List of updates / new info. on Vox solid state amps (1967-1972)
15th June (4)
The picture below is said to have been taken at the Frankfurt Musikmesse (Music Trade Fair), March 1968. This is highly unlikely. There are good reasons for thinking that it is either from the British Musical Instrument Trade Fair at the Russell Hotel, London, in August, or the Frankfurt show of 1969 - notably the presence in the background of the solid state PA amps - the 50SS and 100SS.
These PA amps are described as being new in Gary Hurst's report (in "Beat Instrumental" magazine) of the London show in August. And one can indeed just make out that they are labelled as being "NEW" in the photo.
What follows from Hurst's report is that JMI must have played some part in the design. VSEL came into being in June '68. Two months seems far too short a time for the development of such units.
For JMI in 1968, see this new page - which will be expanded in due course.
A detail from the pic above. Note that on the fascia of the amp on the left there is only "VOX" not "VOX PA50SS".
15th June (3)
"Melody Maker", 13th January, 1968
Charlie Cobbett's brief run-down of the equipment that the Beatles recorded with in late 1967 - the Vox Stylist guitar (?) and McCartney's reported use of a Defiant and T100 speaker cab are surprising, however.
Below, the short bio. on Charlie in "The Beacon", July 1967. For the issue as a whole, see this page.
"The Beacon", Journal of the Royston Group of Companies, July 1967.
15th June (2)
Three further "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" Defiants now added: serial numbers: 2174, 2270 and 2285. Number 2270 is the earliest Defiant to have have come to light so far with the revised circuit - no standby, single indicator lamp on the front, six-position MRB.
A set of updates in the offing. For the time being, Foundation Bass serial number 2770 - thanks to Eradj for the pictures.
Further pictures of Conqueror serial no. 2050, early "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", late 1968 / early 1969. All three compartments of the serial number plate are hand-stamped.
Vox solid state amps in the shop of Paul Beuscher, boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris, from this great repository:
The shop, 1969 - note the late JMI AC50, US-style logo, still with its inspection label and black and gold VOX hangtag.
Flyer from 1968-1969.
"New Musical Express" magazine, 9th December, 1967 - end of year poll.
"Melody Maker" magazine, 15th November, 1969, signalling a small demonstration event in Leytonstone at which Vox was to be present.
For a small Vox-only event a couple of years later, see the first entry for 1st May below. Such events were probably far more frequent than "Melody Maker" alone records.
"Melody Maker" magazine, 15th November, 1969.
1st May (2)
A page and a bit from a "Vox Vintage Calendar", printed in Germany in 2000. The amps featured belonged in the main to Reisz Promotions, a hire company. When the business was wound up c. 2012, a large number of its amps and cabs were sold to Guitar Center in the USA. The guitars in the calendar were supplied by Wolfgang Seidel. The better part of his collection is now in the UK.
Advert in "Melody Maker", 3rd June, 1972, placed by Dawsons, which is still in business today, probably in conjunction with Vox. Vox only placed a couple of ads (in "Beat Instrumental" magazine) after this one - then silence. No stand is listed as being present at the Frankfurt Fair in March '73.
3rd June 1972. From left to right: Focus folding PA speakers; a PA100SS on top of a set of organ speakers; SG200 bass and SG200 guitar; two "Hastings" pedals (a wah and a wow-fuzz?); a discotape unit; AC30 with an unidentifiable item on top; and a Supreme in tilt-back stand (as in the ad placed by Vox in February, below).
The panel across the page from the above - a small Northern campaign in the offing.
A great advert in "Melody Maker" magazine, 19th February, 1972 - one of the last, if not the last, to feature an amplifier in the solid state range. Runs of ads placed by Vox later in the year are generally either for guitars or the discotape unit.
19th February 1972
20th April (2)
"Melody Maker" report on the Vox showing at the AMII Music Fair at the Russell Hotel, London, August 1971.
Note that George Stow is Managing Director. Companies owned by Stow had supplied VSEL with various components from 1968. When VSEL collapsed in early 1970, Stow helped save the business, recasting it as VSL.
Reg Clarke, General Sales Manager of JMI (from 1964) and of VSEL (from summer 1968), did not stay on with VSL, leaving to join Dallas Musical Limited (Dallas Arbiter) where he was instrumental, in 1973 and again in 1975, in saving the last of the Vox line - the AC30, AC50, and speaker cabinets.
14th August 1971.
Some adverts from "Melody Maker" magazine, 1971, signalling the addition of three new guitars to the Vox range:
15th May 1971.
26th June 1971.
6th November 1971.
Some notes on the "Queen's Award" wah pedals made for Jennings in the EME factory at Recanati (a little south of Ancona, not near Milan as previously said). They were produced side-by-side with a set of Clyde McCoy "script" or "signature" wahs nominally produced for Thomas Organ but actually only sold locally in Italy.
The two sets of wahs are identical - potted circuit boards, English Arrow wafer switches, same schema of wiring - the only difference being the base plate.
One never finds McCoy script wahs with potted circuit boards in the U.S.A.
Queen's Award symbol (the award made in April 1967) on the base plate, produced in Italy for Jennings. Serial number (provided in England) - 07857. Note the red paint on the inductor to mark it has been inspected/tested.
Wah nominally made for Thomas Organ but sold locally in Italy. Serial number 5992. No red inspection mark on the inductor. This pedal came from Rome.
Four McCoy script wahs have come to light in Italy so far, three with serial numbers in the 5000s - 5628, 5631, 5992 - the fourth unknown. The numbers evidently belong to the main Thomas Organ numbering sequence, which (very) provisionally seems to be:
Beginning of run to c. 2500: Clyde McCoy "picture" wahs - a picture of McCoy on the base plate.
c. 2500 - 23100: Clyde McCoy "script" wahs - base plate as above.
Short run (transitional): same circuit, base plate plain but for an applied detail from one of the Thomas Organ adverts.
The pedals with potted boards, produced for sale in Italy and export to England, therefore appear to be early in the sequence of McCoy script wahs.
Presumably the potting was thought necessary to prevent companies in Italy and England copying the circuit. One has to assume that it would not have been easy to import wahs (with unpotted boards) from the States.
Standard Clyde McCoy "script" wah made in Italy and exported to the USA - unpotted board. Some have tropical fish capacitors, others green Arco.
At least one McCoy script wah in the USA has a circuit diagram in its base, probably drawn in Italy - the writing is European not American. Others are said to have, or at least to have had, the same, though for the moment the photo below is the only firm evidence.
Numbers are given in continental form - angled heads to "1", crossed "7", and so on.
The circuit is given also in the PRELIMINARY SCHEMATIC published by Thomas Organ in April 1967, but expressed in a different form, and with different transistors - 2N3900A rather than the 2N5232A of the drawing above.
Descriptions of parts and component numbers were provided on a separate sheet, also dated April 1967. Service schematics of course would not keep the circuit from prying eyes any more than a screwdriver would.
Quite a lot remains to be done. A good number of venturesome remarks made about early Thomas Organ wah pedals over the years - some still current - need proper testing out.
A further instance of the Jennings advert for the new wah pedal from "Melody Maker", 22nd April, 1967, printed slightly differently from the "Beat Instrumental" version:
"Melody Maker", 22nd April, 1967.
14th April (2)
Thanks to Jim Nugent, further information and material on the Vox Wah Wah pedals in England in 1967. The page on wahs will be updated shortly.
The first things to appear in the UK were a flyer and adverts, the one below from "Beat Instrumental" magazine:
Click as ever for larger images. The advert, first placed in "Beat Instrumental" magazine, May 1967, has the "please send further details" panel, lower right.
Above, a reply to a letter requesting information about a wah-wah tremolo arm, mentioned in "Beat Instrumental" magazine as being in development by JMI. Dated 10th October 1967. Note that the runner at the foot of the letter already names Cyril Windiate as General Manager. Tom Jennings, who to all intents and purposes had been fired in September, is for the sake of dignity, "Consultant to the Board".
Accompanying the letter sent by JMI from Erith was the first version of the US flexi disk, shown below back in place in the printed card from which it was popped out. An example of the second version of the disk still in its card can be seen in the entry below for the 8th April.
Above, the inspection tags of "Vox Sound Limited" Supreme cabs, serial numbers 506 and 528 - the two middle ones in the group shot. Thanks to Paul Johnson for the pictures.
From a different source, cab no. 525. 11th July 1972 was a busy day for inspector "M".
Below, some more pictures of the solid state brochure drawn up by JMI for the Australian market in late 1966:
Above, the basic foot-pedal and the optional extra.
The foot-pedal shown at the British Musical Instrument Industries Trade Fair at the Russell Square in August 1966 is offered, at this stage, as an optional extra. The illustrations show the amps in their pre-production format and with their pre-production names. What was released as the "Virtuoso" is here the "Supreme", and what was released as the "Supreme" is the "Beatle".
The prices (in Australian dollars) of the various production models were later noted in ink:
Supreme/Virtuoso: $505 AU
Conqueror: $965 AU
Defiant: $1035 AU
Beatle/Supreme: $1450 AU
Dynamic Bass: $845 AU
Foundation Bass: $975 AU
Super Foundation Bass: $1170 AU
These equate by and large to the prices given in the JMI pricelist of April 1967.
The text in the lower left-hand panel expands on that of the advert published in "Melody Maker" magazine, 20th August, 1966.
"Melody Maker", 20th August, 1966, lower half of the advert.
The "Watchdog" was one of the elements adopted from the solid state amps issued by Thomas Organ under the Vox name in America. The limiter effectively throttled the volume when the output section neared the point of breakdown distortion. Jack Bruce was not a fan, presumably having tried a Super Beatle or something similiar on Cream's tour of the US in late March / early April 1967:
"Beat Instrumental" no. 51, July 1967.
Fortunately, the JMI engineers decided against the Watchdog, prefering instead full thermal cut-out to protect the output transistors. The dreadful bulldog motif was by and large ditched too, though it was retained for certain accessories.
The bulldog cliche on Vox Precision Guitar Strings.
And continuing the recent run, another very early Dynamic Bass with cab - serial number 1035 (spring 1967).
A new page has been begun on the VSEL Supreme speaker cabinet that came to light recently:.
Wiring and speakers are all original. Below a schema of the circuit.
This schema is likely to have been used throughout the VSEL period: mid 1968 to early 1970. The schema used by JMI - Spring 1967 to Spring 1968 - is slightly different. An outline will be posted soon.
Returning briefly to promotional material for the new wah-wah pedals, early 1967, it turns out that at least three different records were produced:
(1) the version of the plexi disc sent over from California to Jennings in England. As in the case of the version below, the disc came on a card, scored around so that it could be pushed out. Thomas Organ stock no. 08-00110-0
(2) with inset of Phantom guitar. This version, which contains an additional clip, does not seem to have been exported. The copy above was sent to Yeager's Music Store in Baltimore. Below, a copy still on its card. Thomas Organ stock no. 08-00110-0, as above.
One can see the scored outline of the disc on the back of the card.
(3) a disc presumably only issued to US radio stations. Thomas Organ stock no. 08-00132-0
7th April (2)
The page on Vox wah-wah pedals has been updated - see towards the end - with additional info on the "Queen's Award" pedal, produced for Jennings in Italy by E.M.E. in late 1967 and early 1968. A further example has been added to the register. Thanks to Dave for the pics.
One of the striking features of these pedals is that the circuit board is potted with resin to prevent copying, much as in the early wahs produced at Erith. It seems that the Italian factory also potted the boards of certain "Clyde McCoy script wahs" - Clyde's name is presented in large cursive script on the base plate. These were commissioned by Thomas Organ for the American market - but the potted "Clyde McCoy script wahs" seem to have been reserved for sale in Italy. At least three survive there; none have turned up so far in the States. The "script wahs" that survive in the USA - the ones that are readily traceable at any rate - all have unpotted boards.
Aside from the base plate, the only differences between the "Queen's Award" wah and these "Clyde McCoy script wahs" with potted circuits are the types of Arrow switches used (the former has a wafer switch, the latter a sealed Arrow unit) and the pots.
A fantastic collection of Supremes recently found in Australia. Three VSL amp and cab sets, and one VSEL cab. Two of the VSL cabs have their original inspection tags (dated 11th July 1972) and covers. Thanks to Paul for info and pics. Further pics will be posted soon.
One of the VSL cabs contains a bag of feet tacked in with cable clips at the factory:
The Celestion speakers - all purpose T1925 with whizzer cone - have date codes "EF" = May 1972 - ie. produced only a couple of months (if that) before final inspection of the cab.
"Vox Sound Equipment Limited" Dynamic Bass serial number 2153 and speaker cabinet - late 1969. Thanks to Dennis for the pictures.
"Vox Sound Limited" PA 100 Reverb serial number 1013. Thanks to Jim for the images.
Below the front and back cover of the Vox solid state brochure printed for the Australian market, probably in the last quarter of 1966. The amps illustrated are in their pre-production format - the Virtuoso still called the Supreme, and the Supreme called the Beatle.
Images of the central spread (detailing the amps) will be posted in due course.
The footswitch exhibited at the British Musical Instrument Industries Trade Fair in late August '66 is offered as an optional extra. Fortunately it was never formally put into production.
Dynamic Bass serial number 1011. Thanks to Sergio for the pictures. More to follow.
Above, a well-used but still-playable copy of the flexi disk produced by Thomas Organ to promote the new Vox Wah-Wah pedal in February 1967. Batches of the disk were evidently sent to Jennings for the promotion of its new pedal, released a couple of months after the American one.
See the entry below for 27th January for some more Thomas Organ advertising.
Defiant serial number 2085, "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", late 1968 or early 1969, complete with its cab and footswitch. Thanks to Romu for the pictures. One of the capacitors is marked "February 1968".
The entry below for 25th November notes the addition of an earlyish Conqueror. A couple of new photos indicate that is definitely early (and not just "earlyish").
The speaker cab is stamped as an ST30 (Super-Twin 30) rather than "Conqueror":
and the surviving 2N3055 has a date code beginning "6" - 1966, possibly "6E" or "6G":
Image enlarged beyond its natural size.
The entry below has been updated with further images of the Jennings version of the brochure.
Below, the Thomas Organ brochure from 1966 setting out the rationale for transistors. This was taken up in 1967 by Jennings and issued with a slightly different cover and other modifications.
The four pictures above, the Thomas Organ brochure
The cover of the Jennings brochure. Notice that the amplifier sections do not have the sloping sides depicted in the Thomas version.
Below, pages from the JMI solid state brochure, printed in black and white in the "Vox Story", ed. Denney and Petersen. The text provided in the American version has been enlarged upon considerably.
The nicest Dynamic Bass to have come to light so far - serial number 1068, the speaker cabinet still with its original cover. Thanks to Matthew for details and pictures. The amp is registered here. Below, the cover, with its cut-outs at back for the chrome amp support:
The cut-outs for the chrome support are reinforced with black leather surrounds (as the handle opening of amp covers are) to prevent tearing.
Dynamic Bass serial number 2049 - "Vox Sound Equipment Limited", early 1969 - registered here.
27th January (2)
"Billboard" magazine, 17th December, 1966. A picture of T. Warren Hampton, to whom applications for details of the new Thomas Organ Wah-Wah pedal were sent - see the entry below.
A Vox grey Wah from late 1967 / early 1968 - serial number 6382 - is currently on ebay.uk (no affiliation). Around 2,000 of these pedals were made by Jennings. See this page.
Below, early advertising for the Thomas Organ wah-wah pedal, which preceded the English one by a couple of months:
"Vox Teenbeat" magazine, volume II, no. 2 - not dated, but evidently from early 1967. The Stones tour of Europe "this year" - Hamburg, Berlin, Essen...Zurich, Athens, is mentioned. The tour in question took place in late March / April '67. And The Monkees are said to have scheduled two performances in London - which took place in July '67. Lower left in the advert, "Vox Ltd and Wah Wah Girls" - what a name.
From the same magazine. Mr T. Warren Hampton was the Wah-Wah man at Sepulveda - see the form below. Note the offer of the free record. There were also commercials on the radio - YouTube clip below.
Vox Foundation Bass serial number 2836. A great set, currently in Belgium. The amp was probably made in late 1972 / early 1973, one of the last of the line.
23rd January (2)
Dynamic Bass serial number 2094 - "Vox Sound Equipment Limited" - registered here.
Traveller serial number 1218 added here - "Amplifier" rather than "Vox Amplifier" on the plate:
Three JMI Conquerors from late 1967 / early 1968. They straddle the period during which logos came to have "Solid State" in smaller letters under "VOX":
Conqueror, currently here, said to be serial number 1459. The logos, however, do not have "Solid State". Perhaps correct.
Conqueror serial number 1425. "Solid State" in the logo of the cab but not the amp. The amp is registered on this page.
"Solid State" in the logo of the amp, so a serial number somewhere above 1420. A good set, complete with footswitch.
A Defiant from 1972 added here. The back panels of amp and cab do not survive; the two are nonetheless in reasonable order.