The V289 Vox Viper Guitar

Vox V289 Viper Guitar

In 1967, Vox introduced a new series of Italian made semi-acoustic guitars that were similar to popular Gibson models from that period. Four of these models, the Cheetah, Ultrasonic, Viper and Aristocrat were doubtlessly influenced by the then growing popularity of the Gibson ES-335.

The Vox V289 Vox Viper guitar was nearly identical to the V267 Vox Cheetah guitar. It appears that the only difference is the Viper does not have a vibrato (or tremolo) arm while the Cheetah does.

Like the Vox Cheetah, the Vox Viper guitar has three onboard battery operated effects: treble and bass booster, distortion booster, and repeat percussion. An E-tuner circuit is also included to provide a tuning reference tone.

The Vox Viper guitar was offered in the 1967 "Vox, It's Whats Happening" and the 1968 "The Sound That Travels With the Stars" catalogs. A black and white reprint of either of these catalogs is available at North Coast Music.

The 1968 US Vox catalog described the V289 Viper model as follows: "Offers the guitarist a world of exciting new sounds and conventional playing ease. Double cut-away fully arched top and back with twin f holes beautifully trimmed, enhancing the appearance and tonal resonance of the instrument. Built-in E tuner, distortion booster, treble and bass booster, repeat percussion, two exclusive VOX Ferro-Sonic pickups. All new easy-to-fret fast-neck with VOX double T bar and adjustable steel rod. Fully adjustable bridge with six individual string rollers, providing individual suspension for each string. One volume, two tone controls and three-position pickup selector switch. Sunburst or Cherry."

The 1968 US Vox price list indicated that the retail price of the Viper guitar was $415 USD. In today's dollars, the Viper would retail for almost $2700.

The Viper guitar was produced for Vox in Italy by EKO in Recanati Italy. A decal on the back of each guitar states: "Made for Vox in Italy."

The circuitry for all the battery operated onboard effects in the Viper guitar was designed into a single module. In some cases, this module was sealed and encapsulated, making it not repairable or replaceable. Additionally, the Vox service schematic for this guitar includes no repair information on these modules. If you find that changing the 9 volt battery that powers the internal effects does not correct a malfunctioning effects circuit, it is likely that the onboard features are permanently inoperative. Replacement effects modules have not been available for over twenty years.

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