|1962 Vox Advertisment|
|Tom Jenning and Dick Denny|
|Vox Ace - Stoller - Clubman Bass|
In 1962 Fender guitars and basses were not available for sale in the UK. Vox’s initial run of guitars were low priced.
Vox Phantom. Jennings introduced this in his 1962 catalog. It was originally manufactured by the cabinet company, but very soon was made in Italy by the EKO company. Though the shape of the guitar was unlike a Fender Stratocaster, the equipment could have been right off of one.
Mark VI or Teardrop model. It had a lute-shaped body and the prototype came with two single coil pickups and a Bigsby style bridge unit. Advertisements surfaced showing Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones playing the guitar. He even used it on an Ed Sullivan Show appearance.
Bill Wyman, the groups bassist playing the bass model. In fact the bass model was marketed as the Wyman Bass. Although it is doubtful that Wyman ever used the bass on any recordings.
As the sound became popular Vox introduced the Phantom XII; the 12 string version of the Phantom. It saw prominent use with the British band The Hollies.
A stereo version of the Phantom XII was introduced that had split pickups and a built-in mixer that enabled the sound to be sent to separate amplifiers. Hamer later incorporated a similar feature on their 12 string basses.
|Vox Organ Guitar|
Vox had a hit with the Continental Organ that was played by all of the British Invasion Bands. Vox incorporated the organ circuitry into a guitar. The frets were electrified and became contacts for notes. The guitar had buttons on its front that were similar to those found on a chord organ. Effects, such as vibrato and percussion were built-in. This instrument is a story unto itself that was told in an earlier article.
|Vox Delta Phantom|
This technology and development in Vox effects lead to the introduction of guitars with built-in effects; the Delta Phantom, the Starstream Teardrop and the Delta Phantom bass. It was in 1967 that Vox introduced a series of guitars that featured a fuzztone, percussive tremolo, treble/bass boost and a wah-wah effect operated by the heel of the player’s hand. The guitars came with a built-in E-tuner, which was a switch that activated an oscillating circuit which played a high E note.
A vintage Starstream recently sold (in 2014) for $2500. Vox was the first company to design and market a wireless microphone system. Most of the guitars from this era were made in Italy by Eko.
the best Vox instruments ever made, but for the fact their unique factor was gone. Vox guitars looked like every 1980's electric guitar. In 1985 production was moved to Korea.
Korg LTD, a Japanese music conglomerate acquired Vox in 1992 and began building Vox amplifiers in 1994. By 1995 Vox was producing a series of Stratocaster and Super Strat inspired guitars and basses known as the White Shadow and White Shadow M series.
North Coast Music of Minnesota.
North Coast has been a distributor for Vox amplifiers since 1991 and is the USA’s largest distributor of Vox products.
|Mark III Prototypes|
|Brian Jone personal Mark VI|
|50th Anniversary Mark III|
In 2007 Korg/Vox introduced a 50th Anniversary limited edition Mark III Brian Jones model with 57-07 engraved on the neck.
Along with this, Vox introduced a 50th Anniversary Bass guitar that is similar to the one Bill Wyman advertised and endorsed.
Mark III and Mark V. The Mark III is the "droplet" shape and the Mark V is the "coffin shape."
These guitars are not offered in the United States. Possibly due to the following legal action.
Phantom Guitarworks was started by guitar builder and player Jack Charles Meussdorffer over 21 years ago. Meussdorffer makes exquisite reproductions of the Phantom, Teardrop and Mandoguitar models under the trade name Phantom Guitars.
Korg LTD, as I have said, acquired Vox from its previous owners in 1992 when Vox sales reached low ebb.
Korg was quick to introduce their version of the AC30 and AC15 which are made in China.
They have since followed with many amps in the Vox tradition and some new versions. However Korg has never shown much interest in the Vox guitars. They have built some guitars with the Vox brand that look nothing like the Vox’s of the 1960’s and 70’s.
Meussendorffer’s attorney filed a counter-claim.
Korg’s legal argument against the trade name Phantom Guitars is that the names, Phantom and Teardrop and the shapes of the guitars have become generic and therefore public domain.
The Apache which is available on Amazon.com and Reverb.com. This guitar is in the Phantom and Teardrop Shape. It comes with a built-in amplifier and drum machine. It is marketed as a travel guitar. Take note, in all the advertisements the word Vox is not on the guitars headstock. Instead there is a image of an old airplane.
I am assuming because the shape is generic and in the public domain.
Although Korg LTD owns the trademark VOX, a British company known as JMI aka Jennings Musical Instrument is back and is making handcrafted amplifiers once again that look like the Vox AC series that we came to know during the British Invasion. This time it is under the name JMI. And they look exquisite. Currently there are only a handful of dealers in the U.K. and the U.S.A. I hope we hear more about these amplifiers soon.
As an added note, JMI has recreated and improved some of Vox's most famous effects such as the Tone Bender and the Rangemaster. These were all redesigned by their creator Gary Hurst.