The Davioli Athena bass is quite a striking looking instrument with some elegant carving, although not quite a German carve (an Italian carve perhaps?), going on around the sides and top edge that give it a look reminiscent of an antique violin. The faux soundhole containing a rotating plate holding the pickups is also a novel idea and must have - if this is a 1960s bass, and I'm pretty certain that it is - pre-dated Rick Turner's use of the same idea on his Model 1 guitar (as played by Fleetwood Mac's Lyndsey Buckingham).
So, what do we know of Davoli? (I originally typed that as Davioli to rhymes with a popular Italian pasta dish. I must be hungry.) Well, Athos Davoli was a friend and associate of Antonio "Wandre" Pioli, and was responsible for the electrics and pickups found on Wandre guitars. Indeed, the names Wandre and Davioli are inextricably linked. Davoli started his own electronics workshop in 1957, and produced a range of amplifiers and PA systems under the Davioli Krundaal banner in the early 1960s before teaming up with Wandre.
The seller of this bass suggests that it was created by Wandre, although it is very different - almost conservative - compared to the majority of his guitars. Most noticeably, it does not have a metal neck with bolted on headstock. This isn't to say that there was no Wandre connection, but I feel it's interesting that this bass is referred to specifically as a "Davoli".
If anyone knows the full story or has any further info, then please do share!
G L Wilson
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