1976 Gibson L-6S Custom, 1978 Guild B302F bass, 1967 Fender Coronado guitar
1976 Gibson L-6S Custom1978 Guild B-302F1967 Fender Coronado
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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
Semi-acoustic Vox guitars
Vox basses




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.

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 their inbuilt guitar effects. Have a listen to some vintage Vox soundclips.

The various Vox 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

JMI 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 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, and often built-in electronic effects, most were versions of existing Vox models: primarily the phantom and teardrop shaped guitars, and the more generic Gibson/Gretsch-style single and double cutaway hollow 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.


Recent updates

1963 Vox Clubman II
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
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
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
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.

Older updates here

Vintage Vox guitars for sale

US ebay listings

Eko Ghost VI Electric Guitar (Vox Phantom Copy)

Current price: $251.50
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Time left: 4d 47m
1960's Vox Hurricane Neck with neckplate and screws. L@@K

Current price: $100.00
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Time left: 6d 15h 59m
Vox Shadow Electric Guitar

Current price: $449.00
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Time left: 6d 19h 38m
See more results on eBay here

UK ebay listings

Rare Vintage Vox Eko Hardshell Electric Guitar Case, Teardrop, Hard to Find

Current price: £62.78
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Time left: 8d 15h 10m

Current price: £70.00
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Time left: 7d 18h 52m

Current price: £118.94
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Time left: 26d 1h 20m

Current price: £118.94
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Time left: 26d 1h 16m
1960's Vox Hurricane loaded pickguard

Current price: £165.17
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Time left: 15h 53m

Current price: £199.00
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Time left: 22d 15h 5m

Current price: £1318.31
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Time left: 15d 4h 13m
Vintage 1960's Vox Astro Violin Bass Guitar w/Effects Circa 1968 Made in Italy

Current price: £990.55
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Time left: 3d 20h 59m
See more results on eBay here

There are 6 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.
John Bullock Comment left 22nd April 2014 14:02:09
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.
chris Comment left 6th January 2015 06:06:11
Hi I need a vox tornado pickguard? Any help?
Ben Comment left 27th April 2015 02:02:43
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

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