welcome Vox 4series 7series

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“When we finished ”Revolver”, we realised that we had found a new British sound almost by accident.”

  – Paul McCartney, 1966

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The life & times of the rare Vox 7 & 4 – series amplifiers, 1966-68.

(**Blog Index, & Gallery links now all active).   Further entries added as website unfolds.  Either scroll down ↓  to see just the most recent posts on history / amps / memories (click on  ‘more..‘  to expand full post),  or see blog post INDEX above for the whole list & links to individual posts.

 

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Hollies, San Remo Festival, Feb. 1967

hollies_san_remoThe Hollies at the San Remo Festival, February 1967.  In the back-line, two AC100s, and two 7120s and cabs.  The 7120s are on the stage floor in front of the cabs – presumably because the trolleys lack their top bars (ie. the section the amp would conventionally sit on).  The side stands, however, are still in place.

This may have been a Vox sponsored event – Los Bravos are also pictured using the same equipment.  One might be forgiven for conjecturing that the trolleys were damaged in transit from England.

 

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Vox UL430

Further pictures of UL430 serial no. 1052 and its cab now posted on this page.

Pics of  7120 no. 1041 and two 710s to follow.

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Forthcoming updates

Quite a backlog of new info and amps to appear soon.  For the time being, some images of 430 serial number 1052 and its closed back cab (not too many of those around).

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Further pics and details (thanks to Steve) to follow soon on the “surviving amps” pages (see the link at the top of this page).

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“Man” with a 4120 and cab

A German documentary on the band “Man”. In the section starting around 2′ 09″, some good views of the 4120 and matching cab on its end.

Below a still from “Beat Club” a year earlier (1969), in which the controls for the Normal Channel of the 4120 can be seen.

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Later, Man moved over to a new set of solid state Vox equipment:

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The Stones in 1966

 

A selection of the pics of the Stones with their 760s in the last quarter of 1966 and early 1967.

 

ALBERT HALL – 23rd September 1966

 

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STUDIO

Top bar of trolley removed and side-stands swivelled upside down

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stones_34Jimmy Page (note the violin bow) with Brian Jones. 760 cab, as in the pic above, but a Fender amp on top

 

 

SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE PALLADIUM – 22nd January 1967

Top bars of trolleys missing, side-stands still attached; the cabs sit on Foundation Bass “dollies”

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The Beatles’ 7120s – Munich 1966 and other pics

 

 

SOME DETAILS OF THE BEATLES’ 7120s

 

86202424A general shot of the Beatles at the Circus-Krone-Bau, Munich, 24th June 1966 – picture from Getty Images.

 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Bill Orchard/REX/Shutterstock (14563t) Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon in Munich The Beatles Performing in Germany - 1966Credit: Photo by Bill Orchard/REX/Shutterstock (14563t).  A detail of the amp John used on the 24th.

 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Bill Orchard/REX/Shutterstock (14563t) Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon in Munich The Beatles Performing in Germany - 1966Credit: Photo by Bill Orchard/REX/Shutterstock (14563t).  A tiny sliver of the amp that George used at Munich.  Note that its diamond pattern matches the amp that John had – a quarter of a diamond at right.

 

DIG Beatles, The, 27.12.1960 - 11.4.1970, brit. Musikgruppe, Auftritt, Konzert "Bravo Blitz Tournee", Circus Krone, Mnchen 24.6.1966, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Mikrofon, singend, Band, Gruppe, Bhne, Fans, Zuschauer, Blitztournee, Musik, Musiker,Slightly oblique views of Paul and George’s amps, again from Munich.

 

detailA detail from the famous picture of Lennon in Studio 3, Abbey Road, with his Gretsch 6120 (sold at auction in 2015).  Normally this pic is drastically cut to focus on the guitar.

 

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Dave Clark Five – an early 7120 cab

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Above, Denis Payton of the Dave Clark Five on stage at the Carousel Theater, West Covina, California, 27th June 1966 – photo published in the 23rd July issue of KRLA mag. In the background an AC100 and one of the band’s new 7120 cabs. This is the earliest dateable instance of a non-Beatles 7120 cab.

Given that the DC5 summer tour began in early June 1966, it seems likely that the cabs that they had were delivered to them in late May.

Pictures taken a few months later (see below) show that the band had four.

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Above, the DC5 Royal Variety performance, October 1966

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“Hello Goodbye” promo, Savoy Theatre, 10th November 1967

Three versions of the promo video were made at the Theatre on 10th November 1967, and much ink has been split on the question of whether the Beatles had solid state Vox Defiants or Conquerors with them on stage.  It was certainly the latter – Conquerors.

The cabs however were 730 cabs, as one can see at the end of one of the videos as George wheels an amp across the stage apron.  The ceramic Celestion T1225s are clearly visible in the pics below.

Ceramic Celestion T1225s were used from the outset in 460, 760, 7120, and 4120 cabs, but seem only to have been adopted for 730s late in the production run.  Two surviving cabs with these drivers are represented on the 730 amps page on this site.

Conqueror cabs in 1967 always had alnico speakers.

It is probable that Vox / Macaris at 100 Charing Cross Road supplied the equipment on this day.  The Charing Cross Rd. shop was less than a mile away from the Savoy Theatre.

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Above a surviving example.  May either worked for the Henry Glass company, which made the cabs, or Burndept Electronics, which readied the units for dispatch.  Her name, always in chalk as above, figures regularly on the 7-series and solid state cab baffles.

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“Beat Instrumental” magazine signals the arrival of the 7 series

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From March 1966, “Beat Instrumental”, a British monthly magazine aimed squarely at professional musicians, and the only publication in which Vox regularly advertised, began signalling the imminent arrival of a new line of amps – the hybrid 700 series.

 

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Above, editorial lines from the March issue, 1966.

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Note from April 1966.  By the time this appeared in print, John and George probably already had their amps – see the entry from Alf Bicknell’s diary (12 April) below.  There are photos from mid April too.  Paul’s 7120 bass  arrived a little later.  Perhaps the original intention was to coax 150 watts out it – perfectly possible given the presence of four KT88 power valves – a plan (if a plan at all) ultimately rejected, however.

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Notice from May, 1966.  Production of the smaller and larger amps of the 7-series range had probably just kicked off as this issue appeared on the shelves.

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Through the lens; meeting the Beatles, Strawberry Fields, Knole, Sevenoaks 1967

Through the lens; meeting the Beatles, Strawberry Fields, Knole, Sevenoaks 1967

A rare memory here of the Beatles first trip to Knole, for the filming of the Strawberry Fields promo video.  The finished video would feature footage of the band on horseback, riding past the 430 & 730 amps, cabs & guitars on a platform in the background.  The first day of the shoot (Tuesday 31st January 1967)  proved to be quite a day for a local Sixth-Former, Alan Cutts, who witnessed some of the filming;

It is getting on for fifty years since I met the Fab Four, by the remotest of chances.  Given the personalities involved, it would be surprising if the memory dimmed even slightly…   I was the first person to come across them, when an afternoon School run in Knole brought us to the lads filming, which was a wonderfully diverting sight on a freezing Winter’s day.  Sevenoaks School operated for six days per week in order to get in three afternoons of sport, and this was one of the Hilary Term pursuits.  There were two of us on the training run; our route went around the house and back to the Lodge down from the Manor House.

When I stopped by, it was for a brief rest; there were Minis parked nearby, and the odd Roller.

I was at a party some months before on Eel Pie Island, where Lennon had put in a fleeting appearance.  John had maybe recognised me despite the running kit, saying “Ay oop!”, with a remark about so that’s how you southerners dress in the winter, with a wink.  Maybe he didn’t recognise me and it was just a friendly greeting…that’s how the film crew realised there was not really an issue.

I spoke with John, and Ringo was voluble too.  We chattered about the ideas they wanted to act out, which I did not follow too well, as it was private to the band really.  Lennon was speaking about the real location of Strawberry Fields,  but his references were strange and only made sense much later when the record had been out awhile, and folk could understand what was being imagined. There are some vague phrases in the lyrics even now.  Both he and Paul, in retrospect, seemed to know what they wanted to create.  I had more a sense of watching something starting to happen, a happening, as was the word then.

Ringo was very pleasant, and spoke about ordinary stuff.  There was not really a drumming role anywhere at that stage, and not a guitar in sight.  The lads were following directions called by the film crew, intermingled with retorts from the Band, mostly disrespectfully funny.

John discussed briefly where they were shacked up;  Ringo nodded, speaking of the Royal Oak, I thought.  there was general chit-chat as they dashed hither and thither, getting things done under a volley of orders – looking back not wonderfully planned, whimsical.

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“…This (internet) photo captures the cold day quite well, and the colours are exactly as I remember them, with the trees leafless and spiky, and everything waiting for Spring.  The camera on legs is the one I looked through, although then it was pointing down more.  We were over to the left a bit, and there was a bushy outcrop which served to segregate me and the Four, three with Paul up in his tree, way over left, or two with George sulking/resting. He does look cold !  I have to be careful not to embellish true memory or stir stuff into presumed recollection, but the mood sense is good.  The light faded about four pm, so I continued on my run, with a wave goodbye, not wishing to be a nuisance; but I had what I wanted, some time there, watching and speaking, generally out of the way”.

Truly exciting, better than a glimpse across a party room of a revered hero, now actually making eye contact, happy moments, looking back, so very near that it was almost ordinary, like with one’s mates.

Paul was up on a tree branch; no piano then, that was much later, as per the videos, with his big fluffy dog below.  In a comic broad Northern/Scouse accent, “Eeehh..”, he was questioning what “Me dog” was up to at the foot of the tree.

There was no music actually being played in the Park when I was there, just some footage being run out. Films, so forth.  They were very busy but did send me a photo, I gave my address, but never expected anything. I got it copied years later as it was falling apart.

The photographers in Knole noted that our contact was friendly and snapped a couple of pictures, one of which they sent on to me a while later.  There were several shoots taken in Knole, and the February ones, which may have turned to Penny Lane backings after the SFFE ones had been completed, were those commonly recalled by the many young visitors to the park, including coeval Sennockians.  The Chronicle ran a brief piece at the time.

The entrance to Knole was largely hidden by trees but this one stood alone, and yet was secluded. Last time I was there was in 1990 on walkabout, but so much had changed … now some of the paths are metalled and the old tracks are long gone.

The full shoot was a couple of weeks later on the SECOND visit in Feb when many Sennockians cut school to wag a glimpse of the foursome, news having leaked out from my day there, which was Day One.  Unique experience, and I did not splash it about  – it was my own experience, & special.

The ‘Owl House’ ( or ‘Bird House’) and the crumbling old arch were off the run we did, so we bypassed the second site.  That one is featured in the SFFE footage all over You-Tube etc, and the piano and period dress are mocked up in the then mishmash of cultures adorning the young guitar-wielding brethren of the revolution. There were horses and so on, from what I have seen many years later.

The real social life in the town then centred upon La Cabana, and several pubs..  ‘La Cabana’ coffee house was the Cavern Club of the time in Sevenoaks.  My peers, and I, were aficionados of La Cabana in 1961, as schoolboys ( & later as Mods and Rockers in the evenings… the wall-hung juke-box…)   The embryonic band ‘Breed’ played there, two of whose members (Ray Bennett and Bill Bruford) went on to fame and fortune in association with King Crimson and Yes.  Fights between the Mods and the Rockers, and before that the Teddy-boys, had been a part of street life in the mid-60s;  there was still a sense in the air of Mods and Rockers lurking in dark alleyways.

We had seen John some months before at the party on Eel Pie Island; lots of pretty things were there, hanging on his every movement.  I don’t remember how we got on to the Island, but there were a number of people off their heads who got drenched.  One has to be careful with rivers, so forth, although it was quite shallow I think.

John arrived, already in full party mode; he was kind of far out, but initially very witty, and so warm and friendly.  There were loads of people there, everywhere was noisy and vibrant.  There was some music coming from somewhere, but it was almost drowned out by the people trying to make one another heard. Not all the time, there were gaps, but the lasting sense was of a wall of noise. It was quite pleasant to get back to dry land and normal levels of audio, cars, buses, steam engines at the railway termini, whistles etc.
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The author, 1967

Sadly there are no autographs nor any written dialogue at all from my day in Knole.  I had nowhere to carry anything, being in shorts and running gear despite the chill air.  When Hendrix died, we were all just shocked at the loss to music, but it was an accident waiting to happen, we understood much later.  “The dancers are all gone under the hill” now, to recall Eliot.

( Text – © Alan Cutts, 2016 )

Some previous posts on the shoot;  HERE & HERE

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