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VOX | SOLID BODIES | SHADOW

Vox Shadow

Solid body electric, produced in by JMI in the UK

Three versions of the Vox Shadow: early 1963 LG50-style Shadow, late 1963 dual-pickup Shadow and three pickup 1964 Shadow
Three versions of the Vox Shadow: early 1963 LG50-style Shadow, late 1963 dual-pickup Shadow and three pickup 1964 Shadow
1963 Vox ShadowThe Shadows circa 1961. Hank Marvin with his red Fender Stratocaster is on the left.

The story of Vox guitars is so often told, not from the beginning, but with the introduction of the Vox Phantom; Vox's first 'original' guitar. But really it starts earlier than that, and is intimately linked with a British guitar band of the period: the Shadows. They not only used Vox amplifiers, they appeared in just about all of Vox's early publicity, and guitarist Hank Marvin even designed a tremolo unit for Vox, fitted to high end solid bodies like the Vox Consort and Vox Phantom.

Under the ownership of JMI (Jennings Musical industries), Vox put out three distinct guitars named Vox Shadow. As eluded to earlier, all early Vox guitars were copies of guitars by other brands, and with some connection to the fore-mentioned Shadows. When the Shadows initially started endorsing Vox amplifiers (1958/59), guitarist Hank Marvin was playing a single cutaway Guyatone LG50 guitar (actually, his was branded Antoria, but otherwise the same). And it was no coincidence that two of the earliest Vox guitars were copies of this: the one-pickup Vox Stroller (after the popular 1950s dance the Stroll), and the two-pickup Vox Shadow.

Hank Marvin with Guyatone/Antoria guitarShadows guitarist Hank Marvin with his early Japanese Antoria/Guyatone guitar which inspired the earliest version of the Vox Shadow

These early Voxs were very basic guitars, small and lightweight, with a plywood body, the simplest of tailpieces, a very simple floating bridge and 3 on a plate open gear tuning keys. The scratchplate was simple, just single ply, and the neck had no adjustable truss rod, and no fretboard radius; but perhaps these guitars were not so different from the other guitars available in the UK at this time? They certainly must have appealed to the very many younger Shadows fans in early sixties Britain. Have a closer look at a 1963 LG-50 style Vox Shadow. Note the large scripted Shadow headstock logo.

Currency restrictions in the late 1950s, and comparatively high prices, meant American guitars were not generally imported into the UK. By the early 1960s though, better quality American guitars did start arriving, often with bands returning from US tours, or visiting American artists. These quickly set new standards in what was expected in an instrument. By 1960, Hank Marvin had replaced the Antoria LG50 with a Fiesta red Fender Stratocaster, (the first in the UK, specially imported for him by Cliff Richard) and the early 1960s Shadows sound was in some ways characterised by his use of the Strat with it's tremolo, through a Vox AC15 or AC30. Jennings became the UK distributor of Fender, outfitting the Shadows with Fender guitars, but there was still little chance of younger Shadows fans (or UK guitarists in general) being able to afford the real thing. This lead Vox to create a substitute, upgrading the Stroller and Shadow models with a Stratocaster-styled body and bright red finish. These still had one or two pickups, and a new 'Vox standard' tremolo (have a look at a 1963 Vox Shadow). Finally, the headstock was redesigned to a typical six-in-a-row Stratocaster-style. This version sold well, and is perhaps the most widely seen version of the Shadow. Soon an extra model was added to the line; otherwise identical to the Shadow, but with a third pickup, the Vox Dominator.

Finally, by the middle of 1964, the two-pickup Vox Shadow was renamed the Vox Duotone, and the three-pickup Vox Dominator became the Vox Shadow - have a closer look at a 1964 Vox Shadow. The guitar was improving, and many mid sixties onwards Vox guitars had solid bodies (usually mahogany and agba) rather than laminate. Guitars were being exported to the United States, with export guitars having a 'made in England' label on the reverse of the headstock, or a plaque, usually on the back of the body. Note the black plastic knobs that were usually fitted to these three-pickup models.

The Shadow sold well up until the mid 1960s, with the vast majority in the UK, although many were also exported. Instruments produced for the United States were distributed by the Thomas Organ company. These guitars were typically labelled 'Made in England', either with a circular plate on the reverse of the body, or a sticker on the headstock; they often had upgraded hardware, such as metal control knobs, rather than plastic control knobs and a standard jack input. Production continuing into 1966 and perhaps in small numbers into 1967. Later examples of the Vox Shadow can be characterised by the solid wood body (mahogany) and thicker scratchplate (with wide black edge).

The Shadow had a UK model reference number 234, although the Thomas Organ company gave it a code V-2-8, or V208 in the US. Have a look at the 1966 Vox Shadow parts list produced by Thomas Organ for American dealers.

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VOX White Shadow M Series Japan Keystone Blue vintage superstrat electric 60 80

VOX White Shadow M Series Japan Keystone Blue vintage superstrat electric 60 80

Betws-y-Coed, LL24***, UNITED KINGDOM

£600


My guitar playing days are over alas, so here is one of the last of my once extensive collection?? I don??t know why I have been holding Onto this one?? Certainly not one of the most valuable or glamorous of my collection, just very playable?? Looking for a new home??
The Vox White Shadow was made between the years of 1984 and 1986. The White Shadow M Series was made in Korea in the late 80's and has a very different body shape
The Vox from the 60's was just called the Shadow, it was ... more
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Vox Clubman Short Scale Bass

Vox Clubman Short Scale Bass

London, SW2***, UNITED KINGDOM

£285

Rare vox clubman short scale bass with custom head stock. Intonation needs a tune up and pots need servicing so consider this when purchasing. Comes with strap and gig bag
... more
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Rare VOX White Shadow  Late 1970s Bass Guitar Made in Japan Road worn Condition.

Rare VOX White Shadow Late 1970s Bass Guitar Made in Japan Road worn Condition.

Market Rasen Binbrook, LN8***, UNITED KINGDOM

£600

Rare VOX White Shadow Late 1970s Bass Guitar Made in Japan Road worn Condition
Great vintage Bass. shows signs of use mostly on the body, neck and frets are in extremally good condition. Electrics have been cleaned and where needed re soldered. Great sounding vintage bass and action is very good to
If you like your bass guitars in mint condition this is not for you. the signs of ageing fit the age of the guitar. no damage
Collection from my music Warehouse Lincolnshire Binbrook LN8 ... more
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VOX WHITE SHADOW M-SERIES BLACK RARISSIMA!! 1983 BELLISSIMA MADE IN JAPAN

VOX WHITE SHADOW M-SERIES BLACK RARISSIMA!! 1983 BELLISSIMA MADE IN JAPAN

Ameglia, 19***, ITALY

€458

CHITARRA VOX WHITE SHADOW M-SERIES MADE IN JAPAN, ANNO 1983, TENUTA IN STATO PIU' CHE OTTIMO SIA ESTETICAMENTE CHE QUALITATIVAMENTE CHITARRA DI DIFFICILISSIMA REPERIBILITA', SUONA BENISSIMO E LA TASTIERA E' MOLTO SCORREVOLE, CON LEVA TREMOLO TUTTA ORIGINALE NO FODERO SPEDIZIONE GRATUITA CON ALTRO CORRIERE (NO SDA)
FREE SHIPPING ITALY ONLY
... more
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1963 Vox Stroller Made In England JMI

1963 Vox Stroller Made In England JMI

Buntingford, SG9***, UNITED KINGDOM

£220

A classic English 1963 made in England guitar
Feels and sounds like Carnaby street and The Searchers
All working and checked by professional Luthier
... more
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1964 Vox Shadow electric guitar JMI UK

1964 Vox Shadow electric guitar JMI UK

Milton Keynes, MK6***, UNITED KINGDOM

£500

Really nice 1964 three-pickup Vox Shadow. Good clean condition with original case and blue Vox pouch
Built in the UK by JMI. 5-digit serial number on the back of the headstock
The serial number is 48388 and pots date to April 1964. Headstock decals in great condition
Rare to see one in such a nice state as this! This has the original coaxial output jack, so you will need to make up a cable for this if you don't already have one. Circuitry is all original. The three way switch is a bit... more
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1964 Vox Clubman guitar project UK JMI

1964 Vox Clubman guitar project UK JMI

Milton Keynes, MK6***, UNITED KINGDOM

£150

Nice Vox Clubman project - sold as seen: body, neck, tuners, tailpiece, neck plate and bolts
Built in the UK by JMI. 5-digit serial number on the back of the headstock
Comes with a flipped-over new old stock Vox Clubman lefty scratchplate, It is the exact same size but obviously the bevel is on the wrong side. It will work until you can find a right-handed one
The serial number is 47969 and it is dated April 30th 1964. Headstock decals in great condition. Tuners complete with all ... more
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1964 Vox Shadow Tremolo Electric Guitar Red - Made in England

1964 Vox Shadow Tremolo Electric Guitar Red - Made in England

Nottingham, NG1***, UNITED KINGDOM

£495

Vox Shadow electric guitar dating from 1964, made in England
A vintage classic made by Vox, produced in response to growing demand in Britain for triple pickup, tremolo-adorning red electric guitars! As supplied by Selmer etc during the 60s
Specs:
3x Vox pickupsVox tremolo systemLight wood neck with rosewood fingerboardDot inlaysChicken head notched selector switch3x volume / tone controls
Condition:
Excellent condition, well looked after and playing nicely. Super thin and ... more
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imhankmarvin Comment left 21st April 2013 07:07:05 reply
Good to see some detailed information on these guitars. You don't find too many people that know Vox did anything other than phantoms and teardrops. I do have a soft spot for a lot of these early UK designs I must say.

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1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

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1959 Hofner Committee

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1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

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1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

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Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

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1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.