Reader Guitar of the Month: Vox Phantom XII

A PG fan refurbishes a prized but climate-damaged 12-string he’s owned for more than 50 years.

Name: Randall Weatherington

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Guitar: Vox Phantom XII

I purchased this Vox used in the ’60s and it’s been with me since. In the early ’70s, I removed the rotary selector switch, and put in individual pickup switches. I wanted the switches to be on/off/out-of-phase, but at the time, DPDTCO switches were too wide to fit between the volume and tone controls, so I settled for on/off miniature switches.

Flash-forward to the 2000s. At one point, the guitar was in a storage locker without climate control. The body expanded, and broke the pickguard. Interesting enough, the guitar was still very playable. Now that I’m retired, I have more time to work on my music, which this guitar is featured prominently on. I’m in the process of doing a music video, so I had to get the guitar ready for its close-up.

Chandler had a template for Vox Phantom pickguards, and recommended no screw holes be drilled. I could drill my own or use double-sided tape to keep the edges against the body. This was an excellent suggestion. I opted to go the tape route for a clean look. Apparently, all Italian-made Phantoms were handmade because the template Chandler had didn’t match my guitar exactly. I had to move some holes, and slightly enlarge pickup openings.

I also modded the string retainers, using the anchor beads from an old set of strings as rollers. Luckily, the beads fit perfectly over the shank of a 5/64" drill bit with about two or three thousandths of an inch clearance. The stock pickups give me the sound I desire, however, I updated the switching. From the jack, there is volume, treble, bass, three pickup switches, and an out-of-phase blend control. Each pickup can be blended from out-of-phase to in-phase.

This has quickly become one of my favorite guitars. It’s now the easiest 12-string I’ve ever played, and at one time I did try a Rickenbacker. My refurbished Vox Phantom XII is a keeper!

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