Vox Phantom

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Vox Phantom
1966 Vox Phantom VI.jpg
Italian-made Phantom VI in black, with tremolo tailpiece
Period1963 - 1967, 1998 - present
Body typeSolid
Neck jointBolt on
BodyMaple, Ash
BridgeAdjustable Tune-o-matic bridge
Pickup(s)2 or 3 single-coil pickups
Colors available
Black, white, green, light blue, red - custom colors also made in smaller numbers

The Vox Phantom is an electric guitar, originally released in 1962 by the Jennings company. It is unique for its distinctive, pentagonal shape, which became part of the iconic representation of the British Invasion. Originally made in England, manufacturing was later relocated to Italy.

Features of the Vox Phantom included 2 or 3 single-coil pickups, open-back tuners, and a Tune-o-matic bridge inspired by similar Gibson bridges. Later models included a Bigsby-inspired tremolo, designed by Vox's founder, Thomas Jennings. It included a round leather-coated pad on the back for comfort while playing. A 12-string version, the Phantom XII, was also made. Both 6 and 12 string guitars were also made as "Stereo" versions; capable of operating in stereo with a special cable which connected to two amplifiers simultaneously. This enabled complex panning and switching effects that were in vogue as Psychedelic rock was popular.

Another variant of the Phantom guitars was the rare "Special" built in the UK, then later in Italy, a white version being famously used by Ian Curtis in the 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' video. This included on board effects such as fuzz, Tremolo, and repeat percussion. Effects were operated by a series of push buttons along the bottom neck side of the pick guard, with knobs to control vibrato & repeat speed. this model also has an 'E' tuner built in which can be used for an interesting drone effect.

Introduced in 1967, the "Vox V261 Delta" 6 string guitar shared the same body shape as the Phantom, but employed several 9-volt on-board effects including an E tuner, distortion booster, treble and bass boosters and a repeat percussion effect. Instead of 3 single coil pickups, the Delta was fitted with 2 Vox Ferro-Sonic high output, wide range pickups with rectangular black plastic surrounds. The headstock differed with its black finish and mother of pearl VOX logo inlay. The Delta came complete with a Bigsby style tremolo as well. Only available in white, V261 Deltas were made for Vox in Italy by Eko. A bass version with 2 Ferro-Sonic pickups was also produced. It is believed that the Delta was only available in 1967 and 1968.

The guitar shared many of the practical problems of similar unusually-shaped guitars, such as Gibson's Flying V. Its shape made it difficult to play sitting down, and its polyester finish scratched easily at its corners.

Numerous copies of the Vox Phantom's distinctive five-sided body design were manufactured, by companies such as Teisco and Kawai under the Domino brand name. Contemporary copies are also manufactured by companies such as Eastwood Guitars (called the VG6) and Jay Turser (called the Phantasia). Jack Charles of Phantom Guitarworks continues to build replicas of this and other VOX models.

In the late 1990s VOX reissued USA built versions of the iconic Phantom, Mark III Teardrops and Mando Guitars. The USA models are considered to be the most playable versions of these instruments ever made.

For 2011 VOX reintroduced the original pentagonal body shape in its Apache series. The travel guitar hosts a 2-channel guitar amplifier, speakers, several rhythm patterns, and an E-String tuner.


  1. ^ "Facelove". PS I Love You. Retrieved 11 March 2011.