it, though the five ply mahogany / maple construction can be seen on the heel (and the headstock).

In short, the Eko Ranger series of guitars are nice, affordable vintage guitars; well made, with good availability (especially online). Examples with a couple of missing /replaced parts (so easily fixable) can sell at very low prices indeed. There are certainly bargains to be had!

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1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.

1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.