The Essex: V-4, V104, V1041, V1042. V1043
1966 - 1970

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V1043 Essex Bass Amplifier
The Vox Essex bass amp was one of the earliest amp models developed by Thomas Organ for Vox production in America. Thomas Organ hoped to develop an amp that would offer acceptable bass guitar performance at a reasonable price. Click here to view the original Essex Owner's Manual.

The earliest model of the Essex was the V-4. It was followed by the V104, V1041, V1042, and the V1043.

The V-4 Essex Bass
The V-4 Essex Bass was released in late 1965. It appeared in the Thomas Vox "King of the Beat" catalog.

The Essex control panel was mounted into the top of the cabinet. It had a Volume and Tone-X control, a power switch, indicator lamp, dual 1/4" inputs, and a line reverse switch. Tone-X was a tone control that replaced the normal bass and treble control. Tone-X was a sweepable EQ control that offered about a 6 dB boost from approximately 50 Hz (control counter clockwise) to 300 Hz (control clockwise).

V-4 Essex Bass Amplifier
Like the JMI Vox T.60 bass amp it succeeded, the Essex was powered by a solid state amplifier module with germanium output transistors. The V-4 Essex was rated at 35 watts RMS while the T.60 was 30 watts RMS.

The sealed, non ported 3/4" plywood V-4 enclosure included a chrome plated "push cart" trolley. It was loaded with two 12" ferrite magnet speakers made by the Oxford Speaker Company of Chicago IL and finished in black paint. The cabinet was covered in the pebbled vinyl shown at right. The V-4 was the first amp model to use the US design horizontal Vox logo.

The V104 and V1041 Essex Bass
The V104 and the V1041 Essex Bass replaced the V-4 in early 1966. Both were nearly identical to the V-4, sharing the same circuitry, schematic, speakers and trolley.

Starting with the V104, all subsequent Essex models had a particle board cabinet that was covered in a levant grain vinyl similar to that found on Fender amps.

The horizontal Vox logo from the V-4 was replaced by a vertical Vox logo.

The V1042 Essex Bass
In mid 1966, the V1042 Essex Bass replaced the V1041. The V1042 Essex Bass added a single button foot pedal to the Tone-X control circuit.

When the V1042 Essex Bass foot switch was actuated, the Tone-X effect was effectively set to the maximum (or "10") setting, overriding the position set on the rotary Tone -X control. The foot switch plugged into a recessed jack mounted in the upper rear back panel.

The V1042 Essex Bass
In 1967, the final version of the Essex Bass, the V1043, boosted the output power from 35 watt RMS, 70 watt peak to 50 watts RMS, 100 watts peak. Thomas Organ continued to install the same Oxford 12" ferrite magnet speakers used in previous Essex models but they were now painted gold. A "G" tuner reference pitch generator was also added. This is the Essex model shown above and on the right.

The 1968 US Vox price list indicated that the retail price for the Essex Bass amp with the accessory foot switch, cover, and rolling trolley stand was $400.00. Adjusting the 1968 retail price of the V1043 Essex Bass Amp for inflation, this amp would retail for $2439.00 today.

My thanks to Marc Speed for allowing me to take pictures of his V1043 Essex and to Ihor Boyko who submitted the V-4 Essex photo.

V1043 Essex Bass Amplifier (rear view)

Vox V4A, V1041 & 1042 Essex Bass Amplifier Schematics - Free Download
Click here to download the original Thomas Organ schematic for the V4A, V1041 and V1042 Vox Essex Bass amplifier, courtesy of the Vox Showroom and North Coast Music.

North Coast Music offers many
replacement and restoration parts
for the Vox Essex Bass Amp.
Some are shown below.

Output Power : V-4, V104, V1041, V1042
Output Power : V1043
35 watts RMS, 70 watts peak
50 watts RMS, 100 watts peak
single channel
two inputs,
one volume control,
one "Tone X" tone control
one power switch
Size (less trolley)
31.5" H x 21.5" W x 13.5" D
cover, chrome roller stand (all models)
foot switch (V1042 and V1043 only)


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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