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:

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.
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Vox guitars for sale

1966 Vox Super Lynx electric hollow body guitar sunburst with original hard case

MANHEIM, PENNSYLVANIA, 17545, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$999

60's Italian made Vox Super Lynx guitar. 6 string. Original sunburst finish. Some finish checking, but not real bad. Excellent orignal condition Sounds and plays great. Original gray Vox teardrop shaped hardshell case included. Non original jackplate added by previous owner. Free shipping within the continental USA only. International shipping via the Ebay International shipping service only. Rhoads Music, vintage guitars, amps, drums and other gear since 1989.... more

1966 Vox Shadow Sunburst Made in England with case

MANHEIM, PENNSYLVANIA, 17545, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$699

1966 Vox Shadow guitar with case. Made in England. New strings and fully shop adjusted and tested. UK made Vox guitars are not common in the USA and this model in sunburst (most were red) is also uncommon Some finish checking as shown One fret was replaced Neck is straight Very light fret wear The pickup selector knob with the arm is a new reproduction The green Vox logo decal on the headstock is not fully intact. Please see the photos Please look at the photos and contact me with questions or ... more

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

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 98117, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1074

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

Vintage 1960's Vox Cougar Bass Hollowbody Bass Guitar w / Original Case

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10002, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$1595

Vintage Circa 1966 Vox Cougar Bass. A killer vintage Hollowbody Bass for the price. Has a slim neck that is still nice and straight. It has a chunky but narrow profile and plays great in every position. Original pickups sound amazing. They are super warm and thumpy, with a nice woody punch when you dig in. Excellent playing condition with some signs of normal, honest cosmetic wear such as finish checking. Overall it is a very clean example considering it's age. Bass is exactly as pictured. Buyer... more

1968 Vox Astro IV Vintage Hollowbody Bass Guitar Onboard Fuzz & Boost Eko Italy

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, 98117, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $1931

Up for sale, a 1968 Vox Astro IV hollowbody bass in excellent condition and in good working order. Produced at the Eko factory in Italy for Vox, this very rare bass was only manufactured from 1967-68 and sports a pair of Vox's "Ferro-Sonic" pickups as well as onboard Fuzz and Treble / Bass Booster circuits. The best part is that these onboard effects still work exactly as they should, with a robust, sizzling fuzz tone that conjures up the best psychedelic rock. Add the Boost circuit on top for ... more

Uni- VOX ES-335 Guitar Organ Super Rare Sunburst Waco Texas Accordion

BUFFALO, NEW YORK, 14201, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

C $1626

The guitar has had the binding replaced. The job was poorly redone. This has uneven edges . The guitar plays and the action is great . The guitar functions as a guitar . and is a set neck ES-335 Made in Japan. By Aria or Vox , Has a very high quality feel Ibanez feel and almost Gibson feel Overall, The guitar had the binding changed all around, on both sides The binding is overlapping on some edges in the cutaways, looks like some putty was used to smooth the transition Not a great job. ... more

VINTAGE VOX Mark XII V223 Teardrop Sunburst 1960s Acoustic Electric Guitar Wcase

OMAHA, NEBRASKA, 68102, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$2699

VERY RARE VINTAGE 60's VOX 12 STRING SEMI HOLLOW V223 WITH RARE BLACK NECK WITH ORIGINAL CASE . MADE IN ITALY... 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

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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.

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