Premier Guitar

Circa 1963 Vox "Mystery Amp"

April 15, 2010


Usually, when we refer to gear using the word “mystery,” it’s because we don’t know what the hell it is. But in the case of this Vox, it’s because it truly is a Mystery. Some refer to it as the “AC 20,” but Jim Elyea, author of VOX Amplifiers: The JMI Years, coined the name Mystery Amp.

Several of these apocryphal amps have been found, but none of them have had a matching serial-number plate. They may have been produced by JMI, or they may have been assembled from leftover parts by an unknown person. To quote Elyea, “All we know is that we don’t know.”

Here’s what we do know: The amp has three Goodman 10" speakers, each of which is marked with a red band around the magnet, and they’re set in a lightweight enclosure. This particular amp has many unique features, including an AC10 reverb circuit, a Parmeko transformer, a silkscreened front panel (some versions reportedly have anodized copper panels), and a chassis that’s not cut for a vibrato circuit. Its controls include Volume, Tone, Speed, Depth, and Reverb. It also has two inputs and a voltage selector.

Anyone have more information on this oddity?

Let us know!

Thanks to Rick and Randy of Guitar Hangar for listing this on Gear Search! Whether you’re looking for a vintage piece or a modern take on a classic, chances are it’s on Gear Search. More than 47,000 pieces of gear are listed here, including some of the hardest-to-get gear in the world.