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 Originally made in England, manufacturing was later relocated to Italy.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
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.