Vox Bouzouki

Twelve string solid body guitar

Although Vox was widely known for producing guitars and amplifiers, it also had a reputation for experimenting with other electric stringed instruments, such as the Hawaiian guitar and Mando guitar. But contrary to logic, the Vox "Bouzouki" was the name given to Vox's standard twelve string solid body guitar - not an actual Bouzouki.

Vox's broadly Fender-esque Bouzouki had three metal covered V1 pickups. The body was broadly similar in shape to the Symphonic bass, and was completed with a twelve string version of the Hank B. Marvin tremolo unit.

Vox Bouzouki electric twelve string guitar - from the Vox "precision in sound" catalogue, 1963

The following description comes from the Vox 'Precision in Sound' catalogue produced by JMI in the UK in 1963

A twelve string electric guitar constructed of solid lightweight hardwood. Contoured body finished in high lustre polyester. Choice of colours. Natural polished sycamore neck, with inset adjustable truss rod. Fitted with high grade single pole pickups and precision arranged electronic circuitry to provide maximum range of tone control. The six pairs of strings are tunable in accordance with requirements.

The Vox Bouzouki was included in the JMI price lists of 1963 and early 1964, but by September '64 it was gone. It was the first Vox twelve-string included in a Vox catalogue, and was only shipped in small numbers, compared to other Vox twelve strings; by the time the popularity of twelve strings had peaked, more interesting, models like the Phantom XII, Mark XII and Scorpion XII were available, perhaps rendering the more conventional-looking Bouzouki somewhat obsolete.

The last JMI price list to include the Bouzouki put it at £89 5s; as expensive as any Vox six-string in the line [six-strings were listed between £19 19s for the Stroller to £89 5s for the Soundcaster and Phantom], but £10 cheaper than the new Phantom XII.

In 1965, Vox greatly increased solid body guitar production, by subcontracting some manufacture to Eko in Italy. These guitars were generally produced for the United States market, but very small numbers made it to the UK. The Italian models were typically given different names: the Italian Fender-style 12-string was called the Vox Tempest XII, but at least one (presumably a sample from Eko) was sold in the UK with Bouzouki decals.

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