|Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Sargent Pepper recording session|
|Paul McCartney with 1967 Bassman|
We know that McCartney first used this amp in 1965 and continue to use it until 1967 in the recording studio.
This also may have been the first album where McCartney plugged his guitar directly into the mixing board for some of the songs.
After that Lennon and Harrison both put that Bassman to use. Lennon continued to use it in the studio on some of his solo work. This Fender Bassman was the 1964 6C6-B circuit and featured twin Utah 12” speakers. It was a similar circuit to the one used on in the same era Bandmaster.
|Beatles with Vox AC30's|
|1964 Vox AC30|
The Vox AC30 was a 30 watt class A amplifier, which technically speaking is very inefficient, because the power tubes are operating at full power. However class A is very pleasing to the ear and makes for a great performing amplifier.
The Vox AC30 had cathode biasing and no negative feedback loop. In my opinion the AC30 is one of the best amps ever made.
Despite the popularity of Vox amps in the U.K., the company was facing financial difficulties as early as 1964.
|Jennings and Denney|
Some of the former JMI employees cut a deal with the bank that held the assets and they were able to procure the Vox name. Vox equipment was then produced under the name Vox Sound Equipment until 1969 when yet another bankruptcy ensued.
|Vox Birch Stolec AC30|
But let’s back up to before 1967 when Sargent Pepper was being made. Even before that date, when the Beatles and other bands were touring, as early as 1964, the folks at Vox realized the AC30 at full volume was not going to cut through the screams of the female fans. So they investigated producing a larger version.
|Vox AC50 MKII|
They had already come up with the AC50 MKII that McCartney can be seen using in concerts. (He still uses this amp today.)
What they came up with was the Vox AC100 aka the Vox Super Deluxe. This was a a one channel amplifier that came with a large speaker unit, which contained four 12" Celestion speakers. It was Vox' answer to the Fender Dual Showman amplifier. The Beatles can be seen using this amp in concert footage.
Later in 1964 JMI reached an agreement with the Thomas Organ Company of the United State that they would be the sole US distributor for Vox. This may sound like an odd arrangement, if not for the fact the JMI was once known as the Jennings Organ Company. It may have been short-sighted of the former Jennings Organ Company to believe a US organ manufacturer would be a great vehicle to distribute Vox amplifiers. But during the guitar boon era, many companies were trying to get a piece of the pie.
|US made Vox Super Beatle|
This is how the US Vox Super Beatle and other US amplifiers came to be made by the Thomas Organ Company aka Vox US.
Dick Denney traveled to the USA in 1965 to visit the Thomas Organ/VOX US manufacturing facility to see their products first hand. He was impressed with their solid state amplifiers. This lead him to come up with his own solid state/tube hybrid versions.
The guitar amps that Denney designed were called the UL7 series and the bass versions were the UL4 series. UL was suggestive of Underwriters Laboratories, a group the put its approval on electronic merchandise.
The UL705 was a 5 watt amplifier,while the UL710, and UL715 produced 15 watts. Both had solid state preamps, with tube based power amplifier sections.
The power tube (or valve) selection of the UL730 included one ECC83 and a quartet of EL84 tubes. The ECC83 is actually a preamp tube, but was used as a phase inverter.
The UL730 was a two channel amplifier with two inputs per channel, a boost switch for each channel. Channel One featured volume, treble, middle, and bass potentiometers, and controls for tremolo speed and depth.
|Vox UL730 front panel|
The separate speaker cabinet was loaded with twin 12” Celestion speakers. Of course the amplifier featured the trolley.
|The Beatles session |
with the UL730
Vox manufactured only 100 units. This was not a popular amplifier since out of the 100 units sold, 76 units were returned. Some may have been defective, while others were exchanged for another amp of the era. The 76 units that were returned were said to have been destroyed.
The amplifier that was delivered to the Beatles included a promotional sticker inside of it that stated it was “Promotional Stock - Model No. 760 Amp A/C Current - Serial # 3020 - Artist The Beatles”.
It is said to have been in George Harrison's procession and was to be auctioned on 12/15/2011, but the seller withdrew the offer prior to the sale date.
|Vox single spring reverb|
To avoid this fee he and Denney came up with their own reverb design.
|McCartney using UL730|
During the albums creation, McCartney played his Rickenbacker 4001S bass through it on most of the songs. Although it is said that he employed the UL430 bass amp on Lucy In The Sky.
In addition to the Bassman and the Vox UL730, The Beatles utilized a 1967 Fender Showman amplifier that was in the studio.
|1967 Fender Showman|
It is also written that Paul McCartney used a Selmer Thunderbird Twin 50 MkII on Good Morning, Good Morning, which he may have used early in The Beatles career.
|Selmer Thunderbird Twin 50 MKII|
|1967 Vox Conqueror/Defiant|
Both channels featured volume, treble, and bass potentiomers and a boost switch. And both had two inputs.
|1967 Vox Conqueror |
top and front panel
The Vox Conqueror came with a modified trolley that contained the speaker unit only. The head stood on top of the speakers.
The Beatles also used two other Vox amplifiers; the 7120 and the 4120 bass amp, which they had used on the Revolver LP.
The 7120 was the most powerful amplifier that Vox had produced. This was another hybrid amp, with a solid state preamp section and a tube power amp section, which consisted of four KT88 power tubes and an EL84 and an ECL86 which acted as phase inverters. It was rated at 120 watts. It utilized one ECL86, one EL84, and a quartet of KT88’s. The amplifier had two channels.
Channel two featured two inputs, a boost switch, volume, treble, middle, and bass controls, and a reverb control.
The 7120 speaker cabinet had two 12” Celestion T 1225 speakers and two Goodman midax horns. The controls on the amplifier section were on the bottom of the amplifier head.
|McCartney with a Vox UL730, Harrison and Lennon with Vox Defiant amps|
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