Samick Motherlode

December 2014
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Eko Ghost VI Electric Guitar Review

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Eko Ghost VI Electric Guitar Review

Download Example 1
Bridge Pickup
Download Example 2
Neck Pickup with Vibrato
Clips recorded through a 1968 Fender Vibro Champ
Though you’re likely to encounter very divided opinion on the subject, many guitarists, myself included, consider the Vox Phantom one of the coolest-looking stringed instruments ever. Over the years, Tom Petty has played Phantom 6- and 12-strings. Joy Division’s Ian Curtis made a high-strapped Phantom one of the band’s visual and sonic trademarks. And perhaps no guitar player ever looked cooler than the Velvet Underground’s black-clad, wraparound- wearing Sterling Morrison slinging a white Phantom.

Italy’s Eko Guitars, always had a close relationship with Vox. In the 60s, the Eko factory produced many of Vox’s most iconic guitars—the Phantom and Mark VI Teardrop included—under license. And, while certain guitar purists regard them as B-grade vintage instruments, they remain some of the most unique-sounding electric instruments on the planet.

The Eko Ghost VI is a stab at reinterpreting the Phantom for the modern player. With its single-coil-sized blade humbuckers and 5-way, Strat-style pickup switch, the Ghost VI will never be mistaken sonically or visually for a vintage Vox—or Eko, for that matter. But it’s an interesting evolution of what was always a fascinating instrument.


Modern Deviations
The Ghost makes no apologies for its design inspiration. But it also deviates from the Vox Phantom in several fundamental respects. First, the basswood body’s profile—though clearly derived from Vox’s original, is cut with a shallower arc along the bass side of the body. It’s a subtle difference, but it does alter the classic proportions of the original Phantom. The headstock is also slightly smaller, though it retains much of the original’s oval shape. And the substantial pickguard, which is in pearloid rather than plain white plastic, comes off as a little glitzy.

The three-in-a-row knob configuration is carried over from the original Vox, but the Bigsby-inspired Hank Marvin Tremolo on the original is replaced by Eko’s own very cool-looking and very ’60s-Italian-styled adjustable-tension vibrato unit.

Some of the Ghost VI’s changes work quite nicely. It has a very comfortable, fast-playing, satin-finished neck with a slim C profile and vintage-sized fretwire that‘s reminiscent of a ’60s Fender neck. It’s an ideal fit for the guitar’s 25.5" scale.
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