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VOX | ULTRASONIC

Vox Ultrasonic V268

Hollow bodied electric guitar with built-in effects

Vox Ultrasonic description | sound clips | Ultrasonic XII

Late sixties sunburst Vox Ultrasonic
From behind. The protective pad that clips to the rear of the body covers the access panel

Front and rear views of a late sixties Vox Ultrasonic. The protective pad that clips to the rear of the body covers the access panel

The Vox Ultrasonic, or V268, was one of Vox's late sixties semi acoustic models sporting built in electronic effects. It was modelled on the thinline semi acoustic models such as the Gibson ES335, but without the set neck (it was a bolt-on), and central maple block (it was completely hollow). This made it more akin to guitars such as the Fender Coronado or Hagstom Viking, but with its own unique features - teardrop headstock, and built in effects.

The original Vox literature describes the Ultrasonic as follows:

A beautiful double cutaway electric acoustic guitar. Has built-in E tuner, distortion booster, treble and bass booster, Wah-Wah, repeat percussion. Has a completely new Vox easy-to-fret fast-neck with the famous Vox double T-bar and adjustable steel rod. Two exclusive Vox Ferro-sonic pickups for wide range high fidelity, Has new positive action adjustable spring tremolo.

They were produced at the E.M.E (Elettronica Musicale Europea) factory in Recanati from 1967, and feature a 'made in Italy' decal on the reverse of the headstock. It came in 6 and twelve string versions (the twelve string, Ultrasonic XII V275 had a slightly different shaped headstock, and headstock markings) and in two colours, cherry and sunburst. As a high end model, it featured block inlays, front and back binding and headstock ornamentations not seen on other models.

Vox Ultrasonic effects

The built in effects are rather interesting, consisting of an E-tuner (plays a quiet E note), treble/bass boost, distortion (mild overdrive to full blown 60s fuzz), repeater, and palm-operated wah wah pedal. They are powered by a 9V battery accessible through a circular cover under the pad at the rear of the body. An identical model with the exception of having no wah wah was also produced; the V267 Cheetah, and with no tremolo the V289 Viper.

Vox Ultrasonic V268 - A wild new happening from Vox: electronic guitars! One of the first adverts for the Vox built-in guitar effects. This one features the Vox Ultrasonic.
The world's first guitars with built-in distortion, Wah-Wah, E or G tuner, bass and treble boosters; even repeat percussion. Puts everything right at your fingertips. Lets you work free from the amp—away from footswitches. Just flick a switch on the guitar for distortion. Flick another to boost bass or treble. Other switches control Wah-Wah, repeat percussion and the built-in tuner. There's never been anything like Vox electronic guitars. Their necks are super fast. Their Ferro-Sonic pickups lay out incredible sounds. There are bass, six and twelve string models — in a gang of shapes; choice of effects. Vox electronic guitars. At your Vox dealer's now. Take the trip. Play Vox: it's what's happening.

These effects are broadly similar to the Vox effect pedals available in the mid to late sixties, and all can be heard on the Vox Ultrasonic sound clips page. Each has an on/off switch, and all (with the exception of the wah-wah) have a control. This sets the speed for the repeater, level of fuzz for the distortion, and bass/treble response for the boost. When combined, an amazing array of psychedelic sounds can be produced without really playing the guitar at all - just letting it feed back on itself. The least useful of all the effects is the wah wah - not because there is anything wrong with it, just that it is considerably more difficult to operate than a foot pedal (you push the triangluar lever with the palm of your picking hand).

Vox Ultrasonic - treble/bass boost on/off switch and control
Vox Ultrasonic - wah-wah on/off switch and palm control
Vox Ultrasonic - headstock ornamentation
Vox Ultrasonic - Ferro-sonic pickup
Vox Ultrasonic - tailpiece detail
Vox Ultrasonic - f-hole detail

Catfish Collins plays a solo on his Vox Ultrasonic with James Brown and Brother Bootsy (in the back row). Live in Paris 1972. Fantastic! Click the central arrow to play the video

The most famous user is Catfish Collins, brother of Bootsy Collins who can be seen getting down with this funky guitar on performances with James Brown - right (live at Olympia, Paris 1972), and shortly afterwards with George Clintons Funkadelic.

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Vox Ultrasonic for sale

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Vox Viper 1968 - Cherry, BJM

Vox Viper 1968 - Cherry, BJM

London, W1G***, UNITED KINGDOM

£4225

Lots of finish checking, but works well with good sound and a particularly comfortable neck for a Vox. This specific guitar was borrowed by Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre to be his guitar for his 2010 US tour when his own guitar was being repaired (I added a couple of pics taken off the internet of him with it). He picked this as his preferred one amongst six Vox guitars I had at the time
It does not have the pickguard and the back pad, and the tailpiece is missing the "Vox" ... more
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Vox Ultrasonic Chitarra

Vox Ultrasonic Chitarra

Montecatini Terme , 51***, ITALY

€5500

Vox Ultrasonic Chitarra. Vox Ultrasonic 67 / 68, in ottimo stato considerando l??età, tutte le parti sono originali, gli effetti non funzionano, necessitano di un tecnico ,nel complesso la chitarra è in ottimo stato custodia vox originale inclusa
Vox Ultrasonic 67 / 68, in very good condition considered his age, all parts are original, the effects doesen??t works, they need a technician, original vox hardcase included
Se interessati contattatemi per il servizio spedizione contact me ... more
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Find more Vox Ultrasonic for sale at vintageguitarsforsale.co

There are 24 comments on this article so far. Add your comment

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Gordon Burling Comment left 6th September 2023 23:11:23 reply
I have a 1967 Vox Ultrasonic. Here is 4 of the Serial 3740_ _. Some mods have been made. E tuner is now the overall volume knob. A kill toggle was added. Still very playable. Tks Gord
Lucas Comment left 24th April 2022 04:04:15 reply
I just read about Anton Newcombe and the Brian Jones Town Massacre having their gear stolen in Portland while on tour. That really sucks and my heart goes out to them. Among the stolen guitars was a Cherry Vox Ultrasonic 12 string and a Sunburst Vox Starstream 12 string. Unfortunately we do not know the serial numbers or the idiosyncrasies of these specific guitars however trying to sell them on the open market will not be easy since they are extremely rare and only come up for sale once or twice a year if at all. I urge everyone to record their serial numbers and to make photographs of specific things that might make their guitar stand out from others, (cracks, chips, dents, differences from normal production, changed or missing parts, etc.). There is also a registry for stolen guitars on line where you can list your stolen guitar or check the serial number of a guitar that you are thinking of buying in case it may be stolen property. http://stolenguitarregistry.com/ Honestly, in this day and age of globally connected social media, it should be easy to eventually find stolen guitars. They will always turn up. And if a serial number has been scratched out or manipulated then treat it as suspicious and don’t buy it.
GIORGIO Comment left 21st May 2020 11:11:55 reply
Mi ritrovo una VOX GRAND PRIX del 1967 cherry gemella dell'Ultrasonic . Matricola 395564. Dovrei venderla. Interessa qualcuno?
Rick Comment left 10th June 2019 03:03:46 reply
Hi Lucas - I've had my VOX Ultrasonic 12 string for over 30 years now and its in great shape. However, the palm Wah-Wah lever is missing. Any leads on how to get a replacement wah handle? P.S. Serial 403428 Thanks, Rick
Lucas Comment left 17th March 2017 13:01:45 reply
Hey, this is a call out to ALL Vox Ultrasonic owners! I am documenting the serial numbers of all known Ultrasonics out there. If you have an Ultrasonic then please post your number here or contact me. So far I have about 24 documented. If your guitar has some idiosyncrasies then please describe them. The idea behind this is to find out how many Ultrasonics are really out here, rumor has it that only around 200 were made but me thinks that number is way too low. Thanks!
Vicki Heath Comment left 24th February 2019 00:12:20 reply
My dad just passed away and I have his Vox Ultrasonic. He bought it new in the late 60's and has taken very good care of it. It looks like it is brand new. I haven't had a chance to play it yet...probably needs new strings. I played it some when I was in high school and it was a fun guitar. Serial number 406896.
Lucas Comment left 15th March 2019 10:10:23 reply
Hello Vicki, Thanks for the info and my condolences for your loss. This must be quite a late model as it has the highest serial number to date. Any other details? Does it have pin stripes on the back of the neck? Is it cherry or sunburst? Don't forget that if you want to play it through an amplifier you will need to install a 9v battery in the back. So far I have a list of 29 serial numbers for both the V268 6 string and the V275 12 string. It is truly a wonderful guitar so take good care of it and if you ever want to sell it drop me a line!(: Cheers, Lucas
Duccio Baldassini Comment left 2nd August 2020 14:02:39 reply
Hello. Mine is Cherry and serial is 356509 bought in 1969 in Italy, but I don't know if it is the product year.
Steve Comment left 4th July 2019 17:05:45 reply
Hey Lucas, Well I just had mine stolen from my van after coming back from tour! So there's one out there right now that I'd love to get back! It's a cherry one and the serial is 392908. It was missing the pad on the back and had no scratchplate, all effects worked to a good standard apart from the E tuner which was not functioning. Stolen from my van in North London UK 25th June 2019
Jesus A Barbosa Comment left 15th June 2020 18:06:22 reply
My Ultrasonic has the serial number 394458
Mark Comment left 16th February 2021 19:07:59 reply
Hi, My 12-string Ultrasonic has the serial number 356512. Can you list all the other numbers you've collected?
Mike Spenser Comment left 6th May 2021 00:12:02 reply
Got a beautiful cherry red Ultravox with pinstrips on the back of the neck, everything works, the wah wah is fantastic and have no trouble to play it along with the other effewcts at the same time. It is one of many Vox guitars I had and still have. I've sold the 2 Phantom VI Specials because this Ultravox does trhe same but has a smoother action. Sold the Vox Organ guitar, too heavy to stand and play with. I've still got the Delta Bass and Delta 6 string. My Utravox is withthe original case. Serial number is 381697. Any idea what year this is from?
JB Comment left 21st February 2017 01:01:31 reply
I'm looking to replace my Ultrasonic neck. The one it came with was not the original neck because the previous owner replaced it with a different vox neck. Finding an original neck has been fruitless for the last 10 years. Can someone point me to somewhere that has a neck that will fit?
Lucas Comment left 17th March 2017 13:01:09 reply
You could ask PorkyPrimeCut over at Offsetguitars if he wants to sell his extra ultrasonic neck. Cheers.
corey Comment left 21st June 2016 15:03:19 reply
I have one of these but am missing the wah triangular palm controller. If someone has one, could the please send me some decent pics of it? I am planning on machining one out of aluminum. Thanks. -C
Tom Mauthe Comment left 5th October 2015 18:06:05 reply
I have a Vox Ultrasonic V268 I bought back in 1967 when I was in 9th grade and in love with music. Today I'm 62 years old and still have the guitar. From over the years I have some electronic problems with the guitar and haven,t fix them. Have played the guitar in many years. I would like to sell my guitar with it's original case as is hoping someone would fix it for themselves and enjoy it as I did. If your interested in buying this Beautiful guitar let me know on my e-mail
Joe H Comment left 25th October 2015 02:02:29 reply
Hi Tom Mauthe- Im interested in your vox hollow body-what is your email? mine is guitarzan2000@aol.com thank you for sharing your post!
gabriel Comment left 4th December 2015 18:06:53 reply
Hi Tom, did you sell your ultrasonic?
Sean smith Comment left 5th August 2015 04:04:20 reply
Is the logo on the vox ultrasonic a decal or is it ingraved ECt I'm looking to reproduce one for my project guitar and I was seeking where I could find one ora direction to get one made thanks so much
Michael Comment left 2nd February 2015 09:09:40 reply
I'd played one of these for a while back in the late sixties. I'd forgotten the name, but a little web search led me here. I can tell you one of the possible reasons this instrument didn't stay around long. Playing the wah-wah with the heel of the hand wasn't hard and in some ways it beat having a floor full of pedals. But the little triangular control tended to rotate and would get stuck under the whammy bar--always in the maximum treble position. This in turn would cause a terrible squealing feedback. Audiences (then and now) generally know that if there's a bad sound, it must be the guitarist's fault. I endured many a dirty stare while I tried to get that wah-wah unstuck.
Brian Atkinson Comment left 9th October 2014 16:04:11 reply
Hi any one got info on the THOMAS version of the ulta sonic ? same as the Vox but with the Thomas logo.....
Jason Combs Comment left 26th October 2013 06:06:05 reply
Nice little review. I disagree though, with your assessment of the wah. I loved the wah on my Vox. It was easy, responsive, I could operate it a lot more carefufully than a foot pedal. The e-drone was not quiet. It was loud. A lot of fun. The tuners were great, the neck was perfect, a fine guitar, and what a great deluxe case! Only hitch, the pickups were horrible. Little crappy microphones, you could sing into them. At anythiong like one tenth of stage volume, it fed back horribly. It was only good for recording or practice, so I gave mine up. I could kick myself. My Untrasonic will always be missed. A guitar like it would cost at least $3800 today, but it'd have Filtertrons and would sound much better.
jownzy Comment left 12th December 2012 06:06:01 reply
Anybody have a source for the poppers that screw onto the body and hold the back pad? Doesn't have to be original Vox, just need a working equivalent.
Vox parts wanted Comment left 30th July 2012 06:06:18 reply
Hi I am restoring a late 1960s Vox. It plays, but I need some spare parts. I need an E tuner circuit, a set of the cream control knobs, and the neck plate. Can't wait to gig this. Can anyone help me out?

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1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

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1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

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1971 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns' catalog

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1972 Fender Precision bass

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1967 Vox Stroller

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1963 Vox Clubman Bass (left handed)

1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale

1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.

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

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

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)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

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.