VOX | SOLID BODIES | ACE | 1963 ACE

1963 Vox Ace

UK produced (JMI) solid body electric guitar

1963 Vox Ace
Model 1963 Vox Ace
Scale 25 1/2"
Body Laminate wood body, nitrocellulose finish. Total length 40 1/2", Body length 18 1/2", 12" wide, 1.3" thick.
Neck Bolt-on sycamore neck. Rosewood fretboard. No adjustable truss rod. 21 frets. Width at nut 1 5/8".
Hardware Open gear individual machine heads. 1 volume and tone control, three-way pickup selector switch, for neck, bridge or both pickups. Vox de-Luxe tremolo
Weight 3.3 kg

1963 Vox Ace

The Vox Ace was produced from around 1961 and at least as late as 1966, however instruments produced after the middle of 1963 were quite different, with an updated body, neck and the white plastic Vox V2 pickups with exposed pole pieces. This example most likely hails from the first half of 1963; it is certainly later than this 1962/63 Vox Ace, having several different features: most obviously cross-head rather than slotted-head screws throughout and a slightly different arrangement of screws on the pickguard. But in addition to this, the later version has somewhat altered body routes, with space to accomodate an extra pickup at the bridge position (to make the Super Ace) and a sprung version of the de Luxe tremolo with an extra associated cavity for the spring.

Vox Ace-de-Luxe Tremolo detail

The sprung version of the Vox de Luxe tremolo, without cover

Other than the obvious body and neck style, other early features include a laminate wood body, single-ply scratchplate. The black scratchplate is certainly more unusual on the Vox Ace than a white one, but not really unusual in JMI-produced Vox guitars of this period.

The Vox Ace from the 1962 Vox "Choice of the Stars" catalogue

This specific style of Ace only had a short production run, and was only pictured in one catalogue, the Choice of the Stars brochure from late 1962/early 1963 here. Other guitars with this body/neck style: include the Super Ace and 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

1963 Vox Ace, body detail, Ace-de-Luxe tremolo detail

Unlike the early Vox Ace detailed on this site, this guitar has two pickups with Vox logos engraved onto their covers.

Vox Ace controls

The controls on the Vox Ace are simple; volume, tone and a three-way pickup switch. Knobs are the typical white plastic type used on early JMI (UK-built) models. For a look under the scratchplate, (schematic and circuit images), see Vox Ace wiring.

Jennings (JMI) could always be considered as an electronics company above all else, and numerous guitars had advanced circuitry for the time; the Ace was not one of these models however, having the simplest arrangement for a two-pickup guitar, of a three-way pickup selector switch (bridge, neck or both) and a master volume and tone control.

The Ace had a one-piece sycamore neck with the serial number stamped on the reverse of the headstock. Unlike some other solid body Vox guitars of this period, the Ace was fitted with individual open gear machine heads, part 09-301-0. The decal on the face of the headstock reads 'Vox Ace JMI Dartford Kent'

Vox V1 pickup detail with engraved Vox logo
1963 Vox Ace front headstock detail 1963 Vox Ace rear headstock detail

By the middle of 1963, the Vox Ace had been completely redesigned; a new solid-wood body, a new neck and new Vox V2 pickups with exposed polepieces.

Have a look at the remodelled version of the Ace here.

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Tony russell Comment left 1st June 2015 05:05:56 reply
I am after a scratch plate for a 1962-63 Vox Ace. I worked at JMI when I left school making all the Vox range including a couple of Phantoms for Brian Jones. The scratch plate was broken in transit to Australia and I would love to restore my guitar, also I am chasing a tremolo arm chrome cover which has gone missing. Thank you Tony Russell

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