Vox test drive

I want a hollow body! I’m thinking B.B. King’s signature Gibson.

I’m thinking Johnny A.’s signature Gibson.

Well, actually, I would like a hollow body. I’m just musing about a double cut awayhollow body.  It has to be a double cut away for some reason.  I don’t know if it is playability or looks or what, but that is what I prefer.

My local guitar shop started carrying Vox guitars a while back and was kind enough to find a Vox 99 for me to try too!

I’ve tried the Vox 77 before and really liked it, but was afraid to even think about laying that much cash down for a laminate wood guitar that looks like a hollow body SG…

which isn’t a bad thing, but what about my desires for something a bit more classic looking (cue B.B.King).

The 99 and the 77 have the same pickup configuration, but the 99 has the “vintage” voiced pickups.  The necks, tuning machines, frets, and bridge are pretty much the same. They have different horns, which is pretty obvious.  I plugged the 99 into a Fender Super Sonic amp dialed in to a pretty nice clean tone.  I started on the neck pick up and only got one sound I really liked with the pickup configuration switch all the way up. There are three choices, but the middle and bottom selections just sounded dark to me.  Perhaps they aren’t designed for a clean sound, but the top selection was very very good. I really liked that sound on the neck pick up!

Then I tried the bridge pick up.  Having the configuration switch reminded me of the Seymour Duncan P-Rails with Triple Shot pick up rings I have on my Warmoth project guitar.  Each position provides a different sound that provides a lot of flexibility.  I didn’t really find any sounds I didn’t like, but I think the middle position sounded best for the bridge pick up.

Also, the wrap around contour of the 99 is very cool.  The body of the guitar is not flat, but actually curved.

It is great for sitting and standing and hugs your body as you play.  I like it a lot.  But the big classic horns were annoying.  The upper one dug into my chest when I was sitting down.  I probably shouldn’t hunch, but I’m not spending this much money on something that isn’t comfortable in all playing positions.

So I got the 77 back out.  The wrap around contour is still great and the horns are better shaped so there was no digging into my chest.  There was also something that made me like the regular “CoAxe” pickups over the “vintage CoAxe” pickups. I can’t describe any actual difference in sound, but I liked them better on the 77 over the 99. The neck pick up was still only really good with the voice selector up in the top position, but the bridge pickup sounded great in all three.

The reality is I’m not getting either one any time soon, but it was a great opportunity to learn more about my likes and dislikes in guitar gear.  Thanks to my local guitar shop!


3 thoughts on “Vox test drive

  1. Interesting. I’ve not had chance to try one of the Vox semis. But if you’re looking for a double cut semi, don’t open your wallet until you’ve tried an Epiphone Casino. Cheaper than the Vox, as good as any of the Gibsons and one of the coolest guitars ever made. All IMO of course.

    • I’ve tried a Casino in the past, even the John Lennon signature one if I remember correctly. My local guitar shop recently had a Gibson ES-339 and the new Epiphone ES-339. Those were fun to compare! My original desire for a double cut semi or hollow came from my first band’s drummer who had an Epiphone Sheraton II. I must say I am most intrigued with the new signature Dwight Trash Casino Outfit. Not so much because I’m a Dwight fan, but because I love the firebird headstock (i.e. my Warmoth strat with the firebird neck/headstock) combined with the double cut semi hollow (a la Dave Grohl’s signature guitar).

      And isn’t this whole internet thing really just IMO?

  2. Pingback: hollow needs | Confessions of a Wanna Be Guitar Player

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