Vox AC30: beige cabinets and copper panels
Late 1961-1962: serial numbers in the 5000s
An early copper panel.
As noted on the previous page - AC30/6s with black panels - the assembly of AC30/6 chassis was contracted out by JMI to Westrex (works in Dollis Hill, North London) in the Spring of 1961. Production of the AC30/4, which was electronically very different, remained at 115 Dartford Road until the model was phased out in the early winter of '61.
With the phasing out of the AC30/4 came (1) an expansion of the AC30 range - new "Super Twin" amplifiers with separate amplifier and speaker sections (see the announcement reproduced a little way down this page), and (2) new copper control panels to replace the older black. This last was simply a cosmetic change. The first copper panel AC30s are no different either electronically or in terms of components and construction from the last of the black panel amps. Note the presence early on of white EL84 sockets and a "ghost" cut-out for the rectifier valve, features also of black panel chassis.
From late 1961 to autumn 1962, Westrex remained the sole assembler of AC30/6 chassis - a key indication of a Westrex chassis being red dye on the solder joints, daubed on by the inspector to indicate that the joints were good.
In the autumn of '62, however, JMI contracted Burndept Electronics (Erith) to assemble AC30/6 chassis. Demand was growing.
The three principal formats of AC30/6 from JMI promotional literature, mid 1962: the Twin, the Super Twin I, and Super Twin II. Note that the Super Twins are in black. Prices can be found on this page.
Components and cosmetics
Early cabinets were made by the P.A. Glock companay, which was based in Crayford, little more than a mile up the road from the Jennings works in Dartford. During the course of 1962, cabinets were normally covered in beige vinyl or in one of two types of black - smooth or dimpled (pebble pattern). Back boards continue to have square corners. Handles were for the most part of brown or black leather, though for Super Twins ribbed black plastic was sometimes used.
As far as grille cloth is concerned, brown was the norm almost invariably. One occasionally finds in these early runs brown with fine gold thread woven in however.
The transformers in the earliest copper panel amps were generaly Albions or Haddons. The OT is JMI part no. OH083/DHT; mains is OH114/DHT. Albion chokes were PE241/DHT. Albion did not put its name on the transformers however. A Radiospares choke was generally used with Haddon mains and output units through to late 1962. For more, see this page.
Click as ever for larger images. Albion mains transformer, part no. OH114; output transformer OH083.
In the last third of 1962, Woden was contracted to produce transformers too. These were used exclusively in amps assembled by Burndept fro JMI. A large batch with August and September '62 date codes ("HT" and "JT") had been bought in by the time serial number 5650 (below) came to be made. A second batch - presumably a second order rather than part of a large initial batch - has November '62 date codes ("LT")
Preamp coupling capacitors were at first black WIMA Tropydurs, as used in the black panel AC30/4s and AC30/6s. A little way into the run of copper panelled amps gold-coloured WIMA Tropyfoil (Tropyfol) were evidently specified (to Westrex first and later Burndept, the companies contracted to assemble AC30 chassis).
On the left, an early copper panelled chassis, black WIMA Tropydur capacitors still in place. On the right, serial number 5650, gold WIMA Tropyfoil (Tropyfol). Generally, the black WIMAs were replaced in shotgun manner (i.e. at one fell swoop) with Mullard mustard caps or grey Radiospares polythene early on - in the late sixties / early seventies. Wholesale replacement of preamp caps is often (though not always) indicative of an early AC30 chassis if there is nothing else to go by.
The new gold WIMA Tropyfoil (Tropyfol) had evidently come in by around serial number 5300 (and probably before).
Serial number plates are hand stamped, bass amps designated with a "B", normal with "N"; speakers are, as standard, Celestion alnico blues (T530), 8 ohms each, the two wired for 16 ohms total impedance.
There are some really excellent Super Twin AC30/6s on this page (separate amplifier and speaker cabinet). These came in at the end of 1961 as the announcement below, sent out in October, indicates. Small numbers may have had black panels - see for instance serial number 4680.
Announcement sent out in October 1961. The full page is here.
Adam Faith on stage, NME Poll Winners concert, April 1962, photo by Harry Hammond, his archive now in the V&A photo library.
Faith's band and The Shadows had pre-production or early production versions of the speaker cab. Notice the full cloth front, as in the first adverts. Later beige speaker cabs had split fronts (certainly by April 1962). See this page for more on early Super Twins.
If anyone knows of further early copper panel AC30s that should be incorporated on this page, do let me know.
Serial number 4804 - currently in the USA
Possibly OK, but some questions to resolve on this one.
Serial number 4835 N - currently in Finland
The chassis currently in the cabinet is later - green Woden transformers with date codes "MU" = December 1963 (so production in early 1964). It is possible though that the original chassis also had a copper panel. The cabinet has been expertly refurbished. The date of the speakers is unknown.
Serial number 4955 N - currently in the UK
A strange assemblage. The box is later: radiused corners for the backboards and basketweave vinyl, except for the lower board which has smooth slightly dimpled vinyl. Its corners may originally have been square. The double-pin corner protectors are later additions. The serial number plate presumably belongs with the copper panel chassis. One of the pots has the code "CJ" = March 1962. The preamp is likely originally to have had black WIMA Tropydur caps, all replaced relatively early on with grey Radiospares polythene/propylene caps.
Serial number 4969 B - currently in Germany
An early AC30 Super Twin amplifier section. The "6" on the serial number plate is actually an upside down "9". Currently (March 2020) on ebay in Germany. Possibly the original black covering. Sold at some point by Freedmans of Leytonstone (London). The main Hunts filter cap in the preamp has the date code "HSW" = 25th week of 1961; the smaller blue bypass cap has "HWW" = 21st week of 1961. Note that amps covered in black occasionally had black plastic corner protectors. Amps covered in beige had none.
Serial number 5000 N - currently in the UK
Speakers replaced and preamp tagboard modified some time ago. The serial number is reliably said to be 5000.
Serial number 5002 N - formerly in Italy, now in the UK
An early Super Twin, grille cloth replaced, and probably and old recovering. The speakers in the cabinet are from late December 1961. In the power section: the main Hunts filter cap. has the date code "HSW" = 25th week of 1961. The blue Hunts 32uf cap. underchassis has "WYW" = 10th week of 1961. AC30/6 schematics indicate a 8uf underchassis; but most amps have 32uf. The Welwyn 22K resistor has the date code "SE" = May 1961.
Original serial number high 4000s / low 5000s - currently in Japan
Recently sold by "Howl Guitars" in Tokyo, an early Super Twin amplifier section, beige cloth, early 1962. The amplifier chassis, made by Westrex, has Haddon transformers, the earliest type of copper panel, white EL84 sockets, and the phantom cut-out for the rectifier valve. The serial number plate, with its three long panels and peculiar attempt at hand stamping, a later addition to this amp however.
Original serial number high 4000s / low 5000s - currently in the UK
The chassis is similar in general aspect to that of serial number 5002 - a phantom cut-out for the rectifier valves, white EL84 preamp sockets, and the early form of vib/trem trimpot (fully rectangular rather than part rectangular part rounded). The cabinet's backboards have square corners (again, an early characteristic). It may be that the cab was recovered at factory with basketweave - the vinyl on the backboards is pebble pattern. At some later stage the serial number plate 9815N was added with non-standard screws. Thanks to Marc for spotting the details.
Serial number high 4000s / low 5000s - currently in the UK
With its original green cover. The blue Hunts capacitor (underchassis) has the date code "WD W" = 18th week of 1961. Transformers are Albions. One of the pots has the date code "FI" = June 1961. Expertly restored by John Chambers - see this page. Note the white EL84 sockets and the fully rectangular vib/trem trimpot. There are feint signs too of the mis-positioned hole for the rectifier valve.
Serial number unknown - currently in the UK
Serial number just too difficult to make out unfortunately. "John" incised on the plate. Albion transformers. Few changes to the amp. In the preamp, numbers of original black WIMA Tropydur capacitors remain. One of the Celestion blues has the date code "24EG" = 24th May, 1962. Pictures from this page.
Serial number 5021 N - currently in Europe
Currently here. Covering originally beige. Original Albion transformers in place.
Serial number 5025
Existence recorded by Jim Elyea.
Serial number 5027
Sold on ebay.com in 2014.
Serial number 5048 N
Serial number 5048N, owned by Bill Wyman from 1962-2020 - bought by him before he joined the Rolling Stones. Pictures from Julien's Auctions. The catalogue entry - available here - states that the amp was built in February 1962. Although no point of reference is given (speaker date codes perhaps?), this seems right. Serial number 5002N has speakers with date codes of late December 1961, so *final* assembly - i.e. the making ready of number 5002 for sale - is likely to have been in January/February '62.
Serial number 5110
Existence recorded by Jim Elyea.
Serial number 5161N
Sold on ebay some time ago. The seller's blurb reported the serial number as being 5161N, the date codes of the speakers 16th July 1964.
Serial number 5204 N - formerly in Germany
Pictures from 2006. A Super Twin amplifier section with its original footswitch. Transformers are Haddons. No back panel Top Boost. Registered also on the page on early Super Twins.
Serial number 5215
Existence recorded by Jim Elyea.
Serial number 5225 N - currently in the UK
Albion transformers in place. The red dye on the solder joints is NOT original. One can see flecks on the bodies of replaced components in at least a couple of instances. The resistors look as though they are from Radio Spares. White Eries are normal in 1962. For the brown Dubilier resistors used later on by Westrex, see serial number 6038 on this page.
Serial number 5311 N - currently in the USA
A nice Super Twin with top boost on the back panel. Transformers are Albions. In the preamp, there are several black WIMA Tropydur capacitors still in place. The blue Hunts capacitor in the second but last picture has the date code "YAH" = 9th week of 1962.
Serial number 5320 N - currently in Italy
Sold (or perhaps repaired) by Alan Pyne, who took over 119 Dartford Road in the 1970s. The transformers look like Haddons, but no picture at present showing the labels. The red dye on the solder joint is typical of Westrex, the company that did a good deal of assembly work for JMI though to early 1965.
Serial number 5329 N - currently in the USA
An early Super Twin with original cover for the amplifier section. Transformers made by Albion: OT is part no. OH083/DT; mains is OH114/DT; and the choke PE241/DT. An add-on top boost circuit has been added (controls on the amp's back panel).
Serial number 5355 N - currently in the USA
A Super Twin head. Good to see some of the original black WIMA Tropydur capacitors still in place. The original footswitch is present too.
Serial number 5356 N - currently in the USA
Painted black at some point, as many beige amps were, but skilfully restored. The serial number is easily legible but extremely worn.
Serial number unknown - currently in the USA
A fantastic early twin, pictures just a little too small to make out the serial number. Some fabric has been added inside the speaker cab (to help reduce vibration).
Serial number 5367 N - currently in the USA
Serial number 5370 B - currently in the UK
Smooth black/charcoal vinyl. New handles and grille cloth on the amplifier section. The date codes on the Celestion blues are 01KH and 14KH = 1st and 14th September 1963, considerably later than the amplifier and probably the cab (assuming amp and cab go together). Note that the speakers have been out at some point and rotated by 90 degrees - normally the Vox logo is horizontal.
Serial number unknown - currently in the USA
Old pictures from ebay. Recovered.
Serial number 5520
Existence reported by Jim Elyea
Serial number 5503 N - currently in the USA
No pictures of the electronics. Cabinet and grille cloth in good condition, though the original vents have been enlarged and fitted with solid-state style inserts. Further vents have been made in the sides. The footswitch is a later type, not original to this amp.
Serial number 5536 B - currently in the UK
Serial number 5569 N - currently in the UK
The Celestion blue speaker has the date code "GH" = July 1963.
Serial number 5592 N (cabinet only) - currently in Europe
Cabinet and serial number plate survive. The amplifier chassis and speakers are from other sources.
Serial number 5634 N
Superb condition externally. Currently on Reverb. One of the pots has the date code "GJ" = July 1962. The Woden transformers have the code "HT" = August 1962.
Serial number 5650 N - currently in the UK
Black vinyl. The original leather handles have been replaced with modern plastic/rubber. The amplifier's transformers are Wodens with date codes "HT" = August 1962. A few replaced components in the preamp, otherwise all good.
Serial number 5651 N - currently in the USA
Probably a copper panel, but only these two pictures for the time being.
Serial number 5672 N - currently in the UK
Serial number 5672N, bought new in 1962 along with the Strat. The amp is fully original (no electronic or cosmetic repairs/renewals). The stand was purchased later. Thanks to Kevin for the pics of this superb AC30.
Serial number 5757 B - currently in the USA
Another amp in fine condition. Pictures from this page. The output transformer is a Woden with date code "HT" = August 1962.
Serial number 58xx - currently in the UK
A good solid looking Super Twin, probably a Super Twin II originally (note the two factory-made holes for speaker connectors), some readjustment on the serial number plate though.
Serial number 5916 N
Excellent condition externally. The handles have been replaced however. Sold by Heritage Auctions in November 2020.
Serial number 5937 - currently in the USA
Sold by Heritage Auctions in November 2020. In original smooth black vinyl - note the finger joints showing through. Possibly a later (ie. added) runner "Thirty Twin" lower right on the grille cloth. The back boards have square corners. The Woden transformers have date codes "LT" = November 1962, which places production of the chassis in early 1963.
Serial number 5984 N
Above, pictures from ebay 2013, the amp bearing the plate 5984N. The original finish of the control panel, which has a link voltage selector, was stripped away at some point. The vinyl looks new (along with the handle). A further picture shows that cabinet's grille cloth was brown. Below, pictures from a later ebay auction, the number on the plate noted as being 5984N in the seller's text (one can see that it is from the distinctive patterns of wear).
Above, pictures from ebay some years ago. The cabinet now houses a black panel AC30. The amp belonging to the cabinet above is now in a new box.
Serial numbers unknown
Some of the amps below - particularly the two refurbished by John Chambers - are early, serial numbers in the high 4000s or low 5000s.
Serial number unknown - currently in the UK
Perhaps the original black pebble vinyl. Grille cloth replaced. The back boards of the cabinet have square corners. Two date codes on the Hunts capacitors are visible: main preamp filter is "YWW" = 1st week of 1961; underchassis cap "WD W" = 18th week of 1961.
The cabinet pre-dates introduction of plastic handles. Back board corners are not in picture. Pot code "EJ" = May 1962. The control panel is of the early type (flat head to the "3", pronounced downward ticks on the "1", "JMI" in comparatively slender letters. The main preamp filter capacitor (with the date code "UC" = March 1963, or possibly "UG" = July 1963) is a later replacement. Thanks to Marc for the pictures.
Original beige vinyl can be seen underneath the most recent covering. Back boards are square. No serial number plate. The control panel is of the early type, as above.
Serial number 5xxx - currently in the UK
Chassis, serial number plate and speakers (with 1962 date codes) transferred to a later (1970s) cabinet. The amp is currently here.
A chassis - currently in the USA
A chassis assembled by Westrex in late 1962. Further pictures and details are on this page.
A chassis - currently in the UK
Small pictures from 2013. The control panel is of the earliest type - note the flat head to the "3" of "3 AMP.".