Vox V.G.12 twelve string

Gretsch-style semi-acoustic guitar

Vox VG12 twelve string guitar
Scratchplate with V.G.12 model designation

Scratchplate with V.G.12 model designation

Welson pickup

The pickups in the V.G.12 were made by Italian guitar manufacturere Welson

The upper bout has two switches; a tone choke for each pickup

The upper bout has two switches; a tone choke for each pickup

The lower bout holds the pickup selector switch: bridge, neck, or both pickups

The lower bout holds the pickup selector switch: bridge, neck, or both pickups

The Vox VG12 was part of the 'Giant' series of guitars (and bass); a completely redesigned range produced in Japan to replace the Italian-made models of the mid sixties by Eko and Crucianelli. Although broadly of the Gibson 335 style, it borrowed more heavily from the Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman / 6120 Nashville guitars; the controls are very much the same, although the Vox had a bolt-on neck, rather than the set-neck of the Gretsch. Other than control layout, features in common include the gold-plated hardware, bound neck and body, painted f-holes (the Gretsch models had painted f-holes until 1972). There is no central solid block running the length of the body.

The sixties had started very well for Vox, but by 1967 things were going wrong. By 1969, when the VG12 was launched, Vox had changed ownership twice (initially a takeover by Royston Industries, who went under, and then, briefly the Corinthian Bank) and the company was renamed VOX Sound Limited. Guitar companies had long been under pressure from cheaper Japanese competitors, and Vox were not the only company to move production to Japan. The VG range may well have been made by (according to fetishguitars.com) the Tombo Company; there are identical models appearing in the Teisco catalogues of the period.

Vox V.G.12 - The Coming of the Giants

Vox V.G.12 - The Coming of the Giants - This 1969 Vox advert heralds the launch of a range of 12 new Vox guitars; the Vox Giants. pictured is the 12-string VG12. Vox was in serious decline at this point, and this new range did nothing to revive the companies fortunes

The first adverts appeared in March 1969, with the guitar shown at the 1969 British Musical Instrument Fair in London, later that year. The VG12 was short-lived, with Vox being re-sold in 1970 and then again in 1972, by which time they were concentrating on amplifiers alone.

Welson pickups, as used in the Vox VG12
1969 Vox V.G.12 control layout

Although this guitar was of Japanese origin, the pickups were actually made by Italian guitar manufacturer Welson. Like the rest of the hardware, they were gold-plated. As can be seen the windings surround two magnetic strips, with the pole-pieces situated outside the coil.

The two swiches on the top bout are tone chokes. When flicked downwards, a capacitor is activated that cuts some of the lower frequencies of the pickup, giving a very clear, bell-like tone. The diagram below shows the other controls: volume, tone, standby switch, and pickup selector.

Sound Clips

All clips were recorded through a Marshall Valvestate 8080 amplifier, clean channel all amp settings on 5/10, guitar settings 10/10, except where specified.

These first clips are just a few straight forward chords to demonstrate the basic sound, and contrast choked/unchoked settings

Both pickups unchoked/ both choked

Both pickups neck choked/ bridge choked

Neck pickup unchoked/ choked

Neck pickup, unchoked, tone 0

Bridge pickup unchoked/ choked

This next batch of clips show some more typical guitar parts played with this guitar. Again all clips were recorded as above.

Both pickups unchoked

Both pickups choked

Both pickups bridge choked

Neck pickup, unchoked, tone 0

Bridge pickup unchoked
Vox V.G.12 in Greenburst finish
Vox V.G.12 in Cherry Red finish

Some instruments also came with a gold-plated Tremolo arm, although the actual tailpiece was unchanged with or without it. At least three finishes were available, sunburst, cherry red and a greenburst. The two guitars shown here are incomplete (left - no pickguard, right incorrect control knobs), and both have had their pickups rotated. Both images coutesey fetishguitars.com

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