Vox Mark XII 12 String Solid Body Electric Guitar (1966)

Vox  Mark XII 12 String Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1966)

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Item # 7741
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Vox Mark XII Model 12 String Solid Body Electric Guitar (1966), made in Recanati, Italy, serial # 233271, black polyester finish, mahogany body, maple neck with ebony fingerboard, original grey hard shell case.

One of the all-time great "posing" guitars, the teardrop-shaped Vox Mark XII is still utterly distinctive and an instant 1960s classic. Like most Vox-branded instruments sold in the US, this one was built at the Eko factory in Recanati, Italy. Vox's parent company JMI (Jennings Musical Industries) in Dartford, Kent was already overstretched by 1964 supplying Vox amplifiers to the UK and world markets. So, instead of expanding their meagre guitar-making facilities, Jennings outsourced the great bulk of instrument production to the Italian firm.

These Eko-made Vox guitars are more consistent than their English cousins, and in many cases are better-playing instruments. By the time Thomas Organ in California took over American distribution of JMI's products in 1965, nearly all Vox guitars sold in the US would be of Italian parentage.

The teardrop-shaped Mark series was originally a stylistic outgrowth of the trapezoidal-bodied Phantom line; indeed, the earliest model was called the Phantom Mk.III. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones got one of the first hand-built prototypes, and the exposure the model received in his hands in 1964-5 was quite enough to quickly make it the most sought-after Vox guitar, especially in the US. The solid-body "Mark" series soon expanded to include a full family of 6, 12, and 9-string guitars as well as a bass.

This Mark XII has been refinished in black in a style very similar to the original Italian Polyester work. The standard finish offered for the "teardrop" models was a slightly queasy black/red/yellow sunburst. Solid black was offered as a finish option for the teardrops and is very rarely seen; this one appears to have been refinished very early on. The guitar has a very striking look and to the average observer does not show any notable difference from the original finish.

The Mark XII features three standard single-coil Vox pickups, the bright sound of which is particularly well-suited to a 12-string. The wiring rig is derived from the Stratocaster, i.e. master volume, two tone controls, and a three-way switch. The vibrato was developed from JMI's "Hank B' Marvin" unit and is basically a close copy of the solid-body Bigsby. The Mark XII is one of the better-sounding '60s solid-body 12-strings and one of the few to be equipped with a vibrato -- for better or worse! This very sharp black-finished Mark XII is a '60s icon and an eminently posable and playable guitar!
Overall length is 42 in. (106.7 cm.), 12 in. (30.5 cm.) width, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 13/16 in. (46 mm.).

This guitar has some typical finish checking to the thick poly finish on the body, amazingly similar to what most original finish Vox guitars show, but is otherwise not heavily worn with just some small chips and dings. The body finish looks very much like the standard Vox finish of the period; it was likely refinished early on. All parts remain original except the upper strap button, and the bridge cover and mute bar are long gone.

The pickups and electronics are original, but there appears to have been some rewiring done, likely when the body was stripped, and the middle position is now a blend of the middle and bridge pickups instead of the middle alone. The guitar plays and sounds very well and is a nice, if not all-original, player's example of this Anglo/Italiano 12-string classic. The original Vox case is included; VERY beat up but still functional. Very Good + Condition.