VOX | BASS GUITARS | BASSMASTER

Vox Bassmaster

Solid-body UK-built (JMI) bass

Two British-built Vox bassmaster basses, a 1963 (left) and a 1965 (right)

Two British-built Vox bassmaster basses, a 1963 (left) and a 1965 (right). These are less common colours; most are red.

Model: Vox Bassmaster
Produced: UK (JMI)
Production years: 1962-1966
Body: 17 5/8" x 12 1/4" x 1 1/4". Solid mahogany, agba(?), sycamore or ply (look for more curved edges on the solid wood bodies)
Neck: Necks are typically made from a single piece of sycamore, and do not feature an adjustable truss-rod. Rosewood fingerboard with dot position markers
Scale: 30"
Width at nut: 1 5/16"
Width at 12th fret: 1 11/16"
Hardware: Two UK Vox single-coil V1 pickups, Fender-style pressed aluminium bridge with Vox-engraved cover. Open gear tuners. Scratchplates are 1-ply white, changing to 3-ply w/b/w by early '64. Co-axial input jack.
Finishes: Red, white, sunburst

The Vox Bassmaster was one of Vox's earliest guitars, and probably their first bass. It was first advertised (alongside the Vox Contour bass, in December 1960). Vox guitar manufacture was in it's infancy, and unlike Vox amps, the first guitars were primarily aimed at entry level guitarists who were into the Shadows (one of the earliest British guitar bands who endorsed Vox amps, yet played Fender guitars). Short scale (30") and a thin neck made them ideal for younger hands. The Bassmaster was a loose Fender Precision copy, but smaller, and more economically manufactured. They were produced from late 1960 until at least early 1966. They were manufactured in the UK, the necks outsourced to furniture manufacturer G-plan with the electronics and assembly taking place at the JMI plant in Dartford.

Vox Bassmaster construction

Early versions were made with plywood bodies, sycamore neck (a European tree closely related to maple) and rosewood fingerboard (see this 1963 Vox Bassmaster). They also used mahogany (see this 1965 Vox Bassmaster) and sycamore as body material. Necks were thin: just 1 5/16" and without an adjustable truss rod. Vox catalogues only mention red and white polyester finish options, although various burst finishes were available, and perhaps black. But red was by far the most common colour.

1963 Vox Bassmaster bass - (lack of) contoured body profile

Naturally, the solid wood bodies are more desire able, and it is easy to see this if you examine the unpainted neck pocket. But even without taking the neck off you can often tell by looking at the curvature of the body edges - in the picture here the top guitar has a laminate body, the bottom is solid mahogany - notice the difference in shape. Click the image to see a larger version.

The Bassmaster had two Vox single coil pickups but very simplified electronics (wiring diagram). Just one volume and one tone control. The input was a coaxial tv aerial jack, positioned on the side of the bass until the second half of 1964, then mounted on the scratchplate from then on.

But sales were good and today, the Vox Bassmaster (along with the Clubman) is probably the most regularly seen of all vintage Vox basses in the UK, though maybe not so common elsewhere in the world. They don't sound bad either - have a listen to the Vox Bassmaster soundclips - a 1965 mahogany-bodied Bassmaster, through an Ampeg B15. I like the last clip with the tone rolled down.

1963 Vox catalogue

The Vox Bassmaster bass, as shown and described in the 1963 Vox catalogue

A British Vox bass

All Bassmasters were British-built, and when guitar production in the UK was superceded by the Italian-built Vox's, the basic body shape and thin neck lived on as the Vox Panther and Vox Hawk bass guitars.

When JMI folded, and Vox guitar production ceased in early 1968, leftover Bassmaster stock was sold on by Dallas Arbiter nominally unbranded (though potentially still with a Vox engraved bridge cover and pickups) simply as model 4533. This was at a somewhat reduced price of £21 1 8 (the 1967 list price was £28 15 0).

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60's Vox V263 Hawk bass guitar body

MANHEIM, PENNSYLVANIA, 17545, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$100

60's Vox V263 Hawk bass guitar body The body has been stripped of it's original finish. More Vox parts available, please visit our Ebay store. Rhoads Music, vintage Vox gear since 1989.... more

Vintage 1960's Vox Bass Bridge Hawk Cougar Phantom 1966 1965 1968 1967

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 60657, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$115

60's Vox bridge Original screws, measure 2 1 / 4" between farthest screw holes From a Hawk bass Check my Rating Bid with Confidence... more

Vintage 1960's Vox Bass Harness Pots Knobs Effects Hawk Cougar Phantom 1966 1965

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 60657, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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60's Vox bass electronics 500k x 2, 100k, 50k LESA Italian made Vox pots All original stuff, knobs, effects, name plates, etc Effects have not been tested, so throwing them in for free! They were not connected when i received it so i have no idea if they work. Pots do work fine though From a Hawk bass Check my Rating Bid with Confidence... more

Vintage 1960's Vox Bass Body 1960's Hawk Cougar Phantom 1965 1967 1966

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 60657, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$250

Solid 60's Vox Hawk bass body Comes with original back cover. No pad though Nice original rare white finish No issues, works great Check my Rating Bid with Confidence... more

VOX TEARDROP MARK IV PHANTOM PANTHER BASS PICKUP HARNESS NOS REPLACEMENT 1960's

FERNDALE, MICHIGAN, 48220, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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 FIRE SALE!!! Buying $$$$ some more cool guitars!!! PRICES go back UP at the end of the week! IN BUSINESS for 33 YEARS!! 45 YEARS EXPERIENCE! Brick and mortar to the end! Michigan Guitar Show Promoter since 1989! Google MMR magazine NAMM issue and read page 52-53 if you would like to read a bit about us. Just hit the streets recently! Here we have a 60's Vox Bass wiring harness. It is new old stock inventory from a closed up repair shop up north here in Michigan. It will work for just about ... more

Vintage 1966 Vox Panther Short Scale Electric Bass Guitar w Case

FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA, 22407, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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Vintage 1966 Vox Panther Short Scale Electric Bass Guitar w Case. Shipped with UPS Ground. Case included!... more

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