1963 Vox Shadow

Single cutaway LG-50 style

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1963 Vox Shadow 1963 Vox Shadow, reverse view
Model: 1963 Vox Shadow
Pickups: Two single-coil Vox V1 pickups.
Scale: 25 1/4"
Body: Laminate body. 14 5/16" long, 10 15/16" wide, 1" thick.
Neck: Sycamore bolt-on neck. Rosewood fingerboard. No adjustable truss rod. 19 frets (plus zero fret). Width at nut 1 5/8"
Hardware: 2 volume and 1 tone control, white plastic knobs. Co-axial input. Fixed tailpiece, floating bridge. Open gear strip tuners.
Weight: 2.1 kg

The Vox Shadow was available from 1962 (and perhaps earlier) up until at least 1966, possibly 1967. It was one of numerous British-built solid body guitars, produced by JMI in Dartford, UK, before Vox started importing guitars from Italy. It was aimed at the student guitarists and Shadows fans, in a period when better quality imported guitars were completely unavailable in the UK. Early examples, as shown here, had a single cutaway body; in effect a copy of the guitar Hank Marvin of the Shadows was using prior to receiving his first Fender Stratocaster, an Antoria (Guyotone) LG50. A one-pickup version was also available, named the Vox Stroller.

It was a very small, lightweight guitar, and basic in many ways, with it's plywood body, bolt-on sycamore neck and the simplest of hardware. In the early days JMI were primarily known as an electronics company rather than luthiers, and it certainly shows here. It was fitted with two Vox V1 pickups; not bad pickups at all, and the type widely used on UK-built Vox guitars throughout the period of Vox production. The neck had no adjustable truss rod, and the bridge was not height adjustable, making any set up and intonation adjustments very difficult indeed. However it was cheap, and a great first guitar for younger UK guitarists.

Like many other early Vox guitars, it had the highly impractical coaxial TV-aerial type input - something very quickly replaced on most examples, but still present on this example.

Later, (certainly by mid 1963) the Vox Shadow was redesigned along the lines of the Stratocaster that Hank Marvin was then using: bright red finish, tremolo, Strat-styled body and six in a row tuning keys. Have a look at a 1963 Strat-styled Vox Shadow here. Electronically it was unchanged, at least initially; still two pickups, each with a volume control, and a master tone control, though just a year later it was upgraded further with a third pickup (see a 1964 Vox Shadow).

Vox Shadow from the 1962 Vox "Choice of the Stars" catalogue

This incarnation of the Vox Shadow was short lived, and only made one catalogue appearance; from the 1962/63 Vox catalogue

With the same basic specification as the Stroller model but with additional controls which provide a wide variety of tonal effects. Red or white cellulose finish.

Vox V1 pickup, fitted to a 1963 Vox Shadow
The Vox Shadow was fitted with two single-coil Vox V1 pickups mounted to the guitars scratchplate.
Vox V1 pickup with Vox logo
The V1 pickup often had the Vox logo on one or both pickup covers. Pickups were height adjustable with two screws for each pickup.
Vox Shadow volume/tone controls
A volume control for each pickup, and one master tone control - typical early 1960s white plastic knobs
Vox Shadow with floating wooden bridge
Lower end Vox guitars with a fixed tailpiece were fitting with this lightweight floating wooden bridge.
Vox Shadow coaxial input
The coaxial input is mounted onto the side of the body. Later versions of the Shadow had them attached to the pickguard.
Vox Shadow neck joint and neck plate
The earliest Vox guitars did not have a neckpate, but the neck is still held in place by four screws.
Vox Shadow front of headstock
Vox Shadow front of headstock. The three keys per side headstock layout was replaced with a six in a row in late 1963.
Vox Shadow reverse headstock
Reverse headstock. The open gear, three-on-a-plate tuning keys were only used on the very earlist of UK Vox guitars. The five digit serial number is stamped just above the lower plate.
Vox Shadow headstock logo
Headstock decal has no 'Vox', simply the model name. These decals are incredibly undurable, and finding them damaged or peeling is quite common.

The body laminations can be seen in the neck pocket below. The body itself is routed for two pickups, or one central pickup; the same body was used for the Vox Stroller and Vox Shadow.

Vox Shadow
Vox Shadow wiring - a look under the scratchplate
Vox Shadow

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Vintage 1963 Vox AC30 JMI Copper Panel 2x12 Combo

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