The Vox V.G. 4 Bass 1969 - 1971

Vox V.G. 4 Bass
In the years leading up to the introduction of the Vox V.G. 4 bass in 1969, the number of guitar models offered by JMI had grown to near epic proportions. The 1966 Vox catalog alone offered thirteen different solid body instruments, eight semi-acoustic models and eleven acoustic or "Spanish" guitars.

Some of the guitar models produced by Vox were original designs. These included the Phantom, Teardrop, Apache, Scorpion and Winchester guitars and basses. The balance of the Vox guitar line was modeled after popular models from Fender, Mosrite and Gibson.

Maintaining this large range of guitar models proved to be a financial hardship for Vox as their parent company, Royston Industries, was looting the profits from all of their subsidiaries to fund the development of the ill-fated "Midas" aviation flight recorder.

By the fall of 1967, precious little money was available for Vox to maintain an inventory of finished goods much less meet their current financial obligations. To make matters worse, Royston lost the contract to build the Midas aviation flight recorder. The financial losses sustained in the development of the Midas flight recorder dealt a crushing blow to Royston. By the end of 1967, Royston and all of its subsidiaries (including Vox) were forced into into receivership.

Vox disappeared from the UK market for the first half of 1968. Eventually a deal was struck with the receiver bank that would allow Vox to again reopen as a new, independent company named "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" (VSEL)  Reg Clark, sales manager for Vox Sound Equipment, was interviewed about the new company in an article published in Beat Instrumental, a UK music magazine.

Reg Clark mentioned in this Beat Instrumental interview that the previous Vox guitar line had grown too large and he intended to keep only the best of the models previously offered. The results of this downsizing can be seen in the 1969 Vox "Giant Sounds" guitar catalog. All British made Vox guitars were discontinued, including the iconic Phantom and Teardrop models. Only three of the previous electric models made for Vox by Eko survived the cut: the solid bodied Vox Bulldog guitar, the semi-acoustic Vox Lynx guitar and the semi-acoustic Vox Cougar Bass. Five acoustics were also sourced from Eko.

In this same catalog, Vox also introduced the Gretsch inspired V.G.4 bass, V.G.6 six string guitar and the V.G.12 twelve string guitar. All three instruments shared the same body with a 17" bout. These models were manufactured for Vox in Japan.

The Vox V.G.4 bass also appeared in the 1970 and 1971 Vox catalogs.

The 1970 Vox catalog described the V.G.4 as follows: "The bass guitar for the professional with a semi-acoustic, double cutaway body and fast action neck. Fully compensating bridge, tailpiece and adjustable built-in truss rod gives you a full range of string height and length adjustments to suit your style. Two bass frequency single pole pickups have separate tone and volume controls and can be varied by using the pickup selector switch. All fitments are finished in gold, and the guitar is available in green sunburst, transparent red, mahogany and triple sunburst finishes."

The semi acoustic, double bound Vox V.G.4 featured two single coil pickups sourced from Welson in Italy. The tone of each pickup was shaped by a pair of toggle switches mounted on the upper horn of the instrument. A three position rotary pickup selector switch was mounted to the lower horn. The V.G.4 also featured individual volume for each pickup, a mute switch, painted "f " holes and a bolt on neck. The model number was curiously misstated some of the pick guards. Rather than "V.G.4," the pick guard was incorrectly imprinted "G.V.4" (see photo below).

The Vox V.G.4 bass retailed for £40.25 in the 1970 Vox price list. By means of comparison, Vox charged £84, or more than twice as much, for a solid body Phantom bass six years earlier in 1964.


The VOX Showroom!

Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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