First Generation Ace Guitar 1963 - 1966
JMI produced two generations of the mid-level Vox Ace guitar in their UK manufacturing facilities between 1962 and 1966.
The first generation Vox Ace guitar appeared in the 1962 "Vox - The Choice of the Stars" catalog. See this guitar at far left. This body and neck of this early version of the Ace was shared with the single pickup Vox Soloist guitar, the dual pickup Vox Duotone guitar and triple pickup Vox Super Ace guitar.
The 1962 Vox Ace featured a ~25½" scale, two VI single coil Vox pickups with chrome covers, a three position pickup selector, a tone control and a volume control. The non adjustable 21 fret sycamore neck was topped with a rosewood fret board. Rather than offering an adjustable truss rod, the neck of the Ace guitar was reinforced with two steel rods embedded in the neck.
Six open gear tuner keys mounted to an the back of an elongated head stock.
The early Ace guitar was also fitted with the patented Vox DeLuxe tremolo arm system.
The bodies and necks of these early Ace guitars were originally produced in the UK by Stuart Darkins & Co, a furniture maker in Shoeburyness England under contract to Vox. Final assembly and inspection was probably completed in the JMI facilities in Dartford Kent UK.
Second Generation Ace Guitar 1963 - 1966
The second generation Ace guitar appeared in the 1963 through 1966 Vox catalogs. Like the Vox Soundcaster and Consort guitars, the offset body shape and contours of the second generation Ace resembled the Fender Stratocaster.
The hardwood body for the second generation Ace guitar was shared with the three pickup Super Ace model. The new Ace guitar included two single coil Vox V-II pickups with exposed pole pieces (see photo at lower left). This was an upgrade from the V-I pickups offered in the earlier model. The second generation Ace retained the three position pickup switch and controls of the earlier model.
Like the earlier Ace, the second generation Ace featured a non adjustable sycamore neck and a rosewood fret board. Rather than utilizing an adjustable truss rod, the neck was reinforced with two embedded steel rods.
The second generation Ace also had a ~25½" scale. The nineteen fret neck was 1 5/8' wide at the nut and 2" wide at the twelfth fret. A single connected strip of six tuner keys were mounted to the rear of the head stock (see below).
The new Ace guitar was ~37" long. The lower bout measured ~12", the upper bout was ~10½."
Body and neck production was shifted in 1963 from Stuart Darkins and Company to G-Plan of Hemel Hempstead, another UK based furniture maker.
The second generation Ace guitar retailed for about 38 GBP in the UK. While the Ace guitar was never offered by the US Vox distributor, the three pickup Super Ace retailed for $169.90 in the 1965 Thomas Vox price list.