The Vox Duotone Guitar - 1962, 1964
The Vox Shadow Guitar - 1963



1963 Vox Shadow Guitar or 1964 Vox Duotone Guitar




Closeup of V-I Vox pickups and Vox "Standard" tremolo system



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The Vox Duotone - 1962
JMI Vox introduced a comprehensive line of guitars and basses in their 1962 "Vox - Choice of the Stars" catalog. The mid level Vox Duotone guitar was included in this product rollout.

The solid bodied Duotone included two Vox V-I pickups and a three position selector switch.

The body and neck of the 1962 Duotone were shared with three other 1962 Vox guitar models: the Vox Soloist, Vox Ace and Vox Super Ace.

The Vox Soloist was a single pickup guitar. The Ace had two pickups and tremolo. The Super Ace added a third pickup to the Ace.

Vox described the Duotone in their 1962 catalog as follows: "Identical specification as Soloist but fitted with extra Vox pick up and three-way tone switch providing maximum variety of tone. Red or sunburst mirror finish."

The Duotone's rosewood topped sycamore neck included no truss adjustment. The neck was reinforced with embedded steel rods.

The bodies and necks of the 1962 Vox Duotone were manufactured in the UK by Stuart Darkins & Co, a furniture maker in Shoeburyness England under subcontract to Vox. Final assembly and inspection was probably completed in the JMI facilities in Dartford Kent UK.

The Vox Shadow - 1963
Before the Beatles' meteoric rise to the top of the pop charts, the UK guitar instrumental band "The Shadows" were the leading endorsees of Vox amplifiers. However, the Shadows expressed no interest in playing Vox guitars and basses. Nonetheless,Vox was determined to find a way to associate their guitars with the Shadows.


1962 Vox Shadow
Prior to discovering the Fender Stratocaster, the Shadows lead guitarist Hank Marvin played a Guyatone LG-50 guitar. Vox responded by introducing a LG-50 look-alike guitar in 1962 that they named the "Shadow." Production of this first generation Vox Shadow guitar was limited to the 1962 model year.

The Vox guitar line was redesigned for 1963. The "Soloist" was dropped and the "Ace" and "Super Ace" guitars were given their own unique body styles. After adding the Vox "Standard" tremolo system to the dual pickup Duotone guitar, the second generation "Shadow" guitar was created (see photos at left).

Vox also introduced a three pickup version of the Shadow that they named the Dominator.

The 1963 Vox "Precision in Sound" catalog described the Shadow as follows: "A new moderately priced guitar with a fine specification of two slim-line pick-ups and a roller bearing smooth action tremolo unit. Single side machine heads, polished slim hardwood reinforced neck. Separate tone and volume controls. Rosewood fingerboard."

The sycamore and rosewood neck of the Shadow guitar had no truss adjustment. Like the 1962 Duotone, the neck was reinforced with embedded steel rods.

Body and neck production was shifted in 1963 from Stuart Darkins and Company to G-Plan of Hemel Hempstead, another UK based furniture maker. I suspect the restyling of the Vox guitar line might have been the result of the retooling of the guitar line at G-Plan.

The Vox Duotone - 1964
Over time, JMI decided that the Vox Shadow guitar really needed a third pickup. This would create a closer association between the Vox Shadow guitar and the triple pickup Stratocasters played by Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch of the Shadows.

Consequentially, the three pickup 1963 Vox Dominator was renamed the Vox Shadow in 1964.

The dual pickup Shadow guitar with tremolo reclaimed the Vox Duotone name for the 1964 model year.

JMI Distributes Fender in the UK  - 1964
JMI secured the UK distributorship rights for Fender guitars and amps in 1964. Now Vox could offer a number of options to guitarists wishing to emulate Hank B Marvin of the Shadows.

The mid-priced three pickup Vox Shadow guitar was offered for £39.10. The upper-end Vox Soundcaster guitar was offered for £89.5. JMI could also offer Shads wannabes a genuine sunburst Fender Stratocaster for £173.5.




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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music


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