List of updates / new info. on Vox solid state amps (1967-1972)

April-June 2019

29th June

Thanks to Pete, sets of images of - i.e. the first made ready for sale - ; ; circuit diagrams and layouts - .

Serial number 1002 is , along with the related "Slave Master" and "Compact 100".

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, - 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, .

Charlie (Charles) Cobbett, Jennings Musical Industries (Vox), Group Liaison Officer

"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: , and . 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.

15th June

Four more JMI Defiants now registered: serial numbers , , and .

New pictures of Defiant nos and added to the existing entries.

8th June

A set of updates in the offing. For the time being, Foundation Bass - thanks to Eradj for the pictures.

  • 2770
  • 2770
  • 2770

12th May

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.

6th May

Vox solid state amps in the shop of Paul Beuscher, boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris, from this great :

Catalogue, 1967

Pricelist, 1967

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.

5th May

"New Musical Express" magazine, 9th December, 1967 - end of year poll.

2nd May

"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.

1st May

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.

30th April

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.

20th April

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.

17th April

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.

Schematic, drawn in Italy, for the McCoy script wah

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.

15th April

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 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.

14th 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".

13th April

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 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 .

The text in the lower left-hand panel expands on that of the advert published in "Melody Maker" magazine, 20th August, 1966.

Vox advert for the solid state line in Melody Maker, 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.

Vox Precision Guitar Strings

The bulldog cliche on Vox Precision Guitar Strings.

12th April

Four Foundation Basses added: serial numbers (summer 1967); (late 1967); (late "Vox Sound Equipment Limited"); (early "Vox Sound Limited").

And continuing the recent run, another very early Dynamic Bass with cab - serial number (spring 1967).

9th April

A new page has been begun on the VSEL Supreme speaker cabinet that came to light recently:

Vox Sound Equipment Limited Supreme speaker cab

Wiring and speakers are all original. Below a schema of the circuit.

Vox Sound Equipment Limited Supreme speaker cab

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.

8th April

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 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.

7th April

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.

Updates Jan to April 2019.

Updates August to December 2018.

Updates for June and July 2018.

Updates for January to May 2018.

Updates for November and December 2017.

Updates for September and October 2017.

Updates for July and August 2017.

Updates for June 2017.

Updates for May 2017.

Updates for April 2017.

Updates for late March 2017.

Updates for early March 2017.

Updates for January and February 2017.

Updates for 2012-2016.

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