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