The Vox Ace was produced from around 1961 until the mid-1960s, at least 1966. Mid 1960s JMI-produced Vox guitars often have a date stamp on the heel of the neck, and/or in the neck pocket of the body, but earlier examples can be harder to date accurately, however like most models in the Vox line, the Ace underwent subtle changes throughout the period of production, and these changes, when compared to serial number information, and dateable Vox literature can be used to establish an approximate date of production.
This Vox Ace was most likely produced in late 1962 or early 1963. It has a number of distinct early features: laminate wood body routed for two pickups only (later in 1963, the Ace's bridge pickup route was widened to allow three pickups for the Super Ace). Various hardware changes include the use of the unsprung version of the Ace-de-Luxe tremolo, slotted-head screws throughout, Vox V1 pickups, and a single-ply 9-hole white scratchplate. Compare this guitar with a slightly later 1963 Vox Ace here.
As this style of Ace was produced for such a short time, it was only pictured in one Vox catalogue, the 'Choice of the Stars' fold-out brochure from late 1962 (see it here). This catalogue shows a number of early versions of many British-built Vox solid body guitars, three have this body style: the Ace, the three-pickup Super Ace and the Duotone.
Embodying the same fine qualities as the Duotone; this model is also fitted with the patent Vox de luxe tremolo arm unit providing the effects featured by the famous "Shadows" group and others
The V1 pickup very often had the Vox logo engraved onto the cover, though in this example, both pickup covers are plain.
The controls for this instrument are very simple: a master volume, a master tone and a three-way pickup switch allowing selection of both pickups, or the neck or bridge pickup alone. For a look under the scratchplate, (schematic and circuit images), see Vox Ace wiring.
1962 Vox Ace headstock front. The decal reads Vox Ace JMI Dartford Kent
The headstock reverse. The Vox Ace was fitted with individual open gear machine heads, part part 09-301-0; the serial number is stamped just below the second (A) tuner.
The long headstock was one of the early Vox Ace's most identifiable features, though this would soon disappear. By the middle of 1963, the Vox Ace had been completely redesigned; a new solid-wood body, a new, shorter neck/headstock and new Vox V2 pickups with exposed polepieces.
Have a look at the remodelled version of the Ace here.