The Vox Dominator Guitar - 1962-1963
The Vox Shadow Guitar - 1964

1963 Vox Dominator and 1964 Vox Shadow Guitars

Closeup of three V-I Vox pickups and Vox "Standard" tremolo system

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The Vox Dominator - 1962
The Dominator was among the initial offering of Vox guitars manufactured in the UK by JMI. It was first shown in the 1962 "Vox - The Choice of the Stars" catalog. This solid body, dual cut away guitar included three Vox V-I pickups, a three way rotary pickup selector switch and the Vox "Standard" roller bearing tremolo unit. The Dominator was a mid line offering from Vox.

The 1962 Vox catalog described the Dominator as follows: "A new moderate priced guitar with a fine specification of three slim-line pickups and a roller bearing smooth action tremolo unit. Single side machine heads, polished slim hardwood reinforced neck, Tone and Volume controls, Rosewood finger board."

The Dominator's rosewood topped sycamore neck included no truss adjustment. The neck was reinforced with embedded steel rods.

The bodies and necks of the 1962 Vox Dominator guitar were manufactured in the UK by Stuart Darkins & Co, a furniture maker in Shoeburyness England under subcontract to Vox. Final assembly and inspection was probably completed in the JMI facilities in Dartford Kent UK.

The Vox Dominator - 1963
The entire original Vox guitar line was restyled after only one year of production. The body of the second generation Dominator sported deepr cutaways and was shared with the completely restyled two pickup Vox Shadow guitar. The list of features remained unchanged from the 1962 Dominator.

The 1963 Vox catalog described the Dominator as follows: "This fine professional model has the basic specification of the (two pickup) Shadow guitar, plus, in addition a flick action change switch that provides a complete change of tone, adding tremendous colour to its performance. With three pickups. Red or white finish."

The sycamore and rosewood neck of the second generation Dominator guitar also included no truss adjustment. Like the earlier model, the neck was reinforced with embedded steel rods.

Body and neck production was shifted in 1963 from Stuart Darkins and Company to G-Plan of Hemel Hempstead, another UK based furniture maker. I suspect the restyling of the Vox guitar line might have been the result of the retooling of the guitar line at G-Plan.

The Vox Shadow - 1964
Prior to the Beatles' meteoric rise to the top of the pop charts, the UK guitar instrumental band "The Shadows" were the leading endorsees of Vox amplifiers. However, the Shadows expressed no interest in playing Vox guitars and basses. Nonetheless,Vox was determined to find a way to attach their guitars to the Shadows. Ready for some musical chairs?

Prior to discovering the Fender Stratocaster, the Shadows lead guitarist Hank Marvin played a Guyatone LG-50 guitar. Vox responded by introducing a LG-50 look-alike guitar in 1962 named the "Shadow." Production of this model was limited to the 1962 model year.

After Hank Marvin switched to a Stratocaster, Vox renamed their Fender inspired dual pickup 1962 "Duotone" as the "Shadow" for 1963.

For 1964, the three pickup Vox Dominator guitar was rebranded as the Shadow. The 1963 dual pickup Vox Shadow again became the "Duotone" for 1964. The "Dominator" name was retired.


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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