For February I have chosen two gems from our current 2nd hand offer, a 64 Gibson SG Special and a 66 VOX AC30 Thitry Twin.
This SG will turn sixty next year. Hard to believe. The condition is incredibly good and the color is still Cherry, not faded into brown like most of her peers. Only the abrasion marks on the back of the neck and a dabbed spot on the rib below the pots betray that it has been played.
The vast majority of Specials were equipped with a simple vibrato, where the strings are pulled over the wraparound bridge and hooked into the vibrato. But that costs vast amounts of sustain. Many have been rebuilt, but this leaves three ugly holes in the body. This one comes without vibrato and swings like the devil.
Another difference from the standard SG are the mechanics. While the big sisters inherited the single tuners of the Les Paul, the entry-level models got the bars with three tuners in one piece and white plastic wings. And there were only dots instead of trapeze inlays in the fingerboard. And of course P90 instead of humbuckers. But as so often less is more, I like the Specials, these are the REAL rock’n’roll boards!
The AC30 on these pictures is a real rarity, because since October 1963 the Top Boost came on the market less and less Thirty Twin were built. So it lacks the controls for bass and treble, which provide more gain and variability in the Brilliant channel together with the additional preamp tube. From 1965 to the end of the JMI era in 1967, more than 60% of the amps were Top Boost models.
Fortunately, the speaker configuration has not changed. Although Celestion Alnico speakers were painted blue until 1964, the silver ones differ only in color and T-number, in construction they are the same. And they are sooo important for the typical AC30 sound.
The change from JMI to VOX Sound Equipment LTD. in June 1968 marks the end of the golden era of VOX amplifiers for most collectors. The AC30 remains in the lineup for a long time, but is the only tube amplifier offered in the February 1969 catalog. It is manufactured in Italy in the meantime, then also at Marshall in Milton Keynes and today Korg has the distribution for VOX amplifiers.
But it still exists, the VOX AC30.