Vox Electric Guitars Basses and Amplifiers

Vintage Vox guitars from the 1960s

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 Big Vox Sound - JMI advertisement for Vox from early 1967

Vox was a massive name in 1960s Britain, with guitars and amplifiers widely used by the very biggest names in British music: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Hollies, The Dave Clark Five and the Yardbirds, to name but a few. Soon American acts would join the roster, most notably Paul Revere & the Raiders and James Brown, but also countless less well known bands. For a few short years in the mid 1960s, the Vox name was everywhere. Today, vintage Vox guitars are highly collectable, especially the teardrop and phantom styed guitars, and the more unusual models: early JMI guitars and those with complicated inbuilt effects circuitry.

But the story of the 1960s Vox guitars is complicated, with many different guitars made in different plants worldwide, often quite different from each other. But it started in England; JMI were making Vox guitars 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 the exciting sounds from the built-in guitar effects. Have a listen to some vintage Vox soundclips.

The various Vox guitar manufacturers

Vox guitars have been 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
The Jennings guitar shop, 100 Charing Cross Road
The Jennings shop, 100 Charing Cross Road, London, specialised in Vox guitars

JMI - Vox guitars made in England

The earliest UK Vox's were solid-body guitars, assembled in the JMI 'Unity Works' plant in Dartford, Kent, with components coming from numerous British suppliers. Later necks were imported from Italy, but even with an Italian neck, these are regarded as the British Voxs. Unable to cope with worldwide demand, a second plant 'West Street' was opened nearby in 1965, but was badly damaged by fire in January 1966. Numerous JMI guitars were produced in the UK, from the Fender-style solid bodies Shadow, Ace, Stroller and Consort, to more original designs, such as the 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 / Eko - Early Italian guitars

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 construction from their British-built counterparts.

Vox Ultrasonic produced in Recanati, Italy

A late sixties Vox Ultrasonic, produced in Recanati, Italy

EME - Italian guitars for the US

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, and often built-in electronic effects, most were versions of existing Vox models: primarily the phantom and teardrop shaped guitars (eg Delta, Starstream), Gibson/Gretsch-style single and double cutaway hollow bodies, (Ultrasonic, Viper, Cheetah, Apollo, Bossman) - plus the Invader and Thunderjet solid bodies.

From 1966 things started going wrong for Vox, ultimately resulting in the company briefly going out of business, and Vox guitar manufacture ending in the UK. By mid 1968, JMI were in the hands of the receiver. Leftover Vox guitars were distributed unbranded (though potentially still with some Vox markings) by Dallas Arbiter.

Vox Sound (Japan)

The last Vox's produced in the 1960s, (and into the early 70s) were the Japanese-made Vox Giant guitars. Aimed at the UK/European market, and first shown at the August 1968 Frankfurt trade fair. These guitars were mainly copies of American designs - Les Paul (and later 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 particularly well, and importation quickly stopped, leaving Vox to concentrate on Amplifiers for the rest of the 1970s.

Latest Vox Updates

The most recent content posted to this site on vintage Vox guitars:

1967 Vox StrollerThe Vox Stroller was the brand's entry level electric solid body guitar, fitted with just one pickup and a fixed tailpiece. Although aimed at student guitarists, it wasn't a terrible instrument, but did lack somewhat in adjustability, having no accessible truss rod and only a floating rosewood bridge. But this example is actually quite an improvement on earlier versions, with a standard 1/4" jack and a solid mahogany body. 1967 price £18 2s. JMI ceased UK guitar production in late '67, and combined with decreasing demand for the Stroller, this surely must be one of the last examples shipped.
1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale
1963 Vox Clubman II The Clubman was one of the earliest UK-built guitars produced by Vox at it's Dartford plant. As an entry level model it was very light, fitted with the most basic components, and not made of the most select woods, but it's unique styling, low price and easy playability made for a relatively popular guitar. Initially there were two guitar models, the single pickup Clubman I and dual pickup Clubman II, and a companion Clubman bass - check them out in the 1962 Vox catalogue. The guitar was redesigned in the middle of 1963, getting a new Strat-style body, but examples with the older body style were still being shipped perhaps as early as the start of 1964.
1963 Vox Consort The Vox Consort was produced in the UK throughout the mid 1960s; originally modelled on the Fender Jaguar, it was one of JMI's better quality instruments, with many features not seen on lower-priced guitars. This early example mixed innovative tone circuitry with Vox's original chrome-covered V1 pickups, for "every possible variation of tone from bass to sharp brilliance". By the middle of 1963, the model had been redesigned, becoming less Fender-esque and more Vox - have a look at the redesigned Consort in the 1963 Vox catalogue
Inside the Vox guitar factory 1965/66 A recollection of life inside JMI's two UK Vox factories in Dartford: Dartford Road, and West Street, Erith, circa 1965/66; building Vox solid body guitars; working on special instruments including a highly ornate Vox Soundcaster for the Royal family and a five-string Symphonic bass for the Hollies; plus sharing your sandwiches with Bill Wyman! By Tony Russell.
1963 Vox Symphonic bass guitar The Symphonic bass was one of the models produced by JMI in the UK, primarily for the early sixties British market. It was comparatively high priced, still cheaper in the UK than the Fender Precision that it was emulating, but not by much, and actually more expensive in the USA. It only sold in small numbers in Britain and barely at all overseas. No equivalent model was produced in Italy, and although it remained in UK price lists as late as 1967, it is unlikely many instruments were shipped beyond 1965.
1963 Vox Precision in Sound brochureThis early Vox brochure comes from summer 1963, still the early days of JMI production, and shortly before the beat boom of the mid 1960s. At this time, Vox guitars were built in the UK, primarily for the British market. The company had refined it's production methods, to some extent, and many of the guitars shown are quite different from those in the Choice of the Stars catalogue from late 1962. Includes primarily Vox solid body guitars, basses and amplifiers. See other Vox catalogue scans here.
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, 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.
Two Vox Ace guitars from 1962 and 1963 The Vox Ace was available from at least 1962 and at least as late as 1966, however it underwent a significant redesign in mid 1963; the result bearing little resemblance to the initial design. Two early Vox Ace guitars are shown on this site: they are hard to date accurately, but the first is perhaps a 1962 Vox Ace, the second slightly later, probably an early 1963 Vox Ace. Although still one of Vox's earliest guitar models, the Vox Ace was a noticeable step up from other well-known early Vox guitars such as the Vox Shadow and Vox Stroller. It sold relatively well in the UK in the early 1960s, but in the latter half of the decade was overshadowed by more iconic models, such as the Vox Phantom and Mark (teardrop) series
Got an opinion on the contents of this page? Disagree with something written above? Please comment

Vox guitars for sale

VINTAGE VOX Mark XII. Teardrop Sunburst 1960s Acoustic Electric Guitar W / Case.

LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, 47904, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1499

VINTAGE VOX Mark XII. Teardrop Sunburst 1960s Acoustic Electric Guitar W / Case. Condition is Used. Some Cosmetic Wear as Pictured. One Bent Tuning Peg. Missing Piece on Bridge. Finish on Guitar has Some Cracking.... more

1968 Italy Vox Skybolt IV Bass V282 Cherry Red EX+ Cond.

DC METRO, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2100

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION .. Vintage !!!! 1968 ITALY VOX SKYBOLT IV A TRUE CLASSIC !!! DON'T MISS OUT A VINTAGE CLASSIC LOUD AND PUNCHY V282 VOX SKYBOLT IV !! We present to you a classic Vintage VOX Skybolt IV V282 Bass Guitar. It is a true closet classic, It is in fantastic condition. Works fine and has really great sound! very little fret wear. The finish is excellent, It has a couple of finish cracks on the side and one in the back, nothing major, considered normal for its age. It's a great ... more

1960s Vox Student Prince V229 Sunburst!

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 98126, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$3799

1960s Vox Student Prince V229 Up for sale is a cool late 1960’s Italian-built Vox Student Prince model V229 in its original sunburst finish. Unlike some of the other late 1960’s Italian-built Vox instrument, this no-frills model features a hollow-body design, single Vox-branded pickup in the neck position, Volume / Tone controls, and a trapeze tailpiece. Sounds and plays great and overall is in very good condition less some finish checking and wear. No case with this one. Year: 1960s ... more

1967 Vox Spitfire Model V235 Vintage Electric Guitar 100% Original w / ohc, Eko

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 98117, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$929

Up for sale, a 1967 Vox Spitfire in excellent, 100% original condition and in good working order. This instrument is clean and complete, with original gray tolex hardshell case and Vox-branded bridge cover. One of the more upscale solidbody guitars offered by Vox in their vintage line, this Spitfire was made in Italy by the Eko company, most famous for their innovative designs and sparkly finishes. Clean and original with three jangly single coil pickups and Bigsby-esque vibrato tailpiece, the ... more

Vox Cougar Bass 1966 Italy 3 Tone Burst

MIAMI, FLORIDA, 33143, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

£482

Vox Cougar Bass 1966 Made In Italy Bass plays fantastic very fun super light weight, comfortable with easy access to the entire fretboard, really has that classic Hofner Beatle bass sound, neck straight low action. The pickups are the originals the bridge worked when i got it, but one of the contacts in the pickup was giving me a hard time until one day it stopped working. The pickup needs work not sure if a full rewound. Tons of options vintage alinco V magnets. The neck pickup works fine. ... more

1967 Vox Spitfire

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 98103, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$599

View all listings Feedback 1967 Vox Spitfire This is a used item. It will ship to you in the condition described to the best of our ability. Please look at all photographs and ask us any questions you may have before we ship. There are no returns on used items. They are sold as is. Condition: Good (has dings and scratches see photos) Includes padded gigbag Made in Italy 1967... more

Vox Guitar 3504 Standard Double Octave '82-'85 - RARE!! Vintage Electric Bass

OAK RIDGE, NEW JERSEY, 07438, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$980

Vox 3504 standard double octave bass guitar serial number 1070349 -Hardrockmaple body, neck and fingerboard 34" scale length - full specification DiMarzio P bass humbucking pickup series / parallel switch - made from 1982 - 1985 Bass is very heavy. Has normal dings and scratches for 30 year instrument Made in Japan Second hand guitar Please feel free to ask any questions and thanks for looking. Priced to sell and like all our auctions returns are accepted at buyers expense so purchase with ... more

1967 VOX Apollo V266 Hollowbody Guitar w Distortion Tone Boost + Case EKO Italy

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, 84105, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1299

1967 Vox Apollo V266 Cherry Red Hollowbody Electric Guitar Built In Distortion Fuzz / Tone Boost / Tuner Case Guitar plays really well with a great feeling neck and low action. All electronics are working and the distortion fuzz sounds incredible! Guitar has been cleaned and fingerboard oiled. A new set of 10 gauge strings have been installed and the intonation has been set. Action is low, neck is straight and frets have life left. There are the typical finish cracks on this that are ... more

Find more vintage guitars for sale at vintageguitarsforsale.co

There are 8 comments on this article so far. Add your comment

Comment on this article

Name
Email address
Anti-spam question - to catch web robots
How many legs does a cat have?
Asser Munch Comment left 10th April 2016 20:08:11 reply
Hi there. I work at an auction house in Denmark and received this beauty for auction yesterday: https://goo.gl/photos/1e8MWrCmAhMXAWGHA It's a VOX Soloist (Presumably only produced in '62-'63), and this website is apparently THE ONLY place that has an image of it, b/w from a 1962 catalogue. So I'm pretty lost on this one, so I share these images to see if anyone here can help me to determine that it is in fact genuine and the parts are original. Nothing tells me it is not, it is equally 'dirty' and there are no holes or traces of other parts on it. AND the million dollar question: what's the monetary value?! It could be worth a million or not really. It is no doubt a collectors item, but I find NO examples to compare it to. Any response is appreciated, thanks! Best regards, Asser Munch.
Ben Comment left 27th April 2015 03:03:43 reply
I have a VOX HARLEM III. Its from the 60s. 3 pick-up sunburst solid body. Anyone seen one of these. It does not have a scalopped fretboard
chris Comment left 6th January 2015 07:07:11 reply
Hi I need a vox tornado pickguard? Any help?
John Bullock Comment left 22nd April 2014 15:03:09 reply
I have a beautiful VOX Folk-12 - and have just lost the crown off the top of one of the bridge pins - obviously making life difficult to change that string. These bridge-pins seem to be over-over-sized and I can't find anywhere that can offer replacements. I'd like to change the entire set as I suspect the problem is one of age. The hole for the bridge pin is 5mm is diameter and the peg section of the bridge pin is 22mm long.
West Winds Comment left 8th April 2017 20:08:59 reply
You might want to consider having a bone/antler set of pins made since you want to replace the whole set. Bone is a very good sound conductor for acoustic guitars. There is a luthier in Missouri that makes saddles, nuts, and maybe bridge pins. You could contact him and ask: Rosa String Works 21102 County Road 7560 Newburg, MO 65550-9320 314-550-6171 Hope this helps. Tell him his KOA CLIENT sent you his way. Good luck!
Ralph Bendel Comment left 7th April 2014 22:10:05 reply
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.
Al Gibbs Comment left 22nd March 2014 10:10:21 reply
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?
Wesley Comment left 10th October 2013 22:10:01 reply
This is a very interesting coverage of the history of VOX. 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.

Contact
info@vintageguitarandbass.com

Follow

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Google+

Other Great Sites