Vox Panther Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1966)

Vox  Panther Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar  (1966)
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Item # 8714
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Vox Panther Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar (1966), made in Italy, serial # 241965, sunburst polyester finish, mahogany body, maple neck with ebony fingerboard, original grey hard shell case.

There are not too many bass guitars we'd describe as "cute," but the diminutive Vox Panther certainly qualifies. The Panther is the Italian-made descendant of one of the original JMI/Vox student basses models made in the UK in the early-mid 1960s, the "Bassmaster." Although still definitely built to a price, this is a well-designed and quite useful lightweight bass. The single large Vox bass pickup is set at an angle under the strings (to fit the very narrow spacing) and is controlled with single volume and tone knobs.

With a small, vaguely Fenderesque body and VERY thin 30" scale neck, the Panther is extremely handy to play, and to a full-size player feels almost toy-like. It was designed for young student and teenage garage band use, and remains an excellent starter bass, suitable for kids or players with small hands and even as a knock-around recording bass. With a sunburst poly body finish and natural neck this bass still looks cool, almost like a toy Fender.

Like most Vox-branded instruments sold in the US, this was built at the Eko factory in Recanati, Italy for the American distributor, Thomas Organ. 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 meager 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 in California formalized American distribution of JMI's products in 1965, nearly all Vox guitars would be of Italian parentage. They were quite popular in the US at the time and remain cool, playable relics of their period, always brimming with a mid-'60s vibe.
 
Overall length is 42 1/8 in. (107 cm.), 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 29 3/4 in. (756 mm.). Width of nut is 1 7/16 in. (36 mm.).

This bass remains in very nice original condition with just light wear including some typical Vox finish checking and minor dings, dents, and scratches. Like most Eko-made Vox guitars, the pickguard has shrunk up a bit and has several small repaired cracks at the tips but no missing corners. This is a fine-playing and sounding if slightly eccentric bass; one of the smallest 30" scale 4-strings you can find. This example has a period music store sticker on the headstock and is complete including the oft-missing "VOX" stamped bridge cover and the original grey Vox hard case with the truss rod tool and packing slip in the pocket. Excellent Condition.