The Vox Dominator was a mid-priced three-pickup solid body electric guitar, produced in the UK in the from mid-late 1962, before being renamed the Vox Shadow in early 1964. It was well equipped, with three pickups, and Vox Standard Tremolo, but without the radiused fretboard of the higher end Vox models. The guitar was an attempt to provide a low-priced Fender Stratocaster-style guitar, which it did pretty well.
So why was the Dominator renamed? This would seem to be primarily about Hank Marvin, lead guitarist with the Vox-endorsing Shadows. In the early 1960s, The Shadows were the British band. The Beatles were yet to break through, and the Shadows lead the way in terms of guitar groups. Hank Marvin had played an Antoria/Guyatone LG-50 guitar for several years in the late 1950s and the UK-built Vox Shadow (check out this example) was effectively a copy of this. Then, in 1960, Hank Marvin got a red Strat. Naturally JMI wanted their 'Shadow' to represent what Hank Marvin was playing, although this was a gradual evolution. First, in early 1963 the Shadow body style was changed - the same Strat-style as the Dominator, but still with two pickups. A year later and the three-pickup Dominator was renamed the Shadow, with the two-pickup version becoming the Duotone. Guitars with the three-pickup configuration of the Dominator are not unusual, though early examples actually designated 'Dominator' are far less common than those from a year or more later designated 'Shadow'.
There was one other subtle difference between the 1962 Dominator and the 1964 Shadow - there was a slight lengthening of the top body horn at some point in 1963.
The Dominator was described as follows in the 1963 Precision in Sound catalog (with the Shadows on the cover - Hank Marvin with his red Strat in the foreground)
This fine professional type model has the basic specification of the Shadow guitar plus in addition, a flick action change switch that provides at a touch a complete change of tone, adding tremendous colour to its performance. With three Vox pick ups. Red or white finish.
Although white is listed as a finish option, it would seem the majority of Vox Dominator guitars were shipped in red.
Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1963 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Vox advertisements
Vox Dominator - Vox Guitars (1963)
This advertisement comes from a book: the Shadows modern electric guitar tutor. The Shadows were a very well known British band, and guitarist Hank Marvin designed the Tremolo (you can see his sign...
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