Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vox Phantom

The Vox Phantom is an electric guitar, originally released in 1962 by the Jennings company. It is unique for its distinctive, pentagonal shape, which became part of the iconic representation of the British Invasion. Originally made in England, manufacturing was later relocated to Italy.
Features of the Vox Phantom included 2 or 3 single-coil pickups, open-back tuners, and a Tune-o-matic bridge inspired by similar Gibson bridges. Later models included a Bigsby-inspired tremolo, designed by Vox's founder, Thomas Jennings. It included a round leather-coated pad on the back for comfort while playing. A 12-string version, the Phantom XII, was also made. Both 6 and 12 string guitars were also made as "Stereo" versions; capable of operating in stereo with a special cable which connected to two ampflifiers simultaneously. This enabled complex panning and switching effects that were in vogue as Psychedelic rock was popular.
Another variant of the Phantom guitars was the "Special". This included on board effects such as fuzz, Tremolo, and repeat percussion. Effects were operated by a series of push buttons along the bottom neck side of the pick guard.
The guitar shared many of the practical problems of similar unusually-shaped guitars, such as Gibson's Flying V. Its shape made it difficult to play sitting down, and its polyester finish scratched easily at its corners.
Numerous copies of the Vox Phantom's distinctive five-sided body design were manufactured, by companies such as Teisco and Kawai under the Domino brand name. Contemporary copies are also manufactured by companies such as Eastwood Guitars (called the VG6) and Jay Turser (called the Phantasia). Jack Charles of Phantom Guitarworks continues to build excellent replicas of this and other VOX models.
The 1998 USA VOX Reissue Phantoms, Teardrops and Mando Guitars were designed and produced by John Hawkins of North Coast Music who had been an existing VOX/KORG supplier since 1992. Various components including necks, pickups, finishing and hardware for the guitars were produced through existing North Coast vendors such as LaSido. Final assembly was subcontracted to a small Minnesota based builder, Kevin Smith of Tonesmith guitars.
For 2011 VOX reintroduced the Phantom in its Apache series. The travel guitar hosts a 2-channel guitar amplifier, speakers, several rhythm patterns, and an E-String tuner.

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