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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.
Older updates here

1961 Vox Stroller
Solid-body single pickup electric guitar

Vox Stroller main page | 1961 Vox Stroller | 1963 Vox Stroller

1961 Vox Stroller
Model 1961 Vox Stroller
Pickups One Vox 1950s/60s single coil pickup
Scale 25 1/4"
Body Laminate wood body, nitrocellulose finish. Total length 35 1/2", Body length 14", 11" wide, 15/16" thick.
Neck Sycamore neck. Rosewood fingerboard. No adjustable truss rod. 19 frets. Width at nut 1 5/8". Held to the body with four screws.
Hardware Open gear strip tuning keys. 1 volume and tone control. Co-axial input. Floating wooden bridge.
Weight 1.9 kg

The Vox Stroller was produced from around 1961 until the mid-1960s, at least 1966. The example shown here is one of the very earliest Strollers produced. It was available in red or white nitrocellulose finish. Dating is very difficult as there are no datable markings, however physical features suggest this to be very early, probably 1961 or 1962, and certainly no later than very early 1963.

Vintage Japanese guitars are well known for being copies of guitars produced in the rest of the world, however the earliest versions of the Vox Stroller were actually copies of Japanese guitars. The Guyatone LG-50 (also produced under the Antoria brand), was well known in the UK in the late 1950s, being used by the likes of Hank Marvin of the Shadows and Rory Storm.

1963 Vox Stroller

So what features suggest this guitar to be older than the very similar 1963 Vox Stroller also shown on this site? Firstly, and most obviously there is no serial number. These are usually stamped on the reverse of the guitar headstock, near the tuning keys. It seems that the very earliest Vox guitars may have had no serial numbers. On the other hand, Vox produced a self-assembled version of the Stroller at this time, called the Pacific kit. It may be that Pacific Stroller had no serial numbers, and this is one of those. Secondly, and probably more importantly, is the pickup. Although it looks the same as the Vox V1 pickup, and is functionally much the same, it is made to different dimensions, being wider and ever so slightly longer. Whatsmore, these pickups are made to imperial rather than metric dimensions, and never feature a Vox logo on the pickup cover. Lastly, the screws throughout this guitar are all slot head design; pickguard, pickups, tuning keys; there are no exceptions. The 1963 Vox Stroller uses crosshead screws throughout, again without exception.

This example has no headstock decal, which presumably has been lost over the last half century, although may never have been present - another feature of the Pacific?

Vox Stroller from the 1962 Vox "Choice of the Stars" catalogue
This incarnation of the Vox Stroller was only produced for a short time, with the only catalogue appearance being the 1962 Vox catalogue

Fine quality solo rhythm solid electric guitar, high grade Vox electric strings and pick-up. Red or white cellulose finish, polished neck, separate tone and volume controls.
This Vox Stroller has just one late 50s/early 60s single coil pickup This guitar has a single volume and tone control The wooden bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, rather it is held in place by the pressure of the guitar strings
This Vox Stroller has just one late 50s/early 60s single coil pickup. This guitar has a single volume and tone control. The wooden bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, rather it is held in place by the pressure of the guitar strings.
The metal tailpiece is of a very simple design, held in place by six screws The body, both front and reverse, is a very simple slab, with not bevels or cutouts The neck of this Vox Stroller is held in place with four screws and no neck plate
The metal tailpiece is of a very simple design, held in place by six screws. The body, both front and reverse, is a very simple slab, with not bevels or cutouts. The neck of this Vox Stroller is held in place with four screws and no neck plate.
Vox Stroller front headstock view Vox Stroller reverse headstock view The open gear tuning keys on this guitar, although basic are relatively sturdy
Vox Stroller front headstock view. Vox Stroller reverse headstock view. The open gear tuning keys on this guitar, although basic are relatively sturdy.

Similar Models

The is a very simple guitar indeed, with a thin, lightweight laminate wood body with only the most basic of routing; the route has rounder edges than the squarer route of the later Stroller, but is broadly similar, capable of holding one or two pickups, and therefore suitable to be the body of a Vox Stroller or a Vox Shadow. The simple electronics are also much the same, with a coaxial input jack (in this example changed to a regular guitar jack).

The reverse side of the late 1950s/early 1960s Vox single coil pickup The body route of this Vox body was capable of holding one or two pickups, allowing it to be equipped as a Vox Stroller or a Vox Shadow
The reverse side of the late 1950s/early 1960s Vox single coil pickup. The body route of this Vox body was capable of holding one or two pickups, allowing it to be equipped as a Vox Stroller or a Vox Shadow.

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