1965 Vox Ace

Second version Vox Ace, redesigned in late 1963

1965 Vox Ace
Model: 1965 Vox Ace
Scale: 25 3/4"
Body: Solid wood (agba?) body, sunburst finish. Total length 37", Body length 18 1/2", 12" wide, 1.3" thick.
Neck: Sycamore neck. Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays. No adjustable truss rod. 19 frets. Width at nut 1 11/16". Attached to the body with four screws.
Hardware: Open gear strip tuning keys. 1 volume and tone control, three-way pickup selector switch. Vox Ace-de-Luxe tremolo
Weight: 2.75 kg

The Vox Ace was available from at least early 1961, and up until at least 1966. It was one of the British models, made by JMI in Dartford, Kent, primarily aimed at the UK guitar market. The Ace was also exported to the United States in small numbers and can be considered the pre-curser to the Italian equivalent model the Vox Hurricane, which was largely distributed in America. The Vox Ace was very much a mid-level model, with a late 1965 price of £36 15S - compared to £17 17S for a dual pickup Vox Clubman, and £89 5S for the Vox Mark VI (the cheapest anmd most exepensive Vox six-strings available at that time).

The body itself was routed for three pickups, and, with a different (three-pickup) escutcheon, could simply be converted to the Vox Super Ace.

1964 Vox Precision in Sound Catalogue
This style of Vox Ace was shown in the Vox Ace Precision in Sound brochure produced sometime in 1964.

Over the years of production there were several changes in components, but the basic configuration of twin pickups, a single volume and tone control and de Luxe tremolo were constant throughout. The guitar shown here, from 1965 is typical of all the later Ace's: Vox V2 pickups; metal control knobs; thick, black-edged scratchplate; regular input jack (now positioned on the scratchplate, rather than body edge) and the shorter headstock. Compare this guitar to a 1963 Ace with earlier features.

Vox Ace 1963 redesign

1962 and 1965 Vox Ace guitars

The most significant change in the Vox Ace was the redesign of mid/late 1963. Aswell as the hardware changes outlined above, the body itself also changed; the size and thickness remained approximately the same, but the shape altered subtley, edges were now smoothely radiused, and the body wood changed from a laminate to a single solid piece. The example shown here is most likely agba, although other light-weight hardwoods such as mahogany may also have been used. The new neck was shorter (note the headstock shape) with 19 (as opposed to 21) frets, joining the body at the 15th fret (rather than the 16th). These were now made by furniture manufacturer G-plan in the UK, as opposed to Stuart Darkins who produced the earlier necks.

The differences can be seen in the image - left: 1963 Ace, right: 1965 Ace. The newer Vox Ace is considerably shorter than the older.

These changes resulted in an (arguably) far nicer guitar, which was both lighter in weight and more playable.

A closer look at the second version Vox Ace

1965 Vox Ace controls
The Vox Shadow had one master volume and one tone control, along with a three-way pickup selector switch. Earlier examples had white plastic control knobs, though by the time of this 1965 Ace they were the metal knurled-type, part number 09-314-0
Vox de Luxe Tremolo
The de Luxe tremolo was used on guitars with radiused fretboards. The bridge cover is marked VOX PAT APP FOR.
The older metal V1 pickups were upgraded to the new V2 units seen here sometime in late 1964
The older metal-covered V1 pickups were upgraded to the new V2 units seen here sometime in late 1964 (although were still fitted to entry level models like the Shadow and Stroller throughout the 1960s.
1965 Vox Ace reverse view
Reverse view, clearly showing the three-tone sunburst finish. The neck is held to the body with four screws.
Vox Ace serial number and tuning keys
The five digit serial number is stamped onto the reverse of the headstock. Note the open-gear strip tuning keys - part number 09-114-0.
Vox Ace neck pocket, heel and neck plate
Top: neck pocket detail. Middle: neck heel - note the date stamp, Oct 1965. Bottom: neck plate - this one is plain, though some 1966 and 1967 UK guitars had the serial number here.

As well as a much smaller headstock, the second version of the Vox Ace had a shorter neck (produced by G-plan in the UK), a zero fret, open gear, plastic button strip tuning keys, and somewhat different headstock transfers; the words 'Vox' and 'Ace' at placed at different ends of the headstock, and there is no 'JMI Dartford Kent'. This whole guitar is shorter, in part due to the neck/headstock size, but also due to the fact that the bridge is set further back on the body.

1963 and 1965 Vox Ace headstocks
Vox Ace headstock logo

And below the Vox Ace in it's original case.

1965 Vox Ace in it

The body itself was still routed for the three-pickup equivalent model the Super Ace; the addition of an extra pickup and associated controls being the only real difference between the two models. The wiring loom is very simple, with just a single volume and tone control, with three-way pickup selector switch. For more details of the loom, and circuit schematic, see the main Vox Ace page.

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