FI­NAL THOUGHTS

HOW IN­DE­PEN­DENCE AND PRIDE CARVED OUT A VOICE IN GUI­TAR THAT’S STILL GAL­VANIC TO­DAY

Guitarist - - Feature -

Dur­ing the dreary post-war pe­riod, when im­ported Amer­i­can gui­tars and amps were em­bar­goed, Vox earned their place in his­tory as one of the few in­stru­ment mak­ers around to sus­tain the bur­geon­ing Bri­tish rock ‘n’ roll scene in those lean years.

Their great tri­umph was that they weren’t just mak­ing amps and ef­fects that ‘would do’ un­til some­thing bet­ter came along, but tech­ni­cally unique, stun­ning-sound­ing kit that re­mained a first choice for play­ers such as Rory Gal­lagher and U2’s Edge long af­ter the flood­gates of com­merce opened to Fen­der, Gib­son and the other ‘Big Boys’.

It’s also touch­ingly in­dica­tive of the pride that Vox’s 1960s staff took in their work that they scorned The Who for smash­ing up what had taken them such care to build. But as much as Vox re­mains a res­o­nant name purely in terms of Bri­tish gui­tar her­itage, it’s pulled off the trick of stay­ing in­no­va­tive — un­doubt­edly helped by Korg own­er­ship.

The re­cent line of MV50 mini amps (see re­view, is­sue 421), with their flat Nu­tube tri­ode valve, were com­pellingly orig­i­nal even as they nod­ded to the com­pany’s past. It’s a re­minder that the great in­sti­tu­tions of Bri­tish tone were mould-break­ers and trail­blaz­ers when they started out, and as much as we’re look­ing for­ward to re­view­ing a lim­ited run of ul­tra-au­then­tic hand­wired Vox clas­sics next is­sue, it’s the com­pany’s pref­er­ence for be­ing pro­gres­sive and son­i­cally dis­tinc­tive that’ll mean those di­a­mond-weave grilles should still be sparkling in another 60 years. We wish them many happy re­turns.

Vox’s diminu­tive MV50 heads may be smaller than their fore­bears but are no less pro­gres­sive in spirit

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