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1965 Vox Ace electric guitar
1965 Vox Ace electric guitar The Vox Ace was one of the early UK-designed Vox guitars produced by JMI in Dartford, Kent. It had been in production since at least 1962, but was redesigned for late 1963 with a more current look and a higher quality feel. The pickups were upgraded, as was the body; it was now thicker and made of solid wood. Despite this the guitar was now actually lighter in weight, due to a shorter overall length. Have a closer look at a sunburst-finished Vox Ace from 1965.
1962 Vox 'Choice of the Stars' catalogue
1962 Vox 'Choice of the Stars' catalogue, This is one of the earliest JMI catalogues to show guitars, and although undated it was most likely printed in late 1962 or early 1963. There are many well-known Vox guitar and amplifier models shown, amongst several that would be completely redesigned before appearing again; the most interesting examples are perhaps the Phantom I and Phantom II which are electronically quite distinct from the Phantom that would follow a little later. The Vox Escort and Vox Soloist only appear in this brochure, being deleted before the next was printed in mid-1963.
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Vox Electric Guitars Basses and Amplifiers
Instruments manufactured by Vox

Vox Phantom and Mark series guitars at the Vox factory in Dartford, circa 1964/65.
Vox content on this site is sorted into categories:

Solid body Vox guitars
solid-bodies
Semi-acoustic Vox guitars
semi-acoustics
Vox basses
basses

parts

amps

catalogues

soundclips

The story of the 1960s Vox guitars is complicated; JMI were making Vox guitars in the UK, at a factory in Dartford, Kent (See pic), primarily for Shadows fans in the UK. After Beatlemania, Brian Jones' teardrop Mark VI and the British Invasion of 1964, they could not keep up with worldwide demand, especially in the US. JMI outsourced some production to two Italian factories, EKO in Recanati, and Crucianelli, primarily for the American market, and at it's peak had a huge number of models available. Eventually the UK factory ceased guitar production, and the last few Vox guitars available for several years, were the Vox Giant range guitars, made in Japan.

Today, many of these rare guitars are highly collectable, with vintage Vox guitar values on the rise. They are loved for their crazy shapes and for their inbuilt guitar effects. Have a listen to some vintage Vox soundclips.

The various Vox manufacturers

Vox guitars were produced by various manufacturers in the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan; for convenience, you can split 1960s Vox guitars into four main categories. Each had different components, and it is not too difficult to place a guitar in one of these groups, just by looking at controls, pickups etc.

Two UK-produced Vox Ace guitars from 1962/3
Two UK-produced Vox Ace guitars from 1962/3
Vox prototype designer Mick Bennett drills holes for control knobs, of a Vox Mark guitar at the Dartford plant, United Kingdom
Vox Prototype Designer Mick Bennett drills holes for control knobs, of a Vox Mark guitar at the Dartford plant, United Kingdom

JMI The earliest Vox's were solid-body guitars, assembled in the JMI plant in Dartford, Kent, with components coming from numerous suppliers in the UK. Later necks were imported from Italy, but even with an Italian neck, these are regarded as the British Voxs; models such as the Shadow, Ace, Stroller, Phantom, Mark and Marauder. These were primarily for the British market, though many were exported to the United States in the early/mid 1960s.

Crucianelli At the same time, there was significant demand for hollow-body instruments, something not easily produced in any numbers at the Dartford plant. So Vox imported a range of guitars from Italian manufacturer Crucianelli. These models include the Vox Lynx, Vox Cougar bass, Vox Challenger, and Escort bass. Furthermore, demand for solid body UK models was so high that certain guitars were produced simultaneously in Britain and Italy (primarily by Eko of Recanati). Italian Phantoms from this period have some differing components and constructiom from their British-built counterparts.

Vox Ultrasonic produced in Recanati, Italy
A late sixties Vox Ultrasonic, produced in Recanati, Italy

EME The third main phase of Vox production is possibly the best known worldwide. These were the Italian built Vox's from the EME factory in Recanati; a joint Venture between Vox UK, Eko in Italy, and Vox's US distributor Thomas Organ. Most of these instruments were bound for the United States, where they were distributed by the Thomas Organ Company.

Although they have distinctive components, most were versions of existing Vox models: primarily the phantom and teardrop shaped guitars, and the more generic 335 hollow bodies.

Vox Sound (Japan) In the late 1960s many things went wrong for Vox. JMI gave way to 'Vox Sound' and guitar manufacture ceased in the UK. The last Vox's produced in the 1960s, (and into the early 70s) were the Japanese Vox Giant guitars. Aimed at the UK/European market, these guitars were just copies of American designs - Les Paul and SG styled solid bodies and Gretsch Country Gent styled semi acoustics - quite nice guitars, but without the uniqueness of earlier models. These did not sell well, and production quickly stopped, leaving Vox to concentrate on Amplifiers for the rest of the 1970s.

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Vintage Vox guitars for sale


US ebay listings

VOX SHADOW by Jennings/JMI - Hank Marvin & Shadows Collector's Guitar c1963

Current price: $832.05
buy it now
Time left: 4h 11m
vintage 1960s harmony bobkat guitar eko vox teisco classic kawaii bobcat

Current price: $299.99
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Time left: 16h 44m
Vintage 1960's Vox bass guitar bridge cover Big V for Mark IV Wyman Teardrop

Current price: $102.50
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Time left: 17h 5m
--1960s VOX FOLK TWELVE V239 VINTAGE EKO FLAT TOP TWELVE STRING ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Current price: $290.00
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Time left: 17h 34m
1968 Vintage, Vox Skybolt IV, V282 Bass guitar Cherry Red, Very Rare.

Current price: $1950.00
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Time left: 18h 7m
VINTAGE MATSUMOKU VOX COUGAR BASS GUITAR grlc1332

Current price: $725.00
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Time left: 19h 12m
Vintage Teardrop VOX Acoustic Guitar Case with keys

Current price: $200.00

Time left: 1d 11h 4m
VOX MARK VI WITH MINT CASE Electric Teardrop Guitar 1960's SUPER NICE! ITALY!

Current price: $2999.99
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Time left: 1d 15h 23m
VOX VINTAGE JAZZ BOX GUITAR

Current price: $425.00
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Time left: 1d 20h 38m
1960's Vox Super Lynx Deluxe V253 Electric Guitar Sunburst Vintage OHSC!!

Current price: $1295.00
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Time left: 2d 20h 47m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

VOX SHADOW by Jennings/JMI - Hank Marvin & Shadows Collector's Guitar c1963

Current price: £495.00
buy it now
Time left: 4h 11m
VOX BOSSMAN Electric Guitar Vintage 1967 Arch Top RARE Arch Top

Current price: £500.00

Time left: 8h 44m
--1960s VOX FOLK TWELVE V239 VINTAGE EKO FLAT TOP TWELVE STRING ACOUSTIC GUITAR

Current price: £172.53
buy it now
Time left: 17h 34m
VOX STANDARD BASS GUITAR MIJ - MADE IN JAPAN VINTAGE

Current price: £82.00
buy it now
Time left: 2d 10h 45m
Rare Old 1969 genuine Vox Vintage VG12 Semi Acoustic 12-string guitar 60's VG 12

Current price: £399.00
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Time left: 2d 12h 45m
1960's Vox Super Lynx Deluxe V253 Electric Guitar Sunburst Vintage OHSC!!

Current price: £770.42
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Time left: 2d 20h 47m
VOX Hank Thompson custom electric guitar, 1960's made for Hank by Vox, ONLY ONE!

Current price: £6544.11
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Time left: 2d 20h 59m
Vintage Elite guitar by Crucianelli model 502 V same as Vox Challenger

Current price: £350.00
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Time left: 3d 8h 29m
Set of 3 Original Vintage Teisco Eko Hofner Vox Guitar Knobs Lot for Project

Current price: £20.82
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Time left: 5d 7h 24m
Vintage VOX PHANTOM VI 1967 Guitar Patent Art Print READY TO FRAME!!!!! Jennings

Current price: £5.94
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Time left: 5d 16h 38m
See more results on eBay here

There are 3 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Wesley Comment left 10th October 2013 21:09:01
This is a very interesting coverage of the history of BOX. However, in 1966 I purchased my VOX Bulldog which I believe was made in Italy for VOX in Minnesota, USA. It's electronics are rather basic but has a very nice sound. What is unusual about it is the U shaped aluminum reinforcement that surrounds the truss rod in the neck. Evidently this works very well as the guitar has never had a problem with the neck and the tuning is very stable. What impressed me about the Bulldog is the 3-dimensional shape of the body and the excellent binding and finish. I had my choice of Fender, Guild, Gretsch and Gibson guitars but it was the Bulldog that caught my eye and still does. When people see my Bulldog they're amazed and drool over it. I don't see anyone take such notice of a Stratocaster, even here in Brazil.
Al Gibbs Comment left 22nd March 2014 09:09:21
I have a 1967 Vox Apollo electric in perfect condition. Didn't se it mentioned in the article Does anyone know what it is worth?
Ralph Bendel Comment left 7th April 2014 21:09:05
I have a VOX "Harlem" sunburst electric guitar that was made in Italy. My mother bought it for me when I was 17 (about 1966) . A couple of years later i lugged it from Oklahoma to Paris France where i lived for 6 mos. Played it many times sitting on the bank of the Seine at Pont Neuf. It was stolen from my room in the hotel that i lived but got it back after an interesting episode at at paris Police station. Because of that journey it's a little beat up. I rarely play it any more but just yesterday i upgraded my Strat case and placed the VOX in my old strat case. It fit perfectly. What is most unusual about this guitar is that wood between the frets as honed down in the center which makes note bending easier. It makes the neck look a little like a dwarf sitar neck. Not interested in it's value or in selling it...just thought i'd share.

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