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We have a unique instrument on display, the Eko Dragon that belonged to Renato Rascel and we already know that we will make collectors happy by saying that it is for sale.

Lorenzo Tanini

Renato Rascel with Marisa Allasio in the film “Seven Hills Of Rome”

Renato Rascel, aka Renato Ranucci, was a multifaceted artist of great fame, especially in the period from the 40s to the 70s. He was an actor, comedian, songwriter, dancer, presenter and even a journalist.

He composed a song for Sanremo and also the famous “Arrivederci Roma”, the theme of the film of the same name which he interpreted alongside Marisa Allasio, a famous actress and sex symbol of the period. He worked a lot in cinema and theater.

On television, the Rai tv series “The Tales of Father Brown”, taken from the well-known stories of Chesterton, was particularly famous.

At some point in his life, Rascel bought or commissioned an Eko Dragon Electronic.

EKO 1967 brochure

The Eko Dragon is a high-end instrument that was produced by Eko in a limited number, the Electronic version is even rarer and brings a series of rather interesting and not at all useless onboard effects.

Being the Dragon Electronic manufactured by Eko in parallel with the Vox guitars, the effects, fuzz, bass & treble boost and tremolo, are of the same type as those found on the Ultrasonic, Chetaah, Bossman, Grand Prix Starstream, but also on the Apollo , the guitar that was practically the US version of the Dragon, with one pickup only and a different headstock.

Actress Elizabeth Montgomery with a colorful version of a Vox Apollo, in an episode of the famous TV series “Bewitched”

Vox entered the United States with energy and the instruments produced by Eko caused a sensation in the American market, they were seen in the hands of many of the psychedelic and pop groups of the time, becoming a symbol. You can even admire an Apollo, in psych finish, carried by Elizabeth Montgomery in a funny episode of the famous TV series “Bewitched”.

The first production of the Dragon dates back to 1967 and is one of the last projects of the then-owner Oliviero Pigini, designed by Augusto Pierdominici. The desire was to offer a professional, elite instrument, but one that was not elite also in terms of price. Note, for example, that it was one of the first instruments to have Grover die-cast keys, which Pigini himself ordered in the USA.

Woods of excellence: solid cherry, maple, ebony.

Being a hollow body, it sounds very good both acoustic and electric. The Eko Ferro-sonic pickups are very full-bodied, much more than the common single coil, at the same time defined and powerful.

The effects have a very actual sound, especially the fuzz and the boost, both very beautiful. The electronic tremolo turns out to be an interesting effect that can still be used with gusto. The effects are powered by two 9 volt batteries that do not pass through the primary circuit, so if missing or flat, the guitar will work normally as passive.

A vintage audio demo by Vox shows us how the onboard effects sound

The neck is made of three pieces of maple, it is rather thin, smooth and very comfortable. The fingerboard is ebony with binding, the back and top of the body are carved from two pieces of solid cherry. The front and back binding of the body is very elaborate and tasteful.

The Bigsby-style tremolo was manufactured at a foundry in Civitanova Marche and the tuners were, as standard in Dragon Electronic, the Grover Die Cast.

The Eko workers, understanding their importance, were particularly proud to work on these instruments and put all their passion into making them. Time has paid them credit because the Dragons have arrived today in excellent condition.

Luciano Dell’Aquila, its current owner, talks about this Dragon that belonged to Rascel:

«Rare and super equipped, this Eko Dragon belonged to Renato Rascel, who gave it to his pianist Tony Sechi in the mid-70s. Tony married my sister Liliana, in the year 83 and gave me the guitar, glad I took care of it.

I took it on tour and in Padua, I found it a nice hard case. Then I only used it in the studio to record, too precious to take it into smoky and crowded places. I would like to sell her to someone who treats her well, she has been with me for about 40 of her 53 years.

Top and back carved in solid cherry. Neck in three glued pieces made in European maple, flat back, narrow. Fretboard “vintage”, frets in good condition, ebony fretboard, celluloid fret markers, white “binding” on the neck and checkered on the body.

Overview of the Dragon Electronic that belonged to Renato Rascel

“Bigsby” type mechanical tremolo, three “Single-Coil” pick-ups circuit with a switch for each of them, passive tone and volume pots. By installing 2 batteries (9v) in the rear compartment, the distortion, the electronic tremolo and the treble/bass booster are activated, all very effective.

Vast timbres, in the Fender, Gretsch, Rickenbacker range. Original “Grover” tuners. This beautiful Marchigiana confirms the talent of the Recanati brand, of the “Made in Italy” and that the “Multi-Buttonism” of the 60s was not always mere adornment.

 

For info and purchase requests, please contact Gisèle

… but how does this Eko Dragon Electronic that belonged to Renato Rascel sound?

Click the button and unlock the demo video of the sounds of Eko Dragon Electronic by Renato Rascel

…and what about the bass?

The bass version is an extremely sensual and refined animal: the slender shape of the headstock fits perfectly with the roundness of the body and that particular string lock is almost a work of art of minimalist design…

Credits

Unfortunately posthumous thanks

A dutiful thanks go to the all-Italian initiative that Oliviero Pigini impressed on EKO, making it the largest and most active string instrument factory in Europe.

A heartfelt thanks to Augusto Pierdominici, a great designer and technician, whose inspiration is discovered and appreciated more and more over time.

C2V

Author C2V

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