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Vintage 1960s Mark in Dartford Kent, Vox Clubman Bass for South Paws

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A guilty secret of mine is that I do actually quite desire one of these: a original 1960s Vox Clubman Bass, “Made in Dartford, Kent” (England) by Jennings Musical Industries (JMI).

Pre-dating the Italian-built Vox guitars of the later 1960s, the short-scale Clubman Bass was part of Vox’s range of “student” instruments. The body was made of plywood, and whilst the neck had no adjustable trussrod it did have a steel bar embedded beneath the fingerboard. [EDIT: According to the Vox Showroom website, it had TWO non-adjustable steel rods embedded in the neck.]

So, if it’s such a cheap, crudely made instrument, why should I be interested?

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Well, it’s just that the Vox Clubman Bass has quite a reputation for playability and versatility. It has that particular sound that typifies an era but yet still manages to sound relevant today. I also quite like the design and used to own a similar Clubman II guitar that was my 2nd electric guitar (I’ve lost count of how many have followed – I’m sure it’s in three figures) so it’s partly a nostalgia thing, I guess.

This particular example, currently being offered for sale on eBay UK with a Buy It Now price of £320, is the rarer left-handed version. Whether it sells is another matter; a right-handed example in the more common red finish failed to sell earlier today with a Buy It Now of £399.  I know these instruments are quite desirable amongst collectors and people like me, but I do wonder if perhaps they are being priced a little too highly in today’s market.

Note that this example has a jack output socket which is probably a later conversion as from the factory it would have been equipped with a television-aerial type co-axial socket.

G L Wilson

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