In the beginning of the 1960s, Vox owner, JMI were primarily an electronics company; able to build amplifiers and simple solid-body electric guitars. But with the rise of semi-acoustic guitars like the Gibson ES-335 there was significant demand for hollow body or semi-hollow guitars. Vox did not initially have the tooling, or workers with the necessary skills, to create such instruments. For this reason, construction was outsourced: the majority of Vox hollow body guitars were made in Italy, by Crucianelli and Eko.
The first Vox electric acoustic was the hand-built Vox Victor, produced in very small numbers by luthier Vic da Costa. Although a well built guitar, there was no way that this small operation could ever fill the rapidly growing demand for electric acoustics in the massively expanding guitar market of the early-mid 1960s.
The next stage in Vox electric acoustic story was via Italian guitar makers Crucianelli. Whilst JMI continued to produce solid bodies in the UK, production of two new semi-acoustic guitar models, the Lynx and Challenger, began in Italy. Versions of these guitars were also sold under different brands: Crucianelli, √Člite, and Imperial.
As demand for guitars increased still, Vox were simply unable to keep up, especially for worldwide export. Solid body guitar production for the UK remained in the UK, but Eko were increasingly building solid body and electric acoustic guitars for the rest of the world. Eko-built semi-acoustics included the Vox Bobcat, Vox Student Prince, Vox Super Lynx, Vox New Orleans, Vox Tornado, Mark VI acoustic, Vox Super Lynx Deluxe, Vox Wildkat and Vox Typhoon.
In 1966, JMI did finally offer a British-made electric acoustic, the Spitfire VI. This was not related to the Vox Spitfire solid body produced by Eko; it was a companion model to the newly launched Wyman bass.
Finally, in 1967, Vox and Eko set up a joint venture, with the US Vox distributor, the Thomas Organ company: the EME plant in Recanati, Italy, building Vox guitars and basses, primarily for the American Market. Models included the Vox Apollo, Aristocrat, Bossman, Cheetah, Grand Prix, Saturn Starstream and Ultrasonic. Many of these guitars had built-in effects: fuzz, treble/bass boost, repeater; have a listen to some Vox Ultrasonic sound clips.
As the 1960s came to an end, JMI were bought out. The EME plant continued to supply Thomas Organ in the US with guitars, but UK buyers were offered two new (but ultimately short-lived) semi acoustics: the VG6 and twelve string VG12. These rebadged Japanese guitars were not bad instruments, broadly Gretsch-styled, but without the interest or appeal of the British and Italian models.
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